Sunday, March 31, 2013

3/29,3/30 Rocky Fork Lake....Moving Shallow

This weekend we experienced the first warm weather of spring, so we took the opportunity to chase down a few crappie at Rocky Fork Lake. Friday we got off work, loaded the kayaks up and drove down to the lake. Our first stop was the Bayview bait store on North Shore Drive, here we picked up 12 dozen minnows for the weekend of fishing....6 for me and 6 for Amanda. At this point Rylan was already on the water and fishing at South Beach. So we decided to follow his lead, the North Shore boat ramp was packed and boats were lining the shore as far as the eye could see anyway. We got on the water around 4:30pm and the water temperature was in the mid 40's. We quickly headed into the small cove and found some structure in 8-12 foot of water. My initial plan was to suspend minnows under a float just above the deepest structure I could find, however the fish had left the deep structure. So the search began, who could find the fish and at what depth. After about an hour Rylan managed the first fish, a decent largemouth at 1lb  and 5oz and measured 13.5".
1lb 5oz 13.5" Largemouth Bass
A few minutes later he had landed another small bass, finally sealing the deal and developing a pattern. Shortly later Amanda and I caught our first fish as well, both largemouth. This was surprising on two accounts. One, we were catching more largemouth than we were catching crappie. The second thing that surprised me was the depth at which these fish were being caught. Instead of the fish biting deep like they had been all winter, they had finally moved shallow to soak up the suns rays. Most of the fish we caught were pulled out of 3-5 feet of water. Rylan ended the day on a roll, landing a half dozen fish within a half hour of complete dark.

Saturday, Amanda and I decided to go out and fish Rocky Fork once again to see if the fish would bite shallow again. We met up with our kayak wars team member, Russ, at the North Shore boat ramp. We got the kayaks in around 11am and paddled out about midway to the mouth of North Shore and started fishing. Water temperatures were in the low 40's, slightly cooler from the previous day. To make a long story short, the bite was not where it was the previous day...... at least not yet. We did manage two largemouth from 7 feet of water. Amanda got her first largemouth from the kayak at 15oz and 13" so we decided to take a quick picture.
At about 3pm we decided to give North Shore a break and head to the gas station to re-hydrate and refuel. We then decided to go see how things were doing at South Beach. We immediately headed to the spots we had fished the day before.....however the fish weren't there. After trying a variety of depths we moved on down the bank, this time to a spot that is rarely unoccupied.....a well known crappie hot spot. It didn't take long before we found a few fish. Russ finally got on the board with a small crappie, followed by a nice 12" crappie.

At this point it was about 6pm, similar to the time Rylan had found the hot bite at 3-5 feet deep so I asked Russ how deep he had caught the crappie. Sure enough he was fishing just under 5 feet deep. I quickly adjusted my floats to 5 feet and began to catch one after another. The difference this trip was that we were primarily catching crappie with largemouth bass, and a couple bluegill showing up. In the heat of the action I landed a fish almost identical to Russ's crappie. Here's my 12" crappie.

After it was all said and done we managed 4 largemouth, 2 bluegill, and nearly 20 crappie....considering that at 5 pm (6 hours into the trip) we only had 2 largemouth, I was very happy with the turnout.

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