Barbs and Backlashes

Fall Trout Stockings by whitetips
October 6, 2010, 10:37 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , ,

Water temperatures around the state are cooling down and that means the catchable-size (approximately 10 inches) rainbow trout can be stocked in a number of waters that can only support trout during the fall, winter and early spring.

Here are some news releases on the scheduled stockings.

LINCOLN, Neb. – Rainbow trout have been stocked in some southwest Nebraska waters to provide excellent fall fishing opportunities, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The stocked trout are approximately 10 inches in length.

On Sept. 29, Birdwood Wildlife Management Area at North Platte received 2,304 trout and Rock Creek Lake State Recreation Area near Parks received 2,280.

On Sept. 30, Humphrey Pond in Ogallala (1,800 trout), Barnett Park in McCook (1,000), Curtis Golf Course Pond (450), Arnold City Park Pond (850), and Bessey Pond (200) near Halsey were stocked.

(I know personally that those fish were stocked at the Bessey Fish Pond last Thursday; I ran into Hal Walker from our Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery just after he had stocked those fish).

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has released a tentative schedule for October rainbow trout stocking in the eastern half of the state.

The following schedule includes the number of trout to be stocked:

Sept. 29 – Crystal Cove Lake, South Sioux City, 4,250.

Week of Oct. 4 – Niobrara State Park (SP), 1,000; Qwest Lake, Eugene T. Mahoney SP, 2,500; Fremont Lake No. 2, 5,000; TaHaZouka Park, Norfolk, 1,500.

Oct. 9 – Holmes Lake, Lincoln, 4,000; Bowling Lake, Lincoln, 400.

Week of Oct. 12 – Standing Bear Lake, Omaha, 4,000; Auble Pond, Ord, 1,500; Weeping Water Pond, 1,500; Lake Halleck, Papillion, 1,200; David City Park West Pond, 600; Pawnee Park West Pond, Columbus, 1,500.

Week of Oct. 18 – Towl Park Pond, Omaha, 300; Hitchcock Park Pond, Omaha, 450; Steinhart Park Pond, Nebraska City, 1,200; Auburn Rotary Club Lake, 1,400; Heartwell Park Lake, Hastings, 900; Such’s Lake, Grand Island, 1,300; Standing Bear Lake, Omaha, 3,500.

Week of Oct. 25 – Benson Park Pond, Omaha, 1,050; Grove Lake, Royal, 1,500.

Elm Creek just east of Red Cloud was also stocked yesterday, October 5, as well as Qwest Lake at Mahoney State Park.

There are some fishing tips for these hatchery-reared, put & take rainbow trout in this previous blog post, .

We do NOT stock these catchable trout so folks can fill their freezers.  Yes, we expect and want these fish to be harvested, but the real reason we stock these fish in heavily-used urban and parks waters is so beginners have a chance to catch some fish.  These trout are usually relatively easy to catch even as the waters cool and other species begin to slow down.  So, there is the list, grab a kid and take ’em fishing!


Where I’ve Been, August 23, 2010 by whitetips
August 23, 2010, 10:21 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , ,

I have actually been out of the office more than I have been “in” for the past couple of weeks.  Let me give you a quick update.

I spent a couple of days in Ogallala last week at some meetings.  Yes, of course I did some fishing when I could.  I can tell you that several of the guys at the meeting fished McConaughy and the bite is tough.  I caught nothing the evening I fished up on McConaughy; some of the other guys scratched a white bass, wiper or channel cat here and there, but not many, and no walleyes.

You probably have heard me say it before, but ironically the fishing actually gets tougher when water levels finally come back up in a reservoir like McConaughy.  All of a sudden the fish that had adapted to the smaller habitat when water levels were low have a lot of new water to roam around.  On top of that, as the water comes back up after being down for as long as it was at McConaughy, it floods acres and acres of vegetation that grew on the exposed reservoir bottom.  So, not only do the fish have more area to inhabit, but much of that new area is flooded vegetation.  Fish love that newly flooded habitat, it is very productive, full of fish food, so they move right into the acres and acres of cover where they are well-fed and harder to catch.  The good news is the higher water produces ideal habitat conditions and the fishery in McConaughy will benefit for years to come!

Good to see McConaughy back to the way I remember it--water stretching clear to the horizon!

I did slip down to Lake Ogallala briefly.  I saw a bunch of trout down there, some of them rising to insects.  I did not have the fly-rod nor all of my trout gear, but I did manage to get several fish to chase a small crankbait and finally I hooked one, a healthy 12-incher.

The Lake Ogallala trout fishery is well on its way back to producing fish like this again!

On the way home I stopped by Sutherland Reservoir to fish for a little bit.  I found the white bass up on a wind-blown shoreline and very willing to bite.  In fact they “sucked me in” and I ended up fishing longer than I intended.  I was having too much fun catching fish and experimenting with different baits.  The white bass were mostly 10-12-inch fish, nothing huge, but the action was consistent.  I saw shad of a variety of sizes, but apparently the white bass were “zoned-in” on the smaller shad, because I could only get them to hit smaller baits.  The shad they were eating were only a couple of inches long and that is the size of bait they wanted.  The wind was kicking up a good mud-line and the white bass were hammering the shad in that dirtier water; something with a little flash worked best and I believe that type of bait was probably a little more visible in the muddier water.  By the way, I am thankful I am not a gizzard shad, everything likes to eat gizzard shad; I also caught a carp and a channel cat that were right in there feeding too.

Late summer and early fall produce excellent white bass fishing.  Some of the best bites I have heard of recently, besides Sutherland, have been at Calamus and Lewis & Clark.  Do not forget to look here if you want some more suggestions for some of our best white bass fisheries this year, .

The meeting I attended was a get-together of our fisheries management staff from around the state.  We have 5 regional offices around the state with fisheries management staff working out of each office.  I will be telling you, soon, about some of the fisheries management activities that our regional “fish guys” are doing.  Stay tuned!

Where I’ve Been, August 10, 2010 by whitetips
August 10, 2010, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

I am back in the office.  Sigh.  It was REALLY HARD to come back to work this morning.  I have been debating how to blog about it all; considered splitting it into a couple, three blog posts, but decided I am going to give it all to you in “one fell swoop”.  Get comfortable, grab your favorite beverage, let me tell you some stories . . . .

First of all, let me tell you this . . . the weather was hot “out west” too.  And I know it is a cliche, but it is true, you get out west and it is a “dry heat”; the humidity levels are much lower.  The afternoons were HOT, but if you kept drinking fluids it was bearable; then the mornings and evenings were gorgeous!  I got home last night and here in Lincoln at midnight it was 81 degrees F with a heat index of 95!  I wondered what in the world I was doing back east where it was miserable?

Ft. Robinson

We have been spending a long summer weekend with my wife’s side of the family each year for several years now; it has become a family tradition.  We look forward to our time together every summer.  We have rotated to different locations around Nebraska, Niobrara State Park (SP), Ponca SP, Omaha, but our favorite, the one we keep going back to is Ft. Robinson SP.  Now let me turn this into a little “commercial”.  I grew up in western Nebraska; was born in Alliance, graduated from high school in North Platte.  My job now has me living in Lincoln and we are happy in eastern Nebraska.  But I know there are a darned lot of people in this end of the state who have no clue what is “out west”!  I understand that if you live in eastern Nebraska it is a closer drive to Iowa or Kansas City or even Minneapolis than it is to far western Nebraska.  But, in my opinion, if you consider yourself a “Nebraskan” you should at least once take a trip out west and see the great diversity and beauty this state has to offer!  All the time I talk to folks who have lived in eastern Nebraska their entire lives and once they finally see the western end of the state they proclaim that they had no idea we had anything like that in Nebraska.  We do, it is special, you have to see it, let me share some with you.

An evening rainbow in the White River valley.

The view to the southeast down the middle fork of Soldier's Creek valley.

Bonus question: Who can name this western Nebraska landmark?

Sunset up the White River valley.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Spring Trout Stockings by whitetips
March 23, 2010, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

Spring Trout Stocking Scheduled

LINCOLN, Neb. – Catchable-size rainbow trout are being stocked in waters throughout the state late this month, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The fish are approximately 10 inches in length and stocked to provide families with spring fishing opportunities, especially in city lakes and ponds.

The dates, locations and approximate time of stockings are:

March 24 – Niobrara State Park (SP)

March 25 – Qwest Lake at Eugene T. Mahoney SP; Windmill State Recreation Area (SRA) No. 1, Gibbon; North Park, Holdrege; Auble Pond, Ord

March 26 – Auburn Fairgrounds Lake, Fremont Lakes SRA No. 2

March 27 – TaHaZouka Park, Norfolk, 9:30 a.m.; Barnett Park, McCook, 10 a.m.;  Such’s Lake, Grand Island, 10:15 a.m.; Pawnee Park West, Columbus, 11 a.m.; Heartwell Park, Hastings, 11:15 a.m.; Lake Halleck, Papillion, 11:15 a.m.; Holmes Lake, Lincoln, 11:15 a.m.; Lexington City Lake, noon; Steinhart Park, Nebraska City, 12:45 p.m.; Elm Creek, 2:30 p.m.

Stocking dates may be changed by weather conditions. Times are approximate.

Read the 2010 Fishing Guide for information on regulations and public fishing areas. Fishing permits may be purchased at

Two Rivers Trout Lake

One other thing I will add to that news release–more trout are scheduled to be stocked at Two Rivers Trout Lake next week.  Anglers have been averaging 3 trout per tag there so far and are catching 1.8 trout/hour.

Continue reading

Trout Unlimited Banquet by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
January 28, 2010, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

The Nebraska Chapter of Trout Unlimited is having their banquet this Saturday, Jan. 30.  The event will be held at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha.  You never know who might show up, I am looking forward to being there and sharing fish stories with folks!

If you are interested in attending you can find information here, .

I have been on the ice a couple of times in the past week, fished small ponds both times.  Ice conditions are still good although last weekend it was sloppy with all the snow melt on top of the ice.  Right now be careful of the slick ice as all that melt water has re-frozen as slick as ever–where your creepers.

My experience is the fish are still a little bit challenging right now.  I was able to tempt some bluegills and one nice crappie into biting, but watched a lot more bluegills on the depth-finder come in for a look, but then swim away.  Of course the small bass always seem willing to bite.  Things should pick up here as February rolls around.  Once we get some nicer weather and thawing the fishing will get better again.

I did slip out onto some bigger water for a little while.  Got one big fish to come up for a Chubby Darter; released him after the battle.


Winter Trout Stockings by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
January 22, 2010, 10:38 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags:

Just a quick note to let you know that some waters continue to receive stockings of catchable-size (approximately 10-inch) rainbow trout even during the winter!  Let me tell you that stocking fish in the middle of the winter can be a challenge.  Of course nothing seems to work as well when it is cold (especially fingers!) and then you throw some cold water and slimy fish into the mix and it can get real interesting.  On frozen waters there has to be a hole cut that is large enough to take a large tube from the hauling truck so the trout can be flushed into the water.  Cutting those holes can be a challenge especially when we have as much as a foot or more of ice in places.

Enough whining.  Here is a list of the waters that have been stocked in December and January.

Continue reading