Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29, 2014 - Rappahannock River & Stormwater Pond

Went to Rappahannock River, put in around 1 PM at the March Run Parking Area next to the bridge, floated down and paddled back up.  Marsh Run is a tributary.

Here I am approaching the river.

Caught a small redbreast sunfish:

 The water was muddy, but not really high. 

Caught a few more small sunfish, this was the largest I caught.

The bottom in this stretch is mostly sand without much in the way of structure.

Took out about 4:30.

Returned to Culpeper and ate dinner.  After dinner, went down to the Stormwater Pond and fished for any larger fish that might be in there with a crawdad jig.

Didn't get any strikes aside from some of the small fish in there.  If the mechanism by which fish get into these sort of originally barren waters is associated with birds carrying fertilized eggs or fry from other bodies of water, I'm guessing that the first population established would prevent that mechanism from functioning again, by virtue of the established population feeding on any fry/eggs and eliminating them.  Someone should dump some mature bass in here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 2014 - Lake Orange

Went down to Lake Orange.  Put in around 7.  At the put in, there were some ducks with ducklings, and one of them appeared to be albino.

I apologize for the terrible pictures.

Anyway, I paddled across to the cove opposite the ramp.  There were several boats in the downstream direction, so I decided to go upstream.  Using my phone's GPS capability, I plotted my path around the lake.  It didn't start it until I was already out there, and forgot to turn it off when I took out.

So I paddled up the left creek, and caught a small redear on a spinner.

I made my way up the other creek, casting up near the bank, around the blowdowns and other structure.  I had a strike that I missed on a green heddon torpedo right here:

I started back down the opposite shore, and didn't do much.  As dusk fell, I switched to a big spoon and cast out, jigging it back.  I took out at about 9:45.

A grizzled local who was taking out at the same time as I was hadn't done much either, and remarked that it was really dead, which let me blame my lack of success on fate rather than poor technique or inadequate skill.  He told me that downstream is better than upstream, something to remember for next time.

Not 5 minutes after I drove away, it started to rain and I drove home in the rain.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19 2014 Mountain Run Lake

Went after work to Mountain Run Lake. We had had a squall earlier at around 3:30 with some pretty wicked wind and rain, but it had cleared when I went down there. I caught a couple of small bass on a chartreuse curly tai.

 I switched to a drop shot rig with a 4" plastic worm, and caught a catfish, but no bass:


Shorty after, it started raining more significantly.  I put up with the rain and continued to fish, using a black/redflake plastic lizard.  Didn't catch anything else.  Two guys were taking out when I was, and they said they normally fish Lake Orange and it's great fishing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 Mountain Run Lake - On the Topic of Home Waters vs. Adventure

Went to Mountain Run Lake.  Put in about 5 PM.  Bright sunny day, fairly warm.  What wind there was was light and variable until about 7, when it died down completely.

Saw a bird of some description, not sure what he was doing, looking for prey, protecting a nest, etc.  Not sure what kind of bird he was either, but maybe a cormorant.

Fished with a big spinnerbait ( 3/8 oz crawdad color with brass blade) for a while and didn't do much good.  Switched to a small 1/4 oz chartreuse and white one and caught more 6" bass than I could be troubled to count, around 5-7.

Although fun, not really entirely satisfactory because I wanted to keep fish.

The photographic record ends here because I was irritated.  Which is a shame, because I ended up catching some fish.  I kept a fairly small maybe 6" bluegill, which established the dangerous precedent of keeping fish.  About 15 minutes later, having switched back to the big spinnerbait, fishing along the peninsular bank, hooked a fish that felt substantial.  Turned out to be a 16" catfish, which bent up and slimed the hell out of the spinnerbait.  Kept him.  Ran into K.W. on the water and talked with him for a few minutes.  He was trolling with curly tails and a 6" worm and he reported that he had caught several bass, none of which were large.  I caught one more 6" bluegill and decided to take out, around 8:45.

My tale having been told, there is a quandary I face: Am I better off fishing my small local lakes, specifically Mountain Run, which is familiar, reasonably productive, such that I might expect to catch fish to keep, requires very little commitment in terms of driving distance and time, and is small enough that I can fish a good portion of the reservoir in an outing?

Or, am I better off setting off on a grand adventure to a far off land that is 45 minutes by car ride, like Spotsylvania County, or 2 hours away, like Totier Creek lake, and fishing for the same species of fish in the same setting as I have available 7 minutes away from my home, with the tenuous promise of spectacular fishing that I would not have experienced otherwise.

There are compelling rationale for the choosing the local lake, most of which I outlined two paragraphs above.

The rationale for choosing more... exotic(word choice?, Spotsylvania et. al probably only considered exotic by Idahoans who spend their days staring at potatos and lentils), destinations are less certain. 

Some exotic locales, like the Potomac and its tributaries, offer a larger variety of fish to catch.  I'd still like to catch some snakeheads, and the more I hear, the more appealing catching stripers at Lake Anna or in the Rappahannock gets.  Lake Orange reportedly has walleye.

Some others might have fewer or less obnoxious people around as a result of having fewer ignorant rednecks than Culpeper.

Others still might reward each cast with a 5 lb largemouth, accept marshmallows as legal tender, and appoint me as King for the day, with all the rights and privileges due that office, which I assume includes a Harem and control of a time machine to skip the interminable months of June, July, and August.

But if I can be satisfied with the local lake, wouldn't I be a fool to risk disappointment?  If I like country ham on biscuits, why would I ever try sausage gravy?

But then, what might I be missing out on?  To paraphase Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by complacent and unimaginative fisherman."

Also, this blog might get tired and same-ey if I only ever go to the local lake, so for you, loyal readers (all 2 of you) I'll try to go further afield, since with this communication medium I have the collective curiosity to deal with.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went out to Mountain Run Lake around 6.  Day was bright and sunny and fairly moderate, maybe low-mid 80s.  There was a breeze on the water, but not bad.  I definitely need to find my camera battery charger, the phone doesn't capture color well.

Fished with a chartreuse curly tail with a jerky retrieve and didn't do much.  Caught a small crappie.

Also caught a couple of 6" bass, and one 6" bluegill.  Didn't keep any fish.

Took out early about 8 due to neck and shoulder discomfort caused by bad sleep, exacerbated by paddling around and casting.

Ran into K______.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10 2014 - Lake Pelham

Went over to Lake Pelham and put in around 7:30.  I put in off Henrietta and was able to get out into the lake, but it's probably a matter of 3 inches less water and that put-in will no longer be feasible.

We'd gotten some rain earlier in the day and it had cooled off some.  The water temperature at the ramp was 77 F and the air temperature was 80.  Sky was clear, no wind to speak of.

I fished a big spinnerbait casting in to the bank, and had a strike but didn't hook him.  I made my way along the south bank and began to round the point to where Gaines Run comes in under Highway 29.   Looking back, took a picture of the sunset.

At about 8:30, it was dusk, and I switched to a "fluorescent green crawdad" heddon tiny torpedo.  Second cast, I hooked and landed a 14-incher:

There's a 12-15 inch slot limit in Pelham, so I released the fish as I would hope everyone would.

I hoped that I'd get some more action as the sun went down.  At about 9, I switched to a zara spook and missed a strike.  It was getting dark, so I made my way back to the ramp and took out.

I was speculating a couple of days ago that if I fished Pelham in the evening, maybe I could catch some fish.  Before tonight, I thought that decent size fish in Pelham were  a myth.

I may try out here again this week.

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 8 2014 - Stormwater Pond

Had big plans for the day, but none of that came to pass.  After I finished my laundry, I satisfied some of my curiosity and went over to the stormwater pond over near the old DMV location, where I'd not fished before.  It was raining lightly, and was overcast, maybe 3 in the afternoon. 

Cast a small spinner out as I circled the pond and caught 3 fish, what I believe to be green sunfish.  The smaller one here was very brightly colored.

It was gusting some, and there was a 40% chance of precipitation with scattered thunderstorms, so I gave up for the day.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7, 2014 - Lake Pelham & Cesspool

Put in at Lake Pelham ramp off of Virginia Ave at 2:30.  A fellow was taking his jon boat out when I put in, and remarked he hadn't done any good.  He apparently normally fishes in Lake Orange, which he said is great.

Anyhow, I put in and paddled over to the point opposite the ramp and made my way upstream from there, since there was  a guy in a boat fishing along the dam.  Being near midday, there wasn't much shade.  I caught a bluegill right off on a small inline spinner, throwing it up under overhanging trees.

I believe that this is the largest bluegill I've caught out of Pelham, so I considered that an accomplishment.

After the fellow in the boat had made more progress, I crossed back over and fished up the east bank, which is fairly steep and drops off quickly.

I fished it with the spinner and then switched to a texas rigged white lizard, which didn't work.  I switched to a drop shot rig with a 5" worm about a foot above the weight, which didn't do any good either.  I went back to spinning tackle with a yellow curly tail, and caught a small bluegill off of some beds, although I don't know if he was sitting on the beds or it was coincidence.

I made my way along, fishing the blowdowns, not catching anything, other than a white perch.

So it was with sunburned legs and a heavy heart that I headed back around 6.  I took out and put my junk into my car, and ran into S_____, who I had spoken with on a couple of other occasions.  Two or three weeks ago, she got a fantastic picture of a couple of snakes on a limb by the beaver dam at the other put in, virtually the same place I got this picture, and we assumed maybe the same two snakes. Her picture was far better.

As we were talking, a heron flew over the dam in the direction of Yowell Meadow.  Foreshadowing!

As I drove back, contemplating all the wrong paths I've taken in my life to date to put me in this sorry state, feeling morose, dejected, and despondent, I passed by Yowell Meadow Park, and was drawn to it by some cosmic force.

I walked around the Cesspool there, throwing a big 1/2 or 3/8 oz spinnerbait.  I ran into a fellow fisherman of avian persuasion, and it seemed that he was having about the same luck as I was.

I was making my way back, and there was suddenly tension on the line.  Pessimism dictated that I must be hung up, but nuts to that!  I'd tied into a nice bass.  I landed him, he was 15 inches, or maybe a little longer.

It did occur to me, had I been putting in at Pelham at 6 and fishing through the evening, casting a big spinnerbait, would I have done as well there? 

In any case, the balance having tipped towards luck instead of misfortune, I left, eagerly anticipating what adventure tomorrow might bring.

June 6, 2014 Mountain Run Lake

Went to Mountain Run Lake after work.  Got there at about 6:45.  Fished with a small crankbait initially, but switched to a 2" chartreuse curly tail on a 1/16 oz jighead. Fished along the peninsular bank for a while, caught two small bass, maybe 6 inches, and hooked a crappie that I lost.  Around 7:45, I started fishing along the south bank, starting at the downed tree and moving along towards the dam.
It appears hazy or overcast in the picture, but it was darkening.  This picture was taken with my cellphone, which appears to have mediocre picture quality so I will continue to use my old camera.

Caught another small, 8 inch, bass.

All in all, a disappointing evening.  Although, what good would success be unless occasionally punctuated by failure?  F-ing great, that's what!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014 Mountain Run Lake

Went to Mountain Run Lake after work.  Got there about 6:45, there were a few boats in the left creek and one along the peninsula bank, so I paddled up the right creek, fishing with a crappie jig and bobber rig, not doing any good.  Switched to a small spinner and didn't do any good either.  At this point it was 7:45.

But then, as I rounded the point, I switched to a small diving plug and started fan casting.  The first cast, I felt a weight on the line, but then it was gone, a 1 second journey from the high of a tight line to the yawning crevasse of failure, doubt, and solicitude.

But then, amazingly, I caught two crappie within 5 minutes.

 I'd forgotten my stringer, so after I released these, I paddled back to the car and retrieved it.  Of course, then I caught one more small bluegill and then nothing.  Apparently not having a stringer is a predictor of success.

In any case, took out at 8:45, and came home. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 3 2014 Mountain Run Lake

Went to Mountain Run Lake after work.  Got there about 6:45.  Wind was very light and from the west, it was sunny and fairly warm.  Water temperature at ramp was 80 F, was 77 F elsewhere.  The water has cleared up quite a bit.

Fished heavily for crappie off of the points at the peninsula, using crappie jig with chartreuse tube from a bobber, suspended about 4 feet below bobber.  Caught a crappie right off, within 5 minutes, and figured I'd discovered the secrets of the universe.  Turns out, I was just lucky, didn't catch another crappie, and gave up after 45 minutes.

Started fishing the jib/bobber rig up nearer the bank, two big redears were my prize.  Also caught a bluegill.  Switched to a white lizard texas rigged with a 3/16 oz weight and caught a bass.  Getting close to dusk, decided to fish the steep bank between dam and ramp area, but as I paddled over there, saw that there was a guy fishing, so I took out.

Cleaning fish, noted that the redears and bluegill had eggs.  Following some investigation, apparently if spawn is interrupted, say by two flood events, then the fish may not drop their eggs but apparently will reabsorb them.  Maybe that explains that fish I caught this winter with eggs.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1, 2014 Rapidan River and Hunting Run

June 1, 2014

Went over to Rapidan River at Ely's Ford Rd.  Was still somewhat muddy, following rain this week.  There were 10 cars, so presumably 10 boats going downstream.  I left and checked out Hunting Run but it was hammered, so I gave up and returned home.