Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shocking Fish, Catching Fish, Killing Fish

Wow has this ever been quite the week! Lots of cool stuff happening. It is Wednesday evening and I have already logged 49 hours of work since monday morning at 5 am and spent this evening at the swimming pool with the kids. I got lots of pics and stories, here goes.

Monday morning I got to the office super early to get ready for the week, cause I knew I wouldnt be in again till friday. I answered as many emails as possible and then headed out to treat some ponds with Allen. About 3 pm we were headed out to Tremont to apply some algaecide for Lake Windermere to look purdy for 4th of July when our hub went out on our trailer. The only place we could find with the right hub was actually gander mountain in Peoria. So off we headed to get the right part as fast as possible. We obviously didnt make it back in time to spray the lake before our scheduled electrofishing survey in Secor at 7 pm. Not to dwell on the broken hub, but that wasnt fun nor easy. Anyhow we shocked the 4 acre secor pond and found some really cool big albino white catfish:

Got home about 10 pm and spent an hour catching up on puter stuff. Then up at 5 am tuesday and off to Quincy, IL for an electrofishing survey and install a 1 horsepower HB fountain. The owners of the 1 acre pond just bought the place and wanted to know what was in there. I knew immediately before even putting the boat in the water or seeing a fish that this pond was full of channel catfish and hybrid bluegill. I knew because there was millions of tadpoles and frogs, super muddy water with no recent rains, and absolutely no YOY baby fish swimming around. I had a pretty good hunch there was no bass and bluegill. Anyhow the survey we found lots of big catfish and really nice sized hybrid redear sunfish and the surprise find was 1000's of 4-6 inch black crappie. Interesting, new stocking plan in place for the new owners.

From Quincy we head over to Tremont to finish up Windermere and also a private 6 acre pond a few miles away. Then at 5 pm we make it over to Metamora to drop off some lake supplies and check on some smallmouth bass and albino white catfish we stocked for a 3 acre pond that is 70 feet deep. All is going great there. Then over to the snack bar at Jubilee foods in germantown hills for a quick bite and off to White Oak Lake for our second electrofishing survey there. I have a real good handle on all of the fish in there, we just got blown and rained off the water last week. Here is a pic of a big channel catfish, but what was interesting is they actually have a reproducing population of flathead catfish, but the channels are not reproducing.

That place has serious potential for producing big fish, just needs a few baby steps in the right direction. We finished up after dark and then home at 10:30 pm to do some more puter work to keep the online store and such running smooth.

BTW, while Allen and I are out making hay and holding down the fort, Justin is at Lake Chetek in Wisconsin catching crappies, northerns, and riding dirt bikes. He found a school of crappie suspended in the deepest part of the lake and has limited out on them every day of his trip so far. Here are a couple pics he texted over:

His family is either going to have to move their family vacation to another time of year or go without him from now on........

Nowadays with autodrive, gps, cellular phones, and blackberry internet we can run our entire office, schedule new work, answer emails, and update store listings all while driving thru construction zones going from one place to the next:

For those of you with no sense of humor and ready to turn us in for breaking the law (yep there is people out there with nothing better to do apparently), the above photo is just a made up scene while trying to find a hub for our broken trailer. I did however get a ticket for talking on my cell phone in a construction zone last week. I was at a stand still on war memorial and pulled out my phone to call my client and let them know I was going to be late when I looked over and a police officer was looking right at me. The van behind me graciously allowed him to pull right out into our lane and pull me over. I am just glad the officer was cool. He gave me the ticket I deserved, and let me on my way.

So anyhow Wednesday morning I headed out before the sun again and went out to Princeville to investigate a massive fish kill. This pond we had stocked and hopping with some of the best fish in the county! Big bass, big catfish, and big bluegill all dead. There were still some small fish gasping for air at the surface yet this morning, but all the big ones were toast (more like rancid bloatedness than toast, but you get the point). I have the fish kill pinpointed to the nasty water that was pumped into the pond on Sunday. The silt pond above the main pond was being renovated so they broke the dam and pumped the rest of the water into the main pond.

