Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lures vs. Bait for Catching Freshwater Trout

One of the most common discussions among anglers involves techniques for catching rainbow trout and other trout species. Some anglers fish for rainbows with fly fishing gear only and consider conventional tackle or the use of bait to be taboo. Other anglers use spinning tackle or fish with natural baits when targeting trout. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages.

In some areas, fishing regulations dictate which types of gear may be used. On some streams, the use of live bait, cut baits, or even scented attractants is prohibited. In other areas, rainbow trout and other trout species are stocked specifically for harvesting with fewer restrictions.

Recently stocked trout are particularly susceptible to conventional artificial lures or live baits. Effective baits for catching stocked trout usually include nightcrawlers (earthworms), fish eggs, and a variety of insect larvae. Artificial lures are also popular for catching recently stocked trout, especially inline spinners or other flashy lures such as metallic colored spoons. In some cases, stocked trout seem to lack the inhibitions of wild fish and are easily fooled with almost any bright moving lure.

In coldwater streams and lakes, some stocked trout evade anglers and learn to survive in the wild, feeding on natural food sources such as aquatic insects and other small invertebrates. At this stage, semi-wild non-native trout can be much harder to catch than newly released fish. When targeting these trout, fly fishermen select fly patterns that closely resemble local insect populations.

Some rainbow trout continue to thrive in the wild for months or years after being released. As they grow larger, adult trout change their diet again and begin feeding on minnows, chub, shiners, sculpins, and other small fish. Anglers sometimes target large rainbows with crankbaits, inline spinners, or other artificial lures that resemble local forage fish.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What species of freshwater fish can be caught during the winter?

One of the most common questions concerning freshwater fishing is "What species of freshwater fish can be caught during the winter?" Surprisingly, a wide range of freshwater species are active during the winter season and can be caught using a few basic techniques.

Depending on regional conditions, anglers may fish for trout, salmon, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, white perch, chain pickerel, northern pike, musky, catfish, or other species during the winter season.

In lakes, ponds, and rivers, fish usually move into in deep water during cold weather. During the winter, fish sometimes congregate in areas where currents are present, such as along channel edges or near creek entrances. On warm days, some species of fish will move into nearby shallow areas to feed on baitfish. During cold spells, fish return to the bottom or form schools at mid-depth.

A variety of factors influence fish behavior during the winter season; among them are sunlight, precipitation, air temperature, water temperature, turbulence, barometric pressure, and others. Changes in weather tend to occur more quickly in winter and these sudden changes may trigger fish to feed or shut down fish that were active only a few moments before.

On lakes, ponds, and creeks that remain ice free, anglers use a variety of techniques for catching fish during the winter. Deep jigging techniques are effective in many areas, especially when targeting panfish. Live baits are also effective in winter and anglers sometimes disagree on the issue of lures vs. bait. A few anglers fish multiple setups, utilizing both lures and live baits, or even combining the two.

Perhaps the most famous winter lure-bait combination is the jig-minnow combo. This traditional rig catches walleye, sauger, white bass, crappie, perch, pickerel, and other species. Jig styles vary regionally, with shad darts and marabou jigs being two of the most common. Some anglers prefer specific colors for minnow-jig combos, especially red/white, pink/white, and chartreuse/white.

In addition to jig-type hooks, anglers use a variety of hook styles when fishing live minnows or other baits. Rigs and hook preferences are frequently based on tradition or local fishing conditions. Factors such as water depth, visibility, current, drift speed, and targeted species all influence the type of hook, leader, bait, weights, and other tackle.

For artificial lure purists, many of the same factors impact tackle during winter fishing. In many cases, depth is by far the biggest factor in lure selection. Most lures suitable for winter fishing fall into 3 basic categories; lures that are heavy enough to sink, rigs that combine lures with weights, or lures that have built-in lips which cause them to dive when retrieved.

Among the most effective winter lures are traditional lead head jigs, metal jigs and spoons, Texas rigged soft plastics, and deep running crankbaits. Dropshot leaders are also popular, as they allow anglers to fish plastic worms and other weightless lures at the depths where fish are located.

During winter, a few coldwater stream fishermen continue to fish, catching rainbows, browns, brookies, and other members of the freshwater trout family. Although these fish may not move into deep structure like pond inhabitants, they do sometimes change their behavior.

Winter season fly fishermen usually pay credence to the age old adage and "match the hatch" on the stream to be fished. Winter patterns are dominated by nymph-type wet flies, small streamers, and other flies that resemble winter food sources.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Musky T Shirts

The muskellunge or musky is one of North America's most renowned game fish. The species ranges from the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes basin, to areas of Canada in the north and west.

These top level fish hide among aquatic plants, submerged logs or other cover, waiting to ambush their prey. Muskies eat perch, suckers, catfish, minnows, sunfishes and other fish. Large individuals have been known to consume amphibians, waterfowl, and rodents.

The musky is one of the most popular species of fish seen on t shirts. The species has a cult following and is widely regarded as one of North America's top gamefish.

Musky are not only elusive, but cunning and difficult to land. Their keen eyesight warrants using light line but their teeth can easily slice thru mono leaders. If an angler is lucky enough to set the hook and not be cut off, muskies often leap and shake the hook.

For anglers that have caught one or more muskies, this shirt makes a great gift to remember the occasion by.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Types of Rainbow Trout

Although most anglers are familiar with North America's iconic rainbow trout, there are actually several variations of this colorful fish.

Rainbow trout are named for the bands of coloration along their sides. The body of the rainbow trout is typically dark on top with silver flanks and lighter undersides. Male rainbows have red stripes, especially during the spawning phase while females are less colorful.

In 1963, the “West Virginia Centennial Golden Trout” was released. The variation was a developed from an unusually colored specimen which appeared in a West Virginia trout hatchery. Later breeding produced a palomino trout. Several other states in the Mid Atlantic region now produce and stock golden or palomino rainbow trout in ponds and streams.

Golden rainbow trout should not to be confused with the true golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita), which is found only in California.

A third form of rainbow trout is the steelhead. These special forms of rainbow trout leave coastal streams and rivers as juveniles to live in saltwater environments. Like their close relatives, the salmon, steelhead eventually return to freshwater to spawn. Steelhead typically live after spawning, unlike Pacific salmon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Freshwater Fishing After Floods

floodwaters pour over a dam
Floods can disrupt fishing for days or weeks. Eventually, high water levels subside enough for anglers to fish again. During these periods, anglers often gain valuable knowledge about lake structure and fish behavior.

In creeks and streams, anglers can look for areas where logs, rocks, and other debris are piled up by floodwaters. These structures can create large eddies where fish are likely to congregate.

In man-made lakes and reservoirs that are fed by streams or creeks, floodwaters can cause major structural changes. After major floods, anglers may find logs, brush, or other debris along the shoreline, partially submerged or sunken on the bottom. Where creeks enter these bodies of water, deltas are often formed by gravel, sand, mud, or other materials.

Immediately after flooding, fishing may be impossible, but as each day passes, fishing opportunities tend to improve. Forage is often abundant, especially along shorelines. During floods, insects, minnows, and other small prey take refuge in shoreline vegetation.

As floodwaters recede, forage species are forced back into the lake where hungry fish are waiting. Some lakes experience insect hatches following high water levels, which also helps trigger fish to feed heavily.

Scouting a lake for the signs of fish is usually a good first step following periods of high water. Territory to be investigated include areas near dam spillways (if regulations allow), shoreline vegetation, protruding stumps, mats of floating debris, and other obstructions. Lure designs are critical when snags are abundant.

When scouting deeper parts of lakes, fishfinders may help locate logs, debris, or other structure that was deposited during a flood. Fishfinders are also useful for detecting suspended fish that may be taking refuge in clearer portions of the lake.

Depending on local variations, fishing after a flood may improve or be unproductive for days or weeks afterward. In either case, a trip following a flood can provide important information for future fishing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What are Kokanee Salmon?

Kokanee salmon are a land-locked relative of Pacific sockeye salmon. Rather than migrating upstream from the ocean, though, Kokanee salmon grow to maturity in freshwater lakes. Eventually, they migrate into coldwater streams to spawn.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Proper Catch and Release Techniques for Largemouth Bass

The following list of tips from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission should help reduce mortality when releasing largemouth bass back into the wild.

