Miss-Lou fishing improving

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 2, 2012

Colder water temperature has really improved the fishing on our area lakes.

Last weekend we had an after Thanksgiving open bass tournament just to have something to do. Only 17 people showed up fishing from 12 boats, but those 17 guys are among the best bass anglers in the area.

Some fished as a team and some alone. We took off out of Spokane Landing just after 6 a.m., with an air temperature of 38 degrees. That may sound cold to some, but we have certainly fished when it was much colder.

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By 10 a.m. the wind shifted and blew hard from the north at 20-25 mph. The sky was cloud free, and the air pressure was rising.

Most would think conditions like this would shut the fish activity down and make it extremely tough to just catch a bass. It was just the opposite.

The bass were holding tight to cover and were feeding until about noon. I think it took that long for the high barometric pressure to affect the fish.

It did take repeated casts with several lure types to entice some fish to strike, but others would hammer your lure on the first cast.

The fishing was great on Lake St. John. The tournament limit is five bass 12 inches or longer per boat. All of the contestants had a limit. We weighed in 60 bass alive and all were released alive.

I spoke with the top five or six winners. We were all culling fish real early. The top finishers reported catching well over 70 bass. Everything we host is 100 percent catch, weigh and release. The bass must be brought to the scales in weigh bags with water.

We always set the scales up as close to the water’s edge as possible. The parking lot weigh-ins put unnecessary stress on the bass. On most days, five bass tournament limits while fishing anywhere from 7 to 8 1/2 hours have become more difficult to catch.

Most of the area bass clubs and the local Top Rod Series take great care of our fish to make sure all are released in the best condition possible.

Decades ago bass tournaments were blamed for the lack of fish in some waters. In fact tournament anglers, along with some non-tournament sportsmen and ladies, either release all or they practice selective harvesting like keeping only what they need and releasing anything over 3 pounds when not fishing the tournament scene.

Some, but not many, think we’re crazy to fish that hard all day only to release the fish at days end. Our thoughts are of the future. If we don’t do this, there will not be as many bass left for the next generations.

Since our lakes and rivers lack regulations that should require more sensible creel and length limits on bass and white perch, it’s great that so many anglers have taken it upon themselves to establish some personal regulations.

Some sportsmen and women will not keep any bass over 3 pounds. My personal rule is 100 percent catch and release of all bass caught from landlocked lakes, but I certainly won’t talk down on anyone that chooses to keep a reasonable amount of fish. That’s your right.

What really bothers me is the people that stumble across a great day, catch well over the state limit and keep everything that bites then look for someone to give the fish to. If you have to search to find someone to give the fish to, why not just release them?

Next up in the tournament scene is round two of the Top Rod Series. On Dec. 8, the TRS will head to the Saline/Larto Complex to cast for some big bucks. This five-tournament series — which will conclude with a championship in April — is designed for the advanced tournament competitors and gives us a chance to cast for some real cash against stiff competition.

You can contact me for more information on the 2012-2013 Top Rod Series.