Something in that water caused some sort of reaction in the pond that sucked all the oxygen out of the good water and actually is still causing all the oxygen to be depleted in the pond. This pond has a very good aeration system rolling and yet all the big fish still suffocated to death. I can tell the cause of death is suffocation and not from toxic substance, because all of the small fish are still alive and gasping for breath at the surface, but all the large fish are deader than a doornail.

From the fish kill I was off to deliver some hybrid striped bass, hybrid bluegill, and 300 lbs of fish food to a goose hunting club near weematuk. From there I headed out to meet Steve Cicciarelli with Pipco for an afternoon meeting that turned into a fishing trip. The weather was just too nice to not go fishing. With the high pressure, bluebird skies and plenty of sunshine we decided to fish jigheads tipped with nightcrawlers down on the bottom. We caught a dozen nice hybrid striped bass in the 20 foot zone, and caught 10 really nice rainbow trout down in the 40 feet deep zone. Steve had a huge trout come up from 40 feet down like a kamikaze rocket and jump literally over his head and 6 feet into the air- one of the coolest things you will ever see. Anyhow that fish ended up breaking the line, but he did manage to land this nice 8 lb rainbow later on in the day:

We only planned on fishing an hour, but that turned into an extra hour when we found the schools of stripers, trout, and a few bonus bluegill, smallmouth, and walleye. All down deep on the jigheads tipped with 2-3 inch night crawler chunks.

From there I headed straight home and into the pool with Mae and Noah. Brook brought us some Mcdonalds to eat poolside. The kids hadnt seen me since Sunday evening and needed some serious dad attention. We finished off the evening with some ice cream and Robin Hood the cartoon.

Thursday will be another fun day of delivering 12 Texas Hunter Fish Feeders and 10,000 lbs of fish food to a client, then off to a consultation in Lewiston, and delivering forage fish to Cuba. Friday we are gonna kill some weeds for a couple people and then off to the lake for the afternoon and overnight. Saturday I will be delivering some big hybrid striped bass to Cuba and then will be guiding some guests for a client at his property for an afternoon fishing trip and then lord willing fish fry if we are so lucky as to catch some dinner. Chef Todd is gonna help with the collecting of fish and especially the cooking of dinner. Gonna be fun and then back to the lake to finish camping with lots of family until Monday!!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another day of rest.......

Having Sundays as a day of rest definitely ranks in the top 10 list of God's best ideas. Heading to church in the morning and then into my Lazyboy in the afternoon is just about as good as it gets in regards to experiencing heaven on earth. Today though just as I was drifting off into an alaskan fishing adventure I was rudely awakened by Brook telling me to get ready for the annual Sunday School picnic.

We were late, as usual but God was definitely looking out for me upon arrival. Its like one of those moments were you just look up and smile gratefully. Pretty much the only thing in this whole world that could cheer me up at the moment and the very thing I wished so bad we were not late to the picnic for was sitting right beside me on a tray in the arms of another woman. The person in charge of bringing the deviled eggs was late to the picnic too- halelujah!!! I am telling you if your not in the first half of the line all the good stuff like deviled eggs and regular normal looking food gets gobbled up and all your left with to choose from is green beans and goolash looking casseroles.

Rachel, my angel sent from heaven, graciously allowed me to sample the eggs before taking them up to be devoured by the masses. The picnic went great from that moment on and by the time it was go time me and kids were sweating like pigs. Which leads me back too the title of this story- Another day of rest. If we ever decide to form another nation or revamp anything, I think the first item on the agenda should be to create another day of rest between Sunday and Monday. Honestly, who these days couldn't use another day of rest?

