Category Archives: Fishing Information

Fiddle Earthworms


Fiddle Your Way to Fresh Bait
Earthworms
Fishing for food to avoid going to the store? Try fiddling up some live worms, suggests Arkansas GFC.
from The Fishing Wire

LITTLE ROCK – Going fishing doesn’t have to mean expensive equipment. It simply takes a hook, some fishing line and some sort of bait. You could dig around in the refrigerator for food-type baits, or make the bait-gathering duty an adventure in itself by gathering worms from the wild.

Earthworms are excellent live bait for catfish, bream, bass and even an occasional crappie. And handling a nightcrawler or two will definitely prevent you from getting your hands near your face before washing them.

One technique to stock up on some nightcrawlers is to break out a fiddle. “Earthworm fiddling,” “worm charming,” and “worm grunting” all refer to an interesting practice some anglers have been using for centuries to get earthworms to come to the surface and show themselves.

Simply take a stick that has notches cut along its length and push it into the ground. Then rub another stick along its length to create vibrations.

Kids who got stuck with “sticks” in music class when all the cool instruments were already handed out will know exactly what sound this makes. The vibrations will bring the worms to the surface to dance, where you can be ready to pick them up and place them in your bait bucket. OK, the worms aren’t dancing. They’re actually moving out of the ground to avoid predators.

The famed geneticist Charles Darwin theorized, “If the ground is beaten or otherwise made to tremble, worms will believe that they are pursued by a mole and leave their burrows.”

A study conducted by Vanderbilt University biological sciences professor Ken Catania in 2008 confirmed Darwin’s theory. The study, held in northern Florida, where the practice of worm grunting was extremely popular, recorded the sounds of real moles digging versus worm grunters and compared their effects on the earthworms habit of springing from the ground when in danger.

Northern Florida has taken the grunting and fiddling practice to a new level. The town of Sopchoppy has even adopted the practice as its calling card, hosting the annual Worm Gruntin’ Festival where young earthworm harvesters compete to see who can coax the most earthworms from the ground with various techniques. It doesn’t have to be two sticks making the vibrations, either.

An old broom handle driven into the ground rubbed with a hand saw can produce the low vibrations needed. Two lengths of rebar also can be used to charm up some nightcrawlers for bait. Whatever you use, be sure to keep an eye on the ground for several feet around the fiddling tools and be ready to grab the worms before they can burrow back into the ground.

Naturally, you want to do this fiddling where worms are likely to be. Extremely hard ground or sandy soil is not likely to have worms. Try under trees or in areas where the ground is fertile with lots of deteriorating vegetation. Watering the lawn heavily ahead of time can help. Rake a spot so the ground is bare, then go to fiddling. It may take some effort to figure out your technique, but it will keep you stocked with bait throughout your fishing adventures. 

Repair Broken Fishing Rod

Darn the Luck of a broken fishing rod!
Gary Giudice
from The Fishing Wire

Oops! Darn the bad luck. So you broke your favorite fishing rod. Now what?

Depending on what’s broken, you have options to fix it. Some options are good, some not so much. A simple broken tip is one thing but slamming a rod in a car door is entirely another.

If a tip is broken with very little of the rod involved you are in luck. Most tackle shops and even box stores sell top guides and rod tip repair kits. It is possible you might be able to use the original guide that’s dangling on the line.

To remove the original guide, take a cigarette lighter, slowly heat it up and slip it off the damaged tip. You might have to use a pair of pliers to avoid burning your fingers.

To replace it first inspect the end of the rod and make sure it is a clean break without splinters running down the shaft of the rod. Make sure the repair kit guide is the right size then glue it on using the included glue. Typically it is melted with a lighter. If you are using the original guide and opt not to buy a repair kit, a high temp glue stick will work.

If too much of the tip is broken off or by chance you break it mid-way it’s a much bigger problem. It is important to note that even a small repair can significantly change the action. To fix a mid break you can take a section of an old scrap rod and make an internal slice, cut a section that fits inside both sides of the break on the rod you are repairing; slip both sides over the break and glue in place, but this rarely works well even when professionally done.

Sometimes it’s best to just scrap the broken rod for parts and be done with it, which is extremely painful for our favorite or premium rods.

The best way to avoid fixing a rod is to prevent breaking it in the first place. Most all rods are broken going to and from your favorite fishing area and not while fishing. The best solution to prevent damage is to transport it properly.

Even if you break a rod on a monster fish chances are it was damaged before the first cast. The old adage “That fish was so big it broke my rod!” doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.Rod protection during travel is easy when using a Rod Vault ST (https://denveroutfitters.com/rod-vault-st/). Designed to fit on most vehicles’ roof racks; rods are stored, locked up and protected from banging around and slamming car doors. They will be also be ready and rigged upon arrival at the water and back home again. Many anglers just leave rods in the Rod Vault ST all the time rigged and ready to fish at a moments notice.

