October was a busy month. I had a lot of places to go and things that needed to get done, but do not cry for me, I spent a lot of time on the water in October too! Fall is my favorite open-water fishing of the year. I am not going to recount all of my reasons for saying that; if you want to read some of them you can, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2009/09/its-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year/ . I realize that folks have a lot of other activities in the fall, so no matter how much I promote fall fishing, I will often have waters to myself or nearly so. Come to think of it, that is another reason I believe fall fishing is so productive and is certainly a huge reason I love it.
Mostly, I am going to post some pictures. Like many guys I love to show off pictures of successful hunting, fishing and trapping adventures. Yes, I am a male and yes, human males like to show off. But, I also hope by showing pictures of fish, fish caught from Nebraska waters, public waters, folks will have a better appreciation of the fisheries resources we have in Nebraska and will want to get out there and experience some of those resources for themselves!
Once again my son, nephew, and I spent some time catching trout from Lake Ogallala and associated waters. I have been trumpeting the quality of this fishery since last fall. It is something special, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/07/special/ , it is world class right now. Since last fall I have promised to spend as much time fishing there as possible, and I will continue to do so.
As we all know there has been a lot of water come through the North Platte River system this year. Yes, fish move downstream out of reservoirs and the more water that passes through reservoirs the more fish that migrate out. We have caught some nice white bass in the system below McConaughy this fall. Actually, I should say my “boys” have caught some nice white bass this fall; I could never seem to hook one.
A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog and “called my shot”–noted that it was time to get after some fall walleyes. In fact I even proposed a theme song, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/09/feel-it/ . Well, I told you so. . . .
I may not have been able to catch any big white bass this fall, but I have managed to pick up a few of these. . . .
Now, I am not going to tell you the “X” where I caught all of those fish. I suspect many of you will be able to figure it out. I will tell you this, they were all caught from public waters, but I traveled to several corners of the state in October. All of those waters are listed in the 2011 Fishing Forecast, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/pdfs/FishForecast.pdf , and they will be featured in the 2012 Fishing Forecast when it is available.
Call me selfish if you wish, yet I want folks to know that we have great fishing opportunities in Nebraska and I try to promote those fisheries and fishing opportunities. I have no problem telling folks where, when and how they can fish. But, realize that there are no guarantees; I could tell exactly where, when and on which bait, but that does NOT mean you will be able to duplicate the success. I believe it is much more important to help folks learn how to figure it out for themselves; it is more important to learn how to catch fish, how to become a better angler than it is to have the exact intelligence on where and how someone made a catch. If you rely on fishing reports, you will often experience “you should have been here yesterday”. Find good waters, spend time on them and learn how to catch fish on those waters and then you can make your own reports. There is plenty of information out there to help anyone figure out how to become a better angler, and if you have questions I can help with, just ask!
On at least two occasions this fall I have heard loons call while fishing Nebraska waters. I am no bird-watcher or ornithologist, but I know that there are no loons of any kind that spend much time on Nebraska waters. However, loons do migrate through the state and occasionally let loose with a call. Occasionally you might even spot them. The following picture is not the greatest quality, but they are loons and seeing them was another one of those things that makes the time in the outdoors so rewarding.
It is still not over, there is some good fall fishing left. As the water cools fishing patterns change as fish tend to move towards deeper water. I will also tell you that as the water cools I tend to slow my presentations. Right now is one of the times when my belief in optimal foraging theory is at its strongest, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/09/optimal-foraging-theory/ , fish are still feeding, still taking in energy that they need for the upcoming winter and next year’s spawn. There is still time to catch some of the biggest, fattest, prettiest fish of the year!