Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bass on beds in the ponds

The kids fishing the pond

Well, the time of plenty is coming to a close. Many of the bass are on their beds on the upper pond. While I can tease / torment them into biting (most of the time) I prefer to let them alone and got on with their spawning. I like catching them just before they go on beds, but that time has passed for this year.

I took my son and his friend Josh out to the ponds this evening. We had been out there 5 weeks ago and Josh was very excited to go again. I wasn't sure how the fishing would be, but we went anyway. Better to fish than not to fish.

Joey's biggest bass

I let the 2 boys do the fishing while I looked for fish and unhooked some for them. They started off pretty hot, with each catching a few right away. Then, it just got tough. WI had them fishing 7" Bubblegum colored Zoom trick worms, because you can get a lot of action out of them, and you can usually see the fish eat them.

Josh's best bass

That was the bait the bass bit for them this evening. I threw a spinnerbait, too, and had 3 or 4 on, but didn't set the hook on them - I was prospecting to see where they were. The pond is getting very weedy now, and it is not an easy task for the kids to fish without getting weeded up on every cast. But they both caught very nice sized bass tonite.

Another one for Joey

We ended up on the lower pond and caught a ton of egg-filed, pre-spawn gills. A handful of crappie came in, too, and I got 5 walleye on a 1/8 oz. maribou Roadrunner. A couple of trout were hooked, and it was a good evening to be out.

The only thing that was not so good is the damned cottonwood trees - they are dropping their namesake cottony crap, and it gets all over the line and lures.

Oh yeah - saw 3 snakes and a muskrat. A good evening to be out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What a difference a week makes

Well, my previous post detailed the effects of cold rain and falling temperatures. It is NOT a good recipe if fresh caught fish are on the menu!

The past week has remained cool, but is warming. And there has been no rain, until today. Even today's rain is a steady, warm rain and will probably be good for the fishing.

The bass are getting back to their previous positioning, but still are not quite as aggressive as they were prior to the shutdown. However, it seems like the bigger prespawn bluegills are moving shallower and are aggressive. They are still bunched up, so you have to move around to find them, but when you do, there are probably a bunch of them around that area.

Crappies are still shallow on the ponds - I thought they would be off the shallow structure by now. Everything is biting a little better each day.

Just goes to show that even after things shut down, they DO come back. Just give it a chance

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why you need to "strike while the iron is hot"

Over the past few weeks I've tried to detail the progression of fish activity on the local ponds as the largemouth get ready to spawn. I'm sure it gets a little boring and repetitious to read about catching 10 nice bass over lunch, getting a bunch with my son and his friends, ... It actually can get a little monotonous catching all these fish (Well, not too monotonous, but the suspense is missing from these jaunts, and that is a big part of the unknown). So, why do I continue to go out so often and catch what may be the same fish on the same patterns?

2 reasons: 1) Because I simply love to fish and don't care what I'm catching, and 2) because, inevitably in nature, weeks occur like last week, and put an end to your patterns and teh behavior of the fish.

Last week we got 2+ inches of cold rain overnight on Wednesday. Our local rivers and creeks flooded. The ponds, which are spring fed, turned the color of chocolate milk. And the fishing came to an abrupt and complete stop.

That's right - the ponds shut down. On Friday, over lunch, I spent the better part of an hour on the upper pond (the one full of largemouth and 'gills) throwing spinnerbaits and Senkos. There was about 3" of visibility and the water was cold. I got - NOTHING. No hits, no swirls, nothing. I didn't really expect much, but I had to try.

This is why you have to strike when the iron is hot. The weather can change everything overnight. And, in my experience, the weather changes in the Spring of the year are more dramatic and have a greater effect on the fish than any other time of year. So, when it is good, and the water temp is stable, and the natural progression of spring is moving along nicely - get out there as often as you can. You never know when Mother Nature will deal you a hand that will put any successful fishing on hold.

