Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finally FISHmas

Spring can be a crucial time for fishing and the days just fly by. Most years I am lucky to get one day where I nail the timing just right. These are the days where the fish are fat, happy and ready to play. After battling bad weather, tough projects and a lot of dismal outings I hit it just right.


This time of year I like to rove the deep water for gestating females. They are larger, fatter and GORGEOUS with not so much as a scratch on them. If I can get just a few of these fish it might actually lift my fishing blog out of the crapper.

A lot of Colorado bassers go after the nesting males. A lot of people are unaware of the whole process and don’t realize the male bass is a bit of a homebody. The female is much larger and more difficult to catch. As the male makes and guards the nest from wandering threats the female is cruising nearby. The male becomes very aggressive as where the female feeds in varying intervals which is often debated on the water. Sometimes she hits a lure and sometimes she doesn’t. The male pretty much hits anything that comes by.

At some point the female comes in and lays her eggs with the male fertilizing the eggs in what looks like a slow dance as good as fish can dance I guess. After that the female moves off and the male bass remains to guard the nest.  In some cases the female is observed hanging around the nest and both fish will guard their brood.

If an angler times things perfectly there will be male bass beginning their nest mode with the females lurking nearby. I might lose my self-control and pick one or two males to educate them a little at the start of the season but it may cost me a larger fish down the road.

For me the real trick for me at this time of year is being able to sight-fish. Being able to see your lure in the vicinity of the fish allows me to really get inside of the fish’s head. Maybe she wants a flirty shake on the crankbait to send out a subtle rattle out instead of a constant retrieve saying “Hey baby, can I get your number?” Subtle rattle isn’t her thing? Maybe go into suspend mode with a quick twitch. Oh…there she goes falling for it.
This lake has a population of fish that can reach +18-inches and managed as catch and release. This is the primary reason that these fish are still here. If we don’t throw fish back there will only be fish stories left. The responsible angler follows the rules and only takes fish out in the common slot with healthy fish populations where taking fish is allowed. The result is better fishing for all today and tomorrow.

Spawning points are not always in shallow water. The largest fish tend to spawn early and will be set up in deeper water points. I tend to fish early in hopes that I get into these “mega-buckets”. Weather always throws me a curve ball. At the end of my FISHmas vacation I might have actually nailed it.
This fishing blog often sounds like an afterschool special and I hope people can stomach a little more of my bassin’ biology seminars , sermon and
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Colorado Fishing Survey-Looks like everyone still wants trout management. Get your voice out there!

DENVER — Colorado’s human population is growing and becoming more diverse. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is making sure to keep pace. A 2012 Angler Survey report commissioned by the agency unveiled an informative collection of data that will allow the agency to serve the needs of a changing sport-fishing culture.

The survey respondents let Colorado Parks and Wildlife know that they preferred fishing for trout and that the overall satisfaction level of anglers was high. Results also revealed the potential impact of a changing sport-fishing demographic on the Colorado’s hatchery system.

“We’re trying measure how angler demand might change over the next 10-20 years,” said Stacy Lischka, a human dimensions specialist and compiler of the survey. “This is critical information that will help us provide the angling opportunities people would like to have in Colorado.”

The majority of both resident and non-resident anglers responded that they were either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their fishing experience in Colorado. Thirty-three percent of residents said they were “very” satisfied, along with 48 percent of non-residents, and 33 percent of resident anglers responded that they were “somewhat” satisfied with their experience, compared to 32 percent of non-residents.

The survey was sent to 3,000 randomly selected anglers — 1,500 residents and 1,500 non-residents — with 1,404 respondents.

Matt’s Rant: All Colorado anglers desperately need to send an e-mail to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife stating your own personal desires for fishing in Colorado. If you want better trout fishing there may be no better time than right now to get your own opinion in. Otherwise these random survey recipients may end up running the show in regards to changes in the future. A handy link to the “AskDOW” feature below. I will even post my submission as a very poor example.

The best way to reach these folks is with a sincere smile and a handshake. Tell them where you fish and what your thoughts are. Being courteous and sensible is better received than my endless ranting that is admittedly biased to large trophy fish that no one gets to eat. I might also be crazy enough to suggest trophy sport fishing in both cold and warm water species. The only way to make this happen in Colorado is by educating the public on what good fishing actually is. Stocked trout aint it.
Good luck and good fishing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wednesday’s wet and wild fish trip

As soon as the FISHmas vacation was penciled in everything started to fall apart. Projects at work exploded, new tasks were added to the pile and a few late snow storms pushed the fish back into a winter slumber. The problem with having to get requests in early is that it eliminates the flexibility to adjust as weather changes. To make the most out of everything it takes luck and good timing.
Load the tuner and face the grueling cartage in. This was the first time fishing this location for the year which led to a few surprises that I had to adjust to. Nothing worth going over except that another quarter mile was added to the journey in. Get on the water and I am doing “ok” for average bass. Size up, dig deeper and look for larger fish.