Anyhow enough foolishness and on to more useless information for most. This week obviously was the sunday school picnic with a couple hundred kids today, but Saturday was more craziness with lots of kids. We had high school girls camp out to our lake on Saturday and with all the campers, counselors, and helpers we had 315 people at the lake from noon to four pm. We had water basketball, volleyball, jet skiing tube rides, rope swing, high jump off dock, water slide, pontoon boat shuttle rides, canoe rides, horseback riding, and lots of other stuff for the girls to do. Its lots of fun for the girls to experience all that stuff, but a little nerve racking keeping an eye on everything so its all done safely.

Saturday wrapped up the last of the big camps for us at the lake this summer. Still some random sunday school and church groups, but the big camps with hundreds of campers are done now. Esther house in peoria is bringing a group of women out for a week in July along with some small overnight group camps here and there, and then in August we are having a father son camp out for all the guys in church which is always alot of fun.

Friday I went to Kappa and Secor and treated some lakes before finishing the day stuck in the office.

Thursday we planted some water lilies, relocated some forage fish, treated some boat ramps, fertilized a big sterile strip mine lake, and then put in an aeration system. Busy day.

Wednesday we did something, but I cant remember.

I know on Tuesday we electrofished White Oak Lake in the morning before the rain and lightning set in, and then we stocked a whole bunch of smallmouth bass and white albino catfish for a guy with a new 3 acre lake that is 70 feet deep!

Monday I actually went home early, I was too sick to even think. Good thing that didnt last too long, because that was miserable.

Anyhow the week ahead is going to be alot of fun. Obviously monday isnt gonna be too great (this is where the extra day of rest would come in so handy) but Tuesday I will be electrofishing in Quincy, Illinois, stocking some hybrid striped bass on Wednesday and then taking a client fishing in the afternoon. Thursday will be stocking some more forage fish and working in Cuba, and Friday I actually for the first time this season dont have anything penciled in on the calendar. Got lots of projects that need worked on, but nothing set in stone for the day. (if your reading the blog and on the list to have work be done at your property, dont get your hopes up unless your within a few miles of our lake!) Gonna be at the lake fri, sat, and sun!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Does anyone know where June went?

Hey June, whats the deal? First off, its already rained 14 out of the 26 days. I mean come on, is that much rain really necessary? Its not like just little bitty rains either, every week we got damaging winds, torrential downpours, and my parents hot tub even got struck by lightning last week! I can't complain too much though, every time I look over towards elmwood from wherever I am at, its like a dark cloud of nastiness just lives there.

Second bone to pick with this sloppy precipitation flooded month is where in the world did you go? Sheemanelly, next weekend is the 4th of July already! Sheemanelly: nate's new made up word he thought up super early this morning to take the place of more boring yet commonly known phrases like 'my goodness' and 'holy cow'.

Well kids, with June gone you only have July and 1/2 of August left before putting those chains back on for the winter. Might as well start the back to school sales already. To this day, I still dont know how I ever made it all the way through school. I can vividly remember being in third grade and just counting down the days of torture that I had left. I hated school with a passion. In fact my dislike for school was so strong that too this day I am contemplating just taking my boys to work with me starting about 8 years old. My daughter, who sometimes I question if she is really mine, actually likes school so far???

Anyhow, for those of you still reading and obviously questioning my sanity, I woke up at 4:15 am this morning. My curse in life is that the very moment I wake up in the morning is the very moment I wake up in the morning. I absolutely can never fall back to sleep on this side of midnight. In the morning my mind is racing a million miles per hour in anticipation of the upcoming day. I think it starts gearing up even before I wake up, because most everything gets figured out in my mind while I am even still sleeping- kinda weird huh? Anyhow I have been told repeatedly that I am pretty much kinda weird. Now on the other side of midnight, if I even so much as sit down or try to turn my crazy thoughts down even one notch, I am sleeping instantly. Once the sun sets in the evening I physically am not capable of staying awake. I pretty much routinely doze off anywhere I sit down.