I'll be interested to see how long it takes for the bass in the ponds to return to their previous level of ferocity. I'll keep you posted, as I should be able to get out a few times this coming week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Any fishing is better than no fishing at all

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to fish with an old friend who had moved to Wisconsin not too long ago. Ken has fished everywhere, and he and I have spent some time together in Canada fishing a number of years ago. We decided to hit Balsam Lake in western Wisconsin and see what would happen.

The largemouth were all about this size. Note the 4 layers of clothes as I tried to keep warm.

Now, neither of us had ever been to this piece of water before in our lives. So we did it the old-fashioned way - got a map and asked people. We ended up catching about 15 small largemouth bass and a half dozen small pike. The bass wanted a 1/4 oz. chartreuse spinnerbait and were definitely relating to wood. In addition to the spinnerbait, fish were caught on a 1/8 oz. jig with a 3" grub, and a Suspending Rogue. Pike were scattered. Water temp was 53 - 54 - still pretty cold. The day was pretty miserable - cold, windy, occasional drizzle.

Cold, nasty day ahead

BUT - we caught fish, spent part of the day outside, and, as we said frequently, caught our favorite fish - the one's that wanted to bite. We also saw 2 separate pairs of loons, and 2 eagles. the loons were pretty spooky, so the picture had to be taken on zoom, and is kind of shaky.


Any fishing is better than no fishing!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fish Pictures

Warning - this might end up being the post where my blog "Jumps the Shark"

I've said repeatedly on this blog that I wanted to expand my photography experiences and post them on here. Wait - actual photography is what you see on a couple of the blogs on my Blog List - A Focus on Nature and Hannibal's Animals jump to mind. I merely take pictures. I don't have professional grade cameras, or filters, or anything but a new-ish compact camera. But I still like to take pictures and post them on this blog.

The advances made recently in digital cameras - and by recent, I mean the past 5 years or so - are mind boggling. My first digital that was better than a disposable was a Canon 6 mp Power Shot. It had a few scene modes available, and took pretty decent pictures. My current camera is a Samsung TL 220 12.2 mp camera that has so many features I'll never figure them all out. Trying to get my hands around the functions I will use is why I've been carrying the camera along on every trip to the ponds (when I remember). Plus - I like looking at other people's photos in their blog posts, so I put some in mine too.

One feature I've always admired but have never really used much is macro-photography - taking focused photos from 1" - 5" away from the subject. Since fish are "my thing" I thought I'd try it on them first.

As with all the photos I post, you can click on the photo and see a larger version. I think this will be necessary to view these pictures. on a personal note, I really like the way they came out. There is a lot of subtle coloration on them. So, without further ado - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THE FISH FROM MY PONDS.



Largemouth Bass


(The walleye cheek looks like it has gold dust on it!)

Assuming I don't get bombarded with comments like "You're an idiot -what were you thinking???", I'll continue doing this type of thing as I catch more species to photograph. Pumpkinseeds and Green Sunfish should be soon. Ah hell - I'll probably do it even if no likes it but me. After all, it is my blog!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pictures from the pond, and a fishing update

The first largemouth I've seen setting up shallow - spawning time is approaching.

I am REALLY trying to take more pictures. But, it seems that everytime I find myself around water, I leave the camera in my pocket and cast away.

I've been out to the ponds twice this past week over lunch, trying to capitalize on the increasingly better fishing. The problem is, the fishing hasn't been increasingly better. It hasn't been bad, but it has been the free-for-all I've expected. We've had some pretty cold nights, and I think that might have something to do with the fish being lethargic around lunch. Maybe they went crazy around 5 pm - who knows?

Even though it hasn't been crazy good, the fishing has been consistent. Especially for the walleye, which seem to have hit a growth spurt. As I've said before, I've never seen them over 15" here, but I've caught a bunch of 15" - 17" recently.

A crappie suspended next to a log in the water

An incoming walleye

I have taken a few pictures, and am part way through a little project that is turning out better than I thought it would (so far). I'll keep you in the dark for now, but will post some pictures of this little project soon.

