West Lake Complex – Secrets

The final piece of the series takes a look at the fishing secrets that come to light during a drawdown. The items or areas that can serve as fish magnets are collectively known as “structure” (or “cover”) which is comprised of several different types. Generally speaking, these types consist of wood, rock, vegetation, manmade structure and bottom contours. With a full drawdown in effect, the vegetation component is taken out of the equation for the time being. However, the rest are bared for all to see.

Wood

I break down this category of structure into specific types such as stumps, brushpiles, standing timber, logs, laydowns and my personal favorite, beaver lodges. The details, definitions and presentations that apply to such cover are posts for another time. For today, it’s simply about the scenery.

Lambach Lake – stump (foreground) and brushpiles (background)

Lake of the Hills – now that is a stump, folks

Lake of the Hills – laydown, logs and a picnic table (don’t laugh I’ve seen Dad catch a few off of those over the years)

Rock

For me, rock types consist of riprap, rockpiles and rubble. The West Lake Complex features some of each with more on the horizon via a substantial amount of shoreline improvement and stabilization. This particular improvement will come primarily through the placement of large chunk rock (aka “riprap”) along stretches of the shoreline. Such an addition will help combat deterioration and erosion of the bank caused by water, waves and weather.

Rocky banks near and far with more to come during the shoreline improvement phase of the project 

Riprapped jetty shoreline leading to a rocky roadbed crossing Lake of the Hills

Manmade

Drawdowns provide an excellent opportunity to add some manmade structure. Tires, pallets and various PVC/plastic creations are popular choices.

An extensive offshore collection of tires and pallets would certainly be worth some casts 

Got pallets? Actually, that business is how I earn a paycheck

Buckets loaded up with PVC pipes and concrete serve as fish attractors

Thought this old foundation was pretty cool, others listed on a map I found have apparently been silted over

Contours

The lay of the land below the surface also represents an important component of the overall fish holding structure in a body of water. Points, flats, drop-offs, humps, old creek channels and roadbeds all hold fish and each can shine during certain times of the year.

An extended flat featuring a collection of rubble and wood, dreaming of buzzbaits and summer

An old roadbed in the distance provides a hump crossing an arm of Lake of the Hills

Mid lake culverts along what was part of an old creekbed prior to the creation of Lake of the Hills

A classic collection of cover – a riprap point with several stumps, definitely want to stop here for some casts

Honestly, I could go on all day about this stuff but will call it quits for the time being. I do have my fingers crossed that I can get back out to the West Lake Complex and do a bit more in depth roaming before the lakebed gets covered in white stuff. Last time out I came prepared for a run and some limited, dry shoreline exploration. If I get back out again, I definitely plan on packing my boots for a change of pace after logging and jogging a few miles. As always, if I’m running around outdoors, I’ll talk to you sooner or later. Troy

West Lake – Tracks, Trash & Treasure

So, what exactly would one expect to find on a lakebed that hasn’t been exposed for well over forty years?

Why, tracks, trash and “treasure”, of course.

And, in that order, let’s have a look.

People feet (bare and shod), coon feet and bird feet all in one shot

Tracks

Availability, sustainability and curiosity result in a diverse band of visitors to the exposed lakebed. The pictures above and below feature a few of the footprints observed as I left my own among the collection.

 

My contribution to Bigfoot evidence with the large footprint crossing upper right of photo

Trash

Sadly, there is plenty of this to be observed as well, mostly in the form of cans and bottles during my walks around the expanded shorelines. I was a little late to the party though as it sounds as if I missed a few surprising items as well as some expected pieces of lost now found. Among the former group were reports of a mattress, a lawn mower and some car parts. In terms of the latter, there were cell phones, car keys and a camera. I suppose that last group of items are inevitable over time as people take to the water. Perhaps the sight of the other trash will encourage folks to pack out what they pack in or invest those few extra steps to the ample supply of trash cans. It never ceases to amaze that people can haul in full beverage containers or bags of food yet can’t haul out the much more manageable empties.

Not surprisingly this assortment was gathered near the Lake of the Hills boat ramp

Must admit to this one a few times over the years whether actually golfing or just goofing

Treasure

“Treasure” hunting for me was represented by the search for some fishing related tackle. But once again, plenty of people beat me to the punch leaving nothing salvageable behind. It was entertaining though to find some relics and grin at the mystery revealed as to what sort of snag wrested the lures from the anglers’ tackleboxes.

