"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Slow, Chilly Spring Fishing
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

Good friend spring is not a permanent resident yet, but is here in spurts and on itís visit we will have conditions for some early, high-water action with largemouth bass in lakes where water depth is affected by flooding.

There are many lakes, reservoirs and other standing waters affected by dams of streams (that causes flooding), and on many of them (regardless of size) high water at this time of year sends many species of fish--including largemouth--into the flooded shallow water in search of food. Food at this time of year is a hot commodity as fish of many species prepare winter-ravaged bodies for spawning.

Incidentally, any trickle of surface water entering a body of standing water is very apt to attract many species of fish in search of food. It is nature at itís best.

Wade-fishing high waters in flooded fields is a tad risky (not real dangerous) because it often is in inundated weed patches, brush, and many other types of cover that is food sources. A wading staff is a great tool that tells one what kind of bottom lies ahead.

Of course, the body of water at normal levels must be blessed with  good bass populations if the flooded fields are to be productive.

It is, incidentally, a good idea when fishing flooded areas to stay well away from deep water.

I usually use fairly light spinning tackle with six to eight-pound test line and a semi-weed less artificial lure that thwarts the inundated brush and weeds. Black and yellow are my color choices because the contrast milky waters. The mid-sized Johnson Silver Minnow is my favorite dressed with 20-tail Hawaiian Wiggler skirt. Other weed less lures are good. 

I wade around the shallows in search of feeding fish, making casts to area that show action. Early and late hours are best, but fish will feed in the fields all day.

One of my favorite spots for this kind of fishing is the big Jones Creek bay on the Crooked Creek arm of Monroe Reservoir This is mostly wooded hillside fishing and a little riskier. But fish there tend to follow the creek into a valley and nto the surrounding fields and woods. More deep warer care must be taken on the hillsides.

After old Browning Bridge collapsed (on the back road that ran from Crooked Creek to Robinsonís Cemetery) the road became so torn-up by off-road vehicles that it was closed to vehicular use from Crooked Creek Ramp to the cemetery, and a branch to Elkinsville to the east. It is open from the cemetery for a short distance beyond County Line Bridge. All roads are open to foot traffic.

It is something like 2.5 miles from the cemetery to the site of old Browning Bridge via the old road. If one goes from the cemetery northward, Jones Creek will be on the left as the road runs into the main stem of Salt Creek before it ďYsĒ to form Middle and South forks. In flood times one may have to take to the hills. I wear knee boots and carry waders in a backpack for fishing. It will be found on the Elkinsville quad of U.S Geological series of maps of the state.

I do not mean to imply that this kind of fishing is fast. It is often slow, always chilly. But on an early spring day, when high waters of good fishing holes spill over into the surrounding low lands, there may be some fishing fun, including bass.


The annual outdoor workshop for women is scheduled for May 2-4 to teach women about outdoorsing. Interested parties may call 317/2324094 for details. Registration started March 1..

Chippy, my resident chipmunk, added a sign of spring Monday, March 3 by collecting peanuts for an early spring banquet.

George Seketa, a long-time employee of the Division of Fish and Wildlife died February 27, 2008 after a long battle with cancer. George wore many hats in his wildlife management career. There was no funeral, but on March 8 there will be a celebration of his life at the Walden Inn, 2 West Seminary Street, in Greencastle. The family is encouraging people to forego flowers in favor of memorial contributions to either the West Central Chapter of Quail Unlimited or The Nature Conservancy (Indiana). [See full online obituary at http://bayoubill.com]

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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