To minimize stress on the fish, a catch-and-release angler should land the fish quickly and handle it as little as possible, including removing the hook from the fish’s mouth while it is still in the water, if practical.  Limited handling helps reduce the loss of slime coat, the fish’s main defense against infection and disease.

Anglers should always wet their hands before touching fish and return the fish quickly to the water or immediately place it in the livewell. When using a landing net, a knotless nylon or rubber coated net is preferred over a knotted nylon net.

Anglers participating in fishing tournaments can minimize fish mortality by maintaining healthy oxygen and water quality in their livewells.

A few ways to do this are:

Knowing the capacity of the livewell and not exceeding a ratio of more than 1 pound of bass per gallon of water;

Running a recirculating pump continuously if more than 5 pounds of bass are in the livewell;

Using aerators or oxygen-injection systems to keep the water’s oxygen level above 5 ppm; and

Keeping livewell water about 5 degrees below the reservoir temperature by adding block ice.

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recommends that tournament participants fill their weigh-in bags with livewell water, not reservoir or river water, before putting in their catch. They should put only five fish in a bag, fewer if the fish exceed 4 pounds each, and finally they should limit the amount of time that fish are held in bags.

"Keeping largemouth bass in weigh-in bags for longer than 2 minutes will significantly increase post-release mortality," Brian McRae, the Piedmont Region fisheries supervisor for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

Fishing tournament organizers can do their part to help keep fish alive by providing holding tanks during the weigh-in with water 5 degrees below the reservoir or river temperature and with oxygen levels above 5 ppm.

"Fishing tournament organizers and participants should adopt best handling practices at all events," McRae said. "Using staggered times to weigh-in, release boats, and recovery stations with oxygen and recirculating water are all important considerations when planning a tournament."

Other options for tournament directors who enjoy summer fishing tournaments yet want to minimize mortality associated with higher water temperatures are reducing the number of competitive fishing hours or holding "paper tournaments" without weigh-ins.

More information on keeping bass alive, including the B.A.S.S.-produced publication, “Keeping Bass Alive: A Guidebook for Tournament Bass Anglers and Organizers,” is available on the Commission’s website,

source: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blue Catfish vs. Channel Catfish

When monster blue cats are landed, there is no mistaking which species they are but when smaller individuals are caught, identification is not as obvious.

Blue catfish are similar in appearance to channel catfish, however young blue catfish do not exhibit the “freckled” coloration that is characteristic of young channel catfish.

Another identifying feature is the anal fin. The edge of the anal fin of the blue catfish forms a straight line and is longer than that of channel catfish, which is curved.

Both species are caught in rivers and lakes throughout much of North America.

New York State Record Brook Trout

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has certified Dan Germain as the new holder of the state record for brook trout.

The record setting brook trout measured 22 inches and weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces, surpassing the previous state record set in 2009 by 3.5 ounces.

Mr. Germain submitted details of his winning fish as part of DEC's Angler Achievement Awards Program. Information about the Program, including past winners and a downloadable application form, can be found on DEC's website.

source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How Old Do Largemouth Bass Get?

According to a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Fisheries Biologist, a local angler may have caught and released the oldest largemouth bass in Montana. The bass might also be one of the oldest surviving largemouth bass in North America.

10-year old Garrett Frost of Kalispell caught and released a tagged largemouth bass in Rose Creek Slough on July 16, 2011. The fish was estimated to be 20-22 inches in length and weigh approximately 3.5 lbs.

Prior to releasing the fish, the angler spotted a tag on the fish and recovered it. Fishery Worker Jon Cavigli checked the database and found that the bass had carried this floy tag for 14 years.

According to Garret’s father, Tyler, the bass appeared to be in good condition, and weighed 3-1/2 pounds on his scale.

According to the tag information, the bass was caught and tagged by Phil Rivard in Fennon Slough on October 3, 1997. At that time the fish was 14.2” long and weighed 1.5 lbs.

Based on the size of the largemouth bass in 1997 and the age-growth database, Deleray estimates that the fish was probably 5 years old when tagged. Adding that age with how long the tag was in the fish places its age at 19 years old. This may be the oldest confirmed largemouth bass reported in Montana.

Most sources place the maximum age at 15 or 16 for largemouth bass in the northern United States. Deleray is contacting other fisheries biologists, and, so far, has not found any records of largemouth bass as old as the Rose Creek Slough bass.

Largemouth bass in Montana are at the northern edge of their range. Fish tend to grow slower and live longer in the cold waters found in Montana and other northern states.

source: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Fisheries

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What is KHV?

Koi herpesvirus (KHV) is a disease that affects fish such as common carp, goldfish and koi. The impact of KHV on native minnow species of North America is not fully known.

KHV disease is found worldwide and likely was introduced in North America from the release or escape of infected ornamental fish.

KHV is suspected to be the cause of a June 2011 fish kill which involved an estimated 300 to 500 common carp in Michigan.

"This virus is capable of large-scale common carp die-offs as seen in Ontario in 2007 and 2008," said Gary Whelan, DNR Fish Production Manager. "The virus is an internationally reportable disease, and it is being officially reported at this time."

source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lake Tahoe Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Stocking Program

Over the next few months, approximately 22,000 Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) will be stocked in Lake Tahoe. The cutthroat trout will be approximately nine inches in length when released.

This is the first time in more than 35 years that the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will be stocking Lake Tahoe with Lahontan cutthroat trout, the only trout species native to the Basin.

In response to a growing interest in the Tahoe area for the restoration of native species, an interagency team was created to explore opportunities to restore LCT to the Basin.

The team identified NDOW's stocking efforts at Lake Tahoe as an opportunity to provide anglers with the chance to catch native Lahontan cutthroat trout.

For more information, visit

Fishing Access in North America

In North America, fishing access is an important issue for anglers. In the USA, access for freshwater fishing is often available within state parks, local facilities and national refuges.

Fishing is permitted on more than 270 national wildlife refuges. Other wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing as well as four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation where they are compatible with refuge purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 300 national wildlife refuges.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Catch Crappie and Sunfish in Heavy Vegetation

Fishing for crappie and sunfish can be rewarding for anglers with patience. During the summer season, fishing can sometimes be frustrating as these species often retreat into areas of heavy vegetation. Fortunately, weedless lure designs allow anglers to target these fish in areas where conventional tackle is completely useless.

Black crappie, white crappie, and several species of sunfish are popular among North American anglers. These hard fighting members of the sunfish family are known for their habit of hiding among aquatic grasses and other plants.

Many of these panfish seem to have insatiable appetites and will sometimes attack anything that hits the water near grass beds or other hiding spots.

This feeding behavior can be exploited by anglers, although fishing around dense aquatic vegetation requires specialized tackle and plenty of patience

When fishing heavy cover for crappie and sunfish with artificial lures, the list of options is very short. Lure designs must be weedless, otherwise the angler will only grow frustrated as each cast yields nothing but strands of plant material..

Fly fishermen have the advantage when it comes to fishing areas where grass is abundant. Most fly anglers choose bugs or poppers which are made especially for fishing in areas of dense vegetation.

For anglers that prefer ultralight spinning tackle, small weedless spoons are one option for fishing in heavy cover. These traditional lures are able to wobble across aquatic vegetation without fouling. Downsized plastic worms, tubes or grubs can also be rigged in weedless configurations for fishing around heavy aquatic vegetation on the water's surface.

All of these designs share a few common traits. To be effective in heavy cover, the running line must to connect to the lure at the top center (unlike jigs). Additionally, there must be some shielding of the hook and barb, so that it will not pick up vegetation as it moves thru areas of growth. Weedless lures must also float, be neutrally buoyant, or slow sinking. Any design that sinks fast will tangle in submerged weeds and fail to produce strikes. 

Regardless of the lure chosen, the technique remains basically the same. Anglers move slowly and quietly among aquatic plants, casting towards productive areas. Lures are slowly worked across vegetation or casted directly into open patches of water.