While I have never made a single cast in the bodies of water at West Lake Park, I sure can relate to incidentally leaving a few things behind. Personally, over the last 40 years or so on various fishing holes I have both contributed and witnessed some “donated” items. Starting, of course, with more than a few lures that managed to snag some underwater objects, both known and unknown. There’s also a fishing pole, an anchor, a University of Wyoming baseball cap, a fish basket, a shirt, a tape measure, part of an oar…you know, pretty standard stuff over the course of a fishing lifetime.

Did I mention “Bigfoot”? Strange creation found amidst the various tracks…

One more West Lake post coming your way tomorrow as we look at what I find to be the most fascinating items out there on the lakebed…”Secrets.” Talk to you later. Troy

West Lake Project – Progress

 

A drawdown just doesn’t happen overnight. There are considerations to take into account beyond simply opening a valve and emptying the lake. In the case of the West Lake project, the largest lake on the site, Lake of the Hills, drains into what is called Blackhawk Creek which then meanders its way to the Mississippi River. Crews targeted a drop of roughly a foot a day to eliminate any negative impacts from the influx of water into Blackhawk Creek. The remaining lakes on the site do not feature a valve system and were instead pumped into Lake of the Hills in order to drain those bodies of water.

Lambach Lake was pumped into Lake of the Hills to drain

A couple shots above of Lambach Lake from August 4 as the pumping process neared completion

I was able to get onsite four different times to observe the progress with my first stop on August 4, shortly after the drawdowns began. My other visits were on August 10, September 29 and November 29 so I was able to get a good look at the initial stages of the overall site restoration project.

A 2017 shot of Railroad Lake looking east from fishing pier 

Railroad Lake from August 4, 2019 similar view as above but looking slightly northeast from fishing pier

Railroad Lake November 29, 2019 from same vantage point of the fishing pier

Railroad Lake August 4, 2019 looking roughly north 

Railroad Lake November 29, 2019 same view as above

I am not sure what the winter holds in regards to further work at the site but my hope is that I can get there another time or two to have a look. Per news reports, the lakes are to remain closed during 2020. Re-stocking of the fish population and re-opening of the lakes is targeted for some point in 2021 pending the return to suitable water levels via some help from Mother Nature.

Lake of the Hills August 4, 2019 

Lake of the Hills August 10, 2019, same goofball with same big, old stump now high and dry

Lake of the Hills jetty near beach area August 4, 2019

Lake of the Hills jetty near beach area September 29, 2019

Lake of the Hills jetty near beach area November 29, 2019

Lake of the Hills August 4, 2019 looking west from Interstate 80 to the boat ramp

Lake of the Hills November 29, 2019 opposite perspective from boat ramp looking east towards Interstate 80

Up next, we’ll take the first of a two-part look at the revelations from the exposed lakebeds. Talk to you later. Troy

West Lake Complex Restoration Project

This series of posts have been on the back burner for several months. In fact, I kind of missed my original window for these submissions amidst other responsibilities and projects. Better late than never though, so here we go with a look at an area lake rehabilitation undertaking known as the “West Lake Complex Lake Restoration Project.”

2017 shots of the primary bodies of water to be drained, refurbished and restocked (Lake Lambach in middle photo)

I have long been a fan of fall lake drawdowns as my “home lake”, Lake Storey, has employed the practice for as long as I can recall. So, once I caught wind of the lakes at Scott County, Iowa’s West Lake Park being drained I sure couldn’t resist a few peeks.

There are a number of reasons to lower a body of water and different degrees to which the water level may be dropped. Such decisions are based on the desired outcome and the pros and cons of the practice are certainly open for debate.

8/4/19 – Lake of the Hills as drawdown begins, see below for current status

In the case of the West Lake Complex, the project is a complete rehabilitation of the fisheries on the site which ultimately means starting over. In such instances, the lakes are nearly or completely drained and any remaining fish population is eradicated. Then the lakes are allowed to refill via rain, snow melt and runoff with the restocking of the desired fish species to follow once the lake levels are suitable. In addition to the “do over’ on fish population, this project also features various other aspects such as dredging, fish habitat placement, shoreline reinforcement and construction of several new ponds.

11/29/19 – construction underway on Pond 9 noted on the project map above

Over the next few days, I am looking to share some pics and observations from my visits to the site during the last several months. Being an outdoor geek, I really dig this sort of stuff and as an area fisherman I find it quite interesting to witness what is truly a once in a lifetime environmental event for the site.

