April 24, 2008
Gary Brummett at Connecticut Outfitters (www.ct-outfitters.com) reported excellent fishing for largemouth bass on local ponds and lakes. He said several anglers registered trophy fish fooled with jigs, tubes and chatterbaits. Trout season opened last week to rave reviews. Anglers wading the lakes and ponds have reported catching rainbows and browns to 7 pounds. Northern pike action has sputtered due to cold water, but Brummett expects it to engage when the water temperature rises. On the salty side of the state, river herring are moving into the Connecticut River with striped bass hot on their trail. Anglers are catching keeper bass by using big plugs and soft plastics that imitate the 6- to 8-inch herring.
Ken Penrod (www.penrodsguides.com) sent us this report from Life Outdoors Guide Service. SUSQUEHANNA RIVER, PA: Wow! Don’t know how else to explain this. Maybe “world class.” We are fishing between Harrisburg and Montgomery Ferry, operating from Riverfront Campground in Duncannon, where the Juniata River meets the mighty Susquehanna. Life Outdoors Unlimited (LOU) guide Danny Grulke had back-to-back 100-fish days for his clients and he never left the Juniata River. He’s using Mizmo teasers and Penrod Specials on 1/8-ounce Riverfront Campground jig heads. John Cooper and Brian Graves fished with me for four days and we easily caught 250 quality bass on the main river with Mizmo teasers in camo, roadkill, black and penrod special colors. Guide Dave Kerrigan is fishing the main river, near Halifax and he has discovered an awesome Mizmo tube called Irish Coffee. LOU guide Mike Breeding is kicking butt with jerkbaits near Sherman Creek. LOU guide Jon Drever is still working eddies behind islands and his clients are complaining of tennis elbow. I’ve caught a ton of bass on LJ Speed Traps. BAD NEWS: The river is dropping like a 10th grader in love. It’s about 4.9 feet as of Friday (18th) and we start sweating at 4.5 feet. Please call 1-800-881-7555 for up-to-date river conditions.
Larry Burfield at (www.larrysguideservice.com) was hiking up his pants and preparing for another round of flooding in Kentucky. “All the lakes are way above normal,” he said. “The launch ramps and parking lots are all under water.” With 9 inches of rain one night and 7 inches more a couple days later, the water was high and the fish were hiding. Larry was hopeful that the river would go down and the fishing would go back to normal. “The Corp has just released water in the lakes, and the streams are dropping,” he said. Burfield and a couple of buddies did a tour of the local scene and only found one launch ramp, on Lake Eufaula, that was accessible. The good news is that crappie fishing should be on raging once the water goes down enough for anglers to reach the lake. With the water high, Larry expects the crappie fishing to be a on fire. “They’ll be in 8- to 10-feet of water instead of 1 to 2 feet,” he says. He’ll be looking for brush piles and jigging to find the fish. In dirty water, Larry recommends dark-colored jigs, such as black and chartreuse, black and orange or orange and chartreuse. White bass were also starting to arrive before the flood. Larry will meet them at the rivermouths with slabs, jigging spoons, and deep-running crankbaits.
“Fly fishing has been very good, but the water is high,” reports Carolyn Parker at (www.riverrunoutfitters.com) on the Tanneycomo section of the White River. High water has forced the guides to fish out of drift boats, but the brown and rainbow trout don’t seem to mind the conditions. The hot patterns are midges, crackle backs, and streamers such as sculpins. “We’re looking for any place with slack water,” Parker laughs, “which isn’t that easy with all this generation.” She acknowledges that high water and swift current are all part of fishing headwaters. Surprisingly, several anglers have reported catching walleye and white bass at the base of the dam. “That’s not a typical fishery,” she says, “but the high warm water has led the fish farther up stream.” The fish are falling for Rouges spinners. “I don’t know how much longer that will last,” she admits, “but it is fun.”
Reporting from Anglers Arsenal (www.anglersarsenal.com) in San Diego, John Cassidy announced that the largemouth bass have already spawned and moved off of their beds. He said the fish are jumping on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and drop-shot jigs. Water temperature on most of the lakes is in the low 60s. “The forecast is for reaction-bait fishing to get better through the beginning of May,” he said. “That’s a good time for frogs, flukes, jerkbaits, and medium-running crankbaits.” Dan adds that Anglers Arsenal’s first night fishing tournament was a big success. Competitors fished on San Vicente Lake and blasted largemouth bass—the winning stringer weighed over 12 pounds. In saltwater news, John said, Mission and San Diego Bay are chock full of spotted bay bass and the halibut are starting to spawn. He points anglers toward areas with uneven bottom and recommends they use swimming shad and other soft plastics. “Anything with an orange belly is working,” he said.