Don’t be that guy that is always breaking rods and blaming it on someone or something else. With proper care fishing rods should last a lifetime.

New Illinois State Record Smallmouth

New Illinois State Record Smallmouth Bass Gobbles Z-Man® Ned Rig 
Downtown Chicago waterfront serves up 7-pound 3-ounce whopper — and it’s still swimming
Press Release:

Ladson, SC (October 23, 2019) – Most of Chicago’s 2.7-million residents were fast asleep. But for avid angler Joe Capilupo, the night of Monday, October 14 provided the perfect opportunity to cast for Lake Michigan smallmouth bass. The payoff, as it turned out, would more than justify a little loss of shut-eye.

Working their usual Chi-town fishing turf, Capilupo and two friends had cast and moseyed their way from the Shedd Aquarium, south toward Buckingham Fountain without much action. Twenty minutes before 11pm, a police officer strolled by to remind the anglers the Monroe Harbor lakefront park would soon be closing.

At 10:50pm, Capilupo felt something crack his Ned rig. “Soon as I set the hook, the fish started pulling really hard, stripping drag,” recalls Capilupo, a Cook county corrections officer. “Figured I had probably hooked a drum or maybe a bigger bass.” Darkness prevented Capilupo from getting a good look at the fish until he worked it slightly closer to shore.

“When the fish finally flashed in the water, I thought, my gosh, I’ve got a huge smallmouth bass!  But even then, I figured it couldn’t have gone more than 5-pounds, which had been my goal for several years.“I reached for the net and hollered for my buddies Jonny Pitelka and Myles Cooke to come over and help.” 
New Illinois Smallmouth Record
As Capilupo stretched out to maneuver the smallmouth bass into his net, the fish woke up and tail-walked clear of the water. “It was an incredible jump, but it kind of gave me a heart attack,” he laughed. Fortunately for the LeGrange, Illinois angler, the big bass’ head-shake didn’t dislodge the Z-Man jig and Finesse TRD from its jaw.

“When we finally got the fish to shore, I got a better look at her and thought she might go 6 (pounds). The bass was so big my buddies actually had to help me lift it up.”After a handheld scale displayed a weight of 7-pounds 5-ounces, the anglers realized the smallmouth bass might eclipse the state record. Capilupo and friends started dialing friends, outdoor writers, Illinois fisheries officials or anyone who might help register the bass on a certified scale.

“We couldn’t reach anyone at first. Nobody believed us, so I went on social media and someone told us to go to nearby Henry’s Sports and Bait. Meanwhile, another friend had brought big garbage bags which we filled with water. My mom delivered a large cooler and another buddy had returned from Wal-Mart with an aerator. We stayed up all night and made sure the fish stayed in the water and regained its strength.“Eventually, a co-owner and store employee met us at Henry’s,” noted Capilupo. “Their reaction was incredible; they were blown away by the fish, and helped us really take good care of it in one of their special bait tanks.” 
By 1:30pm on Tuesday, the bass had at last been certified by a Department of Natural Resources biologist. Officially, the bass weighed 7-pounds 3-ounces, measuring 22-1/4-inches in length and 16-1/2-inches in girth. The previous Illinois state record smallmouth weighed 6-pounds 7-ounces, caught in 1985.

Recalling some of the misfortunes he faced earlier that Monday, Capilupo said his favorite St. Croix rod had gone overboard while kayak fishing. Somehow, his friend Pitelka managed to snag and save the outfit—a St. Croix Mojo Bass rod and Daiwa Legalis reel. “It just didn’t feel like my day,” recalls Capilupo, who had up until his big bite, landed only a small rock bass. “I’d also lost A 15-incher (bass) and had a good-sized drum break my hook. It was an old, rusty hook and I should have switched out.

”Ultimately, having tied on a fresh 1/5-ounce Z-Man Ned Rig jighead onto which he threaded his favorite bass bait— a California Craw pattern Finesse TRD— Capilupo made the cast that reversed his fortune. “The Z-Man Ned rig is really the only bait we throw for smallmouths,” he said. “It’s our go-to, never-fail bait, for sure.”

Capilupo described the fateful cast, which occurred not far from the Shedd Aquarium. “I had just put on a new California Craw TRD and cast out about 20 feet. That longer 7-foot 1-inch St. Croix is the perfect rod for shorecasting. I let the lure drop to the bottom and gave it a little twitch. I picture the retrieve as a frog hopping. Right after that first hop, I felt a big jarring hit and set the hook.”
More than twenty-four hours later, the trio of anglers huddled in Henry’s back-rooms to discuss the planned release of their prized smallmouth bass. As Henry’s Sports and Bait co-owner Tom Palmisano told Chicago Sun Times outdoor columnist Dale Bowman, “He (Capilupo) is one of the classiest fishermen in the world. His buddy was sitting in the back of my store, tending to the fish like a newborn baby on its way home from the hospital. I can’t think of a happier moment in my years in the business.”