For bait fishermen, dense vegetation also creates challenges. Some anglers deal with plants by making extremely accurate casts into nearby open areas. For the heaviest cover, a specialized crappie pole or cane pole can be useful. These simple rods allow anglers to drop baits into even the smallest of openings. When a bite is detected, the angler must lift the fish straight out of the water before it can entangle the line in the vegetation below.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Freshwater Fishing Areas in Georgia

Among the best places to go freshwater fishing in Georgia are the state's many Public Fishing Areas (PFAs). These areas are home to bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish and other species of freshwater fish.

Georgia PFAs offer a variety of fishing opportunities, from lakes several hundred acres in size to ponds less than one acre. Some are designated as kids-only fishing ponds while others are managed for trophy bass. Anglers can fish from a boat, along the shoreline or from a pier at most locations. Many areas have picnic tables, nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some offer primitive campsites for those wishing to stay overnight on the area, and many facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The following list offers information about Georgia PFAs:

McDuffie County PFA
Located eight miles east of Thomson on 570 acres in Georgia’s upper coastal plain. Includes 13 ponds ranging from one to 30 acres, a fish hatchery and an education center. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.

Big Lazer Creek PFA
Located ten miles east of Talbotton in west central Georgia. Includes a 195-acre lake. Species: bluegill, channel catfish, crappie and largemouth bass.

Marben Farms PFA
Offers 6,400 acres in central Georgia, three miles south of Mansfield in Jasper and Newton counties. Includes 22 ponds ranging from one to 95 acres, a wildlife management area and an education center. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.

Dodge County PFA
Located on 444 acres in Georgia’s middle coastal plain, four miles southeast of Eastman. Includes a 104-acre lake. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
Evans County PFA: Located on 372 acres, nine miles east of Claxton. Includes three lakes ranging from eight to 84 acres. Species: crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish.

Flat Creek PFA
Located in Perry, this 108-acre lake includes a concrete boat ramp. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.

Hugh M. Gillis PFA
Located on 640 acres in Laurens County, 12 miles east of Dublin. Includes a 109-acre lake. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.

Paradise PFA
Located in south central Georgia, eight miles east of Tifton on 1,250 acres. Includes 60 lakes totaling 525 acres. Species: largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.

Ocmulgee PFA
Nestled within the boundaries of the Ocmulgee wildlife management area, eight miles north of Cochran in Bleckley County. Offers a 106-acre lake. Species: trophy largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.

Rocky Mountain PFA
Located 16 miles north of Rome on 5,000 acres in Floyd County. Offers two lakes totaling 559 acres. Species: largemouth bass, walleye, bluegill and redear sunfish, channel catfish, crappie and hybrid striped bass.

For more information on Georgia PFAs, visit

source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Jersey State Record Bowfin

A bowfin caught by Chris Hoffman of Hamilton, NJ, has been confirmed as a new state record for the species by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Mr. Hoffman was fishing for largemouth bass from his boat in the Delaware River near the Mercer Generating Station in Trenton, NJ. on July 4, 2011, when the fish grabbed a 4" soft plastic Senko fish on  6 pound line.

The 10 lb. 14 oz. bowfin, was 29.9" long and had a girth of 14.6". It broke the old record, set 23 years ago in 1988, by 2 lb. 10 oz.

The bowfin is a predatory fish that feeds on frogs, fish, and other prey.

For details on the New Jersey State Record fish program, see:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Small Pond Fish Problems

Farm ponds, mill ponds and other small waterways are subject to a variety of fish-related problems. Many of these problems are simple to correct, once identified.

A lack of fish in small ponds can be caused by excessive harvesting by humans or predation by wildlife. Pond owners usually harvest a few fish for consumption. In some cases, unknown to the landowner, poachers may also remove fish from private ponds.

In addition to human anglers, a variety of wild predators are skilled at catching fish and in some cases can have considerable impacts on fish populations.

Otters are known to be one of the most efficient predators that visit small ponds. These playful aquatic mammals can eat their weight in fish in a matter of days. Raccoons are another fish-eating mammal, although their efforts are usually limited to shallow areas along the shoreline. Both red and gray foxes are also capable of catching fish in shallow water. Black bears are usually the largest predator to visit farm ponds. These omnivores are capable of causing a considerable disturbance to farm ponds or other small bodies of water.

Birds can have a big impact on fish populations, especially in shallow ponds. Herons and egrets are among the most deadly. Other predatory birds include ospreys, eagles and kingfishers.

Reptiles, including turtles and water snakes take fish from most ponds. Usually these predators do not eat large numbers of fish and the losses are a normal part of fish life cycles.

In addition to predators, environmental factors can affect fish populations in small impoundments.Cold winter temperatures can also harm fish. Most species of freshwater fish have minimum temperature thresholds below which they become stressed or die.

Spring can also be a dangerous time for fish populations, especially in small ponds. In many areas, aquatic vegetation dies off in winter and settles on the bottom. When spring arrives, warm temperatures cause dead plant material to break down, which in turns causes oxygen levels to plummet. The situation, known as hypoxia, can cause large scale fish kills.

During summer, droughts can lower water and oxygen levels, as well as causing water temperatures to skyrocket. Hypoxia can again stress or kill fish as they crowd into small spaces without sufficient oxygen to sustain them.

Brown Trout T Shirts - Accessories

Brown trout are always popular among anglers and fish art enthusiasts. They are widely acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful species of freshwater trout.

Appearances of brown trout vary greatly from region to region. Most adult fish are olive-green or brownish above, with cream and golden-yellow along the sides. The belly is usually whitish. Brown trout usually have black spots along their sides, back and dorsal fin. These spots are outlined by a lighter colored halo.

The brown trout belongs to the genus Salmo, a group that also includes Atlantic salmon and other species. Anadromous forms of brown trout also exist (sea trout).

Brown trout were introduced into North America in the 1800's. The species quickly established itself in the
lakes, rivers and streams of the northern U.S., Great Lakes Basin and other areas.

In North America, brown trout often reach weights of 8 pounds or more. Some individuals grow much larger. The world record for brown trout is shared by 2 fish, both of which weighed over 41 pounds.

Browns are considered to be among the most challenging trout species to catch. They are also prized for their size and quality as a food fish.

Brown trout t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and other collectibles make excellent gifts for fly fishermen or anyone that enjoys wildlife.

The following designs are just a sample of the many trout, salmon, char and other freshwater and saltwater fish logos that are available at fish_fishing_seafood online store.

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 Idaho Salmon Fishing

According to Idaho Fish and Game, as of Sunday, July 3, an estimated 1,413 adult Chinook had been harvested on the Salmon River and 987 on the Little Salmon River.

The total available sport harvest share has been upgraded to 9,000 for all hatchery Chinook bound for Rapid River Hatchery and the Little Salmon River.

Fish and Game's Southwest Region will publish weekly updates regarding local Chinook fisheries until salmon seasons close on the South Fork Salmon and Little Salmon Rivers.

More information regarding salmon fishing can be found on the Idaho Fish and Game website at:

source: Idaho Fish and Game

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to Attract Clients to a Fishing Guide Service

largemouth bass fishing

The following article offers tips for recruiting new clients to fishing guide services or similar businesses. Many of these methods are applicable to existing businesses as well as those that are in the start up phase.

Build a basic website. Websites should be easy to navigate while providing essential information about guiding services.

Once a website has been established, it should be submitted to an online fishing guide directory that allows anglers to search for fishing trips by country and region.

Blogging is an excellent way to attract new clients. Most guides publish some form of online fishing report and blogs are usually the simplest ways to do this. Fishing report blogs can be integrated with the website, or reside on a free blogging platform.

When possible, fishing report blogs should include pictures of recent catches. Other blog content can include comments from recent clients, short stories, news, events, special pricing or other business announcements.

Guides can also guest blog on an online fishing news site, wildlife blog, or other specialty site. Most outdoor blogs welcome content from professional guides and other stakeholders.

Press releases and media releases are another way to promote a guide business. These tools reach online resources as well as traditional media.

Brochures are essential for attracting new clients. Tri-fold brochures can be purchased or made and placed in areas that are frequented by visitors.

Local and national guide associations can be sources of new clients. Membership in these organizations is often an important part of being a professional guide.

State and local chambers of commerce are also important for fishing guides. Most chambers provide listings for members which can be sources of new clients.

