Allow gill netting in Concordia

Published 12:01am Sunday, September 29, 2013

The fish activity on the area lakes and rivers changed for the better just after our first major cool front of the fall passed last week.

Of course it has heated up a bit since then but the fish are in a better mood and the fishermen and ladies are too. It is getting much easier to fish midday than it was two weeks ago.

Summer is on its way out. Officially, summer is over, but it can be hot all the way through October in this area. The gloomy reports of poor catches from most of all our lakes changed real fast. The lower air temperature and fresh water in the form of rain is all it took to get the fish moving and feeding.

Our cast to catch ratio on largemouth bass and white perch is way down as compared to the 1980s and 1990s. The catching ratio is nowhere near as high, but the bite is a whole lot better now than it’s been in months.

I probably should add “on some waters,” because all the lakes certainly do not fish the same. Some lakes and rivers are out producing others in numbers and size of fish.

The Asian carp kill continues on our Old Rivers. That is a great thing. The more of these non-native invasive species that die off, the better our game fishing will be in the years to come.

I wish they would put gill nets all over the Old Rivers for the next two months. I bet the nets would be so full of Silver carp and the other unwanted fish, the Bighead carp, that the fishermen could not lift them.

The Silver carp is that crazy jumping fish that spooks easily from outboard motor noise and can jump as high as 8 feet out of the water and hit you square in the head. The Bighead carp doesn’t tend to freak out when an outboard motor passes overhead, but Bigheads can grow large as 80 pounds.

They compete with our native bottom/filter feeders which are robbing our waters of algae and plankton that the shad and other small bait fish feed on.

Hopefully, the gill net fishermen will get to stretch their nets across the Old Rivers. If they do, please leave them alone. Many fishermen frown when someone mentions gill nets thinking they are taking all the fish out of the water.

Gill nets will actually help increase the bass and other game fish population by removing the rough fish that have took over the spawning flats over the past few years. I have several friends/customers that fish with gill nets.

One group recently received permits to use gill nets in Lake St. John and Lake Bruin. The nets should be well marked at the tree line. If you see where a gill net is tied off, idle out toward deep water away from the tree line.

Not only will running over a fishermen’s nets cost you money, it will wrap up in your outboard’s prop so bad you will have to get a knife and go swimming to remove the net.

Some commercial netters applied for a permit to fish Lake Concordia. As of mid-week this week, they have yet to receive a permit to put gill nets in Concordia, and I am hearing that it is not going to happen.

I say let it happen. How are you going to mess up a lake that was a trophy bass lake that people traveled from several states a way to have a decent shot at a 10 plus pound bass and some huge bream?

Trophy bass are now very rare, and the bream never turned on like they used to do annually in May and June.

I did see some nice bream that came from Concordia this week so if you try, you can catch a limit. It just takes a bit harder work than it used to. When the 15- to 19-inch slot limit on bass was implemented on Concordia gill nets were banned, that created a tremendous population of rough fish like native carp and buffalo.

I know this sounds strange coming from veteran bass fishermen but I am all for gill nets as long as they are legal and obey the law. It would help our game fish population tremendously to remove several thousand pounds of buffalo and carp.