Barbs and Backlashes

Ramblings, March 1, 2010 by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
March 1, 2010, 4:36 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

I have been out of the office quite a bit the past couple of weeks.  Had a couple, three different meetings to attend.

I worked in some fishing when I could (wink).

So let me give you a report.

Spent some time out west a couple of weeks ago.  Managed to spend a half-day and most of another day on the ice on sandhill lakes.  Ice conditions were fine, 12-14 inches yet.  We concentrated on panfish and had some good fishing.  Most of our fish were caught on a variety of jigging lures tipped with wax-worms.  I cannot tell you there was any key or secret to catching fish other than to keep drilling holes and keep looking.  We typically picked up a fish here, a fish there, and then you might find a “hot-spot” where you would catch several before picking up and looking for more.  The fish would eat, it appeared that they were roaming and when a “pod” of fish would show up you would catch them.  It was either wait for more to come or drill more holes to keep looking for them.  I am not kidding, we had at least 2 or 3 power augers and there were times when they were all running.

Mostly caught 'gills, but managed to ice a few nice perch

This fatty did not measure 10 inches, but when I pulled him through the hole I said "That bluegill will weigh a pound".

OK, so my estimate was off 0.003 pounds, give me a break.

I absolutely love pulling big sandhill bluegills through an ice-hole; sometimes I just have to close my eyes and dance a little "jig".

I am privileged in  my job to meet a lot of Nebraska anglers and once in awhile I get to fish with some of them.  There are a lot of good “sticks” in the state; I am convinced as good as any freshwater anglers anywhere.  Regardless of the angler, I learn something from all of them–everyone’s experience is different and you can learn from them all.  While I was “out west” I got a chance to meet up with some guys and spend some time on the ice with them.  I love that opportunity and look for everything I can learn.  I also find it extremely interesting when I find out that we have developed similar approaches and strategies even though we may have never fished together before.

Nebraska is home, and I am biased–“There is NO PLACE like Nebraska”.  Of course I love the fish & wildlife, the beauty and diversity of the state, but I am also convinced that one HUGE reason there is “No place like Nebraska” is because of the people!  The guys I got to fish with while I was “out west” were the finest examples of that; they spoiled me while I was there and they were great fishing companions.  I will admit to you that while we were on the ice there was not a lot of chit-chat at times; there was some serious fishing going on!  But, we spent a lot of time swapping stories, experiences and theories.  I hope they enjoyed the time together at least half as much as I did!  Thank you guys, you are my type of fishermen, I learned a bunch and loved every minute of it.

Don with one of the prettiest bluegills that hit the ice.

Don's son Tristen played hooky from school and fished with us one day. Of course you know who caught the biggest bluegill--10 inches.

We caught a few of these green fish too; I thought they "hibernated" during the winter?

My last partner, Steve, with another nice sandhill's bluegill.

I have been doing some fishing in the eastern end of the state as well, and I have to tell you that it has still been a tough bite for me.  I spent an afternoon on Summit where I found 24 inches of ice and at least 4 inches of snow on top of the ice.  It was a challenge just to get around and drill holes there.  I picked up one small bass on Summit and finally one small crappie at dark, but did not find any of the bluegills there that I hoped I would find.  I will always tell you this–I just needed more time; I know some of you have been catching fish at Summit!

I still believe there is some excellent late-ice fishing just around the corner, but I actually found more ice on Wildwood Reservoir, 18 inches, than there was the last time I was there a couple of weeks ago.  When things finally start thawing, and they will, the fish will get easier to catch.  In the meantime, in honor of the BassMaster Classic and a northern fisherman that continues to dominate the bass fishing world, “KVD”, we have been icing a few largemouth bass.

My son Daniel, with a Wildwood bass.

Here I am with its twin.

And of course we have a few stories about some big ones that got away!  Oh, and I have to mention all fish were released (YES, EVEN THE PERCH)!

That is all for now.  I cannot wait to get on the ice again, GO FISH!

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good to see a report from the Sandhills! I’ve had similar luck fishing there vs. back east this winter… We pulled a few bass out of Wildwood last year just like yours, so I’m really looking forward to restrictions being eased there. Do you know if that’s in the works? Wildwood is my favorite WMA in the Lincoln area because of all the wildlife and fishing opportunities it presents and the great way it’s been rehabbed and managed. It’s good to see a picture of Steve up too! I used to fish with him and his family quite a bit growing up. GO FISH!

Comment by Adam

Restrictions being eased at Wildwood? No, no plans that I know of. The management plan at Wildwood has been to manage that fishery with the total catch & release regulation on largemouth bass and channel catfish and the 8-inch minimum on sunfish so we can maintain a quality fishery there. Every body of water in eastern Nebraska receives enough fishing pressure that restrictive regulations are necessary to maintain quality fishing.

I believe the fishing at Wildwood is just going to get better in the next few years.

Daryl B.

Comment by Daryl Bauer

Nicely done! I heard something about this trip and the quality fish that were found – impressive. I’m jealous!

Comment by Teeg Stouffer

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