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April 23, 2008by
Mermaids are the stuff of whimsical myth—have been for centuries—and it’s little wonder considering the length of time men on sailing ships were forced to stay at sea. Remembering a few extended voyages I endured during a stint with the U.S. Navy, I can empathize. Today we’re told that sea cows (now extinct) and manatees may have been the biological reality that triggered such fantasies in the brains of ocean-weary sailors. Even their leaders were not immune.
In his log of March, 25, 1493, Christopher Columbus wrote of sighting three mermaids off the Dominican Republic: “Female forms that rose high out of the sea, but not half as beautiful as they are painted,” he reported.
Adventurer John Smith claimed having eyeballed a mermaid in 1614 in the Caribbean. He logged the following: “Her long green hair imparted to her an original character by no means unattractive,” and added that he had “begun to experience the first effects of love.” Could be he was still hallucinating about Pocahontas.
While ancient tales depict both male and female “merfolk,” most of our fascination has been with mermaids–creatures with the upper torso of a beautiful woman and the lower body of a fish. Thanks to the typical Disney brain-leach effect (e.g. the doe-eyed Ariel as The Little Mermaid) the lissome, quasi-fishes are mostly imagined as friendlies these days. That wasn’t always the case.
Much early folklore painted these fish ladies as nasty little things, often very ugly, and otherwise bent (like their kin the sirens) on luring men on boats to their demise. And then there are the hucksters.
Like creative internet artists who orchestrate any number of fictional images and pass them as truth, physical mermaid makers have existed for years. Not long back, photographs were circulated of the purported remains of a mermaid netted by a fisherman in the Philippines, and later as having been washed up by a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The mummified remains were physically real, all right, but, like others, were cleverly crafted of a desiccated monkey head, bones of fish and other animals. (See photo)
Such manufactured mermaids became popular in traveling carnivals and oddity museums in the 19th Century. Most famous of all was the so-called “Fiji Mermaid” supposedly caught by a Japanese fisherman’s net, and which was later displayed in P.T. Barnum’s (before he turned to the circus business) American Museum in lower Manhattan, NYC, before the place burned. This fabricated beauty was pieced together of fish parts, papier-mâché, the body of a baby orangutan, and a monkey head.
Still, in our cynical age human nature continues to delight in the slight of hand as well as myths and the supernatural. And there’s always our romance with most things outdoors. In his unapologetic “Testament of a Fisherman” Robert Traver penned the perfect list of why we fish. Among his reasoning was this: “… because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid…”
I’m thinking the same thing.
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April 18, 2008by
By Ric Burnley
Lake Trout/Salmon—“The ice is out!” announced Luke Haines at Fish 307 (www.fish307.com) in Lake George, New York, “It’s about time!” Soon after the water turned wet anglers started pulling out big lake trout and salmon. Folks fishing from shore are using medium shiners under a bobber or on the bottom to fool these fish while boat anglers are trolling Mooselook Wobblers in orange-and-black dot or Yozuri Pin Minnows in silver and blue. The fish are all over the water column, so Haines recommends fishing a variety of baits at a variety of depths. Both bank and boat anglers are concentrating on the creek mouths where the bait is schooled up. So far this season, the biggest salmon reported was 23 inches and the biggest lakie pushed 10 pounds. “Fishing around the spring mouths will be the best bet for the next few weeks,” he said.
Bluecats—South Carolina fishing has been heating up along with the weather reports Lynn Myers at Rivers Country Store in Santee Cooper (803-854-2965). “Our lake was down low, but the water levels are back up,” he said. Largemouth bass are engulfing plastic lizards and worms. “The bass are post spawn,” Lynn said, “so they’re out in the deeper areas of the lake.” Catfishing has been excellent. Anglers are encountering big felines pushing 50 pounds in the lower reaches of Lake Marion. In fact, Myer’s bait man, Richard Landry caught two 30-pound cats and a 48-pounder while fishing from shore at the Rocks. “They’ve moved out into the deeper water and are hanging around structure,” Lynn said. He suggests anglers use live herring or cut chunks of fresh. “If you’re lucky you might get a double whammy and pick up a striped bass while fishing for catfish,” Myers said.
