What's In A Pond?

Unless you manicure your pond or lake to be golf course "pretty," chances are you'll have some aquatic vegetation or algae growing in it. Vegetation can provide habitat for fish, forage and fry as long as it doesn't take over the lake. Algae? Well, it's slimy and gets on your lures ... and no one likes that.
A flash of coppery-gold scales, a fin inching through the primrose, a few puffs of mud ... tell-tale signs of a carp slurping its way through the edge of the lake looking for something to eat.
Chances are while you're fishing at some point you'll step in a soft section of muck like this and sink up to your ankle. It's gooey and stinky, the effects of silt and decaying leaves or other detrius. Which, of course, makes it a perfect place for cattails to take root and thrive.
Everyone loves a few mallards hanging around a lake, especially if they nest and have babies. Sometimes they become so accustomed to people they're like pets, coming to the corn tossed out the back porch or sailing in every evening to roost under the bushes.
Snake! Shoreline vegetation also is prime habitat for snakes. Sometimes they're benign, like this banded water snake, and other times the weeds may provide a home for a water moccasin. They and the banded water snakes have similar markings, but the former has, of course, the triangular head f ound on venomous snakes. Watch your step.
Banded water snakes are camouflaged well enough they can slide in among just a few sparse pieces of vegetation and not move while waiting on their prey. Hidden only except for their head, they are cunning hunters.
A quick glance might not be enough to realize ol' sneaky snake is trying to hide around just a few slim sticks.
No fishing trip is complete without some snacks for the downtime, which should be taken to enjoy a few moments of quiet solitude. Fishing isn't work. Take a break and have fun.
There are about 350 species of crayfish in the United States and about 500 worldwide. They prefer clean water with current and are a main source of food for fish. Their "pinchers" hurt like the dickens when they clamp on your fingertip, too. Some species are large and some are small, with body color often matching their habitat to assist with camouflage.
Bumblebees were ravaging this red clover along the bank at White Oak Plantation in Alabama, where a line of boats awaited anglers for an afternoon of fishing on one of the lodge's lakes. Largemouth bass were the attraction, of course, and quite a few were caught. They all splashed away to tell their finny friends about seein g the white light and "going to the other side."
How does a bluegill miss a cricket floating on the surface? We don't know. Perhaps the 'gills were too small. But it only took a second shot to make up for this first miss, which sounded good.
Crickets, a spinning rod and a dock with bluegills lurking nearby ... what more could you ask for on a late spring afternoon? Yes, they bit and bit well. There were fewer crickets when I went home than when I started.
See? Told ya' they wanted a cricket. Bluegills are beautiful, put up a heck of a fight on light or ultralight tackle and light line, and if they're big enough to eat ... well, they make a pretty good supper with hush puppies, slaw and a cold beverage or two.
If you're catfishing, it's important to get the dough on the hook just right. On a warm day you can press it on really well, getting it around the shank and points to hide them before making a cast. It won't take long for Mr. Whiskers to find the bait and take a bite.

Check out exactly what's going on in and around the water's surface in your favorite fishing pond.