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Dumbfounded
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Back to my local farm lake. Had high hopes for some new poppers I've made. It was cloudy and the wind was minimal but the water temp felt colder through my waders than it did when I fished the lake last Saturday.

Still, I know where the LMB hang out but they were refusing to play the popper game... not only were they not interested in my new poppers, they had no interest in my old "fursure" poppers that work when nothing else will... but they didn't.

So, reluctantly, I went subsurface. Just as I feared, the weed growth below the surface was such that I kept snagging the weeds with the patterns... weedless flies are basically worthless because the weeds grab hold of the tippet material and the hook eye... it makes absolutely no difference if you attempt to protect the hook spear from snagging because the vegetation clings to the tippet, hook eye and front of the pattern.... one reason I don't bother tying weedless flies.

Well, hell. The bass wouldn't hit a popper and the weeds made it impossible to go subsurface.

The water level is deeper on the other side of the lake so I decided to try subsurface patterns where the weeds are not a problem. So I finned over there with my subsurface flies.

In the old days, bluegill were plentiful on that side of the lake but I haven't caught a bluegill in the lake for many years. I thought I'd give bluegill fishing a go. I tied on two bluegill patterns and started casting toward shore where the gills once hung out.

No gills but two 4-inch LMB. So I wasn't skunked... if you count 4-inch fish.

The good news is the fact that there are small bass in the lake and eventually they'll grow into large ones. The bad news is that there doesn't seem to be any bluegill so the bass have nothing to feed on other than each other. The best LMB fisheries include populations of gills and crappie along with the bass. What I need to do is find a bluegill lake, catch a bunch of the little guys and transport them to the farm pond. ... but it is illegal to transport game fish.

So... sometimes the larger LMB will play, sometimes they won't. Yesterday was a won't.
 

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But you got out, Gene. I rarely fish on weekends & with this one being "free fishing weekend" every open spot where I can launch around here would have been full of people. Reminds me of the time I pulled my pram to a small local launch. Some guy had his chair & cooler planted smack-dab in the center of the launch. When I politely asked him if he'd mind moving so I could launch, he grew indignant: "I'm fishing here!" "Well, you're fishing on an established boat launch. You could be swimming here, but I'll just call the authorities instead & let them handle it." As I pulled out my cell phone, he moved, grumbling all the time. I walked over & took a picture of his vehicle & license plate while he watched, smiled & said "Nice truck!" and launched my pram.
 

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Now hanging at the other, better new place
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The good news is the fact that there are small bass in the lake and eventually they'll grow into large ones. The bad news is that there doesn't seem to be any bluegill so the bass have nothing to feed on other than each other. The best LMB fisheries include populations of gills and crappie along with the bass. What I need to do is find a bluegill lake, catch a bunch of the little guys and transport them to the farm pond. ... but it is illegal to transport game fish.

So... sometimes the larger LMB will play, sometimes they won't. Yesterday was a won't.
No bullfrogs? Bullfrog tadpoles live for 2 years before they metamorphose into adult frogs.
 

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Dumbfounded
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Frog patterns work at the lake so there must be a few there but I've never seen any in the water and only rarely hear one in the distance. No bullfrogs for sure.

The lake area of the farm is leased to a sand and gravel company and over the years, they've changed the terrain quite a bit. I don't know if their work had any influence on the elimination of the bluegill, crappie and bass.

30 years ago, when I first fished the lake, I was told it primarily held bluegill and not much in the way of LMB.

... well that was incorrect. Not only were their LMB in the lake but also crappie so it was hardly a bluegill only lake. I discovered the existence of the LMB one day while fishing for gills and deciding to cast a bass popper... just for the hell of it. From that day forward, we fished for all three species... with LMB as the usual primary target. If the bass fishing was off, we could always switch over to gills and catch a large number of those guys.

The gills, of course, attempted to distance themselves from the LMB but a good tactic was to locate the pod of gills and fish the parameter for LMB... normally you'd fool some of the bass who were waiting for a rogue gill that foolishly left the pod.

This was a typical size LMB we could catch by the score with poppers when we first started fishing the lake (larger ones were also caught but I'm too lazy to look for a photo of one of the big guys):
Water Sky Vertebrate Smile Fisherman

Then..... something killed off all the gills, the crappie and the LMB. I haven't caught a LMB, or any other warmwater species, in the lake for many, many years. But I'd usually try it at least once a year. This is the first year in many moons that I discovered the bass, somehow, are back. That's why I figured there was a chance the gills had also returned but you can't prove it by me.
 
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