Think'n about bass

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by GAT, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. During the crummy months of winter in The Willamette Valley, sometimes I take a time trip and look at some of the bass photos I've taken over the years. Some of these, as you can tell by the donut tubes, were taken long ago. Still... it's fun to time travel and remember the "good ol' days" and wonder how this summer will unfold...

    McNasty and Eyejuggler like this.
  2. They seem to do a lot of thinkin' about bass in Oregon. I was pulling out of a gas station in Sutherlin one day on my way to Shasta. I had a 12' Livingston with a little 7.5hp Honda behind my pickup. Just as I was about to enter the highway a cop pulled up and cut me off. He got out of the car with his Sinister Shades, billy club and big firearm strapped on and looked pretty intimidating. I had no idea what this was all about. He asked me where I was going with the boat having taken note of the Washington license plate I suppose. I told him we were going to Shasta for a week to fish for bass and crappie. He smiled at that and told me I would have a great time down there. Then he wanted to see my tackle box and went through all my stuff to tell me what to use and what not to. He told me where to fish and how to fish and to pay close attention to places where structure had been added such as brush piles. It turns out he was bang on and helped a newb find his way around. I did very little gear fishing instead standing on the casting platform I had built on the bow and catching smallmouth with a fly rod till my arms ached. And the brush piles contained huge crappie that made some memorable eating.

    The best traffic stop I ever had.

  3. I primarily only fish for LMB within a half hour of my house. When the white man first arrived in The Willamette Valley, The Willamette River was not a single channel but a latticework of streams that wondered all over the flat lands. Wellllll.... at the white man loves to mess with Mother Nature, they set about to create one large channel. This resulted in one large river. It also created one hell of a lot of sloughs, lakes and ponds in the valley.

    Just about every one of the sloughs, lakes and ponds on farm land hold some manner of warm water fish.

    Once I'd hear of a private lake or slough, I'd use a secret, highly sophisticated, difficult to master technique to gain access to the water. ... I'd ask the farmer if I could fish their lake or slough.

    Well, okay, it was a little more complicated than that. First, I had to hear of the spot. Then I had to find the owner. Then I had to figure a way to meet the owner. Once I did, I would explain that I was a fly angler (therefore, making note to the owner that I didn't leave crap around their property) and while I didn't eat bass, I'd be glad to bring them anything I caught (which none never wanted but it was my way to express my gratitude).

    Many of the photos above are very old and the bass were caught in a slough off Willy. That one was kind'a a no brainer for gaining access -- the owner of the farm was a member of the local fly club. In those days, hardly anyone (see zippo) fly fished for bass in this part of Oregon. Rocky worked with the professor who owned the land so it was easy to gain access to that one. I'd take photos of the fish we caught (see above) and send photos to the professor. He was really more into waterfowl than fish but enjoyed seeing what was in the slough just the same.

    He'd let us know if he witnessed any surface activity from the warmwater fish while he was watching the birds. Unfortunately, he eventually sold his farm and moved to Arizona to live near his kids and grandkids. That ended that.

    No matter. During the last years we fished the slough, the number of warmwater species started to decline. The last time I fished the place I didn't catch anything. Not a gill, not a crappie and not a bass. I'm not exactly sure what happened to all the fish but I am sure all the chemicals used on the farmlands in the valley do make their way into the water system. Others who fished farmland stillwaters indicated the same decline in fish during the same period.

    In fact, during the last decade I'd say bass fishing in the farm lakes and ponds has steadily declined. Of course the farmers didn't put the bass in the lakes in the first place so they are not really concerned if they are dying off. I still catch LMB but they are no longer as plentiful nor as large as they were 20 years ago.

    The warm water species are not native to Oregon so I guess it doesn't matter. I only fish for bass where trout can't live and they are not causing damage to a trout population. I figure I may as well fish for them if the critters are not hurting native species. This is why I am outraged as to the illegal planting of bass in trout lakes such Crane and Davis.... the bass did destroy trophy trout fisheries.

    So while I love to flyfish for bass, I only do so at fisheries where trout are not impacted by the bass.... basically, the farm ponds, lakes and sloughs near my home.
    Patrick Gould likes this.
  4. I can't wait !!!!

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    McNasty likes this.
  5. Kevin, I can't either! In fact, this weekend I'm driving out to check out the farm ponds to see if they've changed much over the winter. It's too cold to actually try fishing the suckers but if I happen to see any surface activity... I'll change my mind!
  6. I can not wait to get back out on the water. My fly lines have been dry for over 4 months:(. I can't wait for the evening lows to be in the 40's.

  7. I'm excited too. Like Gene, my general bass fishing style involves short trips to local ponds. I've noticed that some of them are partially ice free. If the weather holds I'll soon take my spinning rod for some prospecting. If I catch more than a couple with lures I'll break out the fly rod. :)

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