Fishing shows and other events usually offer fishing seminars. Being a speaker at a seminar can reach hundreds of people which can pay off in terms of new business.

Custom fishing merchandise can be a valuable tool for attracting new clients. A catchy t shirt or coffee mug often gets noticed, sparking conversations about successful fishing trips with a local guide.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Using Grasshoppers and Crickets for Bait

During Mid summer, grasshoppers and crickets become abundant around freshwater ponds, creeks and rivers. For anglers, these insects can trigger outstanding fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, perch, catfish, trout, and other species.

Grasshoppers and other insects often attract fish in areas where tall grass lines the banks of farm ponds, small creeks and river banks. To find these fishing spots, an angler needs only to walk through grass, watching for grasshopper or cricket movement.

When grasshoppers and crickets jump, they often land in the water and begin struggling. Usually the hapless insect will disappear in a swirl almost immediately as a hungry fish rises to devour its meal. Witnessing a fish feeding on grasshoppers is a sign that more fish are likely nearby, waiting for the next casualty to happen.

Live bait specialists often seek out and capitalize on the productive fishing when grasshoppers or crickets become a major part of fish diets. In many of these situations, there is an endless supply of fresh bait available in nearby patches of grass or other plants.

To catch grasshoppers, a few simple tools and a little assistance is all that is required. Adult anglers wait patently in the shade while energetic children or grandchildren catch these fast moving insects and carefully place them in the jar.

Once a supply of grasshoppers is gathered, anglers (including the kids) can catch a few fish. Small live bait hooks seem to work best, rigged about 18-24 inches below a slender bobber. The bobber is only required to help aid in casting as the insects naturally float. Baits should be hooked thru the mid-section, being careful not to break off the hind legs.

When fishing live grasshoppers, it is important watch the baits. When the insect struggles on the surface, it will attract fish from quite some distance. A swirl nearby may signal an impending strike. Some fish may take the grasshopper delicately, while species such as largemouth bass may explode on it. 

When grasshoppers become plentiful, fly fishermen have the advantage as fly-fishing tackle allows anglers to present artificial lures which appear almost identical to the real thing. Fly anglers use a variety of patterns to represent grasshoppers, with most patterns being fairly simple. 

New Virginia State Record Blue Catfish

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) State Record Fish Committee recently confirmed that a 143-pound blue catfish is a new state record. This is the second time the state record for blue catfish has been broken in 2011.

The enormous blue catfish was caught by Richard Nicholas "Nick" Anderson in John H. Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake) on Saturday, June 18.

At 143 pounds and 57 inches in length with a girth of 43.5 inches the new state record blue catfish is noteably larger than the previous Virginia state record blue catfish.

The monster blue catfish is the third confirmed freshwater fish over 100 pounds caught in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If certified by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the Virginia blue catfish will shatter the previous world record, a 130-pound blue catfish caught in the Missouri River in 2010.

source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bull Trout Restoration

bull trout      (photo credit: USFWS)

As part of an overall recovery strategy for bull trout, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will reintroduce the species to the Clackamas River, a major tributary of the Willamette River.

Beginning in the summer of 2011, bull trout of different life stages will be reintroduced into historic bull trout habitat in the upper Clackamas River, within the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The project is expected to include additional fish transfers annually for at least seven and possibly up to 15 years.  The goal is to reestablish a self-sustaining population of 300-500 spawning adult bull trout within 20 years.

Bull trout are primarily threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, blockage of migratory corridors from hydroelectric and diversion dams, poor water quality, the effects of climate change, and past fisheries management practices, including targeted eradication through bounty fishing and the introduction of non-native species such as brown, lake, and brook trout.

Bull trout have been extirpated from four sub-basins in the Willamette River Basin, including the Clackamas River. Once widely distributed in the Clackamas River, the last known bull trout was documented there in 1963.  The species is highly unlikely to re-colonize the area naturally due to the geographic distance to existing bull trout populations.

Once plentiful throughout the coldwater rivers and lakes of the Northwest, bull trout populations in the U.S. are now scattered and patchy in portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.

Bull trout occur in the Columbia and Snake River Basins, extending east to headwater streams in Montana and Idaho and north into Canada, and south into the Klamath River Basin in south-central Oregon.  Though still wide-ranging, many of the remaining populations are small and isolated from each other.

Some bull trout populations are migratory, spending portions of their life cycle in larger rivers or lakes before returning to smaller streams to spawn, while others complete their entire life cycle in the same stream. Some bull trout in the Coastal-Puget Sound population migrate between fresh- and saltwater.

Bull trout require extremely cold, clean water and specific habitat features, as well as connectivity from river, lake, and ocean habitats to headwater streams for annual spawning and feeding migrations.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tennessee Fish Stocking: Walleye vs. Sauger

In 2011, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency established a walleye stocking program in Watts Bar Reservoir, releasing over 220,000 fingerlings in the lake.

According to the agency, the decision to replace the sauger stocking program with walleye is based on reoccurring issues with the sauger's low natural reproduction, challenging hatchery propagation, and the management of the sauger as a sportfish.

A TRWA official explained that: "Walleye, on average, live longer than sauger. They obtain a larger size, more conducive to year around fishing. The brood fish are less of a challenge to obtain, and walleye require fewer man hours to produce in TWRA hatcheries."

Walleye and sauger have several parallel characteristics and are closely related. Both migrate up rivers to spawn, share similar feeding patterns, and are good night feeders because of they have a light reflective coating located behind the eye. Both fish are highly sought after as table fare by anglers.

source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

2011 Arizona Rainbow Trout Stocking

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is increasing stocking rates at select lakes and one stream in the Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside areas in order to make up for angling opportunities lost due to the Wallow Fire.

AGFD plans to stock a variety of areas, including:

 - more than 7,000 rainbow trout Scott Reservoir and Show Low Lake:

  - more than 9,000 rainbows in Fool Hollow Lake

 - Silver Creek will begin receiving more than 3,800 catchable-sized Apache trout weekly through much of the summer.

source: Arizona Game and Fish Department

Monday, June 20, 2011

How To Catch Catfish

A variety of baits are effective for catching catfish in North America. Some anglers a single bait for catching catfish while others rely on an assortment of baits. When choosing bait for catching catfish, it is important to be aware of which species are likely to be encountered.

In most areas, anglers have access to the smaller members of the catfish family, including bullheads, white catfish, and channel cats. In some areas, anglers may also encounter larger species such as blue catfish and flatheads.

channel catfish

Some catfish baits will attract a number of freshwater fish, while others tend to be ignored by other types of fish. For anglers seeking a variety of species, nightcrawlers are usually one of the best baits. In addition to catching catfish, nightcrawlers may catch sunfish, crappie, bass, yellow perch, white perch, trout, suckers, and other fish.

Baits for catching species such as bullheads, channel cats and white catfish include worms (nightcrawlers, earthworms, red wigglers), insect larvae (maggots, waxworms, grubs, hellgrammites), adult insects (crickets, grasshoppers), household foods (corn, dough balls, bread, cheese, hot dogs, chicken livers), seafood, particularly shellfish (shrimp, crawfish, clams), "stink baits" (home made or store bought), salmon eggs, minnows, cut fish, or other baits.

Most catfish anglers prefer to rig baits so that they lie on or near the bottom. Top and bottom rigs, bobber-hook rigs, and live bait rigs are among the most common presentations. Hook styles may include live bait, treble, or circle hooks.

Catfish can also be caught using artificial lures. They often strike jig - plastic grub combinations, plastic worms or other lures. Scented lure bodies are popular as they offer extra appeal to catfish.

For large species such as flathead catfish or blue catfish, anglers often prefer using live baits or larger cut baits. Live shad, suckers, shiners, eels or other baits are preferable when targeting these monster fish. Cut baits are also used, including large fish fillets, or whole dead baits. Other dead baits include chicken parts, whole frogs, salamanders or other unusual baits.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stopping the Spread of Invasive Species Asian Carp into the Great Lakes

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) recently released its 2011 Asian Carp Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan (MRRP), outlining an aggressive set of actions to track and remove Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River and the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) to prevent this invasive species from establishing in the Great Lakes.