Brown Trout—“Worst flood in the history of the dams,” reports Brian Harris of White River Guides (www.whiteriverguides.com) in Arkansas, “but the fishing is not terrible.” Brian says that the best way to fish the surging river is by boat. “This is a great time to fish streamers for big browns,” he says. According to Harris, the fish are hiding close to the bank and only coming out of the eddy to gulp up a bait. “There is still some caddis fly activity, too.” he says. San Juan worms and egg patterns are another favorite of brown trout. Once the water recedes in early May, Harris expects the fish to be big and hungry. “Fish feed heavily during periods of high water,” he says, “so when the level goes down you have a lot of fat healthy fish.” Lower water will spark the sulfur may fly hatches and he’ll switch to pheasant tails and yellow mayfly presentations. “Once this is all over the fishing will be as good as it can be,” he says.
Largemouth Bass—From Akron, Ohio, Marty Salchak, resident bass pro at Land Big Fish (www.infoatlandbigfish.com) recommends anglers fish Portage and Mosquito Lake this time of year. In Portage, the bass are hugging the shoreline. Marty is coaxing them out with a 4-inch Husky Jerk. In Mosquito Lake, Marty’s finding slab crappie with 1-inch tube jigs on a 1/64-ounce jighead. “The crappie are everywhere,” he says. Currently the water temperature is 52 degrees in the lakes, but Marty expect the action to heat up when the water hits the mid fifties. Then he’ll switch over to spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.
Salmon/Trout—“I was just getting ready to call you with a report,” Steve Smith said excitedly. Oregon fishing is starting to heat up and Smith wanted to get the word out. “Chinook salmon fishing has been excellent in the Columbia River,” he said. Smith’s using bait-wrapped Quickfish and fishing between Longview and Bonneville. The magic depth has been 10 to 20 feet. Whole herring has been outperforming plug cut baits for anglers trolling at slack tide. He added that steelhead fishing has been pretty good in the Clackamas River. Sandshrimp and eggs have been producing the best catches. “Trout fishing has been improving daily on the Deschutes,” Smith added. He suggests using large stone fly patterns and small midges. Smith had just returned from Reno, Nevada where he fished Pyramid Lake. “It’s a neat fishery,” he said, “in the middle of the desert in the middle of a lake that is the last of an ancient inland sea.” This strange lake is filled with 18 to 22 inch Lahontan cutthroat trout. To fish the lake, wade out knee deep and cast a wooly bugger or muddler minnow. To get the fish really fired up, tie a small fly about 20 inches above a larger fly. “These fish are not particularly bright,” he says, “but the place is magically gorgeous.”
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April 11, 2008by
By Rick Burnley
Brook Trout—“Things are pretty quiet,” reported Craig Bergeron from Saco Bait and Tackle. He was stoked that most of Maine’s snow had melted and reports that a few hardcore anglers are fishing the Mousam River for sea-run brown trout. Guys using light spinning tackle are throwing Panther Martins, Yozuri Pin Minnows and Mepps Spinners while flyfishermen are catching trout with shrimp patterns in size 4 or 6. “They’re fishing just below Roger’s Pond in the small pools,” he said. Local brook trout are keeping anglers from totally succumbing to cabin fever. Craig said that the Saco and Scarborough Rivers are holding small brookies. Guys are also catching trout in Deep Brook and the Cascades with worms or spinners. “Most people are still waiting for all the ice to clear,” he said, “but the hard-core guys just like to get out and fish.”
Bass/Bluegill/Crappies—From sunny Orlando, Florida, Captain Lynda Hawkins was stoked that the sunfish are still bedding. “Caught some that were still full of roe this week,” she said. “While I was taking out the hook, they were spitting out roe.” These fat panfish are suckers for a shiner under a bobber or dropped to the bottom behind a split shot. Bass fishing is starting to gain momentum on the Kissimme Lakes. Lynda is using plastic worms in watermelon and redbug and Producto Bait’s Hot Rod. “The Hot Rod seems to cast easier,” she says. Lynda’s finding the biggest fish in the scattered hydrila weed. When she finds the fish deep in the cover, she pulls a frog out of her box. “I’m using 65-pound test braided line so that I can force the lure through the weeds,” she says. Crappies are still biting. “Usually they quit this time of year,” she said, “but we’re still catching them in the deeper water o Ron’s Zit Jigs tipped with a minnow.” Lynda says that crappie fishing has been phenomenal this year, “We’ve got some up to 17 inches this winter.”
