Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank God for stocked trout

Yesterday, Nov. 22, the temp in suburban Chicagoland topped out at 70 degrees. It poured in the morning on the way to work. But , rather than be dismayed by the crappy weather, my thoughts were "Hmm - this is a lot of 50-60 degree rain hitting the cold ponds. Ought to make the fish a little more active.

Luckily, around noon, the skies cleared up a little, and I made it out to the ponds for one last open water fling. Yes - the same ponds that kicked by butt the last 2 times I was on them. Driving out there, I felt like Charlie Brown, running up to kick the football.

I started out with - and kept on the whole time - a sz. 0 Mepps Aglia with a squirrel tail. The first 15-20 minutes were uneventful - no hits, no sightings. I was fishing the upper few feet in the water column over the deeper (10' - 15') parts of the pond. These areas have been good to me in the past.

First trout of the day

I moved around, and finally got a viscous strike in about 15" of water by the spillway. When the trout came in, it was being followed by another one. Hmmm. I landed the trout, took a picture on my phone (a first for me) and kept casting. then I decided to try another shallow area I had ignored earlier.

Well - the shallows were the key. I landed 3 trout, missed 3 others - including one BIG fish - and saw a few others. All were shallow, and related to wood / brush in the water. It was actually a springtime bass pattern. I have no idea why they were so shallow. Food? Warmth? No idea.

Another one comes in

This will probably be my last Illinois open water fishing of the year. And I really didn't want to end up the year with 3 skunks in row. I'm trying to get out to the Delta in CA or maybe FLA for a day, but we'll have to see how the cards fall.

Finally - please excuse the photo quality. It's a new phone that I am struggling to learn to use. I can barely make a call, let alone take pictures with it.

Finally - a Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy your turkey day in whatever you manner you wish to celebrate.


Shoreman said...

Hey Joe. The close to shore thing is something I've contemplated often at Red Lake. Most all the catches are within 10 to 15 feet of shore. Shallow water for sure. I'm with you, I'm confused.


Clif said...

"Driving out there, I felt like Charlie Brown, running up to kick the football." I had the same feeling on Sunday.

Starting to get pretty darn cold, and I had called it quits. But thanks, in part, to you I've got to get out one more time...I feel like I'm running toward Lucy and the ball is no where in sight! More on that later.

Bill said...

Happy Thanksgiving Wolfy and I'm glad you got that skunk monkey off of your back!

blake said...

Ice season is knocking on our doorsteps! Happy Turkey Day

David McKenzie said...

come west..lots of open water on the Delta sir.

Anonymous said...

Wolfy, I am a little surprised that you were taking the fish in shallower water this time of year. One thing that I know about lake and pond fishing is something I learned from many a day in my float tube. Most of the time you paddle out a ways off shore and then cast either back to the shoreline or parallel to the shore line. Trout are usually where you find active food life. In a lake that is the shallower, weedier waters where there is lots of oxygen to encourage lots of bug life. Sorry for the long comment, and, you probably already knew all of this. However, I just like to talk fishing techniques.

heyBJK said...

Glad to see you beat the skunk this time, Wolfy! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Stephanie & Dustin said...

Glad the remnants of the skunk are gone! It is weird they were so shallow...it must be the food?? -stephanie

Bigerrfish said...

Wolfy, Im returning the "following" favor aswell as leaving a note on the subjects talked about here in this post.
I will be adding you to my blog roll soon.
Im fishing almost nothing but the shallow riffles right now!! there are times when that should be the only place you are looking for fish..
We get so used to moving up to that next little deep run that we walk past all the feeders on the way..

Everyone needs to think about how a trout sits in a place where food gathers in a tight line. when a fish moves to the shallow water it is doing the same thing, this time its just another tactic to shrink the feeding zone, they are just using depth instead of seams.

Cofisher said...

Nice post Wolfy, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you catch a few. No one would want to end there year on the "skunk monkey" note!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours also. May you all eat to much and have a great time doing whatever you please!

Wolfy said...

Thanks for the comments, folks - always appreciated.

Bigerfish - I'm with you 100% on streams, but never had this happen this time of year on ponds. Usually the weeds have died off and the oxygen is low in the shallows. The baitfish move off, sometimes setting up in the deepest water.

I usually try to figure out where the fish are, and why they are there, but this one stumped me. Granted - stillwater trout is probably my weakest area of "knowledge", so I'll take all the help I can get

Kirk said...

When the ice is thick enough...we're going fishing!
A few of those trout on my ice fishing rods will be fun. Looking forward to sharing a few stories and a hot cup of coffee on the ice.

Casey said...

Congrats, Charlie, I mean, Wolfy on the catch! Sure hope you can make it out a time or two this winter.

New blog look is great. Take care!

Owl Jones said...

Hiya Joe! Great thing ya got going - both the blog here and OBN! I suppose someone has to keep that Rebecca in line!

Just wanted to say that I saw your "State Fish List" and when you get ready for that Georgia brookie or brown, I'm your guy. :) I'd be honored to show you around my home water.


Kirk Werner said...

Joe, three skunkings is nothing. Come on out West; I'll take you steelhead fishing and show you what real skunks smell like!

Dennis said...

Sound like a great day Joe...Hope you had a great Thanksgiving bud!