Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fish like its October…Pay the devil later.

A light dusting of snow flurries and then gone. This has been the story for things east of the continental divide. On the one hand I savor mornings in December where the roads are not covered with ice but in the back of my mind desperation for precipitation grows. The longer we go without a few heavy winter snows puts more pressure on the water situation.

I don’t control the weather. Good, bad or ugly I try to fish through whatever comes my way. Now things are sunny and mostly mild depending on the day making it look more like October than December. Weather like this presents an open window for small pond action. Without more snow later in the year these ponds will be hurting.

(Above: As evident from the look on my face, I was expecting the perch to be a few inches bigger.)

One such small pond has an abundance of perch. So many perch in fact that they may be overcrowding and stunting themselves. This stunting results in smaller fish year after year. Yellow perch are a species of fish that tolerate colder temps very well and are fairly active in December months. One or two casts and I wish that I had brought a bucket.

Weighted curly tail jigs in the 1/16oz size run slowly on the bottom received constant hits. Color choice didn’t seem to matter as they hit green, black and white variations as I tried to dial in some of the larger perch. Nothing fancy just let it drop to the bottom. Slow troll the jig and the hits just keep coming.
(Above: Me and the tooner rolling off a pond that is typically frozen over this time of year. Toonin’ in December? )

All in all it wasn’t a bad day. Any day on the pontooner is a worthwhile adventure especially in December. But it was not the “big perch splash” that I sought out to find. These perch have stunted and there was plenty that I could have done about it over the years. Anglers are often quick to point fingers at management when something isn’t perfect rather than improve the things they as anglers control. In retrospect I have no one to blame but myself.

“I should be taking these perch out by the bucket load!” My voice grumbled while rolling the tooner out. “Without some moisture…I might lose these ponds altogether.”

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Stephanie and Dustin said...

Perch sure are tasty. Sure hope your area gets some winter moisture...dried up ponds = sad face. -stephanie

MKG said...

Nice job on the perch. When that pond opened to the public a half dozen years ago there were a lot of 10-11" perch in it. The problem is not that you didn't harvest a few small perch it's that most of fishermen kept everything over 8". I know I'm preaching to the choir but I'd love to figure out how to convince the general fishing populace to selective harvest.

Coloradocasters said...

@MKG: Maybe I can rent a pelican or other fish eating bird and tie it to the tooner for a few hours. Every perch goes in the bird’s gullet unless something over 8-inches decided to make an appearance. When the warden shows up to check my limit I can honestly tell him, “Fish? All I got here is this stoopid bird.”

@Stephanie and Dustin: Everywhere else in Colorado is getting snow except the metro and eastern plains. San Juan mountains are rumored to get over 12 feet of snow this weekend?

Anonymous said...

Matt, I have plenty of moisture up here in Idaho. Would you like me to send some down your way. Using your pontoon boat in December is pretty incredible when you think about it.

Don said...

Looks like the tooner wagon is back in action! Good to see you are hitting the warm water...wont be long and those ponds will have a lid.

Wishing you and your family a safe / happy holiday Matt.

Looking forward to fishing with you in the 2011!

MKG...hope you are doing well and you also have safe / happy holiday!


troutrageous1 said...

Sorry the perch weren't pleasing. Sounds like less C&R is in order to thin the herd, but I'm no biologist. Open water in December is win to me regardless.