Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mission Oak Inn Electrofishing

On Wednesday Chef Todd and I headed out to Mission Oak Inn to electrofish their 7 acre lake and snoop around to see exactly what kind of food they prepare for their guests, etc. For those of you who have been keeping tabs on Chef and I for awhile, you know full well that FOOD and FISHING is what we do. Well we kept hearing bits and pieces about great food and fishing coming from this place out in the middle of nowhere near Henry, IL and when the Innkeeper Denny emailed me a couple weeks ago about needing a little help with his 7 acre lake, I knew Chef would be needed to help scope out their entire facility.

Chef and I are fairly similar (but with different techniques) when it comes to trying to learn everything humanly possible from every place we ever visit. For those who don't know Chef, he is a tad bit inquisitive in all things fishing, food, and turkey hunting related. The plan worked about as perfect as any premeditated plan could ever work and by the time we left at about 1 pm we were served egg florentine casserole, sticky cinnamonny caramelly buns, pumpkin delight cheesecake, and a chocolate encrusted pie so rich that Chef said he was gonna enjoy his sugar buzz until about 8 pm tonight!

Overall we drove out of that place and quite simply were in awe of every facet of that little bed and breakfast. Their entire 100+ acre facility intensively landscaped with walking trails, etc is about as nice as it gets anywhere in the entire midwest. Denny didn't need my help to turn 6 inch bluegills into 9 inchers or 1 lb bass into 3 lbers or 8 inch crappies into 12 inchers. He wanted my help to maintain and improve on 9 inch bluegills, 3-5 lb largemouth bass, and 12-15 inch crappies! Simply fantastic world class fishing already in a perfectly designed and very manageable 7 acre lake.

Chef and I often talk when leaving a place we just electrofished that we wouldn't go back fishing there if they offered us a free membership......Not the case on Wednesday!!

We designed a management plan to provide year round 365 days a week fishing opportunities for guests and created daily creel limits that will allow guests plenty of trophy fishing and meat fishing opportunities that overall will enhance the lake when they fish as opposed to draining from or harming the resource as they fish.

Rainbow Trout are going in on Tuesday to allow great angling opportunities for open water and ice fishing in November, December, January, February, March, and April when other warm water species wont be nearly as active.

Here is a picture of one of the two suites at the Inn. To be honest, I have never been to a bed and breakfast before, but definitely will be back at some point in the future when Brook and I need to get away for a night or two. This option will be WAAAY better than going to Chicago!!! Brook was even excited when I showed her the pics and spent 5 minutes telling her the story of stuffed french toast with homemade strawberry sauce and pumpkin cheesecake....

Handcarved wood carvings decorate the place:

Dining Room Pics

On Friday morning at 5 am, Cole and I headed to Arthur, Illinois to electrofish a pond and then drove on over to Casey, Il to electrofish a couple more ponds. The first pond is about an acre and is going to become a trophy bluegill fishing pond. The second pond is about 1.5 acres and is well on its way to become a trophy largemouth bass fishing pond.

The third pond I actually am the most excited about. It is about 2 acres and we couldnt find a live fish in that pond anywhere. This pond is going to be a future crappie and walleye fishing pond. When someone owns multiple bodies of water, I absolutely love outside the box fish stocking experiments. High risk, but high reward potential! Watermeal has taken over the pond recently and that will need to be remedied next spring with Clipper and White Cap. Also I am going to have my lab tell me exactly what nutrients and elements are bound up in the water column and we are going to zap them out with a custom bacteria concoction to clean up the water and give us clear water all the way down to the bottom! Then the fathead minnows go in the spring to start the forage cocktail. In the fall goes the crappie fingerlings and the following fall goes the walleye and northern pike finglerlings.

Very cool old burrow pit tucked back in the woods and some point in the last year or so all the fish died out of it. The reason I think the fish kill was recent was because there werent many frogs or tadpoles. Ponds void of fish usually teem with other forms of life that fish like to eat...Also the owner said he saw some fish swimming in it last summer...

Cole came along for this survey, cause he helped the owner with his deer management program. Fine tuning his food plots, prairie grasses, and deer stand locations! We didnt get home till 9 pm Friday night, just in time to watch the end of the Cardinals stunning victory over the Phillies!

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