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.

Weights

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

Spinner Blades

metallic
painted - coated
holographic

Spacers

beads
floats
hologram spacers

Hooks

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

Walleye Live Baits

nightcrawlers
live minnows


Artificial Lures

plastic worms
slugs
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: http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/vhs/

source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources