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!