“We knew we wanted to release the bass back into Lake Michigan,” noted Capilupo. “And there’s no question, the bass was in beautiful shape when we did.“Back into Lake Michigan, she goes,” Capilupo recited in a YouTube video documenting the release. “Thanks buddy. Great fight. Great fish. Seven pounds 3 ounces. Smallmouth bass.”

Cody Hahner ST. CROIX PROFILE

ST. CROIX PROFILE:

FLW Pro/STC Pro Staffer, Cody Hahner
Press Release

Park Falls, WI (June 4, 2019) – Cody Hahner, age 26, is one of the youngest St. Croix pro-staffers. An electrical worker from Wausau, Wisconsin with a penchant for muskies, Hahner is also an up-and-coming bass pro who broke onto the on the FLW Tour last year with a rousing rookie season. He cashed a few checks and qualified for the prestigious 2018 Forest Wood Cup.

Hahner came late to bass fishing, growing up – as many Midwesterners do – with a love of walleyes and a serious musky obsession. “It wasn’t until I learned that colleges had bass fishing clubs that I made the switch,” he recalls. “Once I realized I could fish and travel while still in school, I chose to attend the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, because they had a reputable team. Everything just snowballed from there.”

After graduating college and joining the FLW, Hahner got off to a fast start during his inaugural season. The sophomore jinx has him off to a slower beginning this year. Even so, Hahner remains determined to excel on the circuit.

“Nothing a little hard work can’t fix,” he says without hesitation. “I’ll probably head home at some point and fish for bass and musky on my home waters. Once I start figuring out those fish, I’ll be back fishing the trail with renewed confidence. I absolutely love the competition in bass fishing, but taking an occasional breather to simply focus on the fun of fishing is one trick I use to refresh and get back in the groove.”

That’s some wise thinking. Even at a relatively young age, Hahner is displaying some of the traits most successful veteran pros seem to have in common, including a passion for hard work and a willingness to adjust and try new approaches. He’s also really serious about choosing his fishing rods.

“These are your main tools,” he says pointedly, “so you need high quality, durability and sensitivity and a fair price,” he explains. “That’s one reason I like St. Croix Rods. They have the right tools for so many specific tasks, and yet many can also cross over from one technique to another. That gives me the flexibility and versatility to really stay in the game.”

Take largemouth bass, for example. Hahner points to a 7’ 4” medium-heavy moderate Mojo Bass Glass casting rod as his all-around favorite. “It’s a crankbait rod that can also be used for chatterbaits,” he notes. “It’s comfortable to hold, super accurate, has significant backbone and loads with a slight delay, which is perfect for lures that require the fish to really get a good hold before the hook is set.”

For bronzebacks, Hahner prefers a 7’ 6, medium-light, extra-fast Legend Elite series rod, noting it’s super-sensitive and perfect for throwing spy baits and hair jigs. “Even with the spy baits, which have tiny treble hooks, when I stick a fish on that rod it stays buttoned,” he says.

As for those muskies, Hahner is dialed in on two preferred choices. He likes a 9’ Premier extra-heavy rod for tossing large rubber baits like Lake X Tullibees and Lake X Toads. For working slow-moving big plastics and blade baits, however, his choice is an 8’6” extra-heavy fast Mojo Musky series rod.

For other millennial anglers hoping to join the pro fishing trail, St. Croix’s young pro-staffer offers three simple tips:

“First, don’t fret too much about the business end of things, that will mostly take care of itself as you get established. Second, be genuine to those you meet. Doing so will help you go a lot further in this sport than you otherwise might. Lastly, get on the water as much as you can to continue gaining experience and learning from your mistakes. That’s how the best pros get ahead and stay there.”

That’s sage advice from a budding professional who’s already wiser than his years.

#stcroixrods

About St. Croix Rod

Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for over 70 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Tidemaster®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo®, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.

Fine Tune Finesse Fishing

Fine Tune Finesse Fishing with Mark Zona
from the Fishing Wire

Catch bass finesse fishing


How Hi-Vis Braid Provides An Edge In Detecting Subtle Finesse Bites

A decade ago, anglers were especially wary of hi-vis braids, preferring camouflage lines to everything else. That’s changed significantly with the success of finesse presentations like the ubiquitous wacky rig, Neko rig, drop shotting, the Ned rig, and countless other fish-catching finesse approaches. For many, hi-vis braid has become an indispensable part of the finesse rig, a way to monitor bites by sight and feel that simply increases hooked and boated bass.

One angler who’s made the conversion to hi-vis braid is Mark Zona, bass expert and TV fishing program host.

