So, yesterday I decided to check out some of the local creeks where I could get access for a few micros. I ended up picking up a few new species, as well as some I already have knocked out for the year.
I tried a spot south of Salem on Crooked creek. There were creek chubs and stonerollers, but I just wasn’t having good luck. The water was very muddy, and the bite was light. I didn’t want to waste time, so I headed over to Dums Creek. There I picked up my two new species for this trip: a Blackstripe Topminnow and a Bluntnose Minnow.
The sunfish were absolutely swarming. Picked up these Bluegill / Green Sunfish. It was hard to fish for anything else, because they would swarm the bait.
Finally, I dipped in on the way to pick up my daughter to catch her one of these creek chubs I saw before in Iuka. They are in a piece of creek that is cut off on both ends for now, so I knew they would be there. I took this one for her to see up close. She was sad when the fish went back home to it’s creek
A lot has happened since my first spotted bass! I’ve been to several spots and picked up ten new species! I figured I’d better get on top of updating, since we are leaving in just a few days for a week of hardcore fishing in Ohio. Walleye here I come!
Forbes Lake, IL – Boston Pond
I had a day of working at the studio, where Rachel was away at a wedding. I figured I had time for two quick trips, and they paid off pretty well with four new species for 2015.
Right off the bat, I dropped in a carolina rig for Rainbow Trout, #18 hook – rainbow power bait. Classic rig for stocked trout. I had really got to figure out something before I leave for Ohio – there are wild brookies and browns up at the trout camps. There are a huge number of species I am after up there, so I am trying to figure out the best way to optimize time.
While waiting on my trout, I picked up two sunfish species. My problem with reckoning what fish I have captured before, is that I have never documented any. So I can’t be sure if I have caught green sunfish, although I am pretty sure I had. Caught several regardless!
Apparently, I had a very lazy trout on the line while I was reeling in sunfish. I watched it like a hawk, and never saw so much as a twitch. The trout you could see were super sluggish. Don’t know how long he was on, but it took the disgorger to unhook him
After I picked up these three (I spent more time driving to them than fishing for them). I headed back to work.
Kaskaskia River, Carlyle Dam
After my work was completed, I had a little time before sunset, so I headed out to Carlyle to try some bottom fishing. There’s no telling what you will pick up on a carolina rigged worm there. That night the answer was drum. Lots of drum.
They were all approximately this size. Every cast brought one in. I know when we get up to Port Clinton, we will catch much bigger drum, but these were fairly fun to catch a mess of.
Shortly after, Rachel and I left for Georgia to attend a week long marriage retreat for couples who are small business partners (mostly photographers / creatives). I may have been a little sceptical at first, but I blame that on my proximity to the Coosa river, and a number of species that are found in that area and not back home (Coosa bass, Snail Bullhead, Greater and Brassy Jumprocks, etc.). We ended up having a blast, met many couples who share the same struggles, and got to hash through things that we never have the time to deal with. It was really nice meeting other couples, some that are objectively famous in the photography world, who seemed like clones of us. We all apparently drive each other nuts in similar ways. It was very Christianity-centric, so it was nice to have some focus on that too. Honestly, it felt the most like “Church” should feel like in my mind than I have felt in forever.
Last Saturday (April 25th), Ben Cantrell and I headed down to Barkley Dam in Kentucky to, hopefully, pick up a new lifer each – skipjack herring. Ben is solely responsible for starting a new obsession with Microfishing – fishing for the tiniest fish, instead of hunting trophies. He documented this trip too, along with Sunday at Carlyle. I spent Sunday planting flowers with my daughter.
Barkley was pretty high, the accessible ramp was flooded up pretty high, so I started casting directly into the ramp! The ramp was full of white bass. Ben ended up catching the biggest white I’ve ever seen.
A family started running sabiki-style rigs, and I ended up tying 3 jigs (1-1/8th, 2-1/16th) with randomly colored jigs on them. Started catching fair amounts of skipjack. I had two on at once, but broke the line (don’t use 4# mono for multiple fish with a habit of jumping and thrashing). Still managed to get the top one in.
The one I broke off looked bigger, but that may just be the mind of a fisherman. Since I’ve started this goal of catching 50, I can’t focus too long on one species. So afterwards, I started trying to float waxworms for goldeye. Never got a hit. Eventually, we decided to start microfishing several creeks. Around sunset, we hit Barkley one last time, and Ben caught a massive Silver Carp.
Cumberland and Tennessee Feeder Creeks
So, the thing about microfishing is that it opens up bodies of water that you would never even notice. I found out several things about it.
It’s really hard to bait a hook so small I can barely see it.
It takes a lot of focus to pick your target and get it to bite.
I don’t know what any of the fish are that aren’t huge. The Peterson Field Guide is a requirement.
You quickly learn latin names, at least the genus.
I love microfishing
The above Creek Chub was the first to pick up, and I learned you have to “pop” the fish out of the water instead of “lifting” them. It’s not as easy to set a hook on a fish measured in grams as you would think. The tiny green sunfish from above made an appearance next.
Next up, we had a blast catching Fringed Darters. There were slabrock darters in the stream too, but we didn’t catch any. They may have been the smaller ones we were seeing, but we were catching the massive two-inchers.
We moved spots after this to try for a neighboring darter species. I started at this creek by trying to catch stonerollers, but they were uninterested. A Blackspotted Topminnow was though!
Guardian darters are “egg-mimics,” the males have protrusions that look like eggs. Presumably, while they are under a rock, it appears that they already have a next, which appeals to the females.
Sunday Ben hit Carlyle and nailed several species I still need for this year, but I spent the day outside with my Daughter. We went to Bucheit’s and picked out flowers for her raised bed and pots. Planted them, along with some vegetables – Jalapeño peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Summer Squash, and Bush Beans. Already have Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Cauliflower in the ground. Just need to plant potatoes before my trip!
Went fishing at a secret spot farm pond with Jesse Brinkley. We caught a huge mess of 3lb. Largemouths (in all seriousness – in the 50-60 range), but also caught a random spotted bass – very unusual for a pond. It had the tongue patch, bridged dorsal fins, typical spot pattern, and the mouth didn’t extend back past the eye, so I’m fairly confident in it’s identification. Maybe recent flooding got it in there, or stocking?
On an unrelated note, plums are blooming out, and the rest of the prunus don’t look like they will be too far behind. As soon as it stops raining, I need to go double dig and get things planted!