The 2011 MRRP, which represents an estimated $7 million Federal investment, is designed with the flexibility to respond to new threats. Project plans can be categorized geographically as occurring either upstream or downstream of the electric dispersal barrier and grouped into the following five categories:


Includes the use of electrofishing and contract commercial fishermen to detect presence and location of any Asian carp DNA both above and below the barrier; continued use of eDNA to detect potential presence of carp above the barrier; and monitoring for small Asian carp to track where reproduction is occurring.


Efforts will include the use of telemetry to follow the movements of tagged surrogate species to assess movement near the dispersal barrier and through locks; use of sonar to track fish movement and caged fish to determine the effectiveness of the dispersal barrier; and monitoring for potential Asian carp spawning in the Des Plaines River to assess risk of eggs and larval fish passing through the barrier fence during flood events.


Efforts include contracting commercial fishermen to remove Asian carp downstream of the barrier; a rapid response process should any Asian carp be detected upstream of the dispersal barrier; and suppressing Asian carp during maintenance of the electric dispersal barriers.


Efforts will evaluate efficiency and detection probability of technology currently in use for Asian carp monitoring, develop enhancements, and generate ideas for development of new approaches for capturing or repelling small populations of Asian carp.


Efforts will include expanded education and enforcement activities at locations where live fish would most likely be transported and continued surveillance efforts.

MRRP projects for 2011 also include developing and testing hydroguns that emit high-pressure underwater sound waves to repel Asian carp.

source: Illinois DNR

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kansas Lake Shawnee Yields 2 State Record Rainbow Trout

In Kansas, rainbow trout fishing in Lake Shawnee has been outstanding this spring. On April 2, Bob Lorson caught an 11.02-pound rainbow that was confirmed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) as a new state record.

On April 20, Ed Ames of Tecumseh was fishing the same lake when he landed a monster 13.65-pound rainbow, more than 2.5 pounds larger than Lorson’s catch.

An official from KDWP confirmed the species of the fish, which measured 31 7/8 inches with a girth of 17 1/4 inches. After a 30 day waiting period, KDWP entered Ames’ rainbow as the new state record.

For more information on Kansas state record fish, anglers can obtain a copy of the 2011 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold, or visit the KDWP website,

source: Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

World Record Shellcracker?

On May 2, 2011, an Arizona angler landed what could be a world record shellcracker (redear sunfish). Robert Lawler of Lake Havasu caught the 5.55 pound, 16.75-inch redear sunfish in Arizona's Lake Havasu, using a Texas-rigged 7-inch Power Worm..

The existing Arizona state record shellcracker weighed 4 pounds 2.24 ounces and was 15.5 inches long. The record catch was made on Feb. 16, 2010 at Lake Havasu by an angler from California.

source: Arizona Game and Fish Department

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Iowa State Record White Bass

An 18.7-inch, 4.16 pound white bass is a new Iowa state record. Josh Zylstra, 23, was fishing on Big Sprit Lake when he landed the record setting fish.

The angler was fishing a shiner under a bobber for walleyes, but instead, it hooked a new state record white bass.

The new record was verified by fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins who weighed the fish on a certified scale.

source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Virginia State Record Blue Catfish

An enormous blue catfish from Buggs Island Lake has taken the Virginia state record back from the James River, where anglers routinely catch monster blue catfish.

For 2011, the State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has certified a new state record blue catfish that is only the second confirmed freshwater fish over 100 pounds ever caught in the Commonwealth.

The incredible catfish was caught on March 17, 2011, weighed in at exactly 109 pounds and measured 53 inches in length with a girth of 41 inches.

The big cat was caught by Tony Milam of South Boston, Virginia, in Buggs Island Lake near the confluence of the Dan and Roanoke rivers. Mr. Milam caught his fish using cut shad for bait on 30-pound test line.

The world record blue catfish weighed 130 pounds, caught in the Missouri River in 2010.

For a complete listing of Virginia state record freshwater fish, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website at

source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Columbia River 2011 Spring Hatchery-reared Chinook Season Extended

Recreational anglers in the Pacific Northwest can continue fishing for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon through June 15 on a section of the Columbia River stretching 163.5 miles above Bonneville Dam.

The spring chinook fishery was extended by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon, who recently agreed that enough fish are still available under the catch limit to allow anglers to keep fishing until the summer chinook salmon season starts June 16. The popular spring chinook fishery was already scheduled to run through June 15 below Bonneville Dam.

Anglers can retain up to two hatchery adult chinook salmon, marked with a clipped adipose fin, as part of their daily catch limit. Sockeye salmon and hatchery-reared steelhead also count toward anglers’ adult daily limit.

All unmarked chinook and steelhead must be released unharmed.

source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation

With Marcellus Shale gas development increasing at a rapid pace and scale across northern Appalachia, fishermen, hunters, trappers and other sportsmen and women in the region have joined forces and created an alliance to urge state and federal agencies and the energy industry to protect outdoor traditions.

The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation (Sportsmen Alliance) is an affiliation of sportsmen and women working together to identify and mitigate the impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling on hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor sporting activities.

Members of the Sportsmen Alliance include Trout Unlimited (TU) and its Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Mid-Atlantic and New Jersey state councils, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Izaak Walton League
of America and its New York and Pennsylvania state divisions, New York State Trappers Association, Quality Deer Management Association, Pennsylvania Forest Coalition and The Wildlife Society. Collectively, the Sportsmen Alliance members represent 60,000 sportsmen and women in the Marcellus Shale states.

According to an initial press release, the Sportsmen Alliance is not opposed to gas drilling and recognizes its potential economic and social benefits. Rather, it is concerned that the current state and local policies governing gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale do not adequately protect valuable and irreplaceable natural resources, including clean water and critical habitat for fish and wildlife.

Hunting and fishing in the Marcellus Shale region is big business. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than $8.4 billion in revenue is generated each year in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia - the three largest Marcellus Shale states - from fishing, hunting and wildlife-related recreation.

"Our members are very concerned about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water resources, fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation," said Scott Kovarovics, Conservation Director for the Izaak Walton League of America. "The Sportsmen Alliance’s common sense recommendations strike the right balance between energy development and conserving the region’s most important natural resources."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trout Infected with Whirling Disease Released into Maryland Streams

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently confirmed the presence of whirling disease in a delivery of 8,000 commercially produced rainbow trout that were stocked in several Western Maryland streams..

On May 11, DNR staff observed suspicious behavior in fish that had been stocked in the North Branch Delayed Harvest Area, Evitts Creek, Jennings Run and Sidling Hill Creek. They immediately ceased stocking activities and took samples for testing. Results of this sampling confirmed the presence of whirling disease.

The whirling disease parasite was introduced into the eastern United States from Europe in the late 1950s and is currently known to exist in 24 states. It was first discovered in Maryland in 1995 in the North Branch Potomac River.

Whirling disease is harmless to humans, but the parasite can be fatal to trout and is particularly harmful to rainbow trout.

According to Maryland DNR, hatchery resources cannot meet all the demand for stocked trout, so commercially produced fish are used to supplement spring trout stocking. Vendors that supply fish to the State are required to be certified disease free for three years.

source: MD DNR

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tips for Catching Trophy Sunfish

a trophy bluegill sunfish (bream)

For panfish anglers, nothing tops a good day catching trophy sized bluegill (bream), pumpkinseed, green sunfish, shellcrackers, or other species of sunfish.

This list offers a few tips for catching trophy sunfish:

* During the warm months, sunfish orient to overhanging tree limbs where insects are likely to fall into the water.

* Cast lures or live baits as close to structure as possible. If a sunfish is present, strikes usually come immediately.

* for trophy sunfish, try using slightly larger baits and hooks to discourage bites from smaller individuals.

* Most sunfish species are attracted to bright colored, flashy lures, but prefer a slower retrieve than some species.

* When targeting trophy-class sunfish with live baits, experiment with using circle hooks. These specialized hooks can be used to help curb smaller fish and avoid gut-hooking. Never snatch when bites occur with circle hooks, instead reel steadily until resistance is felt.

* When choosing bobbers, using the smallest, most streamlined bobber possible will increase strikes. Wary sunfish will often spit out a bait if too much resistance is felt.

* In clear water conditions, using flourocarbon leaders may result in more strikes from line-shy fish.

