Column: A weekend fishing the Southern way
Cool weather over the Labor Day weekend should turn fishing on in our local area. The rain did dampen a planned trip for me with some friends, but I happened to see a much different form of fishing on television.
While watching the usual fishing lineup on Saturday morning television, I happened to tune into TNN Outdoors and caught the Advantage Outdoors program hosted by Wade Bourne. This is typically a show that either shows hunting segments or some form of fishing. Last week, Bourne, was catfishing with Henderson brothers from Greenwood, Miss., on the Mississippi River. I did not think too much of watching a catfishing program until I found out just how they were going to catch them. They were fishing with their bare hands.
The method they were going to use intrigued me, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down for the duration. It turned out to be a very entertaining show. It seems that prior to spawning season for the catfish, the brothers locate spawning sites or create man-made ones. Catfish apparently like to spawn in sunken hollow logs.
The man-made sites consist of boxes with an opening on one end. The opening is placed downstream so the box will not fill up with mud. A series of these logs or boxes is located and the Hendersons run upstream from site to site looking for fish in the logs or boxes.
The water in the Mississippi is very muddy and visibility is nonexistent. I would imagine that trying this procedure for the first time would be spooky since they actually dive under water and feel around for the openings in the log or boxes.
Once the openings are located, they feel inside to see if there are catfish present. If not, they simply get in the boat and move to the next location. If there is a fish or pair of fish, the fun begins.
Before I go any farther, let me say that these are not small catfish that they are catching. The fish during the filming of the show ran from 20 to 50 pounds. The person doing the catching blocks the hole with his feet. He then takes a deep breath and heads underwater. He can be down for seconds or minutes depending on how cooperative the fish are.
How do they go about catching these large fish? Apparently, the catfish are very aggressive during spawning season. I am certain they are territorial and protect their spawning site. What this means is that they bite. The fishermen allow the behemoths to latch onto their arms, and sometimes the fish can grab the entire forearm or more. The angler then gets a good hold on the balance of the fish and pulls it out of the box and to the surface. That is where the fishing and WWF have some similarity. It can become a real wrestling match depending on the size of the catfish.
The 50-pound flathead catfish caught at the end of the show chomped on the angler’s arm so hard he was saying he thought his wrist might be broken. While this is not the first time I have heard of fishermen using their hands – the Indians used to catch fish by hand – it was the first time watching people fishing for catfish. Am I going to try wrestling catfish anytime soon? No, this is not on my “A” list of things to do.
My point is even though I did not go fishing because of the weather, there are programs such as these on television that will pique your interest. TNN, ESPN and the Outdoor Channel all have a hunting and fishing lineup during the week and particularly on the weekends. You can check their program listings either in the television guide or on the Web. You can learn a lot from these programs, but there is no substitute for getting out and fishing to become a better fisherman. Theory is good, but practical experience is still the best. You may even see something you have never seen before.
Boca – (32,684 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair to good. Anglers fishing from shore near the inlet are still having success. The area near the dam is also fishing well. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Some anglers throwing lures along the shoreline have been productive as well. Boaters are having fair-to- good results. Most were using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow-imitating lure. Kokanee fishing remains good. Flyfishermen near the inlet should have fair-to-good action using a variety of nymphs, streamers and emergers.
Donner – Fishing has been good. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had fair-to-good action. Mackinaw trout fishing has been fair. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow-imitating lures have had fair-to-good results.
Lake Tahoe – (Elevation 6,227.98 ft.) Fishing has been good for Mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for Mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair.
Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed.) Fishing is fair. Try using nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, damselfly imitations or the A.P. Streamers that imitate small fish and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quigley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams and Griffith’s Gnat are good choices.
Little Truckee River – (This area between Stampede Reservoir downstream to Boca Reservoir is now subject to artificial barbless lures with a two-fish bag limit of fish 14 inches maximum.) The river flow is running at a rate of 90 cubic feet per second. The fishing has been fair to good, but has been crowded. Flyfishermen on this section are concentrating on a mix of nymphs, emergers, dries and streamers.
Prosser – (17,687 ac. ft.) Prosser fishing has been fishing fair to good. Fishing here is mostly with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Trolling has been mostly with flashers and nightcrawlers. Flyfishermen near the inlets are using primarily midges, nymphs and streamers.
Stampede – (209,545 ac. ft.) Stampede is rated as fair to good. Shore anglers are catching some fish, mostly near the dam. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Trollers are having success for kokanee salmon. Most used a flasher of some sort and a kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn.
Truckee River – The release is 314 cfs from the dam at Tahoe City. In the Truckee area the river is running at around 320 cfs rate. Fishing in the upper section between Tahoe City and Truckee has improved with good flows. Seasoned anglers are doing well on the Truckee. Most fish being caught in the special regulation areas are being caught on nymphs, emergers, dries or streamers. A streamer this time of year can produce well.
Other Waters – Jackson Meadows reservoir is fair overall. Davis and Frenchman lakes fished fair this past week as well. Most waters are best early and late in the day this time of year.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.