At least not for trout.
The rain eventually subsided, and I had my best trout bite of the day just a few minutes afterward as I felt a big tug on my line. When I went to set the hook, however, the fish had apparently already shaken free and was likely laughing at me in the cool depths below. I was using Berkley Mice Tails, which caught me a nice trout last spring, under a crappie bobber, and the long tail of the PowerBait-scented lure apparently attracted a lot of small panfish, as the bobber did a lot of moving but I never could get a hookup.
The biggest difference this year was that the trout seemed to be out in deeper water, chasing large schools of shad that could be seen near the surface of the water. Last fall, the trout all stayed up shallow, and you could see them running in the clear water right in front of you. This year, the only time I saw a trout was when they leaped out of the water to snag a shad.
Local anglers Thomas Heinen and Parker Still were having a good time fishing from a boat on the other side of the lake, though they were mostly catching bass, which seemed to be enjoying the cool weather and overcast skies. The weather really seemed to be perfect for everything else, just not trout. I moved on to the heated dock and fished outside of it for a while, throwing a white-and-chartreuse Rooster Tail and hoping the sunlight shining through the clouds would attract a fish to its bright colors.
Eventually, I gave up trout fishing and grabbed my ice pole, then headed into the heated dock to try to catch some panfish. And I’m not lying when I say it was the hottest action I’ve ever seen in that heated dock. Anglers packed the inside of the dock, all dropping minnows down near the bottom and pulling out crappie left and right. I didn’t have any minnows, but instead dropped my light line with two VMC Hot Skirt Glow jigs in black and chartreuse and tipped with Crappie Nibbles about 15 feet down near a submerged Christmas tree.
It didn’t take long before I had a small white crappie on my rod, the first white crappie I’d caught all year (all of mine had been black crappie up to that point). I kept at it and caught another small one, then finally one of some size at 9 inches. I pulled out two more 9-inchers right after that, then mostly small crappie. They were all white crappie, which made me laugh. Several anglers fishing with minnows were catching fish in the 10- to 13-inch range. In all, I caught and released 11 crappie in about two hours before I headed home. I need to go back with a bigger lure and try my luck again. Of course, that was before this awful cold front rolled in, so I’m not sure how well they’ll be biting now that it’s cooled off so much. But it never hurts to try.
My buddy John Abbott posted a photo on Facebook of a nice 3-pound rainbow trout he caught on PowerBait this week, so maybe the freezing temperatures are at least helping out with the trout bite.
Harman, Morstorf win final KCC event
Congrats to Ryan Harman and Todd Morstorf for winning the final Kansas Crappie Club postseason tournament of the year last Sunday at Clinton Reservoir.
Harman and Morstorf combined for 6.30 pounds of fish during a tough day of fishing to top the field, and a 1.18-pound slab gave them the Big Fish award, as well. Dustin Hobbs and Meagan Springer took second place for 5.84 pounds, followed by Chris Morgan and Michael Roberts with 5.75 pounds for third.
Harman and Morstorf earned KCC Team of the Year honors, as well, and the club raised $350 to purchase fishing licenses for disabled Kansas combat veterans.
Brandon Manis finished the season with the biggest fish of the year, a 2.11-pound slab caught on Perry Reservoir.