11/29/19 – Lake of the Hills – basically how this whole thing goes down, more to come in subsequent posts

Plenty more to come and even if you aren’t quite as big an outdoor dork as this blogger, I hope that you stop back for the rest of this series. After all, it is not often one gets a glimpse at what lies under the surface of a public fishing hole. Stay tuned as we take a look at some never before revealed scenery and secrets. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

A bit tardy on a stat update but here we go. One month to go, still some open water in the area but I believe I will leave those casts for someone else. Call me a fair weather fisherman but too busy and too cold this December. At present, 2019 has resulted in a total of 88 bass submissions and 5 other species, here’s the breakdown.

2019 Totals 
January = 1 bass
February = no submissions
March = 8 bass
April = 14 bass
May = 12 bass
June = 14 bass
July = 11 bass
August = 7 bass
September = 9 bass
October = 8 bass
November = 4 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
January = 3-3 (one bass)
February = no submissions
March = 19-3 (4-8,4-2,4-1,3-5,3-3)
April = 19 -10 (4-1,4-1,4-0,3-12,3-12)
May = 19-1 (4-6,4-0,3-15,3-10,3-2)
June = 19-15 (4-3,4-1,4-1,3-15,3-11)
July = 13-15 (5-3,3-14,1-15,1-8,1-7)
*August = 19-4 (4-14,4-10,4-6,2-14,2-8)
*September = 24-5 (5-3,5-0,5-0,4-12,4-6)
October = 20-6 (4-12,4-5,4-3,3-10,3-8)
November = 9-11 (5-1,2-12,1-14)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 28 bass
Bank = 60 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 19-5 (4-12,4-5,3-14,3-11,2-11)
Bank = 25-7 (5-3,5-3,5-1,5-0,5-0)

Public vs. Private
Public = 67 bass
Private = 21 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 24-9 (5-3,5-0,4-14,4-12,4-12)
Private = 24-3 (5-3,5-1,5-0,4-12,4-3)

The Baits
Plastic Worm = 27 bass (Top Bass 4-14 Jim Junk)
Chatterbait = 18 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Jim Junk)
Spinnerbait = 14 bass (Top Bass 4-5 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbait = 12 bass (Top Bass 4-8 Jim Junk)
Jig = 4 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Landon Hannam)
Buzzbait = 3 bass (Top Bass 2-4 Troy Jackson)
Crankbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 3-11 Chris Schwarz)
Swim Jig = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Chris Schwarz)
Underspin = 2 bass (Top Bass 4-6 Jim Junk)
Creature Bait = 1 bass (Top Bass 2-9 Troy Jackson)
Prop Bait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Jim Junk)
Livebait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jim Junk)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 1-1 Landon Hannam)

Monthly Top Bass
January
3-3 Jim Junk
February
No submissions
March
4-8 Jim Junk
April
4-1 Jim Junk
May
4-6 Jim Junk
June
4-3 Jim Junk
July
5-3 Jim Junk
August
4-14 Jim Junk
September
5-3 Chris Schwarz
October
4-12 Jim Junk
November
5-1 Jim Junk

Top 10 Bass
5-3 Jim Junk 7/28
5-3 Chris Schwarz 9/22
5-1 Jim Junk 11/10
5-0 Jim Junk 9/15
5-0 Chris Schwarz 9/22
4-14 Jim Junk 8/3
4-12 Jim Junk 9/7
4-12 Jim Junk 10/16
4-10 Jim Junk 8/20
4-8 Jim Junk 3/28

Angler Weights
Jim Junk 24-14 (5-3,5-1,5-0,4-14,4-12)
Chris Schwarz 20-10 (5-3,5-0,3-11,3-10,3-2)
Troy Jackson 14-4 (3-14,2-11,2-10,2-9,2-8)
Brent Jackson 13-7 (4-5,2-14,2-6,1-15,1-15)
Landon Hannam 10-1 (4-3,2-7,1-4,1-2,1-1)
John Kirkemo 6-14 (1-9,1-7,1-6,1-5,1-3)
Terry Jackson 3-13 (1-15,1-1,0-13)
Jayce Jackson 2-13 (1-8,1-5)

Other Species
Bluegill 1-8 Teagan Mills 6/2/19 Private pond
Channel Catfish 13-0 Teagan Mills 4/20/19 Private Pond
Catfish 6-9 Chris Schwarz 6/12/19 Spring Lake – McDonough County
Catfish 34-35” Chris Schwarz 6/2/19 Spring Lake – McDonough County
Muskellunge 6-4 Chris Schwarz 6/28/19 Lake Storey

Well done by our group of anglers and we’ll have to see if any further entries join the ledger before our Top 5 wrap-up at some point in 2020. Until then, plenty more stuff to fill the remaining days of 2019 with a strong blogging finish. Up next is a once in a lifetime look at what lies beneath the surface of some Quad City area fishing holes. Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy

Wichita, KS Fishing Extras

Interesting graffiti landmark, more in one of today’s video clips, wish I knew the story

Since I went the extra mile for this trip and a couple welcome bass it seems fitting to add some extras to the earlier report. Here’s a few more thoughts and some video shot during an hour of fishing on 11/21 before heading home.

 

Research – The internet certainly has its pros and cons, one could go on forever on that topic. But for this brief fishing excursion, cyberspace was certainly a winner as I was able to get some general input on Wichita fishing holes to help me make a decision on where to invest my limited time. All turned out just fine after some concern that I hadn’t invested enough time exploring from my living room. Once again, a double edged sword as too much info can leave you just as lost as not enough.

Lures – Nearly all of my casts were made with two lures, a Booyah Spinnerbait and a Rapala Shad Rap. Both are effective around the riprap cover and some wood where I focused nearly all of my efforts. Sure, I would have liked to have bounced a jig around but just too much trouble in the debris fields I found extending out from the bank. Call me “chicken” but I like to get my lures back which can sometimes be a challenge when casting from the bank. While bravery may have been lacking at least I was doing something right to have a pair of my casts come back with a bass attached.

Cost – You can’t really put a price on a bass in my opinion. Each catch has its merits based on things like effort, timing, location, companion and yes, even size. However, from strictly the out of stater aspect of the two bass reeled in, we’re talking about $14.60 per bass based on the $29.21 total for my five-day permit. While that may sound a bit steep I would gladly invest again. Well worth the cost for the simple fact that I don’t have to sit home and play the “What if” or “Boy, I wish I would have” game.

 

 

“They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.”Life’s Been Good, Joe Walsh (1978) – Did you know that Joe Walsh was born in Wichita, Kansas? Well, neither did I as I’ve always associated the entertaining fellow with the state of Ohio. So, I learned something new as I put this piece together and perhaps you just did as well. If so, that is right on the money as one the goals of the blog is education. In this case, knowledge comes in the form of a potential answer to a trivia question.

November 19, 2019 at 5:37pm – Betting that this is the last bass of 2019 – Wichita, KS

And so, the firsthand fishing reports for 2019 likely come to an end. The odds are slim that I get out again but as always I’ve got more than a few blog ideas to get me through the off season. So stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Wichita, KS Report – 11/19 & 11/21

Crummy weather, short days and busy weekends had conspired to keep me off the water this November. And the end of the month didn’t look to stack up so well for getting a shot. However, a work trip to Wichita, KS that began dark and early on a day with the forecast for a high in the 60s provided for a potential last ditch effort. Read on for a recap with some tunes thrown in for good measure.

Stats

Date: November 19 and 21, 2019
Location: Sedgwick County Park – Wichita, KS (2 lakes)
Time: 4:15pm-5:45pm (11/19) and 11:15am-12:15pm (11/21)
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 63F (11/19) and 44F (11/21)
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 2 bass
Lures: Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bleeding shad) w/ twin tail trailer (pumpkinseed) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 1-9
Top 5 Weight (only 2 bass): 2-11 (1-9,1-2)

5:32pm on 11/19 – November bass success 14″ 1-2 Spinnerbait

Notes and Nonsense

“But I’m a long, long way from home.”Long, Long Way From Home, Foreigner (1977) – 580 miles to be exact, that’s a ways to go to chase that November bass for a wannabe bass fisherman and pro bono blogger. But with my transportation, grub and lodging being covered by my employer I elected to invest a couple after work hours and $29.21 for a non-resident permit in pursuit of a bite.

“Somewhere out there on that horizon…”In the City, Joe Walsh (1978)
I regularly check out a young YouTuber (Jon B.) who originally hails from Illinois but now works as a vlogger out of the Dallas, Texas area. On occasion he combs Google Maps for urban fishing holes in and around Dallas-Fort Worth and then complies content on his outings. Taking a page out of that book I narrowed the vast Wichita public water offerings down to a half dozen options within 15-20 minutes of my work location. A little overwhelming and even nerve wracking knowing that I’d only have maybe 3-4 hours to fish over the 48 hours in town.

“We’re not in Kansas anymore.” – Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1936) – Strangely, I actually was. While it was odd to think that I was so far from home, once the lures hit the water it was bass fishing as usual. An hour of no bites on the first spot had me a bit worried but I kept looking for the structure that I felt would hold a fish. Riprap in direct sunlight and wind was my all or nothing in the hour and a half I had available before sunset on 11/19. Fate was on my side and at 5:32pm I had my sought after November bass. For good measure a second bass came ashore at 5:37pm for icing on the cake.

5:37pm on 11/19 – Bass number two at 15″ 1-9 Spinnerbait

“Miles and miles of highway with just my radio…” – Radio Land, Michael Martin Murphey (1983)
You know I dig the airwaves and roughly 18 hours behind the wheel did not disappoint. No Top 10 Trip Tunes this time around but here’s some highlights.
“I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor (1978)- first cut on the trip as I left my driveway at 2:06am and heard it three times which seemed weird.
“Hold the Line” – Toto (1978) – fitting to hear this group on a trip to Kansas (also heard this tune three times)
Kansas – I tuned into a great deal of classic rock on the ride but somehow missed any tunes by this group along the way. If I could have selected a Triple Play by the band originally hailing from Topeka it would be as follows:
“Point of Know Return”
“Play The Game Tonight
“Carry on Wayward Son”
“Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen (2012) – 8:00pm on Thursday, an hour from getting back home, too many hours of work, too few hours of fitful sleep so, yes, I was actually singing this one out loud.
Oh yeah, and then there was a fair dose of live broadcast and post hearing impeachment recaps. And that’s all I have to say about that…

I’d hoped to hit the water the following day (11/20) but rain and dropping temps ruined any shot. An hour on Thursday (11/21) before heading home produced nothing as the temp was dramatically different at 44F as compared to 63F two days prior. My out of state November bass made for a good story and allowed me to achieve my November bass goal but I couldn’t help but think of another classic line from Kansas native, Dorothy Gale.

“There’s no place like home.”

Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback Finale

So, I like to write, right?

And whether or not there is any financial gain or compensation, I do take pride in my efforts and strive to post quality, regular content. (Note: just for the record, my blogging hobby actually costs me money at present).

A significant part of that regular content is my “Friday Flashback” series which wraps up its second year with this wrap-up post. Nothing new here as you’ve seen these pics before if you tagged along in 2019. If so or if not, feel free to search the archives here and have another look.

Nope, this is strictly one of those “pat myself on the back” recaps and also allows me another opportunity to address my penchant for stats.

42 Straight Fridays spanning February (pic above) to November (pic below)

Hundreds of pics including plenty of guests

Did I mention there were guests?

Lots of lures

Faces, places, logs and more

And, yes, I got in on the flashbacks too

It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to another batch of reminiscing in 2020. But I’m getting ahead of myself as this year isn’t quite finished yet. So stay tuned as I just went to great lengths to see about that elusive 2019 November bass. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update – “Winter” Bass

Okay, so the title is a little misleading as we still have over a month of fall remaining but it sure has felt like winter as of late. Today’s submission provides a little visual proof of the wintry conditions that have arrived much too early.

Last Thursday I got a text and the picture below from Jim Junk and simply couldn’t resist passing them along. While it wasn’t quite the five-pounder he needs to boost his total (yep, I’m a little envious), it was a quality cold water mid-November bass and that’s a solid accomplishment.

Angler: Jim Junk
Date: November 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Structure: Channel/weed edge
Angler Comments: Bass hit a chatterbait. Throwing it over some remaining weeds into a rather deep channel. Hit as retrieve was approaching weeds.
Top 5 Weight: 24-14 (5-3,5-1,5-0,4-14,4-12)

That backdrop and the gloved hand were just too good to pass up. Definitely not the easiest time of the year to fool a lethargic bass but it can still be done. Takes some work and some know how, fun to see an angler extending the year as long as he can. Time will tell if this is the end of the 2019 Top 5 Updates as the area waters are already beginning to ice up. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – November 9, 2014

Well, we’re officially at the halfway point of November and darn near most of it has felt like winter. When combined with family activities there’s just been no opportunity for me to chase any November bass. But, hey, that’s what “Friday Flashback” is for, so here’s an edition from five years ago.