* Where currents exist, look for eddies or calm water adjacent to fast moving water.

* Experiment in deep areas by jigging vertically or letting a free-lined bait sink to the bottom.

* When sunfish are located in deep areas, try another pass as more fish may be nearby.

* Fishing kayaks can be highly effective for catching sunfish. These craft allow anglers to seek out trophy bluegill in swamps and other hard to access areas.

* Talk to fishing guides. Professional guides often know where large bluegill can be found and will share information with anglers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beetle Spin Lures for Catching Panfish

Beetle spins are a traditional lure for catching panfish. This small but effective spinnerbait is used to catch crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, white perch, sauger and other species.

This specialized lure design consists of a wire arm, to which a jig and spinner blade are attached. The original design uses a soft plastic "grub" body with a spit tail. Although the body itself has no action, it provides a natural feel and gives the lure color. Modern variations use a wide range of jigs and bodies. The spinner blade can be silver, gold, or painted and is usually available in several sizes.

The beetle spin design benefits from modular construction. The simple wire arm allows anglers to quickly change the jig, allowing for variations of weights, colors, or head shape. The spinner arm adds an element of flash, while allowing the rig to maintain mid-depth at slower speeds than a solo jig of similar weight. In areas where debris are a problem, the spinner arm also helps lessen the likelihood of snagging.

Simple painted or unpainted jig heads rigged with soft plastic "curly tail" bodies are one of the most popular options for a jig variation. The simple head and body makes changing colors a simple process.

Color can important for success when fishing beetle spins or other small spinnerbaits. Some anglers swear by black, white, chartreuse, or another solid color. Multi-color bodies are also popular. Red and white is a popular color combination but others may be favored, depending on local conditions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maryland State Record Musky

A 12 year-old West Virginia boy has set a new Maryland state record for musky (muskellunge) with a 31.75 pound fish.

On April 14, Kenneth Files of Falling Waters, W. Va., and his father were fishing in the Potomac River, which was in a flood stage.

The young angler spotted an eddy and cast a large white plastic grub lure into the stained waters and a large fish took the bait

The monster musky, measuring 45 inches long with a girth of 24 inches, was eventually maneuvered  into shallow waters and landed.

The previous Maryland state record musky of 28.25 pounds was also caught in the Upper Potomac River.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best Lures for Catching Sunfish

bream sunfish (bluegill)

Sunfish are favorite panfish of American anglers.Several sunfish species are found throughout the USA, with bream (bluegills), pumpkinseeds, green sunfish, redears (shellcrackers), and longears being among the most commonly caught sunfish.

The list of best lures for catching sunfish is often debated, with top lures often varying widely by region. Most lists include a few basic types of fishing lures such as jigs, spinnerbaits, inline spinners, plugs, spoons, poppers, flies and soft plastics.

The top lure for catching sunfish is usually some form of jig. These include several classic designs such as the shad dart, crappie jig, beetle spin, and others. Tiny versions of famous bass fishing lures are also popular for catching sunfish.

The following is a typical list of best lures for catching sunfish:

1/16 oz. shad dart - red and white
1/16 oz. crappie jig - red-black-white
1/16 oz. beetle spin - white with red dot
1/16 oz. plain jig head and soft plastic twister tail
1/16 oz. Rapala floating minnow - silver w/black back
Strike King 3/32 oz. bitzy minnow - gizzard shad pattern
1/4 oz. Daredevle spoon - red and white
.13 oz. Hopkins lure - metal hammered finish

This list does not include ice fishing for fly fishing lures. Each of those specialties have their own sets of top performing sunfish lures.

These same lures are usually good choices for other members of the bass and sunfish family such as rock bass, warmouth, black crappie, white crappie, fliers and others.

Most of these lures are also excellent choices for catching perch and other panfish.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Bass Fishing Techniques

spring largemouth bass
During spring, anglers enjoy excellent fishing for members of the black bass family. Black bass, including largemouth, smallmouth, spotted bass and other species feed aggressively in spring, in preparation for spawning.

In parts of North America, bass adapt their feeding patterns in spring, as forage species become available. In some habitats, fish species migrate into spring habitats almost overnight, causing bass to follow.

In spawning areas, bass may eat the spawning species, or feed on minnows or other fish that arrive to feast on fish eggs. Bass in these areas are in ambush mode, and will attack small spinnerbaits, jigs, soft plastics, or other lures that imitate minnows and other small fish.

Bass can act strangely during the spring. For example, bass are sometimes seen very close to the water's edge, preying on sunfish, crayfish and other species that hide among shoreline vegetation, tree branches or other obstructions. These fish can be targeted with senko type worms, top water plugs or other shallow water lures.

In shallow areas bordered by drop offs, lily pads (spadderdock) begin to appear and bass quickly begin patrolling these areas. As lily pad beds expand, micro-communities thrive. The lily pad community food chain begins tiny insects and invertebrates, followed by minnows, sunfish, perch, frogs and other forage species. As the season progresses these areas become important feeding areas for largemouth and other bass species.

Fishing these areas requires weedless lures which imitate natural inhabitants. Good choices for fishing around lily pads include senko worms, texas worm rigs, buzz baits, soft plastic frogs and weedless spoons.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fly Fishing Artwork

Fly fishing artwork is one of the most popular forms of fish art. Fishing pictures are among the most popular types of fly fishing artwork. Photographers capture images of fish at the moment they are landed by fly fishermen. These photos are often spectacular, recording the bright coloration of an excited fish at the water's edge.

Moving back from the angler's catch, the camera's eye sometimes captures unbelievable landscapes. These may include freshwater environments such as mountain gorges, rushing coldwater streams, and quiet pools of woodland creeks.

Outdoor photographers often use underwater photography to capture images of fish. In clear streams salmon, char, grayling, shad or other species are photographed as they make annual spawning migrations. Other fish, such as native trout, char, and arctic grayling may be year round residents of streams and creeks.

The sport of fly fishing and the fish anglers catch with artificial flies are also captured on canvas. Traditional artists often paint fly fishing scenes on site, base their work from photographs or simply apply their imagination when painting fish or fly fishing scenes.

Fly fishing photographs, illustrations and logos are also popular on clothing and collectibles. Most fishermen own several t shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies or other apparel adorned with a favorite fish or fishing logo. Anglers often decorate their trucks, boats or other property with fly-fishing stickers, magnets, and buttons. Fly fishing art is also found on paper media such as calendars, notecards, postcards, posters, and other products.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Columbia River Keta Salmon Restoration

Keta (chum) salmon are considered to be almost extinct on the Oregon side of the lower Columbia River, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. A cooperative effort of the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife seeks to restore populations of this unique salmon species to the river.

During early April, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) released 106,000 juvenile chum salmon into lower Big Creek in the first phase of project attempting to re-establish the species.

Keta salmon began to disappear from the Oregon side of the river more than 50 years ago. Biologists believe that severe habitat degradation and other factors played a key role in their decline.

The approximately 50 adult chum salmon male and female pairs used to produce the 2½ -inch fry at ODFW’s Big Creek Fish Hatchery were donated to Oregon by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The adults were captured last fall in Grays River, a tributary of the lower Columbia on the Washington side of the river.

If adult keta salmon make it back to Big Creek, they will be captured and spawned at Big Creek Fish Hatchery to produce more eggs and fry for release in subsequent years.

ODFW hopes to generate enough seed stock over time to begin out-planting keta in other lower Columbia tributaries that are considered suitable for the species.

Keta salmon are generally more selective in their choice of spawning habitat than other species, according to Knutsen. These colorful salmon especially seek out upwelling areas associated with springs and seeps, he said, and they also prefer very clean, well-sorted gravel that is free of sands and silts that could smother their eggs.

If the program works as planned, chum salmon will reproduce naturally in sufficient numbers that they will no longer need a boost from Big Creek Hatchery.

source: ODFW

How to Catch Shad and Herring

a hickory shad

Fishing for shad and herring is a spring ritual for river anglers from New England to the Carolinas. Several species are targeted by anglers, including American shad, hickory shad, blueback herring, alewives and other species. Most recreational fishing for shad and river herring occurs in the spring.

