Monday, May 31, 2010

Smallmouths, Walleye, Monster Bluegill

Friday morning up at the crack of dawn and off to a 5 acre smallmouth pond west of Peoria. This pond was stocked with fathead minnows, smallmouth bass, hybrid redear sunfish, bluegill, and walleye. The smallmouth took off real fast and grew like crazy the first couple years, but than ran out of preferred forage the last couple years. We stocked yellow perch 2 years ago and last year the owner bought golden shiner fry and raised them in his 1/3 acre wetland up above his lake. In the fall he opened er up and flushed 250,000 3 inch golden shiners into his lake! It was an incredible forage stocking experiment gone right! His entire 5 acre lake is completely full of these little tasty morsels and his smallies are gonna put on some serious weight over the course of the summer. Here are some pics from our electrofishing survey:

These golden shiners are everywhere!

Walleye are growing nicely

These smallies are nice fish, but just wait 3 months and they will be obese!

There is a little bit of smallmouth reproduction going on:

This hybrid redear is an absolute monster!

Then we headed straight over to Oak Run for round two of the electrofishing surveys. Our main goal was to try and get a good sample of the carp population so we focused on looking for carp, but it was like everywhere we went tons of nice walleye, big bass, and awesome crappie where eveywhere:

Surprisingly there is a nice population of golden shiners in oak run as well! They are just an awesome forage for gamefish!

We did eventually find some concentrations of carp, but we had to work alot harder at it than I expected.

After the survey I did some carp research and found out that actually electrofishing for them during the spawning season is not a good time to get them. The nations leading carp guru from South Dakota State University said that during the spawn, carp swim around chasing each other all over the place and that makes em hard to electrofish. They should be done spawning in most places, but at Oak Run they were still full of eggs. Anyhow once the spawn is done the fish dont move around as much and are much easier to dial up.

Moving on, I headed straight for the lake friday evening and did just a bit of fishing with my uncle Spark Meister. Spark is an electrical genius and I am guessing his nickname has stuck with him his whole life. Anyhow he puts in big wind turbines to generate electricity as kind of a hobby I guess. So we just went down to the dock and threw some big 5 inch golden shiners out for bait in hopes of catching a big hybrid striped bass, but all we got was a catfish, one walleye, and this huge bluegill. Yep, this bluegill ate a 5 inch shiner!

Then on Saturday we worked like crazy fixing the road, beach, boat docks, rope swing, waterslide, landscaping, spring cleaning, etc to get the place ready for summer camps. We will have 200-300 people and kids up at the lake every weekend in June.

Sunday I went scuba diving with my brothers around the lake. We checked on all the fish structures, the fish populations, and did a little catfish fishing with our hands for fun and dinner. Here is a pic of our two biggest:

Monday morning I went out fishing with my dad out in the boat for an hour. I knew where all the fish where from scuba diving the day before so we didnt have to waste anytime looking for them. Here are some really big bluegill we caught:

We also caught a 7 lb rainbow trout and a handful of smallmouth and largemouth bass. Then we started working again for the day. Over the weekend we had well over 100 people coming and going and helping get everything accomplished for the upcoming camp schedule. Chef Todd came and took some guests fishing for me and had a couple big muskies follow his lure up to the boat. Justin also caught a 5 lb muskie and my nephew caught a little muskie as well. People fished off the docks and such off and on all weekend and caught a whole bunch of hybrid stripers, walleye, yellow perch, and of course bluegill. I was too busy to take pics.

By Monday evening I was exhausted. I think it will take till about friday of this week to fully recover from the weekend. It was hot, but the water sure felt nice.

Tuesday I spent in the office just calling people back and answering emails from the weekend and then I headed out to a consultation in Pekin at 4 pm. Then straight to my softball game for a double header.

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