Originally posted 11-19-14

For a number of years now my annual goal is to land my first bass in March and my last bass in November. To some that may not sound like a very tall order but fishing takes a backseat to a lot of other responsibilities in my life so the opportunities can be limited. This year I squeezed in my first bass on March 29 and with what looked like the last shot at decent weather two weekends ago it seemed like now or never for November.

10:57am – On the board with my November bass 12.5″ 1-1 Strike King Red Eye Shad

Stats
Date: November 9, 2014
Location: Knox County private strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 9:25am-4:40pm (5.75 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/very windy
Air Temp: 43-54F
Water Temp: 45-48F
Totals: 6 bass
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 5 bass, Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-8 Strike King Red Eye Shad
Top 5 Combined Weight: 10-5 (3-8,2-7,2-3,1-2,1-1)

Original log entry from the outing

Notes & Nonsense

Rock n’ Roll Ride – Part of what I enjoy on my solo fishing trips is the ride. On this occasion I had roughly an hour drive with just me and my classic rock radio which featured a recent interview with rock legend, Ted Nugent. Man, that dude is still a trip as he rambles on incessantly and entertainingly. Mixed in with the banter was his music both old and new culminating with his homage to bowhunting legend, “Fred Bear”, as I reached my destination. I was having such a good time that I left the truck running, the door open and the radio cranked so I could listen to the cut while I drug the boat and gear to my first fishing hole. Boy, classic rock sure beats the Top 40 stuff my girls dig. Those new “hits” with their subtle and not so subtle lyrics make me cringe at times hoping they go over the head of an eight and a ten year old girl. But hey, I wasn’t too much older than my girls when “Uncle Ted” was cranking out tunes that weren’t really about a feline disease or doing the two step…and I didn’t have a clue.

3:42pm – 18″ 2-7 Strike King Red Eye Shad

Boat vs. Bank – The catch numbers on this trip represented an even split on a day where I spent time both in a boat and on the bank. However, the bass/hour ratio certainly was not as balanced. On the four lakes where I pursued the bass by rowing, my three catches came over the course of 4.75 hours (0.63 bass/hour). While chasing bass on foot I matched that total in only an hour of traipsing the shoreline (3.00 bass/hour). So much for the advantage of a boat helping to get to all of those “I wish I could just get over there because I’d be sure to catch one” places that frustrate the shore angler.

3:51pm 17″ 2-3 Strike King Red Eye Shad

Thank You Note – I owe a debt of gratitude to friend and fellow fisherman, Jim Junk, as he pointed me in the direction of three of my Top 5 this year. For starters, without his advice I wouldn’t have posted a 4-13 and a 4-1 on a lake I hadn’t fished since 2006. And on this day I ran into Jim and a buddy about noon and he mentioned a spot where he’d had some luck walking the bank. So around 3:30pm I was about ready to call it a tough day and had my boat back in the bed of the truck ready to head home a little early. But Jim’s spot was only a few hundred yards up the road and knowing it was my last time fishing this year prompted me to linger a little longer. Within my last hour I had a 2-7 followed by a 2-3 and capped my day with a 3-8. Thanks, Jim, for providing a rousing end to 2014 and putting an exclamation point on my November bass quest.

4:02pm – Last bass and Top Bass 19.5″ 3-8 Strike King Red Eye Shad

A Nice Finish – Fortune saved the best for last as my final catch of the day would be Top Bass for the trip. On top of that rewarding aspect of the bite was the fact that the 3-8 knocked a 3-5 from my 2014 Top 5 thus adding three more ounces. It was a cool finishing touch for the year pushing my final tally to 20-14. A far cry from our leading Top 5 creels and in the lower half of the pack but anytime I can post twenty plus it is a real satisfying year on the water.

Strike King Red Eye Shad, a definite cold water winner

So there you have it, my twelfth and final firsthand fishing report for 2014. It’s been another enjoyable year on the water, always is. Thanks to my fishing partners for good company and good advice. Thanks to the bass for making me feel like I know what I am doing from time to time. Thanks to anybody out there who tagged along via the blog. Thanks to Mom and Dad for taking care of the kids on occasion so their dad could go fishing. And thanks to Julie for allowing me more than a few chances to cast aside my responsibilities for several hours and go chase bass.

Looks like that November bass may elude me in 2019 as ice has begun to cover my fishing holes already. I’m afraid it’s going to be a long winter but I suspect I’ll find something to write about along the way. Talk to you later. Troy