Anglers often report that runs of shad and river herring coincide with other signs of spring. For example, in some areas, plants are said to indicate spring runs. These include the "shad bush", dogwood, and other plant life. In many areas where shad congregate, lily pads leaves reach the water's surface about the same time that shad and herring begin to arrive.

Both shad and herring seek out shallow creeks or pools with areas of gravel or hard sandy bottoms. They are associated with flowing water and can sometimes be caught in areas where creeks are restricted and flows accelerate. Sharp bends in creeks, log jams, bridges and other structures are all worth scouting out as possible fishing areas. Perhaps the most famous areas for catching shad and herring are pools below dams, where fish sometimes congregate in large numbers.

Many of these areas offer access from the shoreline for fishing. In some locations shad anglers must use waders to reach productive spots. Other areas can be productive, but can only be reached by boat. Due to shallow depths and the abundance of obstructions, many of these small creeks and streams can only be navigated by canoe, kayak or row boat.

The best shad and river herring fishing often occurs at dawn or dusk although good fishing has been known to occur during mid-day. Anglers fish for shad and river herring using shad darts, small jigs, small spoons, sabiki type rigs or other bright lures. Some anglers prefer to use fly fishing outfits and small, bright or flashy flies when fishing for shad and herring.

Anglers entice strikes using a variety of fishing techniques. Some anglers prefer to cast, using a slow sweeping motion on the retrieve. Other herring and shad specialists prefer to find a vantage point and jig vertically, especially when fishing shad darts. Depending on personal preference and local waterways, anglers may cast a single jig or fish tandem or even triple jigs.

After spring spawning, hickory shad are sometimes caught by anglers around coastal inlets, jetties and other structures. In some cases, shad are seen breaking water in these areas and can be caught using many of the same lures and techniques that are popular in the spring fishery. Along jetties, fly fishermen often enjoy good catches of these acrobatic fish, even at after dark.

Shad and herring regulations are often complicated, partially due to the difficulty in distinguishing the various species shad and herring. American and hickory shad are listed as endangered or threatened in some areas. In many areas only catch and release fishing is allowed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Live Bait Rigs for Catching Walleye

Types of Walleye Live Bait Rigs

Anglers employ a variety of worm rigs and other and live bait rigs for catching walleye. Most worm rigs are variations of the basic carolina style live bait rig which features a weight above a swivel, followed by a trailing leader armed with one or more hooks.

These same rigs also catch a variety of other species such as sauger, lake trout, pike, musky, black bass, white bass and other freshwater fish.

Leader lengths for walleye worm rigs and other live bait rigs often varies among anglers. Shorter leaders tend to tangle less, while longer leaders are used when fish appear to be shy.

The following list outlines options for the various components used in making rigs for catching walleye.


slip sinkers
inline sinkers
keel weights (available in fish hologram)

Spinner Blades

painted - coated


hologram spacers


single snelled (live minnows)
double snelled (live nightcrawlers)

Walleye Live Baits

live minnows

Artificial Lures

plastic worms
shad bodies
scented - processed baits

Fishing Techniques

Worm rigs and other live bait rigs are effective when slowly worked along the bottom in areas where walleye are found. Maintaining close contact with the bottom is essential. Although anglers often fish for walleye during the day, many specialists feel that the best fishing occurs during low light periods, with productive fishing often going into the night time hours.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where to Go Freshwater Fishing in Maryland

Maryland is an excellent destination for freshwater fishing. Waters of the state range from fast moving whitewater rapids to brackish creeks of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast.

In the Northeast part of the state, the Susquehanna and Elk rivers offer exceptional fishing. The Susquehanna is home to smallmouth bass, channel catfish, yellow perch, and other species. The lower reaches of these rivers are also visited by anadromous species such as American shad, hickory shad and river herring.

On Maryland's Eastern Shore, several rivers provide outstanding freshwater fishing. In the upper reaches, several of these rivers pass thru cypress swamps and woodland habitats. Many of these areas are teaming with fish including largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, catfish, crappie and sunfish.

In Queen Anne's County, Tuckahoe State Park offers a variety of freshwater environments for both boaters and shoreline anglers. The main attraction of the park is Tuckahoe Creek, a stream which runs through the length of the park. The park's 60-acre lake provides plenty of  habitat for freshwater fishing. The area below the lake's dam is famous for its springtime hickory shad runs.

On the Western Shore, rivers such as the Gunpowder, Severn, Patuxent and Patapsco provide areas for freshwater fishing. Gunpowder Falls State Park is a prime area for fishing. The park encompasses Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and the Gunpowder River, with beaches and boat launching facilities available.

The Potomac River is nationally famous for its smallmouth and largemouth bass fisheries. The river offers a variety of environments, from fast moving white water to its tidal marshes near the Chesapeake Bay.

Western Maryland is recognized for having some of the state's best fishing areas. Impoundments such as Deep Creek Lake and the Youghiogheny Reservoir offer fishing for species such as walleye and bluegill. The region's cold water streams contain rainbow, brook and brown trout.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kentucky River Spring Musky Fishing

Kentucky musky (muskellunge) anglers may want to plan a trip to the Kentucky River this spring. For 2011, population sampling on the Kentucky River is showing healthy populations of species such as musky, white bass, and sauger. The research is conducted annually by fishery biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The Kentucky River may be the most overlooked muskellunge fishery in the state. Biologists for the state typically see muskellunge below the locks and dams on the Kentucky River each spring. This year researchers found good numbers of muskellunge over 30 inches and several over 40 inches.

The mouths of tributaries near locks and dams on the Kentucky River could lead to a muskellunge fishing field day, with high numbers of these toothy predators in Cedar Creek  According to biologists, suckers and buffalo fish are, preferred prey of muskellunge, and many of these fish migrated into Cedar Creek this spring. The muskellunge followed and are plentiful in some areas of the creek.

According to Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, anglers should expect good fishing on the Kentucky River this spring.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Wisconsin Fish Kill Caused by VHS Disease

A March 2011 fish kill of thousands of gizzard shad in the Milwaukee Harbor ship canals was caused by the fish virus viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, according to results released March 31 from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison.

The finding represents the first time VHS has been detected in Wisconsin's waters of Lake Michigan since 2008, and the first time gizzard shad have tested positive for VHS in Wisconsin, according to Sue Marcquenski, Department of Natural Resources fish health specialist.

VHS, which can infect several dozen different native fish species and cause them to bleed to death, does not affect humans. The first detection of the virus was in the Lake Winnebago system in 2007, and also in Wisconsin's waters of Lake Michigan that same year. The virus was confirmed in Lake Superior in 2010.

The Milwaukee Harbor canals fish kill started the week of March 14 and by March 18, involved several thousand fish. Dead and dying gizzard shad were collected and necropsied on March 22 and submitted to the Madison laboratory for testing.

For more information on viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) and how to prevent its spread visit:

source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maine Anadromous Brook Trout Angler Survey

Although the behavior is not well known, brook trout that reside in coastal streams may spend part of their lives in salt water. Eventually these fish come back to fresh water to spawn, completing a life cycle called "anadromy".

Anadromous brook trout may leave fresh water streams and move into saltwater estuaries for a few months to more than a year. Typically, brookies migrate from fresh to saltwater as juvenile fish, feeding on abundant prey that is found in saltwater estuaries.

Research in two Maine streams with anadromous brook trout found that their migration from fresh to salt water occurred mainly from April through June. Their return to fresh water starts in May and can last until early August. When saltwater brook trout return to streams they are silvery in color. The unique coloration begins to fades after a few weeks in freshwater.

Populations of anadromous brook trout appear to be declining throughout their range. This decline is believed to be due to over fishing, habitat degradation and loss, in-stream barriers or predation. There has never been an intensive survey of Maine's anadromous brook trout populations, so their current status in Maine is uncertain.

According to Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a lack of information about these unique fish has prompted the agency to start a volunteer angling survey of coastal brook trout waters. Recruiting anglers to aid in this effort greatly increases our ability to gather data over a wide area. By taking a small sample of scales from brook trout caught in coastal rivers, chemical analysis will be able to tell scientists whether a trout is anadromous or "resident" (non-anadromous).

This information, when combined with a simple volunteer logbook detailing the amount of time spent fishing and the number of fish caught, will give MDIF&W valuable data for an initial assessment of anadromous brook trout populations in Maine.

