Archive for the ‘Trout Fishing’ Tag

CONCEALED CARRY AND THE OUTDOORSMAN   Leave a comment

Kevin and his two pre-teen sons find a scenic camping location with a waterfowl in a remote location. As they pitch their tent, have dinner over an open fire and settle in for the night, four drunken teens announce their presence.  The location is a favorite drinking location for them.

The teens, embolden by their drinking decide to evict the family. As the discussion becomes more threatening and the teens encroach on the campsite.  Kevin pulls his pistol and points it suggesting that perhaps the teens may want to find another location.  They decide to leave rather than risk a shot from an angry father.

Once the invaders are safely out of sight, Kevin packs up his children and gear. They safely leave what could have been a very serious situation.

This parent protected his family thanks to his right to concealed carry.

Stories such as this spotlight the need for concealed carry for the outdoor recreationist as well as potential victims of crime in urban areas.

However, before you carry your concealed weapon on your next outing there is some precautions needed.

To begin with some states have laws prohibiting carrying while in the field. For instance a state might ban bowhunters from carrying a firearm in the field regardless of the reason.  Some governmental agencies prohibit handguns at all times on their parks and refuges.  Still other states do not recognize concealed carry permit from other states.  This is reciprocity.

If you are traveling from one state to another it is important to know the law in all the states through which you are traveling. Your permit might be valid in your home state and the destination state but you might be traveling through another state where it is not valid.

How can you keep up with the ever changing laws that might affect your carrying protection while in the field? One of the best sources of current information regarding concealed carry is the website of United States Concealed Carry Association (www.USCCA.com).

They also have an App there as well so that you can access the information on your phone while in the field.

One of the easiest ways to get information on reciprocity is the State Reciprocity Map (www.usconcealedcarry.com/travel/).

Another valuable website is the Safe Gun Travel site (www.safeguntravel.com/).

THE TROUT OF DEVILS KITCHEN   Leave a comment

For most practical purposes trout fishing’s best days are over for the summer. The state regulated program stocks trout in small inland lakes in April and October.  After a beginning flurry of action, the number of anglers declines in number.  The catch rate declines significantly.  A small residue population of the fish continues into the summer when the water usually gets too hot for them.

There is one significant exception to this experience.

An 810-acre lake near Marion, Illinois is a surprise trout fishery. Stocked each October with 7,000 to 12,000 rainbow trout, the fish are plenty wild and scattered by the following spring when the anglers venture forth.

Devil’s Kitchen Lake accessed is available via Interstate 57 exits 53 and 54 west. The lake is on the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge just off Spillway Road.  Day use passes, directions, and site specific regulations are available at the refuge Visitor Center 2 miles south of Route 13 on Route 148.

Rainbows are torpedo shaped with a square tail. They have many small spots over the entire body and tail.  Rainbows have a white mouth and gums and sport 10 to 12 anal rays.

Trout are a cold water fish and in most downstate lakes, the water warms quickly in the spring. That makes for the potential of a quick die-off.  Due to the depth of Devils Kitchen Lake, the problem is not as severe.  It is over 90 feet deep near the dam area and the fish tend to congregate there on warm summer days.  In a lake situation, the rainbow trout acts a little differently than would be the case in a small stream.  For that reason it is advisable to do a little scouting of the water prior to wetting a line.

If fishing from shore or without the modern electronics available to some anglers with boats, a good topographical map is important. In either case fishermen search for shoreline structure.  Trout seem to be particularly susceptible to the suns rays.  To avoid the sun and predators they will often be in or near a sheltered area or deep water.  Most shore fishermen fish in the early morning or late evening during the summer months.  Water is cooler during those periods according to locals.

Devil’s Kitchen Lake has a number of ledges and drop offs. The map and electronics come in handy in locating such areas.  The area just to the south of the dam area has a number of such ledges.  They look like steps going from the shore into deep water.

During the summer the area just out from the dam attracts trout. They often will appear on a graph as a cloud of bait fish suspended at about 15 to 20 feet deep.  In the hot weather of a southern Illinois summer heats the surface water to a point where it is not comfortable for trout.  They will move down to about 20 feet depth where the water tends to be more comfortable for them.

Early in the morning and late in the evening, when the water tends to be cooler, the trout will come to the surface in search of bait fish and flying insects that land on the water to rest.

Rainbow trout are most comfortable in water that is 56 to 70 degrees F. Once the water gets to 79 and above, they leave that water in search of more comfortable environments during cooler weather.  As the water warms, they seek out deeper water which usually means the dam area at the north end of the lake.

