The dog days of August bring interesting fishing conditions, including
various forms of algae. One of the most interesting pond scums I have encountered
occurred on a small creek near Crothersville, my old hometown.
The name of this creek was a secret then, because it was full of bass.
The creek still hosts a good bass population, so it still is a deep, dark
I canít remember the year--probably in the late Ď30s--I discovered this
great bass population in the spring, and fished it regularly.
But at the height of dog days that summer my sweet fishing hole turned
sour when this thick algae (scum) covered the surface waters of the creek.
At first there were little channels of open water, and putting an artificial
lure in these opening was no problem for a kid with a bait-casting outfit.
But when these channels were closed by a thicker, tougher scum (a good
inch thick) my fishing came to a halt. Not even my Johnson Silver Spoon
would penetrate the scum.
But in going through the strange assortment of soap dishes and other
small boxes that contained my assorted artificial lures, I came up with
weedless lure I called a Shannon Spinner because it resembled the Shannon
Twin Spinner, probably the granddaddy of all spinnerbaits.
This lure weighed at least half an ounce, but it was bulky with red
hair and a metal shaft protecting the hook and holding a single spinner
blade. There may also have been another single spinner blade attached to
the bend of the hook.
I hadnít used it much because I had never been able to hook a bass with
Still, I figured if the bait would not hook bass, it would not be fouled
by the algae. I thought it might drop through the algae and give me a chance
to catch a bass or two.
But when I cast the lure to a likely-looking spot, it plopped down on
the thick algae and did not penetrate. I jiggled the lure a little, thinking
it might drop through the scum, but it remained high and dry.
Another jiggle brought an exploding largemouth up through scum and suddenly
my lure was gone. I had the bass on for a few seconds, but the fish did
not get the hook and my retrieve brought the lure back on top of the scum.
As I retrieved the lure across the top of the scum the bass made numerous
attempts to get the lure, but never succeeded.
I found this interesting and entertaining as subsequent casts and retrieves
created a trail of dinner-plate-size holes in the scum as bass tried to
get my lure.
The crazy-looking contraption became the star of my stable of lures,
especially when I encountered the thick algae or even big beds of surface
I spend many hours teasing bass with this lure, but I canít remember
catching a bass with it.
Bill James, chief of the Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Section,
identifies this scum as filamentous algae, explaining that it develops
on the bottom of still, warm waters. As the algae develops little pockets
of oxygen, it comes to the surface and form a thick blanket of green scum.
As the scum ages it becomes darker, even black.
Hoosier waters host other forms of algae, James says, including duckweed
and a planktonic algae that turns water dark green.
Incidentally, I have never found fishing to be great around those two
forms of algae.
DONíT FORGET--The annual wild
game cookout free lunch is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday (August 13) at
the Department of Natural Resources Building outside the west end of the
race track at the State Fairgounds. Admission to the State Fair and parking
fees are the only charges. The menu will include creek bank taters prepared
by members of the Indiana Sportsmenís Roundtable.
on thumbnail image for enlarged view.
|Creek Bank Taters,
prepared by members of the Sportsmanís Roundtable, are one of the popular
dishes at the cookout.