Barbs and Backlashes

Hopper Time by whitetips
August 1, 2010, 10:24 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , ,

Nebraska is in the middle of the Great Plains.  The first European settlers in our state discovered that the Great Plains are full of grasshoppers.  We have grasshoppers every summer, some summers are worse than others, but I do not ever recall a summer when we did not have any grasshoppers.

If you are a trout angler, you know how important grasshoppers can be as a late summer and fall prey item for stream trout.  I will always tell you that one of the most important things for any angler to understand is what the fish are eating.  I believe that finding enough food to eat and grow is the primary “concern” that determines the day-to-day behavior of fish most of the time (spawn period and spawning behavior is the exception).  As anglers it is doubly important to understand the predator/prey relationships because to be successful we not only have to find the fish, we also have to get them to bite.  Fly anglers are very conscious of “matching the hatch” and on many streams the “hatch” in late summer and fall is grasshoppers.

A Montana brown trout caught on a hopper pattern last summer.

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Flooding by whitetips
June 15, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , , ,

If you live anywhere in Nebraska you are aware of the flooding that is occurring right now in many parts of the state.  I have heard some references to this being “the worst ever” and in some parts of the state I am sure it is probably as bad as it has ever been.  But, this is life in the Great Plains.  Remember how dry it was just a few years ago?  Our weather patterns are always changing; it has been wet before, will be wet again; it has been dry before, will be dry again.

There is no doubt there are going to be damages and some things will not be fixed for weeks, maybe months.  Some folks will suffer loss from all of this, and we feel for you.  Our fisheries will be impacted too.  Unfortunately there have been some waters like Lake Ericson where the dam was washed away and who knows if that will ever be the same again?  Goose Lake has extremely high water levels right now.  Carp exclusion structures were built at Goose Lake when the Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation Project was completed a few years ago, , and those structures were designed to be higher than a certain amount of flooding, but I am afraid what we have now is way beyond that and there may be carp re-invading Goose Lake and other waters even as I type this.  We will see what fisheries look like after all of this and manage them accordingly.

Please do not think I am cavalier about all of the flooding and the problems it causes, but I want to point out that there are some benefits to our fisheries.

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Where I’ve Been, June 1, 2010 by whitetips
June 1, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , ,

The long weekend is over, trying to get caught up with “stuff” back in the office today.  So let me give you a quick report of where I have been, what I have been doing and what I have been catching; will try to go into more detail later in the week.

A little over a week ago I mentioned that we were entering one of the best periods of the year to go fishing, .  Well how about it?  Since last Wednesday I have fished at least a little bit 5 of the last 6 days.  I did not fish all day on any one of those days, but spent at least a few hours fishing on every one of those days.  I made the statement that we were entering a period of time where the fishing would be good for a variety of species.  In the past 6 days my partners and I have caught bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, flathead catfish, white crappie, black crappie and northern pike.  How’s that for variety?  I continue to “beat the drum” about Nebraska being “The mixed bag capitol of the world” and 10 fish species in 5 days qualifies!  I am sure we could have caught more species if we had fished a few more different bodies of water.

I have always loved the Interstate 80 lakes in central Nebraska.  I grew up in North Platte, and at that time we never had a boat larger than a square-stern canoe.  We spent a lot of time fishing interstate lakes.  Those waters are other waters where I just get the feeling that I am “back home” whenever I get the chance to spend some time fishing them.  Maybe later in the week I will expand on some of my interstate lake/pit fishing strategies, but here I will concentrate on a quick report and showing off some pictures.

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Reports and observations, May 25, 2010 by whitetips
May 25, 2010, 10:29 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , ,

I am back in the office today after spending the weekend at Ponca State Park, .  I helped with our Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, .  Of course I did the fishing sessions and I believe every lady in one of my sessions except for a couple caught at least one fish!  Someone should slap me because I forgot to take any pictures this weekend!  I love teaching classes and helping out with our BO-W events.  I will tell you this much, if the ladies have half as much fun as I do, they had a great weekend and hopefully they learn something in the process.  If any of you have not taken advantage of our BO-W events, I would highly recommend them!

Anywho, the weather was cool on Friday night and Saturday morning, jackets or sweatshirts felt good, but by Saturday afternoon the wind was blowing out of the south at 101 knots and it was HOT!  In fact it was so hot that I came home yesterday and shaved my beard!  Yep, time for the summer pelage!

Last winter I mentioned that the pond at Ponca State Park, it is just west of the visitor’s center, now has water in it.  Well, it not only has water in it, it also has fish!  There are largemouth bass, bluegill and some 10-inch rainbow trout and the ladies caught all of them.  None of the bass and bluegill are very large yet; I saw some bluegills up to maybe 7 inches and one of my gals caught a bass that would have been 13 or 14 inches, but there certainly were fish to be caught and there were a lot of folks with lots of kids taking advantage even on Saturday in the 101-knot winds.

Let me offer some observations from the fishing.

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Go Fish, NOW! (May 2010) by whitetips
May 21, 2010, 11:35 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I fish 12 months out of the year, but I will tell you that spring is not my favorite time of the year to fish.  I know that is a shocking statement because everyone is chomping at the bit to get out and fish once spring rolls around.  I am too, but over the years I have found I have better success during other parts of the year.  Part of the reason for that is the behavior of many fish is influenced by spawning during the spring and that can actually make the fish harder to catch as they are less interested in feeding and more interested in other things during the spawn.  Another huge reason I prefer to fish at other times of the year is the schizophrenic weather we experience in the spring.  If you get a few days of stable, warming weather during the spring the fishing can take off, but just about the time you get onto some great fishing another spring cold front blows through and shuts ’em down.  Just last week there was snow in western Nebraska again this spring, and this has been a typical Nebraska spring of “up and down” weather.  Fishing reports throughout the state have reflected that.

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you know that I do not have much use for the typical “outdoor report”, .  My biggest reason for that is that is yesterday’s information; just because someone caught fish at a certain spot on a certain bait yesterday does not necessarily mean they are going to be caught there again tomorrow or next week.  My goal is to try to anticipate and predict prime times; that way an angler can take advantage of the best bites at the best times instead of showing up to hear “you shoulda been here yesterday!”

So, if you are still reading, listen up . . .

I am telling you, that the time is NOW!

Once we get into late May, the weather is usually a little more stable and the fishing begins to become more dependable.  Right now is one of the best times of the year to fish a variety of waters across Nebraska for a variety of species.  I am looking ahead a few days at the weather forecasts and it looks like we are going to have a period of days of relatively stable, warming weather, and I am predicting that will mean some great fishing in the days ahead.  If you do not know where to go, you have probably heard me refer to this so many times you are sick of it, but look here for some of the best waters in the state for a variety of species of fish, .  Look for one of the best waters for your favorite species and chances are good there will be some good fishing there in the next week and maybe longer.  If you need some more ideas you can go back and see I had a similar blog post last year about this time, .

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.

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Stunted????? by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
January 12, 2010, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , ,

Pull up a chair, let me use my blog today to crawl up on a soap box for a little bit.  There is a little issue that has come to my attention; let me address it and try to do a little edumacating in the process.

What do we mean when we talk about a population of fish that is “stunted”?  Let me answer that–a population of fish that is stunted simply has slow growth rates; fish are not growing to their potential because there is not enough food.  Typically this occurs in panfish populations where reproduction produces more small panfish than there is prey to feed them all.

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