So now that I have confirmed in most folks minds what they already had been wondering- that I really am not normal, I might as well finish up this dear diary with a recap of the week.....
Monday it rained, Tuesday it rained with damaging winds, lightning, hail, Wednesday it rained, Thursday this little yellow circle way off in the distance actually came up in the sky and was surrounded by this funny looking blue haze, on Friday the same yellow circle and blue sky again. The yellow circle was incredibly powerful and actually gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, along with the warm sweaty feeling on the outside. I had seen it before, but very rare to see it up in the sky on consecutive days. After two days in a row of watching this yellow light, I actually felt rejuvanated and surprisingly happy. I can only imagine how good the feeling inside will be if today for the third consecutive day I would be so lucky as to see this magic light?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Boys Camp, Big Bass, and Stomach Flu?

Every year during high school boys camp I push the extreme limits of my ever aging body. Even with growing just a bit more padding every year to protect my bones, muscles, and joints I still come out of the boys camp weekend barely able to move.

Boys camp weekend consists of bringing together about 120 high school boys from our churches across the midwest and about 75 counselors and helpers to make sure things run smooth. On friday we played football, basketball, soccer, dodge ball, ultimate frisbee, some other extreme games and of course had the 2x4 throwing competition. To just come out and say it bluntly holding nothing back, I actually am the 4 time reigning 2x4 throwing champion. This year I threw the 8 foot chunck of wood a whopping 76 feet! Probably my combination of brute strength and all my years cutting and nailing 2x4's is the key to my success there. I have to admit I was a little worried going into this years competition and even at one point had determined not to enter just to avoid losing. You see I am getting a bit soft and realize that with each hour sitting in a boat or behind a computer I just simply am not as good as I once was at physical activity.

One thing I found out this weekend though is that I am still as good once as I ever was. That country music song by whoever sings it just kind of became my theme for the weekend as I was dodging dodge balls and getting tackled in 2 hand touch football. Let me just say that by the time Sunday morning rolled around I could barely move. Simple activities like scratching, itching, and eating would just cause all sorts of pain in places I didnt know pain existed. I think I pretty much was so wore down that I actually couldnt fight off the stomach flu or some sort of food poisoning or something that now has my stomach all tied up in knots. I also have a fever that comes and goes and makes me freezing cold and then sweating hot.

I havent been able to eat real food since gorging on all kinds of fathers day meat and desserts sunday evening and actually had to wear a coat just to stay warm as I attempted to work this morning. Basically I still feel like I got hit by a train and then fed poison and then kicked in the head after being punched in the stomach.

I have yet again vowed the same vow as usual. Next year I will be in shape for boys camp.

So moving on, the week leading up to boys camp I spent traveling all over the place helping people learn about their lakes and ponds and fish. I remember being in Decatur, Congreville, Canton, Fairview, and East Peoria. Justin and Allen were in Princeton, Tiskilawa or something like that, Chillicothee, Tremont, East Peoria, Canton, Metemora and Congreville. Basically we spent like $600 in truck fuel just last week alone.

We do have some fish pictures from last week that are kind of cool. I am still waiting for a big bass pic to be emailed over from my client from our electrofishing survey near Fairview. She was a PIG! (the bass, not the client)

Also was sent these pics from a lake I have been working on outside of Princeville for a couple years. I cant really take credit for growing these big bass, cause the lake is just a big fish producing machine, but can take credit for helping sustain the fishery a few years down the road. I expect good things (and more big fish) from these lakes.

I think I would rather fish with Tony than with Chris. On a trip with Chris it looks like I would have to just keep taking pictures the whole time. With Tony I can handle just snapping an occasional pic. Whats the deal Tony, 5 to1?????

Over time these lakes will overproduce and the average size fish will actually go down, not up. They are managing one of the lakes for Huge bass and one of them for Huge bluegill. The plan is fairly simple, it is to move all the small bass out of the trophy bass lake and into the trophy bluegill lake. Then move all the small bluegill out of the trophy bluegill lake and into the trophy bass lake. I like to keep trophy bass lakes overcrowded with small bluegill and trophy bluegill lakes overcrowded with small bass. Doesnt make sense to most people and isnt really natural balanced, but quite frankly it works.

On Sunday Justin took out his grandpa fishing for just a few minutes. It was hot, the lake was still stirred up pretty good from boys camp on saturday and a whole slew of people on sunday, but they managed to catch a couple real nice fish. With just a couple casts from our VIP dock they were able to get a nice hybrid striped bass and a nice golden trout for dinner. We named the dock the VIP dock, because the only people allowed to ever fish from the dock are quite frankly VIP. Justin's grandpa by marriage, a life long fisherman, but first timer out to Norris definitely qualifies as a VIP. Here are a couple pics to remember forever:

Here is a video of boys camp:

(Judy, the music is a bit too loud on the video and way too old fashioned for high school boys, and the video is a bit too long to keep my attention) Remember this is for boys camp, not grandma camp. A four to five minute boys camp video with a bit of funny and lots of action would be much easier to watch than a 9 minute video.

I do apologize if I am a little harsh in this post. I havent eaten in exactly 24 hours and am just a tad bit cranky at the moment. You can count on one hand the number of meals I have missed over the last 10 years, and in general after about 6 hours of not eating typically tends to be my crankiest time of life. Not my usual chipper self. I am actually going to eat dinner tonight just for old times sake and quite frankly I dont care which end it comes out or how fast it comes back out. I need to EAT!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Drake's Ear Surgery and Update

Drake had a visit with the Ear, Throat, Nose specialist and they decided they should put tubes in his ears to drain the fluid so they can better test for his degree of hearing loss. Putting tubes in is a very common relatively quick surgery. These pics are us at the waiting room waiting for the doc to come take him away.

The minor surgery went great and then we headed down to a different portion of the hospital to get his biweekly CBC (complete blood count) for the blood specialist. He has had some not so good but not so bad blood counts with his lymph something or others, but this time his platelet counts had plummitted down to just 24,000. They need to be at 125,000 on the low end.
The blood specialist called right away with the test results and wanted to see Drake ASAP (which is today and probably right now). Brook took him in to get some more tests done. Kind of discouraging just to be doing so good with everything on the outside, but to still know there is something not right on the inside. Low platelets can be very dangerous with internal bleeding and external bleeding if he ever gets cut or bruised.
Now we just cautiously await test results and a game plan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big Bass Alert

Lucas Rask caught this huge largemouth bass out of his grandpa Johns pond last night. Here is an exerpt from the email I was sent: "Lucas and his dad went fishing last night!! Lucas caught this one all on his own. I'm not for sure which one was more excited about it.!!"

If it was my boy I know I would have been more excited! My boy is only 2 years old though and he would rather catch baby fish than the big ones though....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Indiana Land Auction with Building Site and Fishing Pond

One of my good friends is having a land auction north of Remington, Indiana on July 3, 2010. His 6.55 acre property with fully stocked fishing and swimming pond was to be a dream home site, but God obviously had different plans for them and the property.

Back in 2008 I helped him with stocking recommendations and a fish feeding program for the pond and the when this real estate listing says fully stocked fishing pond let me just say that you are actually getting a fully stocked fishing pond full of fish with some of the best genetics and growth potential!

Here is some more useful, but much more boring information about the auction and property from this website:

AUCTION: 6.55 Acres +/- in Section 23, Carpenter Township, Jasper County, Indiana Excellent, Private, Secluded Building Site with a STOCKED POND!!! Easy Access to I-65. Auction Held on Site. Directions: North of Remington on Highway 231 1 mile to CR 1600 South, West on 1600 S 1 mile. Call the auction company for your detailed brochure at 219-567-9002! AUCTION JULY 3, 2010 at 11:00 AM EASTERN TIME 10:00 AM CENTRAL TIME

Friday, June 11, 2010

Road Trip, Girls Camp, and Smallmouth Bass

I guess I will work backwords since I can remember the second half of this week much better than the first for some reason? Funny how that happens, its like I can remember yesterday and the day before so clearly but things start fading out fast as I move farther back into my memory files.

Sunday we skipped church and headed out to State Farm Park over in Bloomington to spend the day with some family and friends. My cousin works for state farm and once per year is allowed to invite a large group of people out for the day. I am telling you that place is really kind of cool. Its only for state farm employees, but has like the coolest water park, volleyball courts, soccer fields, mini golf, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, etc in the state. We got rained on of course, but still had a great time. If I lived in bloomington I would get a job with state farm just to become a member there.

Saturday we got the lake and everything whooped into shape in anticipation of a couple hundred junior high girls, counselors, etc that were scheduled to come out and swim for the afternoon. We got done with everything about noon and just as the busses started pulling up the rain started coming down. They all came into the pavilion in hopes of waiting out the storm, but after an hour of singing songs and performing skits and terrential downpours they decided it best just to head back to camp. Plus it had cooled down about 20 degrees and even if the rain stopped it really wasnt warm enough to swim any longer.

So if finally stopped raining late Saturday afternoon and a couple of our friends and their children were out for the evening. Tea and Kenzi had never caught a fish before, so I knew just the spot to take them fishing and catch that first fish fast enough to keep their attention spans. They each caught a 2 lb smallmouth bass on their first casts:

So even though they both caught super awesome fish in less than 45 seconds of fishing, I realized I made a mistake with the first time fisherwomen. We actually caught too big of fish for their first ones and they didn't like that as much as you think they would of. Looking back they would have much rather caught a 6 inch bluegill than try struggling with those prized gamefish.

Friday must have been horribly boring, cause I really cant remember it at all. Must have all the office blah and phone calls blocked from my memory.

Thursday we were down in Galatia, Illinois building a floating dock for a client. We took a little road trip down south and stopped at several places for various reasons. This floating dock was a 12x12 main dock with a 6x11 gangway. We had the floats and hardware direct shipped to Scott and he picked up the lumber locally from our material list. When we pulled up to his amazing property at 7 am we scarfed down some eggs, blood sausage, regular sausage, and pancakes and then went to town on the dock. Six hours later and we had the dock completely built and installed.

Scott's lake is going to produce some monster bluegill over the next couple years. Seriously remember this post about one year from now and you will see some pics of some mega bluegill.

At 2 pm we were on the road and headed for Brownstown, Il. We dropped off some materials to a client and then were treated to a fried chicken dinner at the local diner! I have known Fred and Connie for a few years now and they are just simply good people. 7 pm and we were on the road headed for home.

Wednesday, man this is kind of weird working backwards, but its too late now to stop and change things up. Anyhow wednesday we headed out super early in the morning with a load of smallmouth bass for a guy in Altamont, Illinois. Aaron built his 3 acre pond 2 years ago and stocked it with fathead minnows. I am telling you there are so many fathead minnows in there that as the smallmouth swam out of the bucket they started opening their mouths and attacking baby fatheads of all sizes. That was the coolest thing ever to watch. Look for great things from that pond as well.

Then we headed out towards Carmi, Illinois for a consultation with a private subdivision 20 acre lake. Its a fairly shallow lake, but produces lots of fish. The lake is so shallow that they actually are going to put in a few fountains for aesthetics, but also to move some water. Typically I dont recommend fountains for aeration, but this would be just one of those situations until they do some dredging in the future.

From Carmi, Allen and I headed over to Harrisburg and a rendezvous with the comfort inn. The monotony of the evening was broken up with a visit from Morelli's pizza delivery man and some youtube videos of the elmwood tornado. That tornado is like something that you see on TV all the time, but nothing like you ever think happens to our town sort of thing. After we watched several of the home videos of the tornada I actually had some time to kill. I didnt have my computer so there was no work to do and no kids to take care of and just really plain and simply for the first time of 2010 I had absolutely nothing to do for 2 whole hours before going to bed. That was a weird feeling, and I didnt know what to do. I did find out that oil is ruining my favorite fishing spots, the cubs are well below 500, and Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference, and our government is trying to force universal healthcare and all kinds of other stuff that wont apply to them onto us????? Despite all the doom and gloom out there in the real world that I would have been much better not paying attention too, I still enjoyed my free time of nothingness.

Tuesday again I dont really remember, but I can probably just make something up like it probably rained a whole bunch and everything was a muddy mess.

Monday I did a consultation for a guy in Fulton County looking to transform his mucky, weedy backyard one acre pond into the gem of a fishing hole it used to be back in the day. His property is pretty unique, because there used to be a drive in movie theatre with concession stand there long ago.

Then I headed over to Herbst Landing in Canton for a pond consultation. The folks the own the Farmington Pizza Company have renovate the old country club and turned it into a really good place to eat! They have like 10 lunches for less than $10 and less than 10 minutes or something like that and also have a nice menu of steaks and seafood and stuff for dinner. Oh yeah, they also have a 3 acre pond that the restaurant is overlooking. I taught their maintenance folks how to maintain the pond for the year.

I havent eaten there yet, but do know that farmington pizza company is actually Brook and my favorite place to eat. The Herbst landing menu is different, but still has to be good. I probably will still like the pizza company better though, because I am more of a pizza and beef sandwich type of guy rather than a steak kind of guy. If anyone eats at the landing, let me know how the food is and also what the pond looks like!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Northern Pike in Central Illinois

We have 5 northern pike in this 33 acre lake and so far we have now caught all 5 of them this spring. (or at least we have caught 5 so far). Anyhow this particular northern was stocked as a 24 inch 3.25 lb fish back in October of 2009 and was caught last night while trolling a deep diving perch rapala.
It weighed in at a very impressive 8 lbs and 30 inches.That is almost 5 lbs of growth in just 9 months! I think she has been gorging herself on trout is the only way I can think of to grow that much that fast.

Next fish that grows like a weed is the hybrid striped bass. This fish is from the 2009 year class spawned in May of last year. I have 2000 of these fish that live on my swimming beach. Can you imagine a bass that puts on 2 lbs of growth per year? I have documented up to 3 lbs of growth per year for individual hybrid striped bass, but on average am getting 2 lbs. Here is a pic from last weekend and a video of the girls feeding the stripers on the beach last summer:

Some people get a little freaked out swimming with a school of 2000 stripers, but most people think its the neatest thing ever! (or at least thats what I will keep telling myself)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Behemoth Redear Sunfish

Friday afternoon we sampled a 7 acre pond 20 miles north of peoria and shocked up the biggest redear sunfish I have ever seen in this region of the country. I know redears grow huge down in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, but around here a one pound fish is considered very big. Well this redear measured in at 12.25 inches long with an unbelievable 16.5 inch girth and weighed in at 37 ounces. That is about 2.30 lbs!

For those wondering, a fish's girth can be defined as the distance around the fattest part of the fish. This redear was 7.15 inches tall, but the total girth measurement around the fish was 16.50 inches!!! Could you imagine catching a 37 ounce bluegill?

The rest of the pond was completely full of 12-16 ounce monster bluegill. Here are just a few pics, but we counted more than 20 male bluegill over 16 ounces!

The average bass in this lake is 13 inches long and about 18 ounces. There is no rooted vegetation due to the white amurs stocked 30 years ago from arkansas which I believe are actually reproducing to a small degree. I dont think they where sterile from that source back then. Anyhow there is a combination of factors attributing to such an amazing natural bluegill fishery. The pond hasnt been supplementally fed or treated or really managed much at all except for a few family fishing trips and fish frys. A true gem with a whole world of potential!

So anyhow working backwords, I spent thursday electrofishing in Indianapolis. Was a fun road trip and met some great people. Their 10 acre lake was one of the most scenic and fishy looking lakes you could ever imagine. I am talking the kind of lake that would make any diehard fisherman drool at the chance of casting a line into. The fish on the other hand were about the worst I have sampled this year??? I guess that is why I was hired. The owner wasnt catching many fish and really hasnt caught much for the last few years. He completely and accurately described the fishery to me before I even put a boat in the water. A few things didnt really make sense why the fish were so small and why there really werent that many of them? Was it because of retarded genetics from only being stocked 80 years ago with a couple sibling fish, was it a fish kill of some sort, water quality, PH, soft water, otters, trespassers, bullhead, carp, fish disease, etc. Trust me I was doing some major head scratching for this one while there at the property and was able to finally pull together a management plan on the best way to address some of the limiting factors and put some big fish on the end of his line. Definitely not the normal situation to deal with, but the solutions and suggestions arent the norm either. Fast forward to one year from now and that lake is going to be hopping with big fish if they follow through!

Wednesday I went to Otter Creek to check on the feed trained bass lake, the smallmouth lake, the wetlands, and mainly to electrofish the big lake. This is a 145 acre lake that is stocked with the absolute best fish genetics on the planet. Pike river strain walleyes, leach lake muskies, keo hybrid striped bass, missouri bluegills, blacknose crappies, jumbo yellow perch, arkansas clear creek largemouths, and millions of golden shiners, gizzard shad, and threadfin shad. This lake is going to be on fire over the next several years. Kind of like so good that it gives me some chills just thinking about it.
While at Otter Creek I met up with harrison fish farms and loaded up a few thousand albino white catfish. Justin and Allen went around and delivered them and I headed over to Trivoli for a pond consultation. Brand new 6 acre and 1/2 acre ponds that are gonna be gems as well.

So working backwards, this was a really fun week. Sat I will be fishing a bluegill tournament near Victoria, Sunday we have the 7th and 8th grade Sunday school classes with their families coming out to the lake for the afternoon, and then next week we are headed to southern illinois to do some consulting and dock building for most of the week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Extra Trees and Fish

My friend Kyle with has some extra trees available from this spring at great prices. If your interested in any of them, just contact him direct from his website and tell him that you want some of his overstock trees from Nate's blog otherwise he will probably try to sell them to you at retail.

Trees are in great condition and are mostly 18 - 24 inch bare root stock...they need a good home.
Here is what we have and well below retail costs...

Redosier Dogwood - 2950 at $0.50 each (order in bundles of 25)

Midwest Crabapple - 175 at $0.75 each (order in bundles of 25)

Common Chokecherry - 525 at $0.75 each (order in bundles of 25)

Common Lilac - 600 at $0.75 each (order in bundles of 25)

Plum - 150 at $0.75 each (order in bundles of 25)

Rocky Mountain Juniper - 75 at $1.00 each (order in bundles of 25)

To see what these trees look like, simply do an "image" search on any internet search site for the name of the should get lots of photos.

Thank you!!

Kyle, PLM

I also have some fish leftover from this spring stocking, but they are hard to find specialty fish that dont come with any sort of discount: I have 400 albino white catfish 3-5 inches long for $3 each, 200 feed trained smallmouth bass 4-6 inches long for $5 each, and 50 channel catfish 10-12 inches long for $1.00 each. You can email me at if your interested in any of these fish.

Also for this fall's fish stocking we are going to have a fundraiser for the hooked on fishing park! I worked out some great deals with the fish farms and am able to keep the prices competitive and still raise a whole bunch of money for the fishing park to keep taking kids fishing free of charge! This year we will take more than 2500 kids and seniors fishing!!! We are going to have a Knox County fish pick up day and a Tazewell County fish pick up day along with our regular fish deliveries. 100% of proceeds go to the fishing park operational expenses. Here is pricing, availability, and order information: