Month: June 2017

Lost Grove Lake Report 6/20

With the boys spending the night at my folks and Julie and the girls opting for a Ladies Night of shopping and supper, I took advantage of no responsibilities to head back across The River after work for the third outing in four days.

Date: June 20, 2017
Location: Lost Grove Lake, IA
Time: 6:00pm-8:45pm
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy-very windy
Air Temp: not sure
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 6 bass
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (crystal gray ghost) – 6 bass
Top Bass: 2-3 Mann’s Baby 1-

Top 5 Weight (only one bass at 12” or better): 2-3

6:01pm First Bass & Top Bass 17″ 2-3 Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait

Notes & Nonsense

First Bass – I’m guessing it was only about my fourth cast when my crankbait got hammered while running parallel to a patch of reeds and through some of the abundant, scattered surface vegetation (see pic later in post).  The fish made a dive that pulled some drag, so thoughts of a new Iowa personal best began dancing in my head before I ever saw the fish. Once I got a look I knew I had what I was seeking but with only the back treble in the lip it was a crapshoot on whether it was gonna stay hooked. It did its best with several leaps and also got some extra time to try and get away with some bad aim as I tried to get a hold with my Boga Grip. But it was my lucky day and after the weigh-in I had a new “lake record” of 2-3, meeting my long-held criteria of a “good one” by hitting the two-pound mark.

Premonition – On the eve of this outing I posted the following on Facebook:
“15 Years Ago This Week – June 23, 2002 – Lake Bracken gives up 12 bass in 5 hours and while the fish weren’t overly impressive, the lure that landed 11 of them is a winner. In fact, the Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait was included in a ‘Legendary Lures’ series that I compiled back in February 2012 for my previous blogging gig at Heartland Outdoors. Looking to revisit the concept on the new website at some point and have the lure pictured below tied on in prep of a fishing outing tomorrow evening, hope to add to the legend.”
While a 2-3 isn’t necessarily a trophy, it is a new “state record”, another feather in the cap of this old favorite.

A “legend” lives on, Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait

That’s Fishing – As usual, I can always find something to write about even when all but one of my bass fall into the less than impressive category. To me, it’s all part of the blogging portion of the program as I believe a lot of anglers can relate to fishing reports that provide more than just the highlights. For today’s installment, some of those details include 2 bass in the first 9 minutes, 3 bass in 10 minutes about 90 minutes later, a final bass roughly 25 minutes after that and then ending the trip with an hour drought. So, beyond the last straggler, my catches came in a 19 minute period within the 2.75 hours total on the water. I hit all my spots, some twice, and even changed my approach to slow down but just one of those days chalked up to “that’s fishing.”

Here’s a sample of surface weed growth with some of these lengthy strands of slime extending 30′ or better. In addition, the subsurface growth is just as crazy making for limited presentation options.

Fishing Lesson – Over the years, an angler learns some things the hard way that lead to some new habits that hopefully prevent the same mistakes from occurring again. Today’s lesson stems back to one night at the Lake Bracken Clubhouse parking lot back about 1985. Packing up to head home after an evening of prowling the bank for panfish followed by some after dark stationary catfishing, I failed to notice that my tacklebox did not find its way into the old wood panel station wagon. No Good Samaritans on this occasion either to bail me out of a foolish mistake and one of my most prized possessions (behind my baseball glove I suppose) was gone. From that day on, I always take a look at my surroundings after loading the boat or changing locations when on foot to make sure I’ve got my stuff. The customary check was a winner again on this night as my shades were on the bed cover as I did the final walk around of the launch, truck and parking area.

Attire – Okay, one last note. Heading in to Father’s Day I asked for a new fishing shirt; lightweight, long sleeved and light color to help combat the sun. Thanks to a great wife, my wish was fulfilled regardless of what kind of dad I am. Now, I’ve been wearing the same basic fishing apparel for years (actually pretty much same real life batch of apparel too) so this was a step outside my comfort zone and it paid off with my new Iowa record. Looking to fish later this evening, so if it ain’t broke…may have to cover it with my lucky gray sweatshirt though as it’s been unseasonably cool of late.

I suppose you’ve had enough and I have as well. Next up, looks like a kids’ fishing report, a grown up report if I get out tomorrow and one of these days I’m hoping to kick off a park review sort of project. Always a work in progress though, so talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

All right, folks, we’ve got us quite the update this week courtesy of our 2014 Top 5 Champ as he provides a multi-species report from a recent trip north of the border.