“Here’s what’s funny to me. 10 to 15 years ago a lot of us laughed at hi-vis braid and said, ‘What on Earth do I need this for? I need camouflage!’ Well, that thinking has gone by the wayside with spinning reel finesse fishing applications. It’s critical to have a hi-vis braided line. There’s no stretch in braid, so number one, you have much better sensitivity for bites. Then you add the visual aspect with the lack of stretch and that high level of sensitivity and you’re just putting more odds in your corner to land more fish. From a novice all the way to a professional angler, we look for every edge we can get in bite detection. That’s what this whole game is. If you’re using a braid that’s hard to see or camouflaged with the water with a fluorocarbon leader and you’re struggling to see bites, what you’re doing is absolutely pointless. I now probably apply hi-vis braid and a fluorocarbon leader to 80% of my finesse applications, whether it’s a drop shot, shakey head, etc.,” says Zona.

Especially in deeper water, bite detection when fishing finesse presentations becomes critical. Zona knows this well, spending much of his time in what he calls “crazy deep water”—20, 30, 40, 50, all the way down to 60 feet of water, working the bottom with finesse baits.

“That’s how I shoot my shows. To me, a hi-vis line is imperative. Sure, when you’re fishing in two feet of water or less, you don’t need to detect your bite as much because it transmits way faster. But when you’re fishing in deeper water as I am—10 feet all the way down into the abyss or 40, 50, or 60 feet—you’re looking for every edge you can get. Now, when I’m fishing the majority of my finesse techniques – power shotting, Neko rigging, standard dropshots, small finesse baits—basically everything—that braided line becomes, even more important than my rod, really, for telegraphing bites.”

One of the techniques Zona utilizes frequently is called power shotting, which is basically a very heavy drop shot application with ½-ounce to ¾-ounce drop shot weights.

“That’s one of my approaches in 20, 30, 40 feet of water. When my bait is down there on a six or eight-pound Seaguar AbrazX fluorocarbon leader, I can literally tell you when a fish breathes on the bait with that hi-vis braid’s combo of no-stretch sensitivity and sight detection.”

But the same applies for drop shotting in all depths, especially when fishing vertically. Even if you’re using a lighter 1/8- to ¼ ounce weight, the sensitivity and visual aspect of a line like Seaguar’s Smackdown Hi-Vis Flash Green and fluorocarbon leader just communicates bites faster than any other line combination can provide.

Another deep water finesse application that benefits from hi-vis braid is Zona’s use of a Neko rig, essentially a weighted finesse or stick worm. Same goes when he’s fishing a standard Wacky rig.

“One of the things I can tell you, a wacky rig or Neko rig is probably tied on in every single boat across the country, period. And that is one of many applications where Seaguar’s Smackdown Hi-Vis Flash Green has really made a difference. I shot a show recently where I got on a school of bass out deep where I was catching them on a Neko Rig and that line jumps on camera to where the viewer could watch at home and tell I just got a bite! It was that impressive,” says Zona.

He continues: “What’s amazing is how well the high-visibility of the Seaguar Smackdown Hi-Vis Flash Green emits a bite; it’s staggering. When you get a bite, the color green line jumps like the green in a traffic light for ‘go’ and you just can’t miss it.”

The Ned rig is another finesse presentation that benefits greatly from a line like Seaguar’s Hi-Vis Flash Green. It allows you to see when your bait is falling through the water column and you can watch when it stops and the bait hits the bottom. Then, as you put a little tension on the line, not only can you feel and see any subtle jerk or sideways motion you can now decipher bottom content. The combination of braid and fluorocarbon leader allows you to tell when that Ned rig bumps into rock or slides through weeds—which is pretty much impossible with an extruded line alone.

That is the common aspect in fine-tuning any of your finesse fishing game—the use of a fluorocarbon leader, whether you’re power shotting, drop shotting, fishing a shaky head, wacky rig, Neko rig, Ned rig, small vertical baits like light jigging spoons, etc. A high-quality six to eight-pound fluorocarbon leader is perfect for most applications and you can even get away with 10 given how narrow and clear quality fluorocarbon is. Eight to 10-pound fluorocarbon also gives you a lot more abrasion resistance.

Whether you’re using a fluorocarbon like AbrazX or Tatsu it’s important you tie a good knot like a double-uni (aka uni-to-uni), cinch the knot tight and trim the tag ends closely to make movement through the end rod guide easier and necessitate longer casts, which are already 50% or so longer than using monofilament or fluorocarbon sans braid. The diameter is so narrow that there’s little resistance in the guides when you cast it, as well as how smoothly it winds off the spool. And with regards to tying line-to-leader knots like the double-uni, one trick that makes doing so much easier is wetting the end line of the braid, so it has some weight.

In terms of leader length, the higher you’re marking the fish in the water column on your sonar, the longer the fluorocarbon leader should be because you want to keep the braid out of their visual range. If bass are one or two feet off the bottom, they’re going to move down and eat stuff off the bottom, but you should have the knot and braid tied to a length that exceeds where they’re sitting. 24-inches or longer is a good place to start.

Back to the benefits of hi-vis braid, spooling your spinning reel with a high-visibility line like Seaguar’s Hi-Vis Flash Green also allows you to downsize the action of your rod, making it possible to use something with a little bit softer tip without losing any sensitivity. In fact, combine that rod sensitivity with what the line does and you can literally feel a fish breathe on your bait. The no-stretch characteristic of the hi-vis braid picks also up so much of the hookset that a high-quality rod like a St. Croix in the moderate to moderate fast action is a great match for finesse applications. This combination also delivers more visual information of what your bait is doing, with the line transmitting the wiggle, wobble, and other nuances of how your bait is performing under water, which is then telegraphed through the slightly softer spinning rod tip.

Like Zona, more anglers are turning to the use of hi-vis braid to fine tune their finesse fishing game—and for good reason. The other thing to keep in mind is that it’s a switch that not only makes sense in the bass realm but finesse fishing for all manner of fish—panfish, trout, walleye, striped bass, and just about any other freshwater and saltwater species you can think of. The recommendation? Give it a shot this season—you’ll be glad you did.

The Value of Fishing in North Dakota

The Value of Fishing

(Today’s feature, from Greg Power of the North Dakota Game & Fish Commission, is written for anglers in his home state, but many of the thoughts he offers could apply to many states nationwide in terms of the value of our fisheries.)
from The Fishing Wire

Have you ever wondered why the diamond on a ring may cost $10,000 or more, yet it has no material utility other than to shine? Or why a teaspoon of salty fish eggs may run $100, even if the majority of people would prefer nothing more than just the cracker on which the eggs are served?

Economists use various terms for these peculiarities, but in the end it frequently comes down to societal values. These values are often determined by demand and markets based on consumption and desire. Value is a broad term that is inherently difficult to fully understand, but is driven by a balance of human wants and needs.

Readers of North Dakota OUTDOORS are likely outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy fishing and hunting. If you pick apart why we participate in these recreational activities, the word “value” will surface. But due to history, backgrounds, income and so on, we “value” our resources differently.

For example, while some people are willing to pay a lot of money for a North Dakota bighorn sheep auction license, many others are not willing to hunt prairie dogs even though no license is needed.

After a long winter of snow and cold, the value of fishing in spring for northern pike that have moved into shallow water, some anglers would argue, is high.
In simple dollars and cents, tracking value is doable as defined metrics that are often used. According to a 2012 North Dakota State University economic study, on average, resident anglers spent $178 per day of fishing. Cumulatively, fishing in North Dakota generates considerable money, as the annual gross business volume of fishing totals $885 million. That’s a lot of money by any standard, and it is obvious that a high percentage of North Dakotans participate in fishing and spend a lot of money doing it.

Interestingly, this same study also assessed how much anglers value fishing. Survey respondents were asked to place a monetary value on a single day spent fishing. According to the study, these values do not imply spending levels, but rather indicated a measure of the importance for the participant of time spent fishing in the state.

The average North Dakota angler valued a day of fishing in our state at $178. Of real interest was that these were independent determinations, one asking how much they did spend fishing, the other asking how much they valued fishing (in dollars), and both groups came up with the same sum of $178 per day.

The value of fishing is far more than just about money. Societal shifts over time often change the significance of value. For example, there was time in human development where availability of fresh water was not an issue for inhabitants, but they did expend a lot of time procuring salt. Fast forward to today, and we often witness on many levels shortages of fresh water, but seldom give any thought to how to find salt.

Changes over time have also influenced angler interests and how individuals value fishing. If you go back 35 years, the North American (including Lake Sakakawea, North Dakotas’ largest walleye fishery) average harvest rate for walleye (hours fished per walleye harvested) was 8.5. Today, on average, it takes less than 3 hours to harvest a North Dakota walleye. (Incidentally, the average angler will harvest 25 walleyes over the course of the year with fillets valued at nearly $500).

If fishing/catching would revert to one walleye every 8.5 hours of fishing, its highly likely many anglers would no longer fish. Today’s anglers still value fishing, but it needs to include “catching” far more frequently than what was the norm a generation or two ago.

Another change in the value system is the desire from some anglers to conserve large fish (especially walleye, and to a lesser degree, northern pike). It’s hard to argue that walleye fishing on North Dakota’s Big Three – Lake Sakakawea, Devils Lake and Lake Oahe/Missouri River – isn’t better today than it was decades ago. And despite respectable walleye harvest during that time, our fishing regulations have remained the same. Yet, the opinion of some anglers to conserve large walleye has changed.

