February 22, 2012
In northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri, practitioners of Midwest finesse fishing tactics for largemouth bass occasionally enjoy some startlingly encounters with rainbow trout this time of year.
The trout are stocked in October and February at several of the small reservoirs that grace our suburban and exurban landscapes.
We don't know how many survive the heat of our summers, which at times escalates surface temperatures above 90 degrees. But Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, has caught a few of them at night on midsummer outings while fishing for crappie under a light.
When Frazee does this, he calls it crappie fishing for trout.
During Frazee's nighttime forays, he was fishing an area that was 45 feet deep. The trout were suspended in 20 feet of water. He caught them on a 1/16-ounce jig dressed with a live shiner. The biggest trout were situated at the edge of the beam of light, not directly under it. The crappies were above the trout. He began catching trout in June and continued to catch them into early August.
In sum, we aren't trout anglers. All of our trout escapades are serendipitous affairs.
In years past, our most fruitful bass-fishing-for-trout outings usually occurred in March.
During some springs, however, we have enjoyed some bountiful trout catches in April.
For example, on April 5, 2011, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fish about three hours at a 416-acre community reservoir. To our delight we caught 24 largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass and 12 rainbow trout. We estimated that the total weight of the 12 trout approached 40 pounds.
In regard to the weather, it was a typical earlyApril day. The low temperature hovered around 24 degrees during the early mourning hours. The high temperature pushed area thermometers to 72 degrees by midday. The wind angled at 15 to 24 mph out of the southwest. The sun sparkled. The lake's surface temperature reached a high of 50 degrees.
We caught all of the fish on either a Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch peanut-butter-and-jelly ZinkerZ fixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Jig Head or a Z-Man's four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ attached to a 1/32-ounce red Gopher Mushroom Jig Head.
The best presentation was what we call the shake, swim and glide retrieve. (Anglers can read more about our Midwest finesse tactics and tackle in several previously posted blogs.)
We also caught seven trout on April 11, 2011, when the surface temperature reached 58 degrees.
The latest date in April that we have caught them occurred on April 12, 2009. On that outing, the surface temperature was only 52 degrees, and we inadvertently inveigled four rainbow trout.
Even though Frazee has caught them fishing for crappie under a light at night suspended in 20 feet or more of water, we have never caught them while bass fishing after the surface temperature broached 58 degrees. Perhaps the reason for that is that we rarely probe lairs that lie in more than 12 feet of water.
Below are several photographs of some of the trout that we caught caught while fishing of largemouth bass with our finesse methods. And as March is about to unfold, we are eager to relish several more of these serendipitous interludes during our pursuits of largemouth bass. The last photograph in this series is one of the many trout that Frazee has already caught this year.
In the future, we will post some blogs about our bass-fishing-for-channel-catfish and bass-fishing-for-walleye outings, which usually erupt in May and June. We have found that tangling with another species or two always provides a delightful interlude in the midst of our perpetual quest to catch 101 largemouth bass on every four-hour outing.