Anglers that are interested in participating in Maine's Anadromous Brook Trout Angler Survey can contact Maine IF&W Fisheries Research Section: Merry Gallagher at (207) 941-4381, or

source: Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 Idaho Chinook - King Salmon Runs

Idaho Fish and Game is drafting proposals for the 2011 spring Chinook salmon fishing season, which typically begins in April.

Although fishing may not be as good as last year, the 2011 Chinook salmon season could be one of the best since 1980. Numbers of returning fish are expected to be similar to 2008 and 2009.

It is estimated that approximately 2,000 Chinook will be available for non-tribal recreational anglers in the Clearwater; 4,200 in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon; and about 800 in the Snake River below the Hells Canyon dams.

source: Idaho Fish and Game

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Kinds of Freshwater Fish Can Be Caught During Spring?

Beginning anglers often ask which species of freshwater fish can be caught during Spring. Fortunately, the list of springtime fishing opportunities is a long one. Each region has a unique array of fish species, although a few types of fish are found in almost every state.

Among the best known fish to be caught during the spring are fish that make early season spawning migrations. These include species such as yellow perch, American shad, river herring and others.

Yellow perch are found throughout much of North America. These hardy fish are actually caught all winter, even in the coldest weather. As the waters warm in spring, yellow perch move up rivers and creeks to spawn. During these migrations, they can sometimes be caught in large numbers.

Unlike perch, that reside in lakes, rivers or brackish estuaries for most of the year, herring and shad are fish of the open ocean. Adults make annual migrations from saltwater, up tidal rivers, ultimately reaching freshwater creeks and streams. These acrobatic fish are highly sought after during their spring migrations. Although herring and shad populations are greatly reduced from historical highs, catch and release fisheries still exist in most coastal states.

Chain pickerel are best known as cold weather fish. These ruthless predators increase their feeding sprees in spring, often startling unwary anglers. They eagerly take lures intended for largemouth bass and do not hesitate to attack panfish that are being brought in by anglers.

Although largemouth bass are generally associated with warm weather, they are actually quite active in early spring. These gluttonous fish can be caught as soon as water temperatures begin to rise, often being found in the same locations where summer catches occur.

In early spring, black crappie begin to alter their behavior. Freshwater crappie seek out traditional spawning areas within their lakes or ponds, while coastal river fish may travel some distance to special creeks or other nursery areas.

Another member of the sunfish family that is known as a springtime catch is the bluegill, or bream sunfish. These colorful panfish bite well as soon as insects and invertebrates start to become active near farm ponds, lake edges or other near shore habitats.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Will The Clean Boating Act Help Stop Invasive Species?

The 2008 Clean Boating Act requires that the EPA draft regulations to reduce water pollution and the spread of invasive species in the nation’s rivers, lakes and other water bodies.

As an alternative to permits required for commercial vessels, the act directs EPA to develop and promulgate management practices for recreational vessels.

To address the issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun seeking public comment from boaters and other stakeholders to help develop proposed regulations.

EPA is also seeking information from states that already enact standards to limit the impacts of boat discharges on waterways. According to scientists, boat discharges can cause the spread of several aquatic invasive species.

Across the USA, the EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars to inform interested parties about the Clean Boating Act and receive public input.

More information about the Clean Boating Act:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Rainbow Trout Stocking Programs

Rainbow trout are among the most sought after of all freshwater fish. Many states offer trout stocking programs and some biologists are already busy releasing fish for 2011.

The following list includes a sampling of 2011 state trout stocking programs which provide anglers with opportunities to catch rainbow trout during late-winter and early-spring:


In Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun its MD trout stocking season, releasing approximately 327,000 rainbows and brown trout across the State.

Trout stocking in Lake Thompson is underway in Virginia with more trout to be added thru May.

West Virginia has announced its 2011 trout stocking program.

Central USA

The 2011 Ohio fish stocking program will release more than 80,700 rainbow trout into 48 Ohio lakes and ponds.

Rainbow trout fishing will also be available in Missouri trout parks. Anglers can fish for trout at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon and Montauk State Park near Salem.

In Indiana, rainbow trout stocked in Fort Harrison State Park should be in the wild by in late March.

Pacific Coast

The annual trout stocking of Oregon’s north coast lakes will resume in early March. A number of lakes are scheduled to be stocked with legal size (about 8-10”) rainbow trout.

Gulf Coast

In Texas, anglers can catch rainbows at the Tyler Nature Center Trout Fest, a spring break fishing event for kids.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 West Virginia Fishing Regulations

According the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, several new fishing regulations will be in effect in for 2011.

New fishing regulations will include:

A new regulation on walleye in the New River provides a two-fold approach to walleye management.  First, a 20-inch to 30-inch slot regulation with a two walleye limit, one of which may be over 30 inches, is in effect on the New River from the Hawks Nest Dam extending upstream to the West Virginia/Virginia state line.  Second, within this section is a catch-and-release regulation for all walleye from the Meadow Creek public access site extending upstream five miles to the base of Sandstone Falls.  “These regulations are intended to protect walleye during our efforts to restore the fishery in the New River,” said Jezioro.

For Hybrid Striped Bass, Striped Bass and White Bass, there is a statewide daily limit of 30 fish in aggregate with no more than four fish greater than 15 inches in length, except in the designated special regulation waters: East Lynn, Mt. Storm and Rollins lakes.

A Children and Class Q fishing area is established on Mash Fork within Camp Creek State Park and State Forest in Mercer County.  This area is approximately 100 yards long and provides trout fishing opportunities for children under 10 years of age and physically challenged persons from March through May.

Several new regulations pertain to trout fishing:

A new catch-and-release area for trout took effect January 1, 2011.  The new area is approximately a 1-mile section of Shavers Fork River encompassing much of the Stuart Park Recreation Area, just east of Elkins.  “The area is a popular family destination and is a great addition to the existing catch-and-release areas.  We expect it to be popular with trout anglers who like to practice catch-and-release,” noted Director Jezioro. Shavers Fork is a popular trout fishery and attracts many anglers and tourists.  The new catch-and-release area can be accessed by foot from county Route 6 on the River Loop Trail, or by driving into the Stuart Recreation Area to the river. A locked gate is located at the road entrance, and a U.S. Forest Service day-use fee is charged from mid-April through September.

Rich Creek in Monroe County will be back on the DNR’s stocking schedule. Rich Creek had been removed from the schedule in 2000 due to land posting. Through the efforts of the local Rotary Club and its members, landowners along Rich Creek have agreed to allow anglers access across their property to the stream. Trout will be placed in Rich Creek at many of the locations previously stocked. Rich Creek will be stocked on a monthly schedule beginning in February.

Blaney Hollow and Morgan Run in Monongalia County have been removed from the 2011 trout stocking schedule. Poundage had been reduced over the years as places to stock trout were lost. Only three locations were available for both streams in 2010.

 Mill Run, a tributary of the South Branch of the Potomac River in Hampshire County, has been removed from the 2011 trout stocking schedule.  Most of the stocked stream flows through private property and has limited access. The upper reaches of Mill Run, primarily above a natural falls, supports native brook trout, but conflicts between some anglers and the principle landowner have occurred for many years.

 Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County will not be stocked until the lake level returns to normal. Repairs to the water control gates must be made before the lake can be refilled.  Additionally, maintenance work is being performed around the boat launching ramp area.

 New Creek Lake, Site 14, in Grant County, will not be stocked in 2011. The lake has been drained to facilitate repairs to the water-release structure. It is anticipated that New Creek Lake will return to the 2012 trout stocking schedule.

Fitzpatrick Lake in Raleigh County will not be stocked again until repairs to the dam can be made. The lake received its January stocking, but the low water level has significantly reduced the surface acreage of the lake. Stockings will resume as soon as the lake is full.

 Anglers can call the Fishing Hotline at 304-558-3399 or visit the website at to find out which streams and lakes have been stocked each day.

The 2011 Fishing Regulations Summary is available at all West Virginia hunting and fishing license agents, DNR District Offices, Elkins Operation Center and South Charleston Headquarters.

The 2011 Fishing Regulations Summary Regulations is also available online at

source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources