A good ol' fashioned warmwater report

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by atomic dog, May 13, 2013.

  1. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 487
    Pasco
    Ratings: +317 / 0
    On Saturday I decided to get up early and drive my wife to work up in Grant County. It just so happens that we have to drive past one of my favorite places to fish, a couple of warmwater lakes in a sea of trout holes. When I used to live up that way, I spent a day or two out there every week. It's part of the reason for my return to fly fishing and totally the reason I learned to build my own fly rod - A 2 weight, perfect for dealing with hungry bluegill.

    I loaded the pontoon boat into the truck, dropped off my wife and was on the water by 8am. I have a basic litmus test for this place. If there are bluegill milling about in the shallow water of the primitive boat launch I should have a good day of fishing. Turns out there were a bunch of them sitting there looking up at me when I wandered down to the water's edge, along with a couple nice largemouth. I couldn't resist a quick flip of a fly out there and on my first cast, before I had even gotten into the water I had my first fish of the day in hand.

    I launched and headed straight for the upper lake, it gets less pressure and would likely make for a quieter day. Rather than rush out, I kicked along and trolled.

    [IMG]

    Not a lot going on away from the shore, it's a bit deep and my floating line wouldn't get down near the bottom, but mostly any cast up into the reeds resulted in at least a strike or two.

    Once I made it to my first stop in the upper lake I decided to tie on a popper. There was cloud cover, so I thought I might entice a bass to come up. A handful of casts all resulted in the same: The abundant 'gills would attack the tail of the popper and try to pull it under, even though it was too big for even the largest of them. Finally, though, after letting the rings disperse from the water on splashdown, there was a good swirl of water and my popper was gone. That weren't no bluegill! Sure enough, a spunky little largemouth had swallowed it whole.

    [IMG]

    I didn't have any luck with the popper after that, so I switched it up and went with a double fly setup that I favor for this place. It's a bit of a hassle dealing with two flies, but there are a bunch of different kinds of fish in here and I like to fish stuff that has a chance to catch em all. In my 7 hours on the water, the species list ended up being: largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and perch. Also, these panfish tend to go into a feeding frenzy when something edible-looking hits the water. The result sometimes ends up like this:

    [IMG]

    Doubles are always entertaining.

    I wasn't able to find the big female bluegill on their beds like I had in the past, but there were more small fish than I could shake a stick at. Many were 5" or so, some up to 7" and fat. This was a pretty average sized fish.

    [IMG]

    The highlight for me, though, was getting into a couple schools of crappie. Iv'e caught plenty of them here in the past, but never consistently, it was always an occasional thing. Once I had found the first one on this day, though, I found plenty more along with them. This is the first of the bunch that I picked up. Put a nice bend in Eagle Claw. This one measured 10" on the ruler.
    [IMG]


    At first I was just releasing them, but after 4 or five of these I decided that I was letting a perfectly good fish fry swim away and started keeping them. In the end I took home 7 of them, a decent start to a bag of fillets.

    I paddled back out in early afternoon to make it in time to pick my wife back up from work. Now I'm really anxious to get back up there and a little bummed that I haven't made the trip in the past couple years. It kind of felt like putting on an old comfy pair of shoes. This place just fits, and has a bunch of good memories in our history together.
  2. Shawn West Active Member

    Posts: 276
    Vancouver,Washington
    Ratings: +117 / 0
    Very nice report Dog. It looks like you were using a cat whisker and McGinty. Those are great flies for pan fish. I will be hitting my special bluegill lake at the end of the month. I can't wait. My 2wt needs some love.

    Shawn
  3. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    Great Report. I need to try out more of those warm water lakes soon. My guess is a another week or so will get some big gills on the nests.
  4. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 487
    Pasco
    Ratings: +317 / 0
    Correct on the McGinty. I had to retire the fly it got so chewed up. The other fly is a Crappie Candy, which, after a search looks a lot like a Cat Whisker.

    I saw some good sized bass milling around in the shallows. No beds, but they definitely were staking out some territory for it. I'm guessing by the time I can get back out there the crappie will be done spawning, but everything else will be queing up their Barry White records and putting red hankeys over the lampshade.
    Patrick Gould likes this.
  5. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,996
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,570 / 0
    I always laugh when the bluegill try to eat a LMB popper. How the devil do they think they can eat the thing with those little mouths?

    I use a pattern similar to a McGinty we call a Bluegill Bee. It works quite well and sometimes also catches bass. As you probably noticed, when using two patterns and you catch two gill's at once, you have a heck of a fight on your hands... for their size, those little guys fight like banshees.
  6. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    I always love it when I'm sure I'm fighting a 1lb bass and it turns out to be a 1/2lb bluegill. What a great little fish.
    GAT and McNasty like this.
  7. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,053
    .
    Ratings: +1,064 / 0
    Great report Dog. That lake looks familar, glad to hear it is fishing well. Are the cormorants still hangin' around?

    Ive
  8. Skysoldier Trout Hunter

    Posts: 726
    Lost in the woods.....
    Ratings: +185 / 0
    Looks like an awesome time Dog thanks for sharing. I sure miss having a good warm water fishery around.
  9. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 487
    Pasco
    Ratings: +317 / 0
    Ive, I didn't notice a lot of cormorants. There were plenty of pelicans about, though. And the redwing blackbirds' singing takes me to a happy place. It's not spring in the Basin without their song in the air.
  10. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,996
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,570 / 0
    That happens to me quite often. The tip-off is if they swim around in circles when hooked. I'm not sure what that is all about but the little guys are sure feisty.

    Redwing blackbirds are some of my favorites. Their song always reminds me of fishing in NE Oregon.
  11. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    Very nice. Very professional.
  12. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 487
    Pasco
    Ratings: +317 / 0
    I am a pro. Next week I'm planning to drop my bass boat into the Hood Park pond. That 150 horse motor'll get me across to the best fishing spots in no time flat. Plus I have patches to sew all over my fishing shirt. Patches are important.
    GAT and Steve Call like this.
  13. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,149
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +961 / 1
    I admire a man who has large horsepower. I am envious as I only have 115.
  14. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    I'll be impressed if you even get it on plane. So will your insurance company.
  15. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +105 / 0
  16. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 487
    Pasco
    Ratings: +317 / 0
    The reel in the first pic is a Lamson Konic. Great little reel.