A ½ oz spinnerbait was tied on one setup and a 5” Pro Stick worm (junebug color) from Maniac Custom Lures on another rod. This is a no-scent\no salt worm that is a good option where additional regulations prohibit scented and salted lures. I bought a few packages of these and work then into the rotation.
(This particular product line is being discontinued so I went ahead and ordered a few more packages.)
Weather started out as slightly overcast with small patches of blue sky. The weather forecasts called for storms, some possibly severe later in the afternoon. My plans were to haul in a lot of gear early, fish for all I was worth in a short time and then get the heck out.  For some reason things didn’t go anything like that. It took me longer to do everything from rig a new bait to scout a patch of water. Before I knew it the schedule time slot was all but gone and I was dealing with rain.
“This isn’t too bad. Me and the tooner can stick it out”
Shortly after saying those words the sky opened up and all hell broke loose. Wind picked up from the steady 5-10mph to gusts of 40-50mph. Thunder shook the air around me. Lightning ripped over my head and it was everything I could do to scramble for a beachhead.
Scrambling for the metal cart on the far side of the pond I then loaded the metal framed tooner with aluminum oars. For several years I have carried a rain poncho but never had to actually deploy it. By 2Pm I couldn’t get the poncho out fast enough.
The drenched gear was hauled over the trail the long distance back to the parking lot. Rain seemed to fall less and less every five minutes or so. Reach the truck and hardly a drop is falling. Sometimes I think natures loves to taunt me and knows exactly when to mess with my fishing. At least this time I had some warning from the weather people what I was up against.
The crucial mistake I made was not noticing the shuttle wind shift. Clouds were moving north east in the morning but had started moving more to the south east later in the day. The big, dark storm clouds were supposed to go right by me leaving a small patch of blue sky right at the edge of the storm. Now it is clear that patch of blue sky was simply bait used to lure me into the storm’s trap. Well played storm cloud. Well played.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bait and switch…trade you trophy pike fishing for a handful of muskies

Matt’s Rant: Stocking tiger muskie is something that I applaud greatly for many reasons. However, there is little evidence to support the argument that tiger muskie help control certain fish populations while avoiding others. What this article clearly suggest in my opinion is the fact that Western Slope water managers continue their efforts to remove pike from the area altogether (along with a few other game species such as mackinaw\lake trout and smallmouth bass). When all is said and done these efforts will eliminate non-trout species on the Western Slope and when anyone complains they will respond with, “Well we put a couple of tiger muskie in there for ya all.”

In closing of this rant I want to reiterate that stocking tiger muskie is great for sport fishing. But I do not wish to trade a handful of tiger muskies in exchange for the end of trophy pike fishing in Colorado. Pitching this idea as native species management is greatly flawed. In my view this is nothing more than a bait and switch. As you read this, more waters are being targeted.

Below is the article from the Denver Post that started me on this rant.

State wildlife managers plan to save endangered fish along the Colorado River by importing a striped, saber-toothed predator, in hopes it will devour existing invaders that prey on vulnerable natives.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers are talking about transplanting tiger muskies, which they believe will aggressively hunt down northern pike. First, they must protect it from the growing practice of spearfishing, archery fishing and gigging — a pitchfork-like device.

Northern pike — imported in the 1940s for state-led stocking and later spread illegally — are prolific spawners and are proliferating around the river basin. Tiger muskies are crossbred from northern pike and muskellunge and are sterile.

The pike threaten recovery of four native species struggling to survive as flows of the Colorado River and its tributaries are disrupted by water diversions to cities. Those are the Colorado pikeminnows, razorback suckers, humpback chub and bonytail.

Link to full article below:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bass game delayed by Crappie

The black crappie is a species that tastes so good people may not stop and look at how spectacular it can be in regards to color as well as fin placement. In the panfish category for Colorado the crappie species is as close to tropical as a Mattabsasser gets in this mountain desert.

A few weeks ago I was bass fishing and rolled on top of a large section of trees that had been pushed into the water. This was done purposely to create a thick wood structure for baitfish and smaller organisms to seek shelter. A small tap on the bass rig and a flash of white below the water’s surface was a sure indication of crappie in the area. A quick downsize switch up and I was banging a few wannabe slabs.

My favorite rig for crappie is a mister twister 1/8oz jig. In heavy cover I may work a 1-2” grub weightless and hope the fish doesn’t hang me up in the junk on a deep hookset. White, black and chartreuse are three colors I try to keep on hand in one box with jig heads and grubs in various sizes.

Crappie can reproduce in great numbers with each female laying 5,000-15,000 eggs per spawn. Depending on temperatures and region the crappie can spawn several times a year. In Colorado most lakes receive at least one healthy spawn of crappie where populations are viable.

In lakes or ponds with a healthy crappie population throwing lures with a combination of white and black can bring out some of the healthier fish that binge feed on crappie from time to time. My best fishing days are often the ones where I can get into some big fish and feed my panfish addiction as well.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.