Barbs and Backlashes

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!

Topwater Time by whitetips
August 18, 2010, 10:21 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , , ,

Even though I have a tackle box that holds nothing but top-water baits, I have to admit that a top-water bait is usually not the first thing I tie on my line.  But I have to tell you I have been reconsidering that philosophy.  Every angler knows that catching fish on top-water baits is some of the most fun you can have on the water.  I usually figure that a top-water bait is going to be the right tool for the job only a small percentage of the time and I try not to become addicted to the adrenaline-rush of just one top-water strike when another presentation would be catching a lot more fish.  But, as I sit here and reflect, I can recall catching white bass, wipers, trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike, and even walleyes on top-water baits.  I have heard stories of catfish being caught on top-waters, and although I have not caught a muskie on a top-water yet, it is just a matter of time.  I have caught fish on top-water baits from spring, May, well into fall, October.  A case could be made that the middle of the summer is one of the times when top-waters are the best tool for the job.

Think about it, how many times during the summer, especially early and late in the day, do you see the waters calm and notice a lot of “life” on the surface?  It happens all the time.  Look and you will see all kinds of aquatic insects on the surface during the summer and most times there are a variety of baitfish or panfish near the surface as well.  Frogs are another example of an important prey item that can often be found on the surface.  Predator fish are always looking for an advantage, anything that will make it easier for them to capture prey, and anytime there are prey items near the surface those predators know that prey cannot escape by going up!  They will run out of water!  So anytime you see baitfish or panfish activity near the surface could be an excellent time to tie on a top-water.  Even if you do not see that surface activity there are situations, for example aquatic vegetation growing just under or even all the way to the surface, when a top-water bait could be the BEST presentation and not just the “funnest”.

Here are some of my favorite top-water baits . . . .

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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, .

Where I’ve Been, April 27, 2010 by whitetips
April 27, 2010, 2:43 pm
Filed under: Fishing, Hunting | Tags: ,

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I have been out of the office for the past few days but I am able to keep doing blog posts by “front-loading” them.  I am back in today, so let me give you a quick update of where I have been and what I have been doing.

Yep, another turkey down.  Actually we spent an extended weekend in North Platte with family.  My nephew got married last Saturday, so we had lots of “family doings” in association with that.  Congratulations Tadd and Tiffany!  Sunday afternoon my son Daniel and I were able to slip out and work on his spring turkey tag.  It was windy as all get out, but we found turkeys right away.  These birds were all flocked up yet; there were at least a dozen hens, 3 or 4 big Toms and a jake or two.  We spent the afternoon and evening trying to position in front of them as they fed and coax one of those big Toms into shotgun range.  At one point we had two big Toms peel off and come marching right at us, but they got to about 80 yards and stopped, would not come any closer.  We did not have time to slip a hen decoy out and I wonder if that might have encouraged them to come the rest of the way.  We watched the birds go to roost Sunday evening and then had some time to slip out again Monday morning. Continue reading

Feeding Frenzy! by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
August 26, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

We will be turning the corner into fall soon.  In fact with some of the weather we have had recently, it has already felt like fall some evenings.  But, for now, we are living in the last days of August and fishing can still be tough.  A month or so ago I talked in general about summer and why it can be a tough time to catch fish, .  Now let me be a little more specific about some fishing that really heats up in summer and here in the last days of summer many anglers will still be able to take advantage of it.

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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”.

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Back in, for now by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
May 21, 2009, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Fishing, Hunting | Tags: , ,

Seems like when I finally get back in the office it takes me forever to get caught up on everything.  We had a great weekend “out west” last weekend.  Helped my son punch his turkey tag with a nice bird that gave us a classic, gobble-as-he-came-in, hunt.  Daniel rolled him over at 13 paces;  I am still a little hard of hearing as he was really close the last time he gobbled!

After that we picked a bunch of mushrooms and then finally got back to do some fishing.  The white bass run is on!  We fished one of the reservoirs on the Tri-County canal system and had no problem catching fish.  If you are wondering exactly which waters to fish, do not forget to look HERE.  We were fishing one of the waters listed on the white bass graph (wink).  I have heard good white bass reports from several other Nebraska waters this week and I would guess you should be able to catch some just about anywhere they are found right now.  We tossed jigs and crankbaits.

The walleye bite at Merritt has been H-O-T.  From the reports I have been hearing they are catching fish in a variety of areas using a variety of techniques.  Drifting live bait rigs or the traditional slip-bobber rigs should work right now.  Folks even have been catching fish from shore in the evenings and after dark by still-fishing live bait.

I am headed “out west” again this weekend.  We will spend some time with family again and have some chores that need to be accomplished, but should get plenty of time on the water too!  I believe I said this last week, will say it again, this is some of the best fishing of the year, right now!  Pick your favorite water body, pick your favorite species and GO FISH!  Chances are really good that you can catch some right now.  Do not sit around waiting for a good report, that is nothing but a prescription for hearing that “you should have been here yesterday”.



Daniel's 2009 Spring Gobbler