Speckled Trout—Gus Maggiore from Gus’ Tackle and Nets (985-643-2848) in Slidell, Louisianna told us that speckled trout fishing has been good and is getting better. Anglers are finding the fish across Lake Ponchartrain at the Tressles. They’re catching limits of spotted sea trout by bouncing a Hybrid Lure off the bottom. “That’s the big ticket around here,” Gus said. Offshore around the rigs, yellowfin action is starting to get real interesting according to Captain Devlin Roussell.
Largemouth—Jeff Rowlin has been catching walleye below the Red Rock Dam all winter. “This has been the best winter ever,” he says. Jeff explains that heavy rains all fall and a brutal winter were good for the walleye fishing. “The old guys are saying that these fish have actually been sucked through the dam gates,” he says, “I believe it, too.” Since the water temperature dropped into the upper 30s fishing slowed considerably. “The last fish I caught was a snook in Florida,” he jokes. Fishing should be getting better as the water gets warmer. “Traditionally, this time of year largemouth bass are the best shot,” he says. Jeff says that the local farm ponds will warm first producing bass up to 7 pounds. Once the water temperature hits 50 degrees, Jeff expects crappies to move up the creeks. “Hit the brushpiles and creek banks,” he suggests. When we asked what tackle he uses he laughed, “We’re from Iowa – the home of Berkley—we’re fond of the Powerbaits.” Tube worms in green or chartreuse with a metal flake get the nod most days. “Tube worms imitate so many different types of bait,” he explains. While Jeff works his tube jig, he’ll also fish a live minnow under a bobber on another rod. “The fish are running about a month behind right now due to the harsh winter,” he says. While anglers wait for the fishing to heat up, they can read Jeff’s new book “Reel Adventures of a Marion County Angler.” If you can’t go fishing, you can always read about fishing.
SPECIAL SALMON REPORT—The Pacific Fishery Management Council has voted to cancel all commercial salmon fishing off the coasts of California and Oregon this year. At this point, limited recreational angling will be permitted on holiday weekends only until a limit of 9,000 cohos have been taken. The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to rubber stamp the PFMC’s vote.
Brown/Rainbow Trout—Trout fishing is on the upswing on Utah’s Freemont River. “The flows are settling down and the water is almost clear again,” Lenny Lopez at Back Country Outfitters told us. Lenny suggests using streamer patterns and nymph rigs to connect with rainbows and browns averaging 18 to 20 inches. Bicknell Bottom is also fishing well. “We’re seeing some midge hatches so we’re using small nymphs,” he says. For some great fishing, for some smaller fish, Lenny recommends heading to Upper Freemont above the Mill Meadow Reservoir. “The fish aren’t as big,” he says, “but there are lots of them.” The water is low and clear and Lenny’s been catching these trout on dry flies like caddis patterns and stimulators. “The fish are so hungry they’ll eat anything that hits the water,” he says. The river is fishing pretty good with streamer patters and nymp rigs. Bicknell Bottoms is fishing good. Some Midge Hatches so we’re using small nymphs to imitate those hatches. Brown and rainbow trout between 18 to 20 inches. Another area that’s fishing well is Upper Freemont above mill meadow reservoir—excellent for brown trout. Fish are averaging between 8 and 12 inches. Not a lot of big fish but there are a lot of fish, we’re even catching them on caddis pattern and stimulators dry flies. Fish are so hungry that they’re taking anything that hits the water. Pheasent tail nymph imitation of a may fly nymph. Water is very low and crystal clear.
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April 4, 2008by
By Ric Burnley
When we called Gary Mauz at Delaware River Fly Fishing he was waiting for the shad to arrive. “We’ve been catching one and two here and there,” he said, “but we haven’t hit the major run.” As soon as the water clears, Gary expects the fish to show up at Washington’s Crossing. “Once the water temp hits 50 degrees the fish should arrive,” he says. Then Gary will grab his 9 foot 7 or 8 weight fly rod with sinking or sink tip line and tie on a wooly worm or flutter spoons. “Anything bright will work,” he says listing his favorite colors as chartreuse, yellow, or orange. Gary said that local anglers are fortunate that the water isn’t too high and they can wade the whole river. “We’re looking for channels and points of land, or gravel bars where the fish spawn,” he said explaining that the shad are staging in the eddies behind structure. By May, Gary will look for striper to join the shad. “The fly guys will switch to Clouser minnows while the bait guys will fish with live herring, chicken livers, and bloodworms to catch striper up to 50 pounds,” he says.
Bob Borgwat at Reel Angling Adventures is strategically located to fish three states for two completely different species of fish. From his location in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Gary can fish Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee for trout or bass. He told us that Lake Blueridge in Fammin County, Georgia has been producing plenty of smallmouth bass and the fishing should only get better. He’s been targeting smallmouth on the spawning flats with hard and soft baits. “The smallmouth will be on fire until they spawn, then we’ll be in the post-spawn funk,” he says. Lake Chatuge in Hiawasse County is chocked full of smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass. “We’re primarily catching spotted bass with big spinner baits and hard jerk baits,” he said. Gary told us that the fish are also in pre-spawn mode hanging off the beds in 12 to 15 feet of water. Not only has bass fishing been good, but Bob says that trout fishing has been excellent. “In early spring we’re typically fishing tailwaters of the Toccoa River below Blueridge and the Hiwasse River head. He says that the rivers are fishing well and the black cadis are just starting to show up while bluewing olive hatches are still occurring. “We’re mostly catching rainbow trout,” he said, “but we’ve seen some browns, too.” Of course the best place to fish is along a private stretch of river that only Bob can access. While the average trout on the public river is 12 inches long, Bob’s finding fish to 3 even 8 pounds on his little stretch of water. For anglers who don’t have their own river to fish, Bob suggests wading the tailwaters below Lake Blueridge. “The trout are prolific and the water temperatures are stable,” he says. He points to the public access areas at Toccoa City Park, the dam side, and Mid Point that give anglers 12 miles of great fishing. “You can just drive in, walk up, and start fishing,” he says.
“Water, water everywhere,” reported Stan Parker at River Run Outfitters in Branson Missouri. He said that five flood gates were open on the dam and the White River is up 14 to 18 feet. But he’s not flooded out. “We’re still fishing,” he said, “the only way you can fish is from a drift boat.” So, he’s launching his boat below Table Rock Dam and drifting down the river. The key to catching trout in these conditions is getting the bait deep, Stan is drifting with an indicator 5 to 6 feet above a No. 1 split shot and a chrome/tungsten midge. He looks for the fish on the “soft” side, or down current side, of the current seams. “With the water high the fish will be along the edges of the river and behind rocks and downed trees,” he says. With more rain forecast for the week ahead, Dan doesn’t expect the water to recede before mid April. “You can go out in a boat and still catch some nice fish,” he said.
Speckled Trout/Red Drum
“The water is warming up and the fish are turning on,” reported Captain Scott Simpson at Impulsive Guide Service in Long Beach Mississippi. He said that speckled trout are taking top water plugs, like MirrOlure She Dogs at Cat Island and Ship Island. He’s also finding trout over the oyster beds south of Pass Christian with DOA shrimp rigged under a popping cork. “Speckled trout fishing is getting better each day,” he said. Fishing for bull red drum is also getting better. Scott’s been catching big reds in the same area with live or cut mullet or white trout. “It’s nice that the fish are close to home,” he says, “I can be on them 25 minutes after leaving the dock.” Scott’s also happy with this year’s trout regulations – anglers can keep 15 fish over 13 inches each day. “We’re catching limits of trout on every trip,” he says.
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“If you want to catch fish,” says Rick Castell at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, “You could hardly go wrong by travelling up to Navaho Reservoir.” Rick’s the NW Area Manager for the NMDoF and his beat includes the reservoir and the San Juan River. “I’m lucky to be in charge of such a great place,” he says. Anglers traveling to the area can fish the reservoir for crappies, bass, and pike, or fly fish the headwaters of the San Juan for trout. Since the river is suffering from high water, Rick suggests angler focus their attention on the lake. “You can use the ugliest jig in the world and catch crappies right now,” he said. While the pan fish are spawning, any combination of 1/8 ounce lead head and 1-inch curly tail will fool them. Rick suggests heading towards the Colorado border and fishing the coves where the crappies are spawning. Smallmouth are reliable targets for anglers throwing jigs and skirts or crappie jigs while largemouth are taking tubes, worms, or Senkos. Pike are available, but to target them Rick suggests hiring a professional guide. “We’ll catch some smaller ones while fishing for bass,” he says, “but the big pike are hard to find with out any help.” Rick says that the San Juan River is raging, with water running at 4000 cubic feet per second and forecast to go to 5000 f2/second. “You can still fish it,” he says, “but it is difficult.” Rick suggests anglers spend a couple days fishing the Reservoir. “You can’t do this place in one day,” he says.