Barbs and Backlashes

Odds and Ends by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
June 24, 2009, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , ,

Let me mention a few things that are going on right now.


First of all, we are gearing up for our Carp-O-Rama to be held at Pawnee Reservoir northwest of Lincoln this Saturday, June 27.  Common carp are an exotic species that were introduced to North America well over a hundred years ago.  I wish the species was never introduced to this continent and I will tell you that in many situations fisheries managers will continue to try to eliminate common carp from some environments when it is feasible.  On the other hand, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!  Common carp are actually one of the smartest fish that swim in our waters and a worthy target species for any angler.  We have hosted the Carp-O-Rama for the past 3 years to promote fishing for carp.  We will start at Pawnee at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning, the marina area where we will be located will have been pre-baited and there will be carp caught.  We will also have some fishing seminars, fish-cleaning seminars, and there will be carp chowder and fried carp for folks to eat!  There will be door-prizes for the kids.  It has been just an all-around fun time for folks to get together and do some fishing; come on out and make sure to say “Hi”.


I do not get out and do much field work anymore, but I was foolish enough to do some yesterday.  I say foolish because it was “Africa hot” and I ended up soaked with sweat.

Some folks may have heard about VHS–viral hemorrhagic septicemia.  VHS is a virus that has infected some cool-water and warm-water fish species “back east” and in some cases has caused some die-offs of fish.  Efforts around the country are being made to determine the extent of VHS and prevent its spread.  In Nebraska we have had no VHS and we would like to keep it that way.  We have sampled fish from every drainage in the state and the sampling I helped with yesterday was the last of that sampling to confirm that Nebraska is VHS free.  States all around the country are being VERY careful right now with fish transfers between states and essentially if a state has had VHS confirmed then there are no fish being exported out of that state to other states.

Catfish Spawn

I am still hearing some good reports of catfish being caught around the state right now, and many of those fish have been caught from relatively shallow water.  Our catfish species are actually the last ones to spawn each year and we are just now moving into the catfish spawning season.  Catfish are cavity spawners–they like to find holes or overhead cover of some type for spawning.  Males will establish territories and build the spawning “nests” or “beds”, and once they do that they will not move outside of that territory until the spawn is completed.  Catfish can be nasty to each other as males will defend their spawning territories from other males and attempt to herd females into their spawning beds.  As that activity increases the fishing will get tougher because the catfish will not be actively looking for food and they will have other things on their minds.  The best tactics for catching cats during the spawn would be to identify likely spawning areas and then dip and dabble, flip baits to likely looking spots to see if there is a catfish present.  A lead jig-head with a gob of nightcrawlers would be a good bait to flip into likely catfish spawning territories; keep flipping to new targets, cover water.  Once the catfish spawn finishes in a few weeks, those fish will be back on the prowl, looking for food and the traditional catfish presentations will again be productive.

Other Fishing Reports

All of a sudden we are seeing hot, mid-summer weather throughout Nebraska.  Fishing can slow down during the heat of the summer, but for now I am still hearing some good walleye reports from places like Lewis & Clark, Sherman and Merritt.  White bass and wiper action has been good on a variety of reservoirs throughout the state where those species are found and fishing for those species will remain good right through the heat of the summer.  If you are fishing any of our reservoirs for predator species right now, keep in mind that the young-of-the-year (YOY) baitfish, especially gizzard shad, are now showing up and all of the predator fish in our reservoirs will feed on that abundant prey for the next several months.  Right now the YOY shad are relatively small, so think smaller crankbaits and presentations.



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