Sunday, March 22, 2009

I FINALLY catch some fish in 2009, and all is right with the world!

We finally had a few days in a row of nice, warming weather. That means, of course, lots to do around the house. And, finally, a chance to get out on the water locally. Northern IL has been slow to warm, and I've been going more stir crazy than usual for this time of year. It's an annual occurrence, but seems like a more acute case this year than usual.

Sat. and Sun. were beautiful days, and both days found us with some time between 5 and 7 pm. We went to a property where I have access to their 2 ponds and tried to start out the year on a good note. Like every year, the warm air belies the VERY cold water and lethargic fish below. I've done this enough to know that early season trips mean slow presentations, shallow, dark bottoms that warm quickly, and often small baits.

Well, things played out like they were scheduled. Fishing was slow, but enough fish hit to keep things interesting. I wanted my son to get in some practice with his gear, because we're going to Alabama in a couple of weeks for a few days of bass and brim fishing.

My son with our first largemouth of 2009

Saturday found 1 nice largemouth willing to bite, and enough smallish gills to keep us occupied. NOTE: there are 2 ponds on this property. One - the first one we fished - is shallow, about 8 acres, and full of bass to 4 pounds, and gills. the second - maybe 10 acres - is deeper. Max depth is around 15 feet. Lots of wood cover. Largemouth, bluegill, crappie, walleye, channel cat (to 15#) and rainbow trout. The rainbow trout are certainly not your typical fare in Illinois ponds. They are stocked in this pond in October and winter over. When the ice melts and spring emerges, these 'bows are in great shape and are great sport in the spring. They're also pretty big - 14 - 20". I've fished for wild rainbows all over the country, and, all things considered, prefer them over the stockies, but these are a viable substitute. They bite, and they pull hard, so in this instance, I like them!

Nice rainbow trout from the lower pond

Next we tried our luck on the lower pond for the trout or anything else that might be awake. It was the expected slow fishing, but we did hook and land 2 trout, 1 pretty nice one. Pheasants were cackling in the fields as the sun set, and deer made their evening trips to the fields.

Sunday we did the same routine. No large bass fell for our offerings, but the bluegills were more active after another day of the sun warming their water. My son and I had a "bet" to see who could catch the most, and we lost count. The lower pond yielded its first walleye of the year to me, and one more nice trout to my son.

Our lures on these trips were primarily Cubby Mini-Mites suspended under a weighted bobber. I wrote about them in my "Favorite things" post last year. I don't know what it is about these little nondescript plastic baits, but they flat-out catch fish - everything! They are effective fished dead slow under a bobber , with the only movement imparted by wave action, and they work with a fairly aggressive retrieve. I learned long ago how to fish a Blakemore Roadrunner (another great springtime bait) - you can't fish it wrong, as long as you fish it slow. The same applies with Cubby's.

A great overall weekend and , hopefully, a harbinger of a terrific season of fishing on the horizon.

Joey fishing on the upper pond

Thanks for reading!



Anonymous said...

Great to see you got the "skunk" off and that you and your son hooked a few nice fish. Way to go! Nice pictures, by the way.

Kenny Breckenridge said...

Way to go Wolfy, I am glad you guys got to go fishing, and looks like you caught some nice ones , to boot! My friend, you had better watch out for your fishing buddy, he looks like the serious fisherman! He looks like he would put it to you if you gave him half the chance. Good pictures and nice looking ponds! Be on your guard for the future competition, and good luck to you guys, good job! Nice post!

Wolfy said...

He has his moments, Kenny. Still a little short on the attention span, but when he wants to , he's right on. Pretty much just a typical 11 year old.


Kenny Breckenridge said...

Awesome, he's just the right age, for your influence. It is great to "Take A Kid Fishing", isn't it?

Wolfy said...

We all have a limited window in our kids lives to try an impart "the good stuff" on them so they can make their own good decisions as they grow older. I've always thought exposure to the outdoors and everythign involved in it is a major part of that learning process.