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: May
Location: Canada
Lure: Rapala X-Rap
Angler Comments: All bass were caught on Xraps.

Weight: 4-0

Weight: 3-4

Weight: 5-4
Angler Comments: The following day I thought the smallies were finally going to come on only to be disappointed by a quick little flurry and then no more. On the plus side the first fish of the day was this 20.5 5.4lb pig of a smallie.
Top 5 Weight: 22-1 (5-4,5-2,4-1,4-0,3-10) culls 3-7 and 2-1


Length: 20”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: Late May
Location: Canada
Bait: Jig and minnow
Angler Comments:   All bass were caught on Xraps and only one walleye on them as well. All other walleye were caught on a jig and minnow.  I didn’t keep an official count but I would say I caught 3-400 walleyes and they averaged somewhere between 18-20 inches.  

Length: 20”
Bait: Jig and minnow

Length: 26”
Bait: Jig and minnow
Angler Comments: And my first walleye over 24″. This one went 26″ and 6 lbs! The best part of the walleye fishing for me was catching them all on an ultralight with 4lb line.

Length: 25.5”
Lure: Rapala X-Rap
Angler Comments: The next day the weather cleared and I decided to try trolling the Xrap in hopes of maybe getting into some walleye in the day time. I only managed one but it was a dandy, this one went 25.5 and 5.8 lbs.

Length: 26.5”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: Late May
Location: Canada
Angler Comments: Another flurry of walleye capped by this spawned out 26.5″ 5.7lb walleye.

Top 5 Length = 118” (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”)


Length: 24”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: Late May
Location: Canada
Lure: Rapala X-Rap
Angler Comments: This was the very first cast of the trip which netted me this 24″ tiger muskie.

Weight: 29”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: Late May
Location: Canada
Lure: Rapala X-Rap
Angler Comments: 10 casts later I caught this 29″ tiger.

Weight: 31”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: Late May
Location: Canada
Lure: Rapala X-Rap

Weight: 47”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: Late May
Location: Canada
Lure: Rapala X-Rap
Angler Comments:  This 47″ pig that I had seen the day before in the area of the 31″ muskie.  I literally had just called out that this was where I saw the monster the day before when I look down as I’m about to bring my lure up to recast and watch this behemoth lunch the Xrap at boat side on the surface!

Total Length = 131” (47”,31”,29”24”)

Outstanding report, Jake, and thanks for the multispecies contribution, been a little lean for 2017.  Keep ‘em coming when you get a chance to visit your regular stomping grounds.  Good luck to all and talk to you later. Troy




Lost Grove Lake Report 6/18

On the heels of a solid Saturday, I had a chance to try my luck again on Father’s Day Sunday. Hey, my day right, so what’s wrong with ditching the family for some “me” time? Actually, nobody hardly missed me as I left before anybody even dreamed of being awake and returned before the girls ever rolled out of bed. A couple hours of solitude, a few bass and another fishing report.

Date: June 18, 2017
Location: Lost Grove Lake, IA
Time: 5:55am-7:55am
Weather: Sunny-overcast/windy-very windy
Air Temp: not sure
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 8 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 7 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (salt & pepper) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-9 Buzzbait
Weight (only 2 at 12″ or better): 2-7 (1-9,0-14)

6:15am First Bass and Top Bass 14.5″ 1-9 Buzzbait

Notes & Nonsense

First Bass – Twenty minutes into casting a buzzbait I had my first catch, tipping the scales at 1-9 equal to my former Iowa personal best. Fortunately, the 1-11 from the previous outing had pushed the mark up a couple ounces. Otherwise I may have had to stoop to weighing the latest catch multiple times or perhaps even holding it up in the wind hoping a gust would boost the scale that needed ounce. Okay, maybe not that desperate just in need of something in the two-pound range to make the record at least a little more respectable.

No Repeat Performance – My hopes to duplicate the positive strides I’d made in figuring out some fish the previous day just never materialized. While this trip was just over an hour shorter, a different day just had a different feel.
June 17 = 3.25 hours, 18 bass, 5 at 12” or >, Top 5 Weight of 6-9, Top Bass = 1-11
June 18 = 2.0 hours, 8 bass, 2 at 12” or >, Top 2 Weight of 2-7, Top Bass = 1-9
That’s fishing as no two days are the same. Reasonable production on day two but my excuse this time around was the couple dozen bass with sore lips from Saturday including a handful that got off the first time around. Rarely discouraged though and was back at it two days later, fishing report to come.

