Sunday, April 12, 2015

April: Time for white bass

April 5, 2015 Sunday: I did have a long weekend but with a 2.5 inch rain days before, the water was running high in most streams and Taneycomo continues to run four generators with the lake up ten feet. Bull Shoals is now at 666.5 feet and the water’s edge is almost over the new road to the Power house at Power site dam.  Even with the water coming over the dam, the water currents are not as swift. The kayak easy moves about. I figured the three trees are thirteen feet to the bottom. I move up and down the east side; still no bait fish. There were a few splashes heard, possibly trout. I did see Jim Stauffer ease a boat in on the west side near the walleye hole. He fish near the dam, probably targeting strippers. I did talk with two fellows from Ava, they were looking for strippers and used six to eight inch soft plastic floppers. They reported the water temperature to be 43 degrees and reported the day before some white caught out of Swan Creek. I finished fishing at 9 PM with one trout released.

April 9, 2015 Thursday: The storms went north of Springfield overnight, with very little rain in the area. I checked the USGA report for the Little Sac River and the gauge was at 3.5 feet with a discharge of 290 cfs. I called Ralph to let him know I planned to fish and may not be back to Springfield for the MSU class. I drove to Morrisville and unloaded the kayak at Taylor Bridge. I paddled up stream and fished just below the power lines. I found white bass in the seams using a purple and orange Clouser minnow. I had fourteen fish in the cooler in short time and went a little farther upstream to fish that water. There I found a few more white bass and made several passes through that stretch of water. It was after 2 PM and I figured one more fish and head back to Springfield to clean fish with plenty of time to attend the MSU class. I was back in Springfield before 4 PM and had a limit of white bass cleaned and ready for a club fish fry.

April 10, 2015 Friday: I returned to the Little Sac early in the morning, awake at 6 AM and at the bridge before 8 AM. There were few locals fishing near and around the bridge. I paddled upstream to the same waters as the day before and found fish along the banks in eddy water. I had a limit before 9:30 AM and returned to Springfield to clean fish. There were eight fly fishing fellows that came in behind me, walking in from the road. The white bass are starting to spawn, thus the start of the spawn and hope it will last a few weeks.

April 16, 2015 Thursday: I drove to Michigan earlier in the week to help my parents with their computer, set up a new printer and checking on their welfare. My brother and I made plans to fish the Pere Marquette River. He had fished it several times this year with moderate success taking several steelhead trout. My last trip to this wild and scenic river was late last November, taking a few brown trout and small trout. I missed out hooking into a steelhead.
Water near hangman cabin Pere Marquette River
I woke at 3:10 AM and was at my brother’s house at 4 AM. From there we drove three hours to Walhalla, met the river at the Maple Leaf access. We walked the path to the river by 7:30 AM and saw a couple of fishermen already fishing. The river was up a foot with stained water to eighteen inches. Many of the places to cross the river would not be accessible. We made our way upstream to the boundary water to start our day. It rained most of the morning with the air temperature in the high forties. I made several passes through this stretch of water without any takes before moving down stream. There was some activity with heads and tails seen along river left, it’s a place where I taken fish in the past. Again, no takes in familiar water. Moving on downstream, I fished a stretch where I took several small trout and an eighteen inch brown last fall. My phone went off at 11:30 AM and took a call from my brother. He reported, one 12 lb steelhead landed and five lost. He caught a dozen browns in slack water and a few small trout. I decided to move to the area, we call the hangman. I could not find a spot down river to cross, so I retreat were I crossed earlier this day. As I stepped out of the water, Kirk met me on the path. He said the hangman had plenty of fish. So, I walked downstream for 20 minutes to finish my day near the waters familiar to me for many years. There were eight steelhead trout seen when I approached the waters, and several smaller trout scurrying about. Within the first 15 minutes I caught two small steelies, one was twenty inches and the other 22 inches, both were returned quickly to the water. I finally, hooked a larger fish and it took me down stream, after a five minute tussle it shook off and it was free. Finally after some coaxing, I hooked into a larger fish which took me down stream and had an opportunity to get a photo before releasing it. 

It was estimated to be twenty-six inches and probably weighed six pounds. I had a few more quick hits, which the hook point missed its mark but all was good. Kirk met me at the hangman at 3:30 PM; he released a few more browns. We stayed until 4:30 PM and returned to Grand Rapids were we met our sister for dinner. It was good to hook up and see a few steelhead trout. Hope to return in the fall.
Taylor Bridge on the Little Sac River near Morrisville
April 20, 2015 Monday: I returned to Springfield from Michigan Saturday night. Sunday I spent the day mowing the lawn and duties around the house. Monday, I took the day off to go fish. I returned to the Little Sac River before 10 AM. There were a few cars in the parking lot and a few fishermen fishing from the banks. The river was up a little with Stockton Lake on the rise. The stream gauge indicated 3.2 feet with the lake at 869.2 feet. It was sunny and I had to slip on some sunglasses. I met three boats going up stream; all were throwing hardware with a spinning outfit. I found a place where no one was around and started to pick up small males and quickly released five white bass. Working the streamer downstream, found some eddy water and found larger fish with half of them being female. Over the next two hours, kept a limit of white bass and returning another limit. It was afternoon and I took to the woods to find a dozen morel mushrooms; which is all a delight to find these taste treats. I left the water at 3 PM and returned to Springfield to clean fifteen white bass. I hope to return to fish on Thursday.

Connie figures out the fly rods were left in Springfield
April 23, 2015 (Thursday): There are days when one fishes; that it is about the adventure, not the number of fish caught. I picked up Rod at his office at 9 AM. We were off to the Little Sac River. Charlie and Connie Erickson were to meet us at the bridge. When Rod and I pulled up to the bridge access, we saw Dan Ditzler walking to the water. 
Dan asking who forgot their fly rods?
We stopped and talked with him briefly and he mentioned Bill Blondeau was with him fishing below the bridge. Connie and Charlie were setting up their canoe getting ready to launch, then Connie asked” where are the fly rods”. To every one’s dismay, Charlie said he left them in Springfield, but he did bring the golf clubs. We scrambled to find extra rods, and Dan and Bill came through with their spare rods. Rod, Charlie and Connie took off for power line hole. I waited for Bill; he wanted to fish up stream. So, I gave him lift. Dan declined to go, as he was about to leave for the day. I took Bill in the canoe and we made it without incident, but he did about fall into the water head first getting into the canoe. I was on the other side and was able to keep him in the canoe. 

Bill and Rod getting ready to make the trip back to the bridge
Rod and I had a short window to fish as he had a client to meet in Springfield at 2 PM. So, we fished until 12:30 PM and left each catching a limit. 

Rod caught a limit of white bass with ten on a stringer
Rod kept ten and I kept eight for a total of eighteen for the freezer. Bill returned with us, when we pulled up below the bridge, I told Bill to hold on to the canoe as I slipped out from the rear into that water to help him get out. Unfortunately, we lean to same way and Bill almost went into the water headfirst. Rod helped to stabilize the canoe and I caught Bill as he got his right shoulder wet. Bill was fine with the adventure and hopefully had a good time. So, the time period to fish was short but a fun day of fishing for all.

April 24, 2015 (Friday): And on some days fishing and catching can be great… the threat of thunderstorms must have kept most people at home. When I pulled in at Taylor Bridge at 5 PM on the Little Sac River, there was one boat pulling out and no one else seen for the rest of the day. I paddled up stream in my kayak to fish the same area as past days. The lake (869.5 ft.) had come up another 3 inches with the stream down a bit (2.95 ft.). I found some small white bass below the submerged tree to the end of the point. I found four white bass of size below the point. It was tough finding fish for the first hour or two as I covered most of the fished water from days past to find the elusive white bass, but had some trouble getting them to bit or maybe the fish moved with the rising lake. I was able to take a few small white bass here and there and as the sun was settling the western sky. 

First walleye of the year

I finally caught my first walleye of the year. It was under a foot and was quickly released. The sun was on the horizon with the glorious colors of visible light reflecting off of nature scenery. I enjoy evening fishing just before dark. 

I was not happy with the number and size of fish and was deciding where to finish this night of fishing. I decided to go up stream and found a pod of large white bass below the power lines. I was able to take one fish after another and in a short time had a stringer of fish 14-16 inches. 

I figured with this limit and releasing 25 smaller white bass that I caught forty white bass; In addition to the white bass, a line bass was released, and snagged a six-inch shad was returned to the water. I left the power line hole at 8 PM and returned to Taylor Bridge, it was almost 9:30 PM when I was home and had some supper. It was a good day of fishing and catching.

April 28, 2015 (Tuesday): Bob Randall and I met at Lowe’s near the intersection of Hwy 13 and I-44.  From there, we traveled in different vehicles to Morrisville and on to Taylor Bridge to fish the Little Sac River. We had our kayaks in the water by 9:30 AM and moving upstream to the power line hole.  There were a few white bass caught in the current of the power line hole, but we moved up into the waters of the S-curve. There were two other fishermen in separate boats moving up stream. Bob and I fished the S-curve for a few hours finding a few fish. One of the fellows that went upstream came back through, he said the waters near the old barn had many fish and it did not take him long to limit out. Bob and I moved up and fished the water near the old barn and did find more fish willing to take a fly.  

Bob and I each limited out on white bass and returned to Taylor Bridge and on the road back to our homes by 4 PM.

April 30, 2015 (Thursday): I met Rod Pennington at Taylor Bridge a few minutes after 10AM. Rod had planned to fish a half day and I made plans to fish with Jenn and Des late afternoon. Rod and I each took a boat upstream. Rod took my kayak and I went upstream with the 14-foot canoe with oars. There were a number (eight) of fly fishermen at the power line hole and above.  Rod and I moved on past them and went up to the area near the old barn. There we caught a few white bass, several measured at 16.5 inches.  We continued to fish upstream and went another quarter mile. We found fish in the shadows along steep banks. I did hook and release a 14.5-inch walleye that appeared to still have an egg belly. Rod and I fished until 3 PM and returned to Taylor Bridge with each having a limit of white bass. Rod left to meet some friends and I stayed until Jenn and Des showed up.

Jenn and Des arrived at 4 PM. The boats were already in the water and we paddled and rowed our way upstream. I decided to fish the area below the Power line hole. 

Jenn and Des did not were not wearing waders and had sandals for wading.  So, we fished in an area easy to wade. Des was not happy with the mud on his feet and felt more comfortable standing in the water with his mother. Jenn caught a white bass within the first thirty minutes and then hooked into a larger fish. She and Des had a good time landing a twenty-inch carp. 

Jenn did not want to get a photo with it, so Des and I showed off her catch. We stayed for more than an hour and then Des announced it was time to leave and we did. We finished the evening by dining at Pizza House on Commercial Street. We all had good time fishing on the Little Sac River.