Monthly Archives: March 2017

Fishing West Point Lake and Lake Lanier

Maybe fishing is good from Alabama to South Carolina with the exception of the middle of Georgia, for me anyway. A tournament at Lanier last Sunday was very frustrating but a trip to West Point on the Alabama line was more rewarding.

Tuesday I took my 2004 Skeeter I am trying to sell to West Point to run it some. It had not been cranked since last November, the longest time it has gone without going fishing since I bought it. I had taken everything out of it so I had to remember to take a life jacket, kill switch, and the boat key!

Although I planned to run the motor some and look at water color and temperature in preparation for a Potato Creek tournament Saturday, I did put in a couple of rods and reels, one with a spinnerbait and one with a crankbait. I took no spare tackle.

I was pleased when the motor cranked right up and ran without any problem. And the water from the Mega Ramp at Pyne Park up to Whitewater was a good color for fishing, a little stained but not muddy, and with temperatures in the low 60s I knew the fish should be active.

After riding around a little I could not stand it so I fished into a cove with the crankbait, casting it to rocks and wood cover, without a bite. Then as I approached a tree in the water I picked up the spinnerbait and caught a four pound largemouth on the first cast with it. That was exciting.

After riding around a little more I decided to fish the crankbait on a point and quickly caught two pound spotted bass. At that point I realized I didn’t want to catch any more fish, preferring to save them for the tournament, so I ran back to the ramp and took the boat out. I was on the water less than three hours total. I hope those two fish were waiting on me yesterday.

At Lake Lanier last Sunday 15 members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our first tournament of the year. We landed 21 keeper bass weighing about 45 pounds. There was one five-fish limit and five people did not have a keeper. Six of us had just one keeper after eight hours of casting. There was one largemouth weighed in, all the rest were spots.

Travis Weatherly had four keepers weighing 13.01 pounds and won and his 4.6-pound spot was big fish. Chuck Croft had five weighing 8.59 pounds for second, Niles Murray had four at 7.54 pounds for third and Dan Phillips had one spot weighing 3.7 pounds for fourth.

It was a very frustrating day for me. I had been seeing picture on Facebook of big spotted bass being caught on crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Folks were catching them on rocky points and clay banks, a pattern I like to fish. Others were catching numbers of spots by fishing a Fish Head Spin in ditches, a common pattern there this time of year but one I have never learned.

Travis and Chuck both said they caught their fish on the Fish Head Spin pattern. I tried it some without any luck. Nile said he caught his fish on a crankbait, something I tried a lot without a bite. My one keeper came out of a tree top and hit a jig head worm, on the sixth or seventh cast into it. It was no bigger than a bath tub. My partner Wes DeLay had also cast to that wood cover before the fish finally hit.

The weather is supposed to be unseasonably warm all this week and the fish should react to it by moving shallow and feeding. I remember a February in the mid-1970s with similar weather. It was very warm all month. Linda and I took our bass boat to Clarks Hill the last weekend of February to bass fish.

I had ordered two brand new plugs, called Deep Wee R’s, that had just come on the market. They were not in stores yet, I had to order them from a magazine. I tied on a chartreuse one and Linda used the crawfish one. We went out and found the water stained but not muddy.

About mid-morning we had caught a couple of bass but nothing exciting, and were enjoying the warm sunny day. We stopped on a clay point on an island and seemed to catch a bass on every cast for a few minutes. When they quit biting we moved to the next point in the creek and repeated the action. When it stopped there, we went to the next one with the same results.

The rest of that day and most of the day Sunday we rotated around those three points that we named Points 1, 2 and 3. Real imaginative, I know. Anyway, we landed 78 keeper bass in two days, most of them from those three points. My biggest was 6.5 pounds and Linda had one weighing 4.5 pounds.

I have never found the fish feeding like that on those points since then. Conditions were exactly right for them that year. But that is what keeps me fishing, expecting to find fish feeding like that again some day. Maybe this is the year!

Plan a fishing trip this week. You may find a bunch of bass, or catch the biggest one of your life. Conditions are right, just like they were one year back in the 1970s!

Spring Trout Strategies

Surefire Spring Trout Strategies
Tips from trout expert Bernie Keefe that will improve your action anywhere trout are found.
from The Fishing Wire

Late winter is a time of transition for trout and the anglers who pursue them. Admittedly, figuring out productive patterns while shifting from ice fishing to open-water mode can be intimidating, but those who know where and how to tackle spring trout can enjoy some of the year’s best fishing.

“Rainbow trout are a great example,” says veteran trout guide Bernie Keefe. “They’re active, hungry and willing to bite.”

Keefe targets tributaries and lakes in the Colorado high country a short cast west of Denver, but his spring rainbow strategies produce results in systems across the continent.

One part of his game plan hinges on the spring spawning run. “Lake-run rainbows migrate into tributary streams, and resident river fish may also move upstream and even into smaller tributaries,” he explains. “They run up rivers and streams until they find suitable spawning sites, which usually offer the right mix of gravel and riffles.”

Clam Caviar Drop Jig
Keefe doesn’t disturb spawning fish, preferring to let them focus on their efforts to continue the species. Instead, he keys on areas just below spawning sites. “With a good pair of polarized glasses, you can often see the spots where trout have cleaned mud or silt off the gravel for their spawning beds,” he says. “When you spot a bedding area, watch for dark shadows moving around just downstream. These trout are feeding on eggs and ripe for the catching.”

Small, egg-imitating jigs like the Clam Caviar Drop Jig are a top pick for such situations. “Because you’re sight-fishing trout in shallow water, often only 10 feet away from the bank, swinging the bait gently out to the fish with a lob-style cast is key,” he adds.

To execute such maneuvers, he gears up with a medium-light power, 7-foot, moderately fast action Fenwick HMX spinning rod spooled with 6-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line. “A long rod allows you to swing the jig out for a quiet splashdown just upstream of the fish,” he says. “Let the jig fall to bottom, then, holding the rodtip high, bounce the jig downstream. When the jig stops or you feel a bite, set the hook.”

While the rainbow’s wariness is legendary, Keefe says the smorgasbord of eggs drifting down from the beds often overrides such caution. “There’s so much food coming down to the fish, they get so caught up in feeding you can often catch five or six fish from one spot,” he says.

Keefe also bounces egg-imitating jigs in deeper holes, where trout hold en route to feeding and spawning areas. “Doll flies, tubes and marabou jigs also work in the holes,” he adds. “These resting fish aren’t moving much, so methodically work each hole before pulling the plug on it. The good news is, if you get bit, chances are there’s more than one fish down there.”

To cap off a perfect day on the tributaries, Keefe often heads for the lake in late afternoon. “Whether the ice is off or just starting to pull away from the bank, shorecasting open water off points, along dark shorelines and near incoming streams is a great way to pick up a few more fish before calling it a day,” he says. “Low-light conditions toward evening are great, but the fish may bite all day long if it’s overcast. Small jerkbaits like Berkley Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows work great.”

Keefe also throws 3- to 4-inch softbaits such as a Berkley Gulp! Jerk Shad or PowerBait Minnow on a 1/8- to 3/8-ounce jig head, directing long casts toward deep water offshore. “Let the jig fall to bottom and swim it back by raising your rodtip, then reeling in slack
as you lower the rod back toward the water,” he says.

Together with the tributary tactics, Keefe’s lakeshore tricks offer the means to enjoy great rainbow trout fishing during the dreaded seasonal transition as winter fades away. Use them to make this your best spring yet.

For more information or to book a trip with Keefe, visit: or call (970) 531-2318.

Boat Safety

There was another boating accident in early Februry, this one on Allatoona a little over a week ago. From the information I can get two boats were going in opposite directions through a big “S” bend and almost hit. When one of the boats made a sharp turn to avoid the other, the three men in the boat were thrown out. None of them were wearing life jackets and two of them drowned, if the information I read is correct.

This is a terrible example of what can happen if folks do not know the “rules of the road” for driving a boat. For some reason boat drivers do not think it is important to keep right. If they drove a car like they drive a boat they would be running up I-75 driving north in the south bound lanes.

Going around a bend in the lake or river, where you cannot see very far, it is critical to stay right. Many boat drivers make the stupid mistake of cutting around a point close to the bank on their left to save time or distance. This is the correct thing if the point is on your right. It is the opposite of what you should do if the point is on your left.

Stay way off the bank when going around a blind point to your left. Stay out where you can see oncoming boats. It can save your life.

I do not know if that is what happened at Allatoona, but that kind of accident or close call happens almost every day in warm weather when people are stupid and don’t drive a boat correctly.

I have even had people driving a boat I was meeting in wide open water go to the wrong side, meeting on the left rather than the right, and look at me like I am wrong. That kind of dumb or uninformed driving can kill.

Fishing Opportunities

Be Ready When Fishing Opportunities Arise
Editor’s Note: Today’s feature comes to us courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Author Kevin Kelly is focused on the Bluegrass State, but his advice works for all of us.
from The Fishing Wire

FRANKFORT, KY– Planning a fishing trip more than a couple days ahead of time can be a gamble in late winter when the weather is a mixed bag and the favorable conditions here today may be gone tomorrow.

With some advance preparation, you can be ready to grab what you need and go when that friend calls at daybreak or the impulse strikes and the schedule allows for a last-minute trip.

Performing regular maintenance on your reels can prevent catastrophic problems or costly repairs down the road.

Over the course of a fishing season, grit and grime accumulate and work into the guts of a reel. A hitch in the retrieve signals a reel in need of immediate maintenance. Keep cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, an old toothbrush, paper towels, reel oil and reel grease on hand to accomplish this task, but consult the reel owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for its recommendations.

Some wait until a reel is almost bare of line before replenishing the spool. Imagine the disappointment to have the biggest fish of your life break off or not have enough line to cast to a desired spot. Go ahead and invest in a new spool of line for the peace of mind.

Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines require more frequent replacement than braided lines. Match the line with the manufacturer’s recommendations for the reel and take care to load the line correctly to avoid line twist, which can lead to those annoying bird’s nests.

Likewise, clean and inspect any rods that were stored over the winter. Check the reel seats and tighten the lock nuts as needed. Repair or replace worn or broken rod guides. Brush the inside of the guides with a cotton swab. The cotton will snag on any sharp edges or burs.

Keeping your tackle organized can be a challenge once spring arrives. Why not start fresh? Stowaway utility boxes are an angler’s friend. These plastic containers come in all shapes and sizes and prove useful for storing baits, weights, jig heads, hooks and more. Organize soft plastics by color and type in separate sealable sandwich bags and store the bags in one of these clear plastic tackle boxes or a binder.

A dull hook decreases the odds of a good hook set, so take a moment while everything is out to sharpen hooks on crankbaits, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits.

Some anglers organize their tackle by species or waterbody type to cut down on time and the hassle of picking and choosing from several boxes the night before or day of a trip.

If you’re running low on an item, look for off-season and pre-season sales to help stretch your dollar.

Aside from equipment maintenance and organization, it is important to carve out some time to review the Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide. The 2017-18 version is available online at and wherever licenses are sold.

The guide points out any changes in regulation. New fishing regulations that will go into effect March 1 include the removal of a statewide daily creel limit for yellow bass. Trammel Creek in Allen County remains under seasonal catch and release regulations from Oct. 1 through March 31 but the daily creel limit for rainbow trout will be five from April 1 through Sept. 30. Lakes and sloughs at Ballard Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Boatwright WMA in Ballard County will be idle speed only for all boats. Likewise, Beulah Lake in Jackson County will be idle speed only for all boats. Largemouth bass at Pennyrile Lake in Christian County will be under statewide regulations.

Available on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ website, the annual fishing forecast for the state’s major fisheries provides helpful tips for a more productive day on the water. Carpenter Lake in Daviess County for largemouth bass and the upper Barren River for largemouth and spotted bass, bluegill in Fagan Branch Lake in Marion County and crappie at Benjy Kinman Lake in Henry County are noted in this year’s forecast as up-and-coming fisheries.

The new license year starts March 1. Kentucky fishing licenses may be purchased online at or by calling 1-877-598-2401. Licenses and permits also can be bought at retail stores, county court clerk offices and outdoor sporting goods stores across the state. License vendor locations are listed on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s website.

In the meantime, there is still some time to squeeze even more value out of your 2016-17 fishing licenses. They’re valid through Feb. 28.

While not everybody has the luxury of being able to drop everything and go fishing when the conditions are ideal, you can save precious time by being prepared so you can take advantage when an opportunity does present itself.

Author Kevin Kelly is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Get the latest from Kevin and the entire Kentucky Afield staff by following them on Twitter: @kyafield.

Fishing Demopolis Lake and Lake Russell

Fishing was good from Alabama to South Carolina in late February. Last Friday I went to Demopolis, Alabama and spent the night. The next morning I met Will Ayers, a young local tournament fisherman, and we spent the day on Demopolis Lake, getting information for the March Alabama Outdoor News article. Since Will has a three-year-old son and a daughter on the way, he fishes only two local lakes, but last year he won $26,000 in tournaments.

Demopolis Lake is formed by a dam near the junction of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers. It is so close to the Mississippi state line you feel like you could throw a rock into the next state. It took me almost five hours to get there.

The weekend before we fished, Will and a friend had gone out and caught a lot of bass, with the biggest five going 17.8 pounds, and had a 5.5 pound kicker. He felt good about us catching fish and, the first place we stopped, the bass were feeding. Will caught about a dozen keepers up to 3.5 pounds on a red Rat-L-Trap, casting it into water about two feet deep. I was busy taking pictures notes and trying to get a video for the on-line issue of the article to fish much, and I was hard headed and kept throwing a DT6 crankbait, but I did manage to catch a couple of fish.

That was how it went for the rest of the day. Will would catch at least two or three everywhere we stopped and I might catch one or two. The last place we fished that afternoon, back in a creek where a point created a protected pocket from the wind, Will caught another dozen on a spinnerbait. I managed to catch two on a Chatterbait.

I love the river lakes in Alabama like Demopolis. The current and nutrient rich waters produce quality bass that fight extremely hard. We really do not have any lakes in Georgia like them. They have stained water, lots of grass along the bank, and miles of small creeks, sloughs and oxbow lakes to fish.

The five-hour drive home was the only bad thing about the trip.

Sunday afternoon I drove 2.5 hours to my mobile home at Clarks Hill to spend the night. The next morning I drove an hour to Calhoun State Park, a South Carolina park on Lake Russell, and met 18-year-old Brody Manley, another good local bass fisherman, to get information for the March Georgia Outdoor News magazine. Russell is a lake between Clarks Hill and Hartwell on the Savannah River.

Brody makes and sells fishing jigs for a living. They are available in local stores in that area and online at He also guides on a couple of local lakes and fishes tournaments. I am constantly amazed at the skill and knowledge of the young fishermen I meet. Tournament bass fishing did not exist until I was in college, but some of these young folks have been tournament fishing since they were pre-teen! Their experience shows.

Russell is about as opposite a lake as you can have from Demopolis. The water at Russell is deep and clear, with rocks being the most important cover on the lake. It has quality largemouth but is also full of big spotted bass. Rather than fishing big baits on heavy line, Brody fished smaller baits on eight pound test line.

The cold front that came through Sunday night had put the fish in a bad mood, I think. Brody still caught a pretty three pound spotted bass as well as several more keeper size fish. I never had a bite! We quit fishing at noon when I got all the information I needed for the article.

The 3.5 hour drive home from Russell was not quite as bad as the one Friday night!

Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation Sues Department of Interior

Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation Sues Department of Interior
from The Fishing Wire

Editor’s Note: No Valentine’s notes passing between sportsmen and the Department of the Interior today. Sportsmen are angry over Interior Department actions they call a serious overreach into game management- an area that has largely been a state matter. Today, the Sportsmen’s Alliance explains the reasoning behind their lawsuit seeking to overturn a pair of Obama-era restrictions governing management of National Wildlife Refuge and National Preserve Lands in Alaska.

On February 10, the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, the Alaska Professional Hunters Association and two rural Alaskans filed suit against the federal government seeking to overturn two Obama-era restrictions governing the management of National Wildlife Refuge and National Preserve lands within Alaska’s borders.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and APHA believe the rules are an overreach of the federal government into the traditional state role of game management, and this action in Alaska sets a dangerous precedent that puts hunting at risk on hundreds of millions of acres of public land nationwide.

The 96 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge and Park Service lands at stake in this lawsuit cover an area slightly larger than Montana, the fourth-largest state in the union.

“Game management belongs in the hands of boots-on-the-ground state biologists who understand the traditions, goals, game animals and ecosystems better than anyone, certainly better than a federal bureaucrat simply reading a report in a Washington, D.C. office,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance and Foundation. “These two rules represent yet another act of the Obama Administration that sets a bad precedent for states across the country that, if not stopped, would allow federal bureaucrats or a future administration more in line with anti-hunting activists to continue seizing control of traditional state decisions.”

The enacted rule changes banned commonly accepted hunting methods, including the extension of wolf and coyote seasons to summer months suitable for hunting in the colder Alaska climate, and use of bait while hunting bears.

“These changes even go so far as to completely outlaw normal wildlife management practices involving seasons, bag limits, and methods and means, even when that is the only feasible way to restore other wildlife species such as moose, caribou or deer,” continued Heusinkveld.

Alaskans and sportsmen around the country have shown broad support for the position of the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and APHA. The State of Alaska has filed suit to overturn the rule changes, as has Safari Club International. All of Alaska’s senators and representatives oppose the changes, as does the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), along with numerous other national organizations. AFWA, which is a partnership made up of state wildlife management professionals across the country, has stated that the rules compromise state authority to manage fish and wildlife.

“This is nothing but blatant federal overreach that will destroy Alaska’s predator-prey balance, impact and set precedent for sportsmen and public-land users nationwide and, moreover, decimate residents both economically and in their ability to provide for their families from a subsistence perspective,” said Heusinkveld.

Alaska has specific protections that have been set out in law. On three occasions Congress has directed that the state–not the federal government–has the primary authority to set hunting and fishing rules in Alaska: 1959 in the Alaska Statehood Act, 1980 in the Alaska Lands Act (that created most of the Alaska refuges) and 1997 in Refuge Improvement Act (which also made hunting and fishing priority public uses on all refuge lands).

“It is clear that the federal government has overstepped its authority in this issue, and we’re confident that our lawsuit, coupled with Congressional action and the formal review promised by Interior Secretary-nominee Representative Zinke, will ultimately restore proper and commonsense authority to game management in Alaska,” said Heusinkveld.

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Flint River Bass Club Tournament At Lake Oconee

Just in time for the Flint River Bass Club tournament last Sunday winter decided to revisit our area. On a cold, rainy, windy day 12 members, one guest and one youth fished for up to eight hours to land 24 bass longer than the 14 inch minimum size on Lake Oconee. They weighed about 70 pounds. Those of us that stayed to the end had three limits but six people either zeroed or left early due to the weather.

Sam Smith had an incredible catch for our club of five keepers weighing 18.39 pounds. Sam’s big fish weighed 4.85 pounds so all of his other keepers were quality fish in the three to four pound range. Niles had what would usually be a winning weight but placed second with five at 15.72 and had big fish with a very nice 6.62 pounder. Niles is on a big fish roll this year!

I had what I thought was a really good catch with five at 13.64 pounds and placed third. New member Daniel Hinkelman placed fourth with five weighing 11.72 pounds. Kelly Chanbers had two keepers weighing 5.25 for fifth place. I was surprised at the number of bass weighing in that weighed in the four-pound range.

Kelly and I were very frustrated with the rain and wind that “burned” exposed skin, especially since we had one small keeper each at 1:30. I knew the fish should be shallow near bedding areas, even with the changing weather, since the water temperature was 59 degrees.

But no matter where we fished or what we tried we could not catch much. We did land several fish under the 14-inch limit but keepers were tough to find. Kelly got one on a rattle bait first thing then I caught one on a Carolina rig but those were the only two keepers. We had tried spinnerbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits and several kinds of plastics.

Then at 1:30 in some brush in the very back of the cove I hooked and landed a 3.93 pound largemouth on a jig head worm from some brush. Working out of that cove I got my third keeper on a spinnerbait off a windblown dock, something I had tried dozens of casts without a bite. Then going into the next cove I landed another bass close to four pounds on a jig head worm.

We worked around that cove then Kelly got a 3.97 pound largemouth from some brush on a jig head worm. A few feet further up the bank I cast my jig head worm to a rock in about three feet of water and landed my fifth keeper, filling my limit with another bass close to four pounds.

That was it for the day, five keepers in one hour out of the eight we fished. At weigh-in I felt pretty good until I saw Sam’s and Niles’ great catches! Niles said he got the big one on a rattlebait and had, like me, only five keepers. Sam surprised me by saying he landed 22 keepers during the day, all on spinnerbaits, something I could not get a bite while fishing.

Just goes to show many patterns work most days even if they are not working for you, and also show you should never give up while fishing.

How to Find and Catch Channel Cats

How to Find and Catch Channel Cats
Editor’s Note: Here’s a useful novice level how-to for locating and catching one of the most widely-distributed fish in the nation, the channel cat, from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
from The Fishing Wire

Channel Catfish – What do I need?

Lake anglers use fairly short rods, while stream anglers like longer 6 to 8 feet rods. Some even use a fly rod. Longer rods offer better placement of the bait and lets you fish many good holes without casting. Just drop the line near a likely spot with no more line out than the rod length. Ten-pound test line is suggested over lighter weight line since the bait is fished on the bottom and often near underwater snags.
Match the reel to the fish. Light duty reels are made to catch small fish and heavy duty reels have the power to land lunkers. Light tackle will catch more smaller fish but may not handle one of record class size.

Terminal tackle is an important consideration when setting out after “old whiskers.” The sinker and hook is the most important part of the terminal tackle. Always use the lightest weight needed and a slip sinker. The slip sinker rig lets a catfish pick up the bait without feeling the weight of the sinker. With any resistance on the line, a channel cat will leave the tasty bait in search of another.

Use a sharp hook. Hooks with bait holders on the shank are preferred. Use sponges or plastic worms when fishing with soft, prepared cheese baits. Present your selected hook and bait to the fish in the most natural manner, which requires the use of a minimum amount of sinker or weight.

Circle hooks are popular when using live or cut bait. There is no need to “set the hook” as they are designed to hook the fish themselves. Slowly pull back on the rod when it starts to double over as the fish takes the bait. Quick hooksets typically result in missed fish. When used properly, circle hooks reduce the chance of the fish swallowing the bait as they are usually caught in the corner of the mouth.

Bait options range from nightcrawlers, leeches, chicken blood, chicken liver, chicken or fish guts, crawdads, grasshoppers, water dogs, live and dead minnows, cut bait and a variety of prepared “stink” baits. Prepared baits usually have one thing in common – cheese. Use cut bait or dead minnows in late winter and spring- just after ice-out. Made of half-rotten fish, use this bait when the water temperature is less than 60 degrees F. Catfish actively eat fish flesh and other animals that die during winter and sink to the bottom. The stronger the rotten odor of bait, the better the success. Fish in deeper areas of the lake or stream before ice melt then shift to shallow water that warms faster and draws catfish into the near-shore reaches. Catfish can be caught under ice conditions, but feeding begins in earnest after the water temperature reaches 40 degrees F.

A channel catfish’s keen sense of smell makes it one of the few game fish species that can be readily caught during high stream flows in the spring, summer, and early fall. Rising water levels often provide more food for channel catfish to eat by flooding terrestrial areas along the river and food being washed in from runoff. Fish become more active during this time. Catfish become less active when water levels fall. During times of stable or rising water levels nearly all baits will produce good catches of catfish. Use baits that are most available under natural conditions.

Easy to store prepared bait is one of the most popular catfish baits. Many catfish anglers switch to prepared baits when water temperatures warm to 70 degrees F and above. Prepared bait is most effective for pan-sized catfish in mid-summer (June, July and August). Use large-sized baits such as dead bluegill, live chubs, water dogs, crayfish and frogs when seeking larger catfish. Large catfish like a good-sized meal and the movement of these creatures will get their attention.

Channel Catfish – Tips and Tricks
Catfish eat a variety of food items and are attracted to “smelly” morsels. Smaller catfish (less than 14 inches) feed primarily on bottom-dwelling organisms, such as aquatic insect larvae and other invertebrates. As catfish grow, their diet changes and a wider variety of food items are eaten. Fish, alive or dead, make up the bulk of their food after they reach 16 inches.

Channel catfish diets vary with the seasons. A wide variety of organisms, including fish that died in the winter, are available in late winter and early spring. Catfish devour these morsels, in various stages of decomposition, in large quantities. It is not unusual to find catfish stomachs full of decaying fish shortly after ice-out. As the water warms into late spring and summer, aquatic and terrestrial worms, fish, frogs, crayfish, mulberries, insects and their larvae forms, elm seeds and algae are the most prevalent foods. Many other items are eaten but usually make up only a small portion of the menu. Catfish food choices change again in the fall as the water cools. More fish is eaten along with aquatic invertebrates and terrestrial insects. Frogs become an important food source as they move into streams before the onset of winter.

Streams and Rivers
Fish upstream of river snags and log jams and cast the bait back towards it so the scent of the bait is carried downstream into the structure by the current drawing the catfish out.

Channel catfish move into the deepest holes of a river in late fall to over-winter. Fish won’t be as aggressive as they are in the spring and summer because of the colder temperatures. Try cut bait or nightcrawlers on slip sinkers rigs fished near the bottom.

As June approaches, catfish begin to spawn. Male channel catfish will find a cavity in a rocky shoreline, snags or stump to make a nest to guard its eggs. The male channel catfish will defend the nest from other fish attacking it. Float live fish, crawlers, or leeches under a bobber along rip rap shorelines, stumps, snags or any other structure that may provide a cavity for the fish. Riprap shoreline with big boulders is best because of the bigger cavities it makes. Let the bobber rig drift in the current or with the wind close to the structure to lure the catfish out. Strikes are fairly aggressive so you need to set the hook quickly before the fish releases the bait.

Most midsummer Mississippi River fishing is done anchoring above snags along the main channel and side channels or above the wing dams in the main channel. Use slip sinker rigs fished on the bottom with stink bait or shad guts and nightcrawlers. Walleye anglers often catch channel catfish casting or trolling crankbaits on the wing dams in the summer.

Increase the weight of your sinker when fishing for Missouri River channel catfish and use cut bait, stink baits, crawdads and nightcrawlers. Try fishing the outside bends of old oxbows cut off from the river as this is where the deeper water will most likely be. Use slip sinker rigs fished on the bottom with stink bait or nightcrawlers in the summer.

Lakes & Reservoirs
During the spawn in early June, target channel catfish around rock structure that offer cavities for nesting. Many smaller lakes have rip-rap (rock) along the shoreline to protect the banks from erosion. Large rock is also placed on the dams of man-made lakes or impoundments to protect the dam from erosion. This large rock provides large cavities for channel catfish to make their nests. Drift minnows, night crawlers or leeches under a bobber along the rock.

As June approaches, channel catfish begin to spawn. Look for channel catfish along rocky shorelines that offer cavities for nesting. Large rock along the shoreline is best because it provides better cavities for nesting. Float bobber rigs along these rocky shorelines with live green sunfish, minnows, crawlers or leeches.

Buy Your Fishing Licenses Online

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are found in nearly all Iowa lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. They are the most abundant game fish in our nearly 20,000 miles of interior streams.

Fish Details – Channel Catfish
(Characteristics, distribution, etc)

Channel Catfish – Where to Find Them
Streams and Rivers
Studies show that populations of 500 to over 5,000 pounds of catfish per mile in Iowa streams are common. Look for catfish in riffle areas just above pools, cut-banks, snags, rocks and other submerged structures in the stream. The outside edge of river bends usually has a cut-bank and deep water which hold large catfish populations. These outside bends usually have snags or log jams that provide good cover for catfish.
The Mississippi River has many areas that hold channel catfish including snags and log jams along the main channel and side channels, main channel wing dams, rip-rapped (rock armored) shorelines and shallow stump fields in the backwaters. Fishing typically begins in the spring as the ice goes out and channel catfish start to eat winterkilled shad. Many of the backwaters and shallow mudflats usually have dead shad that died that winter. Use cut bait or shad on the bottom in the mouths of these backwaters and shallow mudflats .

The Missouri River, heavily channelized with fast currents, has good numbers of channel catfish. Target the wing dike fields which create current seams, eddies, and sandbars that hold baitfish and aquatic invertebrates and attract channel catfish. Snags in the river hold channel catfish as well.

Lakes have excellent catfishing thanks to an aggressive stocking program. Stocked fish grow fast and to a large size. The largest catfish caught in Iowa each year are taken from lakes and ponds. Fish over 10 pounds caught in our man-made lakes are common. Lake-dwelling catfish are not evenly spread but gather into specific locations. Most ponds and fishing lakes stratify into three distinct thermal layers 10 to 15 feet below the surface and water in the lower strata contains no oxygen – and no fish. Limit your fishing to depths above this stratification level. Streams that flow into the upper ends of lakes hold catfish, as does submerged structure such as timber, rock protected shorelines and drop-offs. Look for diverse habitat – the more diverse the habitat, the more attractive it is to catfish.

Large Reservoirs
Iowa’s large reservoirs offer great channel catfishing throughout the open water season. Fishing usually begins in the spring at ice out as channel catfish begin to eat gizzard shad that died over the winter. Focus fishing efforts towards the upper ends of the reservoirs fishing the shallower and warmer mudflats. Fish the windblown shorelines and points where the dead shad have been blown into to find actively feeding fish. Use cut shad or shad parts fished on the bottom.

Channel catfish move out along the channel edges of the reservoir in the summer and follow schools of shad to eat. With today’s advancements in sonar technology, many anglers will boat around until they find schools of shad. Usually there will be larger arcs on the sonar under the school of shad showing the presence of channel catfish or other predatory fish. Drift through the school of shad from the upwind side using lindy rigs/three-way rigs with cut bait fished on the bottom. You may have to move around some as the schools of shad and channel catfish move. Bends in the creek channel or drop offs near shallower stump fields are often good places as well. Catfish may also move up into these shallower stump fields or mudflats to feed at night.

What Is the Purpose Of Having Laws?

What is the purpose of having a law? Is it to punish people for doing something most in a society does not condone? Is it to protect some from others? Is it to prevent people from doing something? Or all those things.

Many of our laws are intended to do those things. But do they work? If not enforced they cannot work. And if enough people ignore them they become irrelevant.

The law says the speed limit on Highway 19/41 Bypass is 55 in most areas. If you obey it, you will be passed by almost every other car on the road. And you are very unlikely to be punished unless you speed far above the legal limit. So that law is irrelevant most of the time. People decide to ignore the law since it is not strictly enforced.

What about gun laws? They often are passed over the objections of many in society. They never protect anyone, because anyone willing to shoot another person is not going to obey any gun law because the punishment is much higher for assault or murder. Only law-abiding citizens are affected by gun laws.

Gun laws are often not enforced, especially for the rich or famous. An article in the Griffin Daily News on March 10 told how some rapper named “Waka Flocka Flame” was found not guilty of having a handgun in his carry-on baq at the Atlanta airport. Although law-enforcement tried to enforce the law, a jury found him not guilty after a four day trial.

What do you think would have happened to you or I if we got caught doing that? Waka’s lawyer told the press what happened, according to the article. So if you can afford a high priced lawyer you can often get away with a crime.

Almost every arrest report in the Griffin Daily News, when listing the charges, include “possession of a gun by a felon,” something that has been against the law for years. But do you ever hear of any criminal actually being punished for that crime? That charge is almost always dropped or pleaded away somehow. Why?

When I hear folks calling for new gun laws I can only wonder why. The ones we have are not enforced in many cases, they only affect the law-abiding, and they do nothing to protect society. Maybe before passing new, useless laws, we should try actually enforcing the ones already on the books.

2017 Bass Masters Classic Live Coverage

March 17, 2017

Fishing Fans Will Experience Live Coverage Of 47th Annual Bassmaster Classic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Fifty-two of the world’s best bass anglers will head to Houston next week to compete for more than $1 million in the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, and fans will be able to follow the action as it happens.

Classic LIVE will be broadcasting in real time from the B.A.S.S. booth at the Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

“What an incredible venue we have this year being set up in the heart of Houston, Texas, and watching the action unfold live on a lake that some anglers are saying might produce multiple 10-pound-plus bass,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content for JM Associates and producer of The Bassmasters TV show on ESPN2.

Cameras will be streaming live coverage of the Classic leaders on Lake Conroe back to the expo production facility, where hosts will break down the action for fans tuning in through and WatchESPN. Hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona, and Davy Hite along with Dave Mercer and on-the-water reporter Robbie Floyd, will provide analysis and live updates.

This year, special guest Brian Robison of the Minnesota Vikings will also be onsite for the Classic LIVE show to provide some local insight. Robison played for the University of Texas and calls Lake Conroe his home lake.

Also, special guest RJ Mitte, who plays Walter White Jr. on the series “Breaking Bad,” will be joining the set at the expo.

The 2016 version of “Classic LIVE” reached nearly 12 million minutes viewed during the three-day event.

Each day of competition will have six hours of coverage, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Watch the tournament leaders catch bass in real time on the exclusive Classic LIVE program on and simulcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

Facebook Live broadcasts will be added to the coverage this year, on the B.A.S.S. Facebook page, including coverage of takeoff on Day 1, the Toyota Mid-Day Report all three days around noon, and the press conference with the Top 6 anglers after each competition day.

Also on, fans can keep up with every fish caught through BASSTrakk, a real-time leaderboard that shows each angler’s catch according to estimates of marshals assigned to each competitor’s boat. In addition, on-the-water reporters provide a running commentary on the action in the Live Blog.

“Through those features, along with videos and photo galleries, we’ll have the lake covered from top to bottom,” said Jim Sexton, B.A.S.S. VP/Digital. “And we’ll cover every inch of the Minute Maid Park weigh-ins and the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo, as well.”

2017 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: GEICO

2017 Bassmaster Classic Presenting Sponsor: DICK’S Sporting Goods

2017 Bassmaster Classic Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2017 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Power-Pole, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, Shell Rotella, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats

2017 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo Presenting Sponsor: DICK’S Sporting Goods

2017 Bassmaster Classic Local Sponsors: Shipley Donuts, Academy Sports + Outdoors

About the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
The 47th world championship of bass fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will host 52 of the world’s best bass anglers competing for more than $1 million, March 24-26 in Houston, Texas. Competition and takeoff will begin each day at Lake Conroe Park (14968 TX-105, Montgomery, Texas) at 7:20 a.m. CT. Weigh-ins will be held daily March 24-26 at 3:15 p.m. in one of Major League Baseball’s Top 20 largest stadiums, the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park (501 Crawford Street, Houston, Texas).

In conjunction, the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will be open daily only a block from Minute Maid Park at George R. Brown Convention Center, (1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, Texas) the largest in Classic history. Expo hours are Friday, March 24, noon – 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.