I’d expect the mushrooms to still be a bit small after the cool down we had, but by next weekend or even mid-week, they ought to be full-sized and ready to pick.
Speaking of Council Grove, the rescheduled Kansas BASS Nation College State Championship jumped around a bit before anglers nailed down a final destination for Sunday’s tournament: Council Grove City Lake. That was good news for Washburn anglers Ryan Anderson and Thomas Heinen, who were facing the prospect of a three-hour drive to Wilson Reservoir at one point before the tournament field voted to head elsewhere. The rest of the field, made up of Kansas State teams, also seemed to prefer the closer lake.
Some more good news for the field: Phil Taunton, a well-known figure in the NEKS outdoors community, reported that at one time the state-record largemouth came out of the lake’s waters. Taunton said the fish weighed more than 9 pounds and was caught by Dean Marsh on a Daisy Mae lure, “whatever that is!”
Taunton, who has a cabin on the lake, said his personal best on the lake is 6 pounds, 14 ounces. Get at it, boys and girls!
The change in venue came after a flooded Perry Reservoir skunked the entire field, potentially bad news for anglers who were set to fish at K-State’s Big Bass Bash this weekend at Perry.
Despite the tough conditions at Perry, the fishing around the area had actually been pretty good prior to the big freeze. Anglers were catching good numbers of crappie and white bass in the shallows at various lakes, including some nice ones like the one caught by Ron Massey at a pond in Brown County and the 2.51-pound Kansas Crappie Club record crappie weighed by Brandon Manis and Marc Shepard at El Dorado Reservoir. Walleye also were spawning up by the dam at Clinton Reservoir, as well as many other lakes, I’m sure.
Some nice bass were sitting up in the warmer waters just off the shoreline, hiding among the rocks. I hooked into a nice one a few weeks ago fishing at the Shawnee State Fishing Lake that measured out to 15 inches. That lake is bound to have some brutes this year after the lake was drawn down to kill off shad, effectively leaving bass to feast on smaller fish in the shallower pool.
Last week, I tried Lake Shawnee and saw some nice freshwater drums swimming in just a foot and a half of water — I thought at first they were huge bass because of how shallow they were. I even hooked into a big one while twitching a Z-Man TRD CrawZ. I had just cast out into deep water when I saw the silhouette of the big fish, so I quickly reeled in so the bait would be in front of it as it swam past. As the drum approached, I twitched the CrawZ several times and it finally came up to investigate. It briefly sniffed at it before starting to swim away, but another twitch and I saw it turn its head back and consume the tiny plastic crawdad. I reared back on the rod, and the fight was on, as the heavy fish turned heel and dove toward the rocks.
In addition to drum, Lake Shawnee anglers also have just a few days left to catch a big rainbow trout before the season ends Monday night.
The good news, however, is that the regular spring turkey season kicks off just two days later, on Wednesday, though bowhunters already are able to pursue a gobbler thanks to the archery-only season that runs April 8-16.
For the waterfowl addicts, light goose hunters also have until April 30 to hunt the conservation order extended season.
Whatever your outdoor activity is this season — whether it’s mushroom hunting, stalking gobblers, jumping snow geese or catching some big crappie or walleyes — be sure to show off your haul by sending me a picture of your catch or kill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me a bit about it, and I may even run it as a featured story on the Outdoors page!
Good luck in all of your endeavors.