The shad forage in the lake also like the cooler water. But they seem to be willing to go into warmer water to avoid the trout seeking to eat them.  In the cooler evening temperatures both predator and prey will rise to feed.  In the brushy areas at the north end of the lake, insects will come out.  The fish will seek to capture any hapless insect in that area.  Further south, there are some trees that attract trout.  Any area where there is runoff from the shore will also attract trout.  They hang out there in hopes of getting any terrestrial insects that wash into the lake by a summer rain.

Most trout take natural baits like mealworms, red worms, minnows or pieces of nightcrawler. You can usually cut the nightcrawler in thirds and threaded them onto the hook for best results.

There are no longer any facilities available in the form of boat rentals, bait and food services.

Bait, tackle and fishing licenses are available at Cooksey’s Bait Shop on the corner of Old Route 13 and Highway 148, just north of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center. They are also available at the marina on Little Grassy Lake just south of Devil’s Kitchen Lake about two miles on Spillway Road.

MAXIMIZE YOUR OUTDOOR SHOW DOLLARS   Leave a comment

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Going to the outdoor show is always a hoot.  It is a chance to see what anglers from all over are buying.  It brings up visions of upcoming trip opportunities and it is a learning experience.

The key to maximizing knowledge from a boat show is advance preparation.  A game plan will allow you to learn with a minimum of exhaustion.  Begin on the Internet.  Most all of the exhibitors web pages.  So too do the sponsors of the show itself.

Most shows are composed of thousands of square feet of products, places to go, and other bits of knowledge.  Covering the entire show and still being able to focus on your favorite aspect of outdoor recreation takes effort.  Some shows are so large that one feels the need of a GPS just to get around.

Once you select the show, check the ads that appear in newspapers, magazines, on radio and television for specific information as to when the show coming to town.  Look for the products and seminars that interest you.  If planning to make purchases, make a list of the items you are seeking.

Make two lists, one that you have to buy and the second of things you would like to examine.  Perhaps you will buy something from the second list and maybe you just want to see it.

Week day traffic is lightest and exhibitors can spend more time with you.  Arrive early to allow maximum time to spend getting the information you seek.

If you are with a group make arrangements to meet at a specific location and time.  You may want to see different things.  Kids do not want to spend the same amount of time at a booth as an adult.  Wives want to see different things than do husbands.

Once at the show, take time to look over the program you usually receive as you enter.  It often has a floor plan and list of the exhibitors.  Use a pen or highlighter marking pen to mark the exhibits and seminars of major interest to you.  Make check marks beside the names of exhibitors who might stock the things you want to purchase.

Make note of the time and location of seminars you want to attend.  Some shows announce the seminars as they are taking place while some do not.  Be sure you have a watch so that you do not miss your favorite speaker.  Make note on the program of any last minute substitute seminar speakers or exhibits.  Look for such changes the entrance to the show or at the seminar area.

Take a cassette tape recorder to the seminar.  Most speakers have no problem with your taping their speech, but it is important to ask permission first.  Take notes in a spiral notebook.  You might even have some questions that you hope the speaker will answer, prepared in advance.  That way if he does not cover the subject, you can ask during the Q & A that usually is part of any seminar.

Pay attention and avoid side conversations with your companions.  If the subject is one in which you are intensely interested, sit near the front so that you can concentrate.  If you are only passively interested, sit in the back or on an aisle.  That way if you decide to leave during the presentation, you will disturb only a minimum number of other people.

Wear comfortable shoes.  You will spend most of your time walking on concrete.  Hiking boots or a new pair of athletic shoes is a good idea as they provide support and cushioning for the feet.  Older athletic shoes are not a good idea as they lack the support necessary to cushion your feet.  They are like walking barefoot and can lead to foot problems as well as fatigue.

If the outside weather is cold, then you need to do something with your coat.  Carrying it is a nuisance.  If the show provides a coat checking service, it is worth the cost.  If not, perhaps you might want to leave it in the vehicle.  A third alternative is to put it in a backpack.

Backpacks are also a good place for brochures that you pick up at the show.  You can acquire a considerable number of them in the course of visiting all the booths.  Although the weight of a brochure is not much, the weight of many brochures is a lot.  If you do not remember to bring your backpack, then look for a booth that is passing out plastic “shopping bags”.  Look around at the other people carrying bags and check for reinforced handles.  They are the ones you want.

Another help is to take frequent breaks and examine what you accumulate.  Sometimes it is stuff that you do not really want.  You can stop for a soft drink and a hot dog while culling your materials.  If after reading the brochure you still have some questions, go back to the booth and get answers.  It is easier than calling or writing from home later.

Finally, check your notes.  Did you miss anything that you had intended to see?

Attendance at sports shows is a great opportunity to gain a maximum benefit from your money.

 

TANEYCOMO’S WINTER TROUT FISHING ACTION   Leave a comment

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The overcast skies begin to clear. There is little wind as we put the boat in the water but that changes an hour or so later.  Temperatures are around freezing but they seem colder once the wind picks up.

Our quest today is for rainbow and brown trout in Lake Taneycomo near Branson, MO. The winter spawn for browns is just over last month.  But the rainbows are just entering theirs.  We actually catch fish full of eggs and sperm in the pre-spawn.

Trout have a lateral line like all fish. They respond to movement, vibration and sound.  The lateral line allows them to pinpoint a direction from which those things emanate.  They move toward that sound and then use their sight to zero in on it.

Trout have tiny scales because they live often times in a moving water environment. This coupled with their slime coat allows them to go nose into the current with less energy.  They are also very slippery to handle while landing.

Lake Taneycomo contains both rainbow trout and brown trout.  Rainbow is the prominent stocking fish.  That is because they are the easiest trout to grow.  They take to the food, they take to the overcrowding and they take the polluted water a little bit better than a brown trout.  The water here is quite clear.

Just because anglers prefer to use dry flys because it is more fun it is not the only way. We are using artificial lures cast from spinning gear.  The jigs suspend about 4 feet below a small float.  Their eyes are mid-range.  That means they are comfortable looking up for food as well as down.  They are multi-directional feeders.

Trout in the wild like cold moving water with a rocky bottom. This describes much of the lake bottom here.  Out best success comes in water flowing over gravel.  Trout prefer water in the 40- to 55-degree range.  This can vary by sub-species.

On rivers where water levels change during the day, they will survive through adaptation. When the current is fast, they will be near the edges of the river system.  As water levels lower and current decreases they will go more toward the middle or anywhere in the river system.

They relate to structure only to conserve energy and preserve calories.

Today we hook into several brown trout but only land one. The rainbows are numerous and we catch a number of them.

Toward the end of our 4 hour trip fingers get numb but it is a trip well worth the effort. To paraphrase a famous World War II general, I shall return.

 

TROUT FISHING IN KANSAS   Leave a comment

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When you think about trout fishing, Kansas does not pop into your consciousness right away.  This program of stocking trout into deep former strip mining pits has produced some quality angling.  In 2014 one Kansas angler caught a 15.72-pound, 28.5-inch rainbow trout to establish a new state record for the species.

By releasing 935 trout every two weeks beginning in mid-October until the end of May, Kansans enjoy great trout fishing.  Most of the fish are about 10-inches in length and weigh about 1/2 pound each.  Five percent of each release includes 14-inch or larger fish.  These trout can live year around in these deep cool lakes.  As a result it is possible a trout in the 3 to 5-pound range will take your bait.

Trout season runs from November 1st to June 15th.

Land reclamation of mined land is a success story of monumental proportions.  Such land provides recreational opportunities for photographers and wildlife observation as well as the more common consumptive uses of hunting and fishing.

Near Parsons, KS is the Mined Land Wildlife Area.   The land was once the victim of “Big Brutus” a 12 million pound electric coal shovel.  Brutus striped away the land in search of coal deposits.  In his wake came deep pits reclaimed as lakes and ponds stocked with bass, trout and other species of game fish.

There are several hundred pits in the area providing some 1,500-acres of public fishing.  Each lake is specifically managed for particular species.  The trout lake is 28-acres containing particular water elements that allow rainbow and brown trout to live all year around.

Sheltered from the wind, the lake is too small for larger boats.  Float tubes, canoes and Kayaks are best suited for this situation.

For information regarding this fishing opportunity contact Mined Land Wildlife Area, 507 E. 560th Avenue, Pittsburg, KS 66762.  The office phone number is 620-231-3173.  Information is also available online at kdwp.state.ks.us, the website for Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.   Local information is available at http://www.visitlabette.com, the local tourism bureau website.

TIPS FOR CATCHING RIVER RUN TROUT   2 comments

River Run Trout

Fly fishing anglers need to study the fish, their eating habits and the habitat where they find the trout.  Doing so will lead to enjoyable and successful fishing pursuits.

Thanks to the aggressive stocking program of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, cool clean water of the rivers of the Ozarks numerous rainbow and brown trout are lying in wait to yank on an angler’s line.

Trout in the wild prefer water around 50-degrees with a rocky bottom.  The springs emanating in the limestone of the mountains provide a very suitable habitat for trout.  On rivers with changing water levels the fish survive through adaptation.  As the water level lowers and the current decreases, they move toward the middle or anywhere with deeper, cooler water.  When the current is fast, they will move to the edge of the river.  They need to move to structure to conserve energy and preserve calories.

Trout have tiny scales aiding them in living in moving water.  This coupled with their slime coat allows them to go nose into the current expending less energy than other fish.

The major other factor that affects trout fishing is food.  The trout’s eyes are located mid-range on their heads allowing them to feed either up or down from their position.  Ninety percent of their food, immature insects and aquatic creatures, crawls on the bottom of the river.  As the food supply grows and matures it moves up in the water column eventually reaching the surface.

Fly fishing anglers need to adjust they type of presentation they throw to the water level in which the trout are feeding at the moment.

If on the bottom, the best fly is one that is darker in color such as black or brown.  They should be small in size and weighted to keep it off the bottom a few inches.  In the mid-range he can turn to Wooly bugger in a size 10 that is black, tan, and olive or even occasionally white.  This is probably the easiest level to master trout fishing with flys.  On the surface, the trout will take dry flys sizes 10 to 20, but are difficult to catch.  Trout eating on this level slurp down the fly gently as they approach without notification of their presence.

Take to the rivers this summer and enjoy with me the bounty of trout found in the Ozarks.

TACTICS FOR MISSOURI TROUT   Leave a comment

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The season for Missouri trout park fishing is open.  River banks are wall to wall with anglers early in the season and on holiday weekends.  Then the crowds gradually disappear.  But the fishing for these little torpedoes remains excellent.

Classic trout fishermen typically throw very small flys.  The reason they can do that is due to the fish’s is very acute vision.  Certain environmental conditions call for the use of certain flys.    Trout are sight feeders.

Using dry flys is not the only way.  Their eyes are mid-range.  That means they are comfortable looking up for food as well as down.

Simple is good when trout fishing.  Trout have an amazing ability to consume large baits when it comes to natural ones.  They are little Billy goats.  They may prefer only very tiny offerings but it they are hungry they will take almost anything in the tackle box.

Trout prefer moving water in the 40 to 55-degree range with a rocky bottom.  They survive in pond water but on a more limited basis.

In rivers where water levels change during the day they survive through adaptation.  In fast current they move near the edges shore.  As water levels lower and current decreases they move toward the middle or anywhere.  They will range most of the river system relating to structure to conserve energy and preserve calories.

Trout have a lateral line like all fish.  They respond to movement, vibration and sound.  The lateral allows then to pinpoint a direction from which those things emanate.  They move toward that sound and use their sight to zero in on it.

A Trout’s tiny scales allow them to live in a moving water environment.  This and their slime coat allow them to go nose into the current with less energy.  They are also very slippery to handle while landing.

Southeastern Missouri has rainbow and brown trout.  Rainbows are the prominent stocking fish because they are the easiest trout to grow.  They take to the food, they take to the overcrowding and they take any water pollution a little bit better than a brown trout.

Taken from a hatchery and placed in any body of water there are two things to remember about trout.  Where did that truck back up to? And what do you have a lot of in your tackle box?  For about 3 days trout are stupid.  They spend some time where they are released trying to get acclimated.  They will bite anything.  They do not have the instincts and intuition of a wild trout because they have never had to do anything for their meals.

Most manmade lakes have an area where there is a little bit of a spring found when it was dug.  If the fish find the area they may hang out there and feed to survive through the summer.

Stocked lakes do not usually experience a trout kill.  Anglers remove most of the trout.  Every once in a while someone catches a whopper in a lake where they have been stocking them for a number of years.

Spin tackle is the main mid-western tackle for trout fishing.   Use a relatively light rod to match to your style of fishing.  Light to medium-light action is best because it is very soft and very limber.  You can throw very small lures with it.  The reason you might like the open spinning reel for trout is that you can use lighter line.   It works well with 4 to 6 pound test line.

Most of the time trout are going to respond to lures of 1 1/2 inch or less.

In stained water you might want to use something a little larger.  You can also get away with a little bigger line of 6 to 8-pound test in camo-green.  You might use the bigger line with a 2 foot leader of 4-pound monofilament.

For lures use anything from micro jigs up.  Rainbow trout and the color pink seem to go together.  Red, brown and orange are good colors for brown trout.  You can dress a jig by putting a bobber six or eight feet above it.  It is not as much as a strike indicator but to give the line weight for casting.  In clear water a clear bobber is best.  If you need to cast a long way you can put some water in the bobber or add split shot.

If you are getting short strikes because the fish is attacking the feather portion of the jig presentation, trim the tail a little making the whole presentation shorter and closer to the hook.

Adjust the bobber according to the water depth you are wanting to fish.

Spinners catch more fish than any other class of lure.  It is basically a piece of metal that goes round and round.  It creates a visual flash and a good deal of vibration.  Fish pick up the vibration through the lateral line and come from a long way away.  In clear water the flash is a big advertisement.

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