Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot Crappie Fishing and Deer Season Stuff

Sunset at the lake on Saturday evening:

Well, I can't believe its Wednesday already! Been a very eventful last 5 days to say the least. Saturday Chef Todd and I took some people fishing and cooked up a fish fry feast in the evening. Sunday we had a whole bunch of friends out to the lake for a cookout. Monday I diagnosed pond problems in the office from Montana to Texas to Maine and pretty much every state in between. Then I headed out for an electrofishing survey and some deer management stuff monday evening. Tuesday I finished up some lake management reports, caught up on emails and phone calls, and then headed out for a consultation near Trivoli. Wednesday I diagnosed several fish kills, had my back and body worked on, looked at a lot to potentially build my future house on, and headed out to a large property to work on some deer, quail, and waterfowl management stuff. When I got home tonight I played Wii fit with Mae and Noah and then fell asleep on the couch for awhile. Now here I am wide awake and early tomorrow morning consultation just a few hours away. Here are some stories and pics:

Saturday morning I got all my fishing gear ready, hooked up a couple fishing boats, and met up with Chef Todd with enough food for an army, and we headed out. Our agenda for the day was to take some clients and their friends fishing and then cook them up a feast. It was sunny and 92 degrees outside, but surprisingly the fish were biting and we managed to stay cool enough to have a great time fishing.

Before we headed out to the Big lake in the boats we were all fishing off the covered dock when one of the ladies hooked into a nice channel catfish on some catfish bait. She was realing it in when the catfish got itself snagged in a brush pile about 15 feet deep on the bottom. I could feel the catfish on the line but it was all wrapped up in the tree.

Here was my moment- the kind of moment when you can accomplish something that will stick in the minds of city folk for quite awhile. I jumped in the water, swam out to right above the tree, took a deep breathe and swam down to the bottom of the lake to meet up with the catfish. He was wrapped up alright, and not happy. I knew there was no way I was coming up without that catfish so I cornered him into the tree, dug my fingers into his gills with all my might, broke the lines wrapped in the limbs, and headed for the surface giving this beast a bear hug. I knew the moment I swam down there was no way in the world I was coming back up breathing without that catfish.

I made it back up with the beast and I felt like one of those crazy guys on tv doing stupid stuff in the wild that most people would never even think about doing even during survival situations. The only kicker was that I had a live audience with no room for error or any signs of weakness. Anyhow that was my moment, and it was alot of fun. We ate that fish for dinner.

We then headed out to the lake for some crappie fishing. Chef Todd took out a couple ladies, I took out 4 ladies, and there were two other boats of guys. We all caught lots of fish, but there was one boat with 4 ladies who caught a good majority of the fish, and especially all the fish fo dinna. Brook absolutely hates it when I talk or write about anything good that I do or accomplish or brag or boast about, but this is my fishing blog and by golly I am gonna very biasedly tell the story like it is! For her sake I wont name any names of the amazing fishing guide or of the 4 ladies.

Here are some more pics from the fishing trip. The northerns actually are reproducing in this 31 acre lake. Northerns havent been stocked since 2002 and these two fish were yearlings hatched in the spring of 2009:

We let the guys take a few pics with our fish:

Here is what the fish looked like about an hour later. This fish was with his school in the morning and hanging out with Chef Todd in the afternoon:

We cooked up some bruschetta and grilled some stuffed bacon wrapped prawns for appetizers.

We also fried up some crappies, mixed up some salads, grilled some sweet corn and chicken, and grilled peaches with ice cream for dessert. Lots of fun! I was too tired to drive all the way home at 11 pm when we finished so I stopped in at Norris for a few hours of sleep. The sun really zaps the energy out of me.

Sunday we had about 25 friends up to the lake for a cookout and lots of swimming. Very fun, I was too tired to fish so I dont have any pictures. I only take pics of fish, food, or deer stuff. If we can integrate kids and friends and such into those pics even the more better. I guess I could of taken pics of the mozzerella burgers or sweet chili glaze chicken.......

Monday here are some pics from the electrofishing survey. This 6 acre lake is stacked up with lots of 2.75 lb largemouth bass. Not many smaller and none bigger, interesting.... Brought the kids out to take some pics of the catch.

Then we went around to check all the food plots, trail cameras, and new deer stands. This has been a very fun property to work on and come deer hunting season will be even more fun for the owners! Spring plots of beans and biologic are doing good, trail cameras are picking up lots of deer patterns, and fall plots will be going in in a few weeks, and new deer stand and box blind locations are going to pay off big time!

This baby is getting a nice staircase and electricity. It will be overlooking a fall planting of 3 acres of beans and other tasty stuff:

Here is the view looking out of the Texas Hunter double blind:

Here is one of the new cuddeback cameras:

And here is the plot it is overlooking:

Tuesday I went to a pond consultation to one of the coolest places to live on the planet. This guy has a beautiful log cabin with 5 or 6 stall garage overlooking a one acre pond which overlooks 85 acres of intensively managed timber. Pretty much my dream home and land. I was telling Brook that I just came from my dream home and she said "so the pond wrapped around the house" I had to correct myself- almost my dream home. Brad, if you are reading this far down, the only thing your missing is the pond wrapping around the house. Except for that tiny little detail your place is the ultimate.

His garage is full of every kind of wood working tool imaginable. He makes bows, duck and goose calls, turkey calls, coyote calls, knives, inkpens, and other outdoor stuff from wood and antlers and bones from his property. Real cool stuff.

I brought some pond stuff along hoping to trade for some of this stuff. Here is what I came home with that Brook doesnt know about yet. This stuff doesnt pay the bills, but it does help put meat on the table so there you go- justified. I don't have Brad's email address with me tonight, but if for some reason I forget to add it later just give me a holler if your interested in getting a hold of him. He has a huge collection available, but also custom makes anything too.

Today I did a whole bunch of dumb not noteworthy stuff, but this afternoon I went out to a 550 acre farm to start working on a complete deer, quail, and waterfowl management plan. Timber Creek Land Company is helping me design this plan for my client. This property sits in a major goose flyway and there are already lots of deer, and tons of quail running around everywhere. Our goal is just to tweak everything in just a way to bring the people and the animals just a bit closer together. We are strategically planning the food plots, the deer stand locations, trail cameras, goose pits, etc. Land management stuff is pretty neat and lots of fun.

Lots of fish dying right now in Central Illinois. Most of the time the cause of death is suffocation (lack of oxygen) but that can be caused by a variety of different things. I could not for the life of me figure out one fish kill earlier today. I went over everything with the owner and his wife and it just didnt all add up. Finally after a couple phone calls he forgot to mention they applied copper sulfate the day before but didnt think anything about it since they have never had trouble in the past with treatments. There is always some piece of the puzzle that gets tucked under the rug only to be found a bit later. Thursday monring I will try to figure out another one near Metamora.


  1. Nate

    Thanks for the comments on the property and house. You need to come back for the full tour this fall...sometime in september. Planning for the areation next spring..weed rake works great. I finished some more pens and a couple Elk Antler favorite. Email Brad Rolando

  2. what a very nice article, especially the photos. :D
    I think its really fun make fishing with your family. so awesome.
    great job!!!

  3. I love crappie fishing and I love this article! Love fishing with the family! Check out my crappie fishing site