7:23am 12″ 0-14 Buzzbait

Three Days in One – The weather continues to be all over the place like much of the rest of 2017 to date. I launched at 5:55am to sunny skies and temps rapidly climbing to the mid-70’s. By 7:00am a massive cloud bank was rolling in with the winds really beginning to pick up. When those winds finally forced me and my little boat off the lake at 7:55am the skies were dark and the temp had dropped a dozen degrees into the low 60’s. In the ten minutes it took to load and leave, the sun had reappeared, the wind had diminished and the temperature had stabilized. I took a drive around the lake to check out the crowd and by the time I decided to head for home it was back to the conditions like when my morning began. I was tempted to launch again at another spot but thought better of it and hit the road to share the remainder of the day with my family.

Stick around the lake after the front moved through or head home to this bunch? I chose the goofballs over a few more bass.

Crowd Count – In a previous post I mentioned that one news outlet had referred to Lost Grove Lake as “Iowa’s newest jewel” and it sure seems to have the attention of more than a few anglers. Similar to last year, I took a drive around to all of the access points (three ramps and three walk-in areas) to check out the crowd. All told, I counted 34 trailers along with sixteen other vehicles, indeed a popular destination but still enough water for everybody.

Back to back trips last weekend to my new area have produced an overall better quality of fish than my previous three stops elsewhere on the lake so why stop now? Stay tuned for another Lost Grove report to see if the trend continues or the well runs dry. Talk to you later. Troy

Lost Grove Lake Report 6/17

After my first visit of 2017 to Lost Grove Lake wound up being another challenging quest for quality fish I got to thinking about a change of approach, not so much in presentation as location. Fishing a 400 acre lake in an 8-foot johnboat means you’ve got to break it up into manageable pieces. And with only 2 bass at 12” or better of 35 total caught in three trips prior to this outing meant that I was up for a different piece.


Date: June 17, 2017
Location: Lost Grove Lake, IA
Time: 6:25am-9:40am
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy-very windy
Air Temp: not sure
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 18 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 14 bass
Senko wacky rig (electric shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight: 6-9 (1-11,1-8.1-6,1-4,0-12)

Notes & Nonsense

Gnats – Well, the first thing to get my attention on this morning before even making a cast was the abundance of gnats.  I inhaled several, ate a couple, and had them in my ears, under my hat and between my shades and my eyeballs, rather annoying.  Even more so when throwing a buzzbait as you have to hit the water reeling and keep it going all the way to the boat or a bass.  I know there are proposed potions and lotions out there to address this problem and I suppose some are worthwhile, but I’ve just never been a fan of getting anything on my hands or body that could translate in a negative fashion to my lures and turn the bass off.  Actually, I never wear the stuff even when I’m not fishing, just try to ignore the bugs as best I can.

Six minutes into the outing I had two bass in the boat on a buzzbait 10.5″ and 12.5″ (0-12)

Back to Back Bass – I sent Julie and the kids the picture above a whole ten minutes into my trip even though nobody at my house was likely awake at 6:35am anyway.  The shorter of the two was my first catch of the day and managed to flip off the buzzbait after coming aboard.  Tough call in terms of fish care but I was on a productive spot and opted to cast again rather than chase down the bass flopping around at my feet.  Good decision for me as the result was back to back casts with a bass.  At least my boat is old enough that it leaks a bit so the first fish had a little water to splash in while awaiting release.

7:34am 13.5″ 1-4 Buzzbait                                     8:00am 13.5″ 1-6 Buzzbait                           9:03am 14″ 1-8 Senko

Close Calls – So, I’m shooting for a 1-10 for a new Iowa record and after two hours my two best fish were 1-4 and 1-6, okay size, but I knew neither one was heavy enough as I lifted them into the boat.  Then on the home stretch I nab one that I knew was gonna be close and my guess was a tie at 1-9.  However, turns out I was a little high as it fell short by one ounce, coming in at 1-8.  Another decent fish compared to the majority of bass from the fishing hole but I was running out of time.

Best for Last – The old saying was indeed true as my final catch of the day was the bass I was looking for at 1-11 on a buzzbait, boosting the record by a whole two ounces.  I cast around for another fifteen minutes or so but the wind had gotten so bad that I had to call it quits without another bite.  Good way to end my day, though.

9:22am Top Bass and new Iowa personal best 15″ 1-11 Buzzbait

Five bass at 12” or better and a new Iowa personal best in just over three hours certainly reinforced my decision to try a change of scenery on Lost Grove.  Compared to 2 bass over 12” in the previous 13.75 hours it seems like I just might be onto something.  For further research, I went back the next day, and again yesterday evening.  Getting behind on the fishing reports…stay tuned (and check out the Facebook page).  Talk to you later.  Troy

Top 5 Update

Been a little lean on the Top 5 front since kicking off the new website so cool to have a two year veteran of the project send me his first contributions for 2017.

Weight: 2-12
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: April 17
Location: Banner Marsh – Pumphouse Lake
Lure: Spinnerbait (white)

Weight: 2-10
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: April 17
Location: Banner Marsh – Pumphouse Lake
Lure: Spinnerbait (white)
Angler Comments: First trip of the year was on April 17 to Banner Marsh where I tried fishing Shovel and Pumphouse lakes.  Started on Pumphouse in the morning and caught the two above.  Maybe should have stayed there but wanted to look for some crappie since I have never had good luck catching them at any of the lakes there.  Didn’t catch anything else the rest of the day which was disappointing!

Weight: 3-4
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: May 27
Location: Emiquon Preserve
Lure: Rapala DT6 Crankbait (Helsinki Shad)
Angler Comments: Forecast was for fairly calm winds but the morning was foggy and waves were up to a foot when I launched.  Managed to do well jigging for crappie but waves were topping out at whitecaps. Decided to go in and take a break at that point.  In the next 30 mins the sun came out and the wind died and things calmed down pretty well.  Caught ten bass but only weighed the biggest one.  Dumb mistake since I would have filled out my top five!  All were caught on a Rapala DT6.  Bought several colors of that lure based on some of your blog posts early last year!  Definitely paid off  for me on that day.
Top 5 Weight: 8-10 (3-4,2-12,2-10)

Appreciate the participation again this year, Paul, and looking forward to the next email as you continue to boost your creel.  Also thanks for the mention on the DT6, that lure was definitely a winner back in my Emiquon days. And always good to know someone reads some of my posts and may occasionally find something worthwhile.  Be careful though, there’s also a few bad habits in those entries from time to time.  Good luck to all, send ’em this way and talk to you later.  Troy

Happy Father’s Day

What can you say about the guy who taught you how to cast, tie an improved clinch knot, work a Rapala, row a boat, set a 220 conibear, clean fish, skin coons (don’t know the last time I actually used that skill), make bankpoles, locate a treed coon dog (never any good at that one) and a multitude of other handy skills?  And then there were groundballs, free throws, bunts, slam dunks (Nerf hoop), Cubs fandom…Oh yeah, also the importance of a good work ethic, providing for your family and spending time with your kids.

Well, not enough time to tell it all here so instead you get a collection of headlines describing a handful of outdoor related adventures with my ultimate mentor.  All classics in one way or another, and some a bit dumber than others.  Perhaps, one of these days I’ll get around to “the rest of the story.”  In the meantime, don’t try some of these at home or anywhere else for that matter.

Lake Storey Produces Odd One-Eyed Bass

Man Witnesses Muskie Caught On First Cast

Live Opossum Release Caught on Video

Anglers Narrowly Escape Monsoon On Beefy’s Creek

Trio Wrangle Record Catfish into Five-Gallon Bucket

Father Revives Unconscious Son Following Alleged Bigfoot Encounter

A Tale of Two Easter Bass

Coon Bounces Off Man’s Head And Terrorizes Youngsters

Duo Post Lake Storey Walleye Record

Men and Children Survive Hunting and Trapping Trip in Abandoned Shed

Father’s Prank Results in Son’s Near Heart Attack

Local Creek Produces Bankpoling Species Record

Mysterious Creature Caught By West Central Illinois Trappers

Trappers Report Rare White Hawk

Father-Son Outing Produces Possible Emiquon Bass Record

Trapper Overcome With Laughter As Cohorts Topple Into Icy Creek

The list (and potential foolishness) could go on and on.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  Talk to you later.  A fellow Dad and one of four reasons you are a Dad.

Lost Grove Lake – Info and Impressions

Here’s a further look at the young Iowa fishing hole that was featured in my fishing report earlier this week.

Location: Scott County, IA out in the middle of nowhere kinda between Eldridge and Princeton.

Details: 400 acres, maximum depth 62 feet, mean depth 14 feet

Background: Tough to decipher from the internet info but several news organizations marked the “public grand opening” as August 2014.  However, there are a number of fishing reports that predate the opening, occurring prior to the lake reaching full pool.

Maps: There are a number of links on the internet but I honestly don’t recall where I got my map and I haven’t been able to find it again during some brief searches.  In 2015 and 2016 when I attended the QCCA Outdoor Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, IL there was a booth for Lost Grove with some good info and neat photos.  The event runs each February and is definitely worth a visit.

Access: Three boat ramps and several walk-in areas featuring bank fishing, carry in access, fishing piers and jetties.

Crowd: Plenty, as a cruise around the lots before heading home after my first two visits in 2016 showed the following tallies: 6/19 (Sunday morning) – 41 trailers and 49 other vehicles (bank anglers, kayaks, canoes) and 6/28 (Tuesday morning) – 32 trailers and 19 other vehicles. On my outing last week I saw at least a dozen boats in the section of lake where I tried my luck, no surprise on a very nice (although windy) weekend day.

Stocking: Iowa DNR page ( has all the info dating back to 2006.

Early aerial shot of the lake as it began to fill

Water: My three trips to date have focused on the mid to lower end of the lake with water clarity running from relatively clear midlake (6-8’visibility) to stained on the lower end (about 2’ visibility).  Being a young lake it is also what I call “real messy” with an extensive collection of weeds and flooded brush.  I suppose as the lake ages this will improve but as of now there are substantial areas that are essentially unfishable, even from an 8’ johnboat, and definitely inaccessible from a more sizable watercraft.

Bass: My haul of 35 bass in 13.75 hours to date has only featured two fish at 12” or better, for what it’s worth or represents.  An encouraging sign on trip number two was sighting a fish in the four pound range that I spooked while rowing through a narrow shallow stretch.  In addition, the Heartland Outdoors website featured a 22” bass from April 2016 indicating that some brood stock were included beyond the reported 1.5” to 5.3” bass stocked over the last decade.  However, the Iowa DNR lake survey from October 2015 is dominated by 8-10” fish with the largest sampled being a lone 12-14” bass.  Sure makes me feel a little better about my field data.  The vast majority of my fish have come on weightless wacky rigged Senkos or buzzbaits around shallow (under 8’) weed or wood cover.  I have also tossed a spinnerbait to no avail albeit on a cold front day but sure figure it is suited to the cover.  As far as stuff I like to throw sporting treble hooks such as the Red Eye Shad or various crankbaits it looks to get kinda touchy and would give the lure retriever a workout.  It would also be a constant battle cleaning moss form the lure after most every cast.

Other Species: Still early in the game for me and for the lake and the only other population info I have is conversations overheard on the water or at the ramp.  Seems there are tons of smaller bluegill, so sounds good for youngsters if you are looking to get bit.  As far as crappie, I overheard a pair of bank fisherman commenting that while the species was cooperative it required weeding through a dozen or more 5-6” fish to get one in double digits (not sure on baits/lures).  Muskie, walleye and catfish, no clue and will likely only be able to provide any feedback via eavesdropping or bass fishing “accidents.”

Conclusion: Interesting place, a big fishing hole compared to my normal stomping grounds but a bit frustrating so far with the water/structure being kind of a mess on a young lake.  However, several anticipated future outings look to access a few more spots on the lake as I have to break it into manageable pieces when rowing around in a small johnboat, so the jury is still out.  In addition, a 25 minute drive also adds some appeal when compared to my other haunts (Mautino = 55 minutes, IRAP/Buffalo Pasture = 65 minutes, Snakeden = 70 minutes, Little John = 75 minutes).

Well, there’s my two cents via a bit of a longwinded fishing report but that’s how I roll.  Don’t know if it pertains to anyone out there but if so, I hope it provides something to build upon.  But if you do visit the area and have a head start on my limited on the water knowledge, feel free to provide some feedback either in the comments section, email or social media as I always dig reading fishing stuff.  Talk to you later.  Troy




Lost Grove Lake Report 6/10

Took the weekend off from blogging after kicking off the new website with a streak of 40 consecutive days with a posting.  Was hoping for a Top 5 submission or two to resume posting with the standard Monday update but no go.  I even gave it a shot myself with the first trip of the year across The River but came up rather short of the weight I needed.  I did catch some bass though, so today you get a fishing report in place of an update.  Keep in mind, folks, that I provide a report for every trip, for better or worse, as real life fishing ain’t like the magazines, television or even the internet (except for this website, of course).

Date: June 10, 2017
Location: Lost Grove Lake, IA
Time: 5:50am-10:05am
Weather: Sunny/windy-very windy
Air Temp: 67F-82F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 10 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 7 bass
Senko wacky rig (electric shad) – 2 bass
Senko Texas rig (electric shad) w/ 1/8 oz. tungsten weight – 1 bass
Top Bass: two at 11.5” (did not qualify to weigh)
Top 5 Weight: none over 12”

If all else fails and the fish aren’t that big, show the lures.  Buzzbait, Senko wacky rig, Senko Texas rig (bottom)

Notes & Nonsense

Record Quest Round One – One of the resolutions I posted last month revolved around the pursuit of a new Iowa largemouth bass personal best.  Going into this outing, that mark stood at 1-9 with a catch from June 19, 2016.  Following this outing, that mark still stands as I never even fooled one that qualified to hang from the scale (my criteria for weighing “keepers” has long stood at a 12” minimum length).  Now for some of the excuses, I mean challenges, on this body or water.

History and Fishery – While Lost Grove Lake has been in the making for several decades, news reports cite the “public grand opening” as August 2014.  My debut was June 19, 2016 and in three visits, including this trip, I have spent a total of 13.75 hours on the lake and landed 35 bass (2.55 bass per hour).  Decent in terms of rate/quantity but severely lacking in quality bites with only 2 bass at 12” or better (weight 1-9 and 1-2).  I have seen several 3 to 4 pound bass in person and in print so I know they are there but just haven’t gotten to grab one of them yet.  Iowa DNR sampling surveys do make me feel better though as electrofishing results back up my logbook with a population dominated by 8-10” fish.  Ideally, they just need some time to grow up.

6:15am First Bass – Buzzbait, less than 12″ just like all that would follow

Structure and Access – In a post that I wrote last year for my previous gig, I described the lake as “messy.”  This reference pertained to an abundance of brushy timber above and below surface along the creek channels and a great deal of surface vegetation clogging the shoreline and much of the standing timber.  I roll with an 8-foot rowboat and a topographic map (water fried a portable depthfinder I used last year just a couple months after purchase) on the 360-acre body of water so a few challenges on the learning curve there as well.  But hey, the equipment upstairs working on thirty five years of experience is catching plenty of fish here, just not big ones.

Buzzbait Bite – Windy conditions, the structure challenges noted above and only a few morning hours to fish had me committed to a buzzbait presentation.  Not a problem, I prefer to fish fast and if a good one is going to let down its guard, a buzzbait is a good tool to fool it.  Seven out of my ten fish came on the lure and I had two others throw the lure after being hooked along with at least half a dozen other fish take a swipe at the bait without getting hooked.  Overall, it was a weird bite though as nearly every strike was barely a ripple on the surface with several instances where it took a second of two for the brain to process that I actually had a fish on, pretty odd on a morning where I had a significant number of hits.

8:56am – Truth hurts, Top Bass 11.5″ Senko wacky rig.  However, I do like this photo as an indication of just how windy it was out there.  You know it’s windy when you can feel your beard moving sideways.  Then again, maybe that’s a sign to pursue a more manageable look…perhaps later this summer.  Ain’t ditching the lucky hat though.

Despite falling short in my quest this time around, I will definitely be back for further field work on getting the place figured out as those fish keep growing up.  The notes in this posting in no way represent complaints or excuses as I definitely like the lake and the challenges it poses.  Apparently, many others do as well as I encountered many other boats including a few just a little fancier than my setup.  Later this week I will post some more info on Lost Grove Lake from some research I did last year.  And later this fishing season I’m going to get back there with a new plan…stay tuned.  Talk to you later.  Troy


Strip Mine Report 6/3

Got to get away for a shot at some June bass on the first family camping trip of summer break.  Here’s the scoop.

5:56am 13″ 0-15 Buzzbait                                                                                       6:30am 13.5″ 1-0 Buzzbait


Date: June 3, 2017
Locations: Knox County, IL strip mines (2 private)
Time: 5:50am-8:15am
Weather: Partly cloudy-sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 55F-70F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 5 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 4 bass
Senko weighted wacky rig (electric shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-6 Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight: 5-1 (1-6,1-0,0-15,0-15,0-13)

6:42am Top Bass 14″ 1-6 Buzzbait, fish were getting bigger and noticed my gut is too in this photo, gotta work on that.

Notes & Nonsense

The Plan – Generally on these family camping trips I try to squeeze in a few hours on the water chasing bass at sunrise before the kids wake up and the usual craziness ensues.  On some occasions, I have a young companion and we shift gears to panfish but no takers this time around meant all in for bass.  And all in on this partly cloudy morning with a bit of chop on the surface and only a couple hours to fish meant looking for a big bite with a buzzbait all the way.

The Results – I gave it my best effort but just couldn’t find the big one I was after.  Did hear a handful of large surface explosions on the two lakes but just not on my lure.  Four buzzbait bass and a few other missed strikes were certainly enough to keep my interest as I did the old run and gun approach so always rewarding to know that I’m tossing the right bait. As time ran down and the sun came out I did shift gears to nab one final bass on a Senko wacky rig from under some overhanging bushes.  This pattern is historically productive on this lake but the last two years have seen the water conditions become murkier for some reason and the Senko bite seems to have suffered (sounds like a good excuse at least).

7:13am 13″ 0-13 Buzzbait                                                                                      8:04am 13″ 0-15 Senko

Fellow Fisherman – I had some company on the second lake which is generally rare even on weekends. This fellow was doing his thing in a kayak and outfished me three to one during the time frame where we were in sight of one another.  Should have brought my binoculars I guess and maybe could have picked up a tip or two.  The kayak approach has intrigued me in recent years and seems to have become quite popular.  You know, there is kayak manufacturer out there by the name of Jackson Kayak.  Sure sounds like a good match for a field test or endorsement.  Best kayak on the market teams with best, and most prolific, outdoor website…

No boost on this day for my yearly Top 5 total as I need a 2-6 to add some weight.  But hey, five bass in an abbreviated trip all at 12” or better is a winner.  I suppose I should say those bass are simply a bonus as I’ve come to view any day on the water as a winner. Talk to you later.  Troy

Kids’ Fishing Report 6/2-6/3

A camping trip to Little John Conservation Club (as described in yesterday’s post) also means some fishing for young and old.  Today we’ll take a look at how the youngsters fared.

A 7:45pm arrival at the campsite makes for a bit of a narrow window of daylight to wet some waxworms with the kids and see what we can fool.  After setting up the tent, that window was even more limited as we didn’t get our first casts in until about 8:25pm.  But it sure didn’t take long to get some positive feedback as the time on the photo of the first fish of the evening showed as 8:28pm.  Three of our four anglers took a shot (Carly, Jayce and Zac) while Helena sat this one out and assisted Julie with settling in.  Here’s a look at some of our haul.

Carly’s first ever crappie followed shortly by first ever bass

Carly wound up as the last fisherkid standing, catching her final fish at a point where we could barely see the bobber.  It was right about the time when the eyes start playing tricks, faking us out numerous times before one last hookset actually produced a catch.  All she needed was a bluegill to complete a sort of fishing “Grand Slam” and our wish was granted, making for a perfect time to call it a night.

Carly completes her Grand Slam with a green sunfish and buzzer beater bluegill, great job!

The next morning the boys each got a boat ride while Carly took another shot from the bank.  She likely outfished us boys as we were pestered by some mighty small bluegill that just stole our waxworms as most didn’t have a mouth near big enough to take even our small jigheads.

The boys getting it done in the boat.  I swear Jayce’s catch was so small and thin you could nearly see through it.

As always, plenty of fish and a good time had by all except the waxworms.  Another fishing report up tomorrow, some larger fish and a larger angler, who is not near as attractive as this bunch who thankfully got some looks from their mama.  Talk to you later.  Troy