June 27, 2008
Connecticut—As striped bass fishing slows on the Connecticut River, anglers are turning their attention to fishing for big channel catfish. Terry Rand at Connecticut Outfitters (www.c-toutfitters.com) told us that these whiskered brutes are an easy mark for folks soaking cut sunfish or perch on a fishfinder rig. He says that the big cats can be found along bends in the channel in 15 to 30 feet of water. “Largemouth bass are moving into their summer patterns,” Terry adds. He said that these fish are hiding in heavy weeds or on deep-water drops. In the vegetation, Terry recommends using weedless frogs and jerkbaits. On deep-water ledges, he suggests using a shakey head or a drop shot to reach the fish. On the saltwater side of the state, big striped bass have moved onto the reefs in 20 to 60 feet of water. Anglers are dropping live eels, hickory shad or bunker on a 3-way rig with 6 to 16 ounces of lead. “You want the bait right on the bottom,” Terry said, “we’ve already seen fish up to 50 inches this summer.”
Harris Lakes, Florida—Captain Linda Hawkins (www.bassngalguideservice.com) told us that the Harris Chain in Central Florida is the hotspot for big bass. Linda has found the best action with Rat-L-Traps and Producto Hot Rod worms. When the sun is out, Linda likes June bug color but she switches to watermelon when the clouds move in. Linda rigs the worm without any weight then lets it fall in front of the hungry bass. “The fish are trying to school,” she says, “so they’re a little spooky.” Linda suggests making long casts and working the baits as slowly as possible. She’s also been experimenting with the new Laser Lure that lights up when it hits water. “I’m using the shallow runner and kicking it through the eel grass,” she says, “it’s a pretty cool lure.” Linda has been finding the bass deep in the grass or at the mouths of canals. “Anywhere you can find grass or current, you’re likely to find bass,” she says.
Austin, Texas—From Sportsman’s Finest (www.sportsmansfinest.com) in Austin, Texas, Brady Schwertseger told us that San Marcus River is holding good numbers of largemouth bass. “You’ll need a floating device,” he says, “like a float tube, kayak or kick boat.” He says that the best fishing is early in the morning when the fish will take popping plugs. Later in the day, he switches over to weighted streamers in size 10 to 6. “We’re pounding the lily pads,” he adds. On the saltwater scene, Brady says that fishing for trout and reds has been fantastic on the shallow water flats. “You need a kayak to get into the flats quietly,” he says. Once there, Brady is sightcasting to reds and trout with minnow patterns and Clousers.
Branson, Missouri—Carolyn Parker from River Run Outfitters (www.riverrunoutfitters.com) reports that fishing in Branson is good despite the high water. She said that the guides are finding a mixed bag of trout, smallmouth bass, and even walleye. Anglers are using sinking line with wooly buggers, red tungsten head midges, and hot pink San Juan worms. “Even the half-day trips with inexperienced anglers are catching up to 20 fish,” she said. The rainbow trout are anywhere between 14 and 17 inches. Linda says, that not only are they finding trout, but the high water has the fish mixed up and anglers are often catching smallmouth bass and walleye, too. “It’s been a weird year,” she says. The high water has forced anglers to fish the river from drift boats, but waders can still get in on the action at the hatchery outlets. “There is limited space to fish,” she says, “but if you can get a spot, you can catch some trout.”
Montana—Mountain run-off has the water in Yellowstone River high and muddy. So, Alex Nixon and the guides at Oarlock Outfitting www.oarlockoutfitting.com have turned their attention to fishing the tailwaters of spring creeks. Alex suggests fishing the Paradise Valley springs of Depuws, Armstrong, or Nelson creeks. “We’re starting to see the summer hatches,” he says, so he’s using morning duns in size 16 and 18. He’s throwing nymphs in the morning and emergers in the afternoon then turning to dries and cripples in the evening. In the next couple of weeks, Alex expects the water to drop on the Yellowstone and anglers will be able to drift the river casting stonefly, caddis, and mayfly imitations. In the hottest part of the summer, he’ll switch over to hoppers and ants. “We’re just waiting for the snow to run out of the hills,” he says.
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June 23, 2008by
While carp occupy a much loftier position in European society, most US angler look at the fish as trash. And with that in mind, it seems the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are trying to change the lowly image of the carp with their Carp-O-Rama festival.
Attended by about 200 people, the three-year-old festival attempts to turn Nebraskans on to the often wasted fish by showing them how to properly clean and cook the fish, as well as sharing several recipes (perhaps the most interesting involving blueberry-pancake mix...).
While they are tenacious fighters, I'm not sure a festival would make me want to target carp for consumtion. Then again, I'll eat just about anything fried so who knows...
Does anyone out there go after carp for the table? If so, what is the best way to prepare it???
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June 20, 2008by
Captain Rich Greenough at Sure Strike Charters (www.fishvermont.com) has been finding good numbers of trout in Lake Champlain trolling in 60 feet of water over the reefs. He added that salmon fishing has been good in the Inland Sea and Malletts Bay areas. Largemouth bass are still tending their beds, but smallmouths are suspended in deeper water. Rich is catching them with crawfish on Carolina or Texas rigs. “That will work for the next month-and-a-half,” he said. When targeting smallmouths, Rich suggests rigging a lizard backwards and dropping it into the weed beds. “Smallmouths hate lizards,” he said. Rich rigs the rubber lizard with the weight in the head and drops it in holes in the weed beds. “They don’t like lizards so they eat them,” he says.
North Carolina: According to Richard Witt from Curtis Wright Outfitters (www.curtiswrightoutfitters.com) the rivers around Asheville, North Carolina are low but the water temperatures are stable so the trout fishing is still strong. He says that the best fishing is on the Davidson River and recent rain has made the fishing even better. “It’s a midge fishery,” he explains, so the fish are keyed in on small flies in size 24 and 25. “The fish are real selective,” he says, “it’s a very technical fishery.” He adds that local anglers are starting to target trout in the tailwaters below dams by using sulfers in all stages. In the high-country, anglers are finding native brook trout and rainbows with yellow Sally stoneflies or yellow palmers on a green stimulator. The fish may be small (a nine-incher is a whopper) but they are suckers for a dry fly, which Richard says makes catching them big fun.
Georgia: Anglers stopping by Hammonds Sports (www.hammondsfishing.com) report great striped bass fishing on Lake Lanier. Local Guide Shane Watson has been finding the bass by first finding points and humps in 60 feet of water then dropping a live blue-black herring 30 to 35 feet down. Shane reported that as anglers venture farther north they may encounter topwater action on bass feeding on the surface. For guys who can pull themselves away from the striped bass, Shane says spotted bass action has been fantastic. He’s noticed that the fish have moved deeper, but will come into the shallows early in the morning. “Jig-and-drop shot fish all day in 15 to 25 feet of water,” he suggests. He looks for the fish around brushpiles, points, humps, ledges, and timber. “Crawfish are coming up from the deep so the fish will respond to jigs,” he says.
Missouri: Captain Don House at Branson Guide Service (www.bransonfishingguideservice.com) told us that the bass on Table Rock have finished spawning and have returned to deeper water. He said that the fish can be found shallow in the morning, but move deep during the day. As a result, he’s starting the day with topwater plugs, then moving to drop shots in the afternoon. “Without dropshots you won’t catch much at all,” he says. Up the river, he said that the bite has been good with ½ to ¾ ounce football jigs with the best colors either peanut butter and jelly or brown and purple. He also said that swimming grubs in white and salt and pepper have been hot. “The bite changes in every area we fish,” he says, “so you have to pay attention.”
California: We caught up with guide Tony Buzolich when we called Johnson Outdoors in Yuba City. He told us that shad are thick on the Feather River. “The low water has the fish stacked up below Shanghai Bend and falls.” Local anglers are catching small striper on cut anchovies. “The small ones will eat anything that stinks,” Tony said, “But the fly guys are finding bigger fish.” He told us that a 4 to 5 inch chartreuse and white Clouser minnow is the ticket for these bigger bass. The fish are hanging with schools of shad on the drops and ledges. The Sacramento River is also holding good numbers of striped bass. Tony says that the water is higher on the Sacramento River and anglers are finding bass along the rip-rap walls. “Drift along the walls and cast into the rocks,” he suggests. Tony added that the action really fires up just before dark when the fish start feeding on the surface. “The fish are busting on the surface and we’re having a grand old time,” he says.
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This just in from buddy Andy Martin: “For the second day in a row, the Huntress produced the daily derby winner in the Seward, Alaska, Halibut Derby, this time with a 125-pounder (167-pound live weight) taken on a herring chunk soaked in Pautzke Nectar. One more barn door today, plus we lost a big one on the way to limits for 13 anglers.
June 13, 2008by
Shawn Ritton at Up Country Sportfishing (www.farmingtonriver.com) told us that the bugs are hatching and the trout are biting. He said that the local rivers have seen good hatches of March browns and caddis flies in the evening. The water is low, so the fish are concentrated, making it easy for anglers to corner them. Shawn suggests fishing the New Harford or Pleasant Valley trout management areas where the brown and rainbow trout are rising to dry flies in the early a.m. and late p.m. “If you wade farther up river you can catch brookies,” he said.
Jerry Taylor at Taylored Tackle in Seaford, Delaware reports that anglers were finding phenomenal fishing in both saltwater and fresh. He said that Hearns, Records, and Horsey ponds are holding loads of largemouth bass that are falling for soft plastics, and surface plugs with Yamamoto Senkos working best. Jerry pointed out that time of day is the key in catching these fish. “You’ve got to fish before 10 a.m. and after 5,” he said. “The fish are hanging around areas with structure.” On the Nanticoke River, anglers are catching largemouth on the outgoing tide with jig and pigs and spinnerbaits worked around the dropoffs. There are plenty of small rockfish in the river, too. One of Jerry’s customers caught over 30 fish up to 30 inches under the Bethel Bridge on cut herring. The River also produced some giant crappies this week. Rick Avello registered a 1-pound, 9-ounce slab for citation this week. Trap Pond is another consistent location for bass fishing. Robert Goodwin brought in a 5-pound, 5-ounce bucketmouth for citation. He caught the fish on a live shiner. On the saltwater side, Delaware Bay has been the hot spot for flounder. The fish are coming out of the Lewes/Rehobeth Canal and from the Icebreaker Rocks with soft plastics and peeler crab.
Richie White www.bassfishing.org was asleep when we called. His wife told us that he had been out fishing all night. “He got a 6 and an 8-pounder,” she said. Richie switches over to the night shift when the heat make fishing Lake Fork unbearable. He fishes the same areas with the same soft plastics as he uses during the day. She said that the fishing has been excellent and Richie has been loosing a lot of sleep.
Bob Basgall from Bud’s Bait and Tackle reported that Lake Wilson walleye action is pretty good in 38 to 48 feet of water. He said that striped bass are hanging in the same area. For the walleye, anglers are dropping worms and jigs while the striper are being caught on live minnows and black salties. Bob said that the rocky points in Lake White are holding good numbers of smallmouth bass. Soft plastic worms and Road Runner spinners have been the ticket for these feisty fish. Bob added that channel cats are moving into the shallows to spawn making them an easy target for anglers soaking cut bait or chicken gizzards.
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Marv McQuinn was fishing for sturgeon when we called. “It’s a little slow right now,” he said, “but the tide is turning and we should be picking up a fish any minute.” Marv has been staking out the Lower Estuary below Astoria by soaking anchovies and sand shrimp on the bottom. He said that the biggest sturgeon he’s scored this season was 9 foot long. “The water is still cold,” he said. With water temps in the 50s, Marv is waiting for it to hit 60 before the sturgeon bite heats up.
June 5, 2008by
Reporting from Connecticut Outfitters (www.ct-outfitters.com), Captain Blain Anderson told us that the spring run of striper has been on fire. He starts his day snagging big bunker then live lines bait back to big striped bass. “We’re catching good numbers of fish between 20 and 30 pounds with some in the 40-pound range,” Blain said. He adds that the northern part of the river is slowing down so the stripers are dropping back to the saltwater. “Guys are fishing in 20 to 100 feet of water with live eels at night and bunker during the day,” he said. The most common rig is an 8/0 Gami circle hook and 4 feet of 50-pound fluorocarbon leader. Tie the leader to a three-way swivel and add a 12-inch dropper and enough weight to hit bottom. “Find the structure and you’ll find the bass,” he said. Blain said that the fluke bite has also turned on. “We’re not seeing a lot of fish but we’re seeing big fish,” he said. Blue fish are showing up in the normal places such as the local reefs, Plum Gut, the Race and Sluiceway. “Guys are having fun throwing topwater plugs at the blues,” Blain said.
Keeping up with bass fishing in the Mid-Atlantic keeps Ken Penrod busy. He reports that water in the Upper Potomac River is a little high, but that is just the way Ken likes it. “You can work over top of the substantial grass,” he said. He’s catching nice-sized smallmouth bass with Mizmo tubes between the launch ramp and Burkharts Riffle along the ledges where the water ripples and foams. The Upper Potomac is our most productive river right now. He’s seen a big improvement in the water conditions on the Tidal Potomac. Despite bad weather and small craft warnings, he’s been able to work the rocky cover with tubes, Speed Traps and Case Magic Sticks. He found some quality striped bass at the end of Washington Channel. He even pulled some 3- to 5-pound largemouth from Penrod Cove with Luhr Jensen Brush Babies and Hot Lips crankbaits. Ken was able to hide from the wind in the Mattawoman area where he found good tide and fair fishing with Penrod Special spinner baits worked over the grass beds between Marsh Island and the river.
Picture working a big twitchbait around a pile of partially submerged timber and having a 10-pound brown trout hammer the lure. Fred McClintock at Trophy Guide Service (trophyguideservice.com) pictures that scenario almost every day. Fred has been fishing the Kentucky stretch of the Cumberland River with Smithwick Rouges and catching browns between 7 and 10 pounds. “Throw the lure under the timber and jerk it out,” he says. “It’s almost like fishing for largemouth bass.” Fred adds that striped bass fishing has been good on the Tennessee side of the river. On Tuesday, his party landed 9 big striped bass by slow trolling skipjack herring off planer boards. “Seven of the nine fish were over 40 pounds,” he said. Fred admitted that dirty water has slowed the action, but he’s finding fish around deadfalls in two- to five-feet of water.
“We’ve had lots and lots of rain,” reports Jeff Rowland from south-central Iowa. Jeff said that the high water has pushed the fish into Roberts Creek. “Crappies are magnetized to that little creek,” he said. Jeff is catching fish on red and white, red and chartreuse and white and purple tube jigs. “When they’re hitting you could catch them on a piece of yarn,” he joked. Jeff said that the fish are looking for clear water making it easy for fishermen to find them. He’s been catching crappies from 12 to 13 inches with big ones pushing 15 inches. “The slabs look like pork chops,” he said. Read more about fishing in Iowa in Jeff’s book, The Real Life Adventures of a Marion County Angler available on his web site: (www.iowafishingguide.com).
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From the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Wes Jancik at Anglers Covey reports excellent trout fishing at Eleven Mile Canyon and Spinning Mountain Ranch. “The water’s high,” he said, “so all the other places are blown out.” He’s fishing blue olives, caddis flies, copper johns and pheasant tail nymphs. To fish Spinning Mountain, Wes recommends anglers lay their fly against the banks and the shallows. At Eleven Mile he suggests throwing a fly into the eddies and behind rocks. “Eleven Mile Canyon has a lot of deep holes,” he says, “you’ll want to nymph those.” On a good day in the middle of a hatch, Wes says that the guides will catch up to 10 rainbows or brown trout ranging from 12 to 18 inches. He said that the fish in Spinning Mountain are spooky. “Watch your approach when you walk up,” he said. Anglers need not worry about spooking the fish in Eleven Mile Canyon. “Those fish are stupider,” Wes said.