A nice rainbow that ate a 2" grub intended for panfish

The panfish are biting, and, as you see from the picture, largemouth are getting up on their beds. Get out there and fish!

A water snake decides to swim under the dock I'm standing on.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

EVERYTHING was biting today!

With the exception of a brief lunchtime foray a week ago, I have not been out to the ponds for 2 weeks. That's not really a big deal most of the time, but in the springtime, when the fish are in pre-spawn and aggressive, I like to get out every chance I get. Well, once in 2 weeks has been every chance I've had. For some reason I've had a very hectic work and travel schedule recently, so fishing has had to wait.

Until this afternoon.

Landing one of Joey's bass

Another nice pond bass

This bass puts a good bend in a dropshot rod!

I did my yard duty yesterday - lugging bags of mulch around, laying the mulch. planting flowers, ... I made the suggestion that "maybe" we ought to go to the ponds on Sunday afternoon, and my wife and son somewhat begrudgingly agreed. (They're not quite as fanatical as me - not even close, really). The upper pond (bass and 'gills) was first on the list at 3 PM. I started with a 3/8 oz. strike King Burner spinnerbait and , somewhat surprisingly, didn't get a hit for a bout 7-8 casts. Then they turned on (or I started retrieving the way they wanted it) and it was GAME ON. I caught pretty much as many bas as I wanted to catch, all heavy pre-spawn fish. They seem to be holding just off the edge of their bedding areas. They'll probably be up on beds within the week, but not quite yet. My son decided to join me, and I gave him a pack of 5" watermelon Senkos. He was into fish immediately. You can see in the photo of Joey fighting the bass that there is concrete slabs along the dam on the pond. the fish were on the bottom about 3 feet in front of the rock. They'll move up into the breaks in the rocks to spawn.

Another nice bass for Joey

Joey fishing along the rocks

I tried a buzzbait - nothing like topwaters - but only had one hit. I want to make a short video when they get keyed in on buzzbaits. So, w got our fill of big largemouth, and Joey did something I've never done in 10 years of fishing this pond - he got a channel cat. Not one, but 2 nice cats, on Senkos. I've never seen anything but largemouth and bluegills in this pond in 10 years. Of course, I never fish bait here either, so that might have something to do with the lack of catfish caught. Well, today 2 of them wanted his Senko. And, the big fat watersnake was sunning himself on the tree limb. I've seen one small one 2 weeks ago, but this was the first big one of the year. I looked back in my blog and found that, LY, I took a picture of a big fat one on the same tree limb on May 7, 2009.

A CATFISH from the Upper Pond!

The big water snake

We decided to go down to the lower pond and try to get a few small trout for the frying pan. A bunch of trout were stocked a few weeks ago, and this year some smaller ones - around 10" - were included. These are a great size for the pan - the big ones taste "mushy". Now, I'm pretty much a die-hard catch and release trout guy, but these fish are put here to be used. The water warms too much in the summer months to support trout, so they are here to be used. And I don't mind an occasional trout in the pan.

A couple of nice pond bass that fell to a spinnerbait

My first 10 casts with a 1/24 oz. white Rooster Tail resulted in 9 fish and a couple of misses. The first was a BIG trout - too big for me to eat. Then it was small walleye, 'gills, crappie, more 'gills, and finally a small trout. The shallows are now swarming with gills and crappie, and you can see some big largemouth cruising the shallows. This pond is deeper and cooler than the upper pond, so the bass are not as close to spawn as they are in the upper pond. I got sick of removing the treble hook from the fish and went to a 2" grub. We got our fill of 'gills and crappie, a few small walleye and bass, and lost a bunch of trout. The panfish were lucky I wasn't in the mood to clean panfish tonite! All were released.

There were wood ducks flying into the pond, a couple of woodpecckers pecking away, and it was a beautiful day to be on the water. I hope you get the chance to get out and enjoy some spring fishing soon.