This post was published in the Washburn Review. Be sure to check them out.
One of the lesser-known game fish available to anglers is the hybrid bluegill.
These fish are a hybrid between a male bluegill and a female green sunfish. As a result of the cross-breeding, a large majority (90-95 percent) of the hybrids are male. However, reproduction is still possible. The second generation offspring is typically weaker and killed off by predators.
Hybrid bluegills grow quite a bit larger than either of their parent species, with a growth rate of three to five times as much as a pure bluegill, and put up a terrific fight when hooked. They grow at a rate of .5 to .75 pounds per years and can reach as much as three pounds, according to Dunn's Fish Farm. They battle similar to a largemouth bass and have beautiful coloring.
Hybrid bluegills are often stocked in ponds because of their aggressive nature and willingness to bite on lures, and they are a great alternative to regular bluegill that can overrun a pond.
Hybrid bluegills can easily be caught using grasshoppers or worms. However, they also are willing to attack a majority of lures, including topwater poppers, jigs, plastic worms, spinner baits and crankbaits.
Scott Stormann holds a 3 lb. bass he caught at Shawnee State Lake. Photo by Josh Rouse.
The largemouth bass is one of the most commonly sought-after game fish in the United States.
It is a symbollic fish for freshwater anglers, with everyone from Bass Pro Shops to the Bassmasters using its name and image to promote themselves. It is a member of the black bass family and is cousins with the smallmouth bass, which is native to the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the Hudson Bay area. The largemouth bass is the state fish of five states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.
While bass fishing is indeed a science and an art, it also is caught on a larger variety of lures than most other fish, including topwater poppers, spinners, plastic worms, crankbaits, jigs, flys... basically most lures you will find at a store. You can also catch them using live baits such as worms, leeches, grubs, grasshoppers, crawdads, minnows, shad, frogs, etc. Heck, I've even caught a bass or two on chicken liver while fishing for catfish. The point is that largemouth bass are not particularly picky eaters, and they rely heavily on their eyesight to decide what forage is safe to consume. They are very aggressive, and if anything swims into its area it will probably attack it. They do also rely on keen senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch and a sixth sense, their lateral line, which is a series of nerve endings that stretches from gill to tail.
John Abbott holds a 3.5 lb. wiper he caught at Lake Shawnee. Photo by Josh Rouse.
It's no secret that the intense heat we've seen this summer has taken its toll on Kansas farms and livestock, but one area of concern for many anglers has been its affect underwater.
With temperatures reaching as high as 115 degrees Farhenheit in some areas of the state this summer, many ponds and lakes have suffered with the combination stagnant water, low oxygen and deadly algae. The result has been reports of fish kills in several areas, including Cheney, where one angler reported seeing 22 dead fish floating in the lake, mostly wipers and walleye.
While this is certainly a concern for anglers, the good news is he reported that the fish that survived were biting and he caught several mid-sized wipers during the morning hours, before the sun blasted him out. This fall could bring a nice haul for wipers in certain areas, but more than likely in areas that have some shade over them in the form of trees, bridges, buildings, docks or other areas.