Often nowadays when anglers legally harvest a number of large walleye and take them to a fish cleaning station, they are met with disapproval by fellow anglers. If the same event would have occurred 20-30 years ago, they would have been met with high-fives and backslaps. Even without good supporting biological rational, it’s obvious that some people value conserving large fish today more than yesteryear.

The evolving thought process of anglers has also shifted in recent years in terms of wanting to protect the intrinsic value of fish. When it comes to game fish, this has been most apparent with northern pike. Many anglers enjoy catching pike, but lose interest when handling the fish.

The value of fishing, be it from shore, in a boat, on waters large and small in North Dakota, is far more than just about money.
Unfortunately, there is a small minority in the fishing community who consider all species other than walleye as trash fish, pike included. These individuals will even catch, keep and dispose of these pike in the weeds, cattails and elsewhere. This wanton waste of a valuable resource is looked upon poorly by a growing number of the angling public and these unwanted actions surely devalue the significance of fishing.

To that end, anglers should treat fish, whether kept or released, with care. The Game and Fish Department has some information resources on proper fish handling techniques on its website that all anglers should review. The worth of a walleye, pike, bass or other species is more than simple table fare, and all should be treated with respect.

Some argue that simply fishing in North Dakota, if not undervalued, is often underappreciated. Considering the bargain cost of a fishing license ($16 for an annual individual license), year-round angling opportunities and fewer fishing regulations than most states, fishing in North Dakota is truly a bargain.

Again, the value of fishing to the North Dakota angler varies dramatically, depending on the perspective of the 160,000 residents who fish.

Many anglers define the value of fishing by the number of hours or days on the water, while others value targeting big fish, or filling the livewell. Then there are those who simply value the smile on a kid’s face when the bobber dips below the surface.

No matter the motivation, most anglers generally value what North Dakota has to offer when it comes to fishing.

Golden Time for Fall Fishing in Wyoming

Now is the Golden Time for Fall Fishing in Wyoming According to the WGFD.
from The Fishing Wire

Cheyenne – October is the golden month for fall fishing. The fish are active, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department fish managers around the state agree it’s the best time to get outside with your rod.

Brown trout spawn in autumn so expect good action. A trip to the North Platte never disappoints, and there is plenty of public access. The Miracle Mile, Cardwell, Gray Reef and Saratoga reaches of the North Platte are all Blue Ribbon waters, holding more than 600 pounds of trout per mile. Anglers can expect to catch fish on streamers, nymphs and dry flies this time of year. The Miracle Mile is especially popular with fall anglers since October is when large brown trout from Pathfinder Reservoir begin moving into the river.

Brown trout seekers who visit the Salt River near Jackson will be rewarded with strong populations through December or January. The Salt River runs almost entirely on private land, but there are numerous public access areas for fishing. The Green and New Fork rivers are good options, too, that offer plenty of fishing access. Dry flies such as grasshoppers are still working during the day.

Some smaller North Platte tributaries near Laramie will also be rewarding. Laramie Regional Fisheries Supervisor Bobby Compton recommends visiting Big Creek, Brush Creek, Douglas Creek, French Creek, or the lower Encampment River. And, as usual, the Laramie Plains lakes will be hopping as temperatures cool. Good fishing is predicted at Meeboer, Gelatt Lake, Twin Buttes and Lake Hattie. Wheatland No. 3 is also expected to be hot again this season. At Hattie and Wheatland 3, anglers should watch for fall-spawning rainbow trout populations that swim close to the shore.

Rainbows are also flourishing and growing large in Boysen Reservoir this year. Game and Fish is stocking almost double the amount than in year’s past, and people have noticed an increase in quality and numbers.

For an all-around good trout experience, the North Tongue River, Middle Fork Powder River and Sand Creek are northern destinations not to be missed. Also, the Green River below Fontenelle Dam will have plenty of rainbow, Snake River cutthroat and Bear River cutthroat trout eagerly feeding on nymphs, San Juan worms and minnow patterns. The Finger Lakes near Pinedale are a good destination for lake trout — try Fremont, Boulder, Halfmoon and New Fork. Lake trout will move into the shallows starting in October as the nights dip into the 30s. Soda Lake continues to fish well and will be open to fishing until Nov. 14. Healthy looking browns and brook trout over 16 inches are common.

Anglers who target warm-water species should plan to head to waters around Sheridan, Casper and Lander. Healy Reservoir, near Buffalo, is a great destination for bass, with some largemouths over 20 inches and 5 pounds. Keyhole, in the northeast, has good water levels and the summer treated the fish well. Casper and Lander area waters should hold active walleye thanks to higher-than-normal flows from good snowpacks around the state.

“At Glendo, the main forage fish in the lake — gizzard shad — begin to die off in September and October, and the walleye and channel catfish really key in on this,” said Matt Hahn, Casper regional fisheries supervisor. “Anglers should plan on trolling crankbaits that resemble shad or vertical jig schools of suspended fish with jigging spoons.”

Hahn also points walleye-seekers to Pathfinder and recommends casting large swimbaits to the shore, especially in the upper end of the lake.

Farther west, Boysen Reservoir cleared in the late summer and Craig Amadio, the Lander regional fisheries supervisor, has heard excellent reports from the field.

“Walleye fishing is the best it’s been in a long time, and I expect that to be the case this fall. Walleye in Boysen are feeding on bigger fish now — perch and rainbow trout. A lot of anglers will troll open water using crankbaits and planer boards,” Amadio said.

October isn’t too late for an adventure. Many alpine lakes offer quality golden trout and cutthroat trout if you’re prepared to fish in the snow. Higher elevations are known for storms as early as September. Thumb Lake and Atlantic Lake are a couple good golden trout waters, and the Wind River Range has goldens in the Sweeney Lakes and Hobbs Lake. Chasing tiger trout is an option for anglers wanting to reel in something different; visit Upper Silas Lake, Willow Park Reservoir and Cow Lake.

An added bonus of fall fishing is the solitude. Many avid sportsmen and women have exchanged rods for rifles by October. For those looking for a peaceful angling trip, visit Grayrocks and Hawk Springs in the southeast for walleye, crappie and bass. Boysen is also expected to be less crowded as hunters head afield. Robb Keith, Green River fisheries supervisor, reminds anglers that the Hams Fork River downstream of Kemmerer City Reservoir is home to a variety of trout species and has public access through a Game and Fish fishing easement along the river in a stretch of private land below the reservoir. Bring your streamers as the fall progresses, dry flies and grasshoppers won’t do here.

If elbow room and aggressively feeding fish sound like a good combo, the Shoshone River below Buffalo Bill Dam should be on the list. Between Buffalo Bill Dam and Willwood Dam there are 2,500 trout per mile and relatively good access for both wading and floating. Big Horn Lake and the Bighorn River will also be less crowded and the sauger big and active — the biggest tipping 5 to 6 pounds, with an average of 2 to 4 pounds. Sam Hochhalter, Cody regional fisheries supervisor, recommends everything from jigs and crankbaits to night crawlers and live minnows to bring in a big one.

What Are Grass Shrimp?

Grass shrimp: Small bait, Big Results
Today’s feature comes to us from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.
from The Fishing Wire

If you fish for panfish and haven’t tried grass shrimp yet, then you need to know: You’re missing out! Freshwater grass shrimp are an excellent bait for all species of sunfish, come free and are usually easy to collect.

There are a variety of species of grass shrimp, and as the name implies grass shrimp are usually associated with vegetation. They reach about two inches in size. But all you need to know as an angler is that grass shrimp catch fish! Although used primarily as a panfish bait, few freshwater fish will turn their nose up at a grass shrimp including bass up to several pounds.

So how do you get this great bait? In most lakes, it’s fairly easy. You’ll need a sturdy-framed, long-handled dip net with a mesh size of 1/4″ or so. A larger mesh will let shrimp escape, while a finer mesh will become clogged with vegetation and silt and not drain well. Any kind of reinforcement of the net bag around the frame is a major plus, because this net will really be “beating the bushes.” Bait and tackle shops sell a variety of nets that will work, but if you have trouble finding an ideal net, this certainly won’t prevent you from catching shrimp. As long as the mesh size is about right, almost any dip net should work at least moderately well.

Next, you’ll need a lake or canal with some vegetation in it. Emergent shoreline grass is ideal, but any shoreline vegetation that you can readily run your net through should produce results. “Beat” the net through the vegetation in several consecutive sweeps through the same spot, pushing the vegetation down as you sweep (the vegetation usually pops back up unharmed). Then plop the net on the ground and pick through the vegetation accumulated in the bottom of the net bag for your tiny quarry.

The shrimp go into a standard small bait bucket or “minnow bucket” with latching lid, available at most bait and tackle shops. Two versions of these plastic buckets are available, one just the standard bucket and the other a ventilated bucket that rests inside a larger bucket. The ventilated bucket design makes water changes easy—just pull it out of the main bucket, let the water drain, and then submerge it in the lake to refill it before placing it back in the main bucket. You can also leave such a bucket in the water, but some of the grass shrimp you catch will be small enough to work their way out of the holes—ditto for draining the bucket if the day’s catch of shrimp is running small. Grass shrimp are a hardy bait, and only an occasional water change is needed to keep them healthy as long as they are kept cool and out of the sun.

Because of both the small size of a sunfish’s mouth and the diminutive size of the grass shrimp, use a #8 or #10 Aberdeen hook when fishing shrimp for sunfish. Hook the bait through the bend in the tail. Keep your bobber equally small; it takes almost no flotation at all to suspend a grass shrimp. One-inch, cylindrical foam bobbers work well. These also put up little resistance when a wary sunfish takes the bait; it will be more likely to hang onto the shrimp rather than dropping it. Position the bobber about three feet above the hook for starters, but adjust for a deeper presentation if you don’t get any bites pretty quickly. Use a tiny split shot to sink the shrimp to the desired depth.

Of course, grass shrimp can also be fished on the bottom—where the bigger bluegill and redear sunfish often congregate. (A general rule when going after bream is to fish deeper if all you are catching are small ones.) Use only enough weight to cast your bait where you want to place it, and keep it there—that’s usually just a couple of split shot or at most a 1/8 ounce egg sinker set a foot or so ahead of the bait. Set the hook as soon as you feel a bite—fish will swallow grass shrimp without hesitation, so there’s no need to delay when the strike comes.

So there you have it. Grass shrimp may not always work better than live worms or crickets, but they do nearly always work at least as well. And they’re as fun to catch as they are to fish—give them a try!

Keys To Catching Clarks Hill Bass

Keys to Catching Clarks Hill Bass eBook

Ten spots on Clarks Hill Lake for each month of the year, with GPS Coordinates, description, lures to use and how to fish each one
By: Ronnie Garrison – ISBN: 978-1-940263-00-7

From Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month series of articles and the eBook series “Keys to Catching Georgia Bass”

2013 © Ronnie Garrison – All Rights Reserved
Maps – 2013 © Georgia Outdoor News – All Rights Reserved

How to Use This Book

The articles for this series of books, Keys to Catching Georgia Bass, were written over a span of 15 years. Conditions change but bass tend to follow patterns year after year.
For example, Clarks Hill has gone through a series of years with low water then full again. After a couple of years of low water, grass and bushes grow that will be flooded in shallow water when the lake fills. But after a few years that cover rots away. Bass will still be in the same areas, you just have to fish the cover in them that is available when you fish.

Some years the water is clear and some years stained to muddy during the same months. The patterns and places in these articles will still work, but you may need to adjust the color of the bait to the conditions.
New baits and tackle companies come along every year but you can always find old favorite baits or similar baits from a new company that were produced by a defunct company, or use the new ones that are similar in action.
The GPS Coordinates given for each spot will get you very close to what you want to fish. An old brush pile on the coordinates may be gone, but you can bet another one will be in the same place or very nearby.

Some spots are on more than one map for more than one month. You can bet that is a good spot, if more than one good fisherman chose it! Some spots are good year round, over many months.

The eBook is $4.99. I may have some copies printed but the price would be about $10.00. If you want a printed copy please email me at ronnie@fishing-about.com to reserve a copy if I do have them printed.

Social Media and Fishing

Social Media and Fishing

Since you are reading this on-line there is a good chance you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account or are active on some other form of social media. Social media and fishing go together in a lot of ways.

I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and spend way too much time on Facebook. But I am learning that you have to be discriminating on what you click on. Just because something has an interesting title, or a picture of a fish does not mean it is worth looking at on Facebook.

Some things are an instant turn off to me and keep me from clicking on the post. Anytime a fisherman is shown in a picture holding up a bass or any other fish, and the fisherman has his mouth open wide, I instantly wonder if he is so surprised he actually caught a fish his open mouth shows his shock, or if he is trying to catch flies.

If there is just a picture of a fisherman smiling or grinning like he is happy to be holding up a big fish it gets my attention, but if there is no caption, no information about the picture it is a turn off and I know if I click on it I still won’t get any information. If you post a picture of you and a fish at least tell where you were fishing. A little about what you were using and how you caught it helps, unless you make your post an advertisement. Saying you could not have made the catch without using one of your sponsor’s products is just plain silly. That bass would not have hit your crankbait unless you were using a certain brand of rod? Sure thing.

Even worse than no information is the current trend of posting a dozen or so hashtags for sponsors or something -again, no info, just a string of words with a “#” in front of them that tell you absolutely nothing about the picture – worth nothing but a fast scroll on to something informative.

Even worse than a mouth open gaping pose with a fish are some buzz words. If they are in the title or caption I will not look at them. Thankfully, they are usually not used with fishing posts.
“Life changing” is another buzz comment I refuse to look at on social media. If my life is so miserable a Facebook post can change it, I am beyond hope. Better to just go fishing! And if something is “epic’ why do I have to hear about it on Facebook? According to the “Urban dictionary” epic is the most over-used word on the internet, followed by ‘’fail,” another buzz word I ignore. And if it is an “”epic fail” you better watch out!

“Game Changer” in a heading makes me change to another topic so I guess it really is a game changer. “Life Changer” is even worse. For some reason I kinda doubt a picture on the internet is going to change my life! Arnold said “Make My Day” and it became iconic, but no web page is going to make my day. I have a life.

Social media is fun but there are definitely some things I don’t like. How about you?