Midwest Finesse Fishing: March 2019

The Z-Man Fishing Products' green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce red mushroom-style jig was one of the most effective Midwest finesse rigs in northeastern Kansas during March.

This guide to Midwest finesse fishing for March of 2019 contains 13 logs and 12,336 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the piscatorial endeavors of Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Joshua Landon Loveall of Columbia, Tennessee; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.


As Mother Nature usually does in March, she confounded many Midwest finesse anglers' attempts to get afloat, and this March was more difficult than most of them. And when we got afloat, it was often a struggle to locate and catch the black bass that abide in our various waterways.

In northeastern Kansas, some of our woes were related to our flatland reservoirs being covered with ice for days on end. And once the ice melted, the combination of rain and melting snow caused several of those reservoirs to become riled with cold and muddy water. During the last four days of March, we watched Mother Nature waylay northeastern Kansas with wind gusts that reached 47 mph, 1 1/2 inches of rain, some snow, and unseasonably cold temperatures that plummeted to 24 degrees.

On top of those weather-related woes, we suspect that something else is awry. It looks as if the black bass populations that abide in several of northeastern Kansas’ reservoirs have been adversely affected by too much angler predation, a virus, and the aftereffects from too many herbicides being sprayed on the aquatic vegetation and terrestrial vegetation adjacent to the shorelines. We must admit, however, that we cannot definitively prove the causality of this noticeable decline, but our records reveal that the black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas is much more difficult than it used to be.


Before 2018, those of us who abide in northeastern Kansas used to enjoy outings that we called “bass fishing 101.” Our focus on these outings was to catch 101 black bass in four hours. But to our dismay, we failed to relish one of those 101 outings in 2018 and during the first 90 days of 2019. In fact, my partners and I have been afloat only seven times in 2019 and have caught only 170 largemouth bass or an average of 24 per outing.

As always, we are more than thankful that Steve Reideler proofread all of the words. He made them more readable and understandable.

March 8

Mother Nature has kept Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas and elsewhere around the nation at bay for many days on end. In fact, not one of us fished in northeastern Kansas in February, and as of March8, our reservoirs were still ice covered. In fact, we have not fished since Jan. 10.


But Mother Nature’s wintery ways in northeastern Kansas are not as woeful as they are in central Minnesota. We received an email on March 8 from Cory Schmidt of Brainerd, Minnesota, who wrote: “More snow headed hereabouts over the weekend. Lakes are a mess with 2 feet of snow atop 2 to 3 feet of slush and another 30+ inches of ice. Could make for an interesting spring ice-out. “ 

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, and his Midwest finesse colleagues have been beleaguered by Mother Nature, too. What’s more, the reservoirs that they fish in north-central Texas and south-central Oklahoma are some of the most problematic black bass reservoirs in the nation. These reservoirs are hellish nightmares for power anglers to deal with – especially during the winter, and even Reideler, who is a very accomplished Midwest finesse angler, is frequently flummoxed by the Florida-strain largemouth bass that abide in the waterways.

Here is his log that he posted on the Finesse News Network that describes his first outing in March of 2019.

The beginning of March started off where February left off— cold, wet, and windy. But the weather began to turn more spring-like on March 6, and these more mild-mannered days are expected to last through March 12.

On March 8, John Thomas of Denton and I opted to enjoy a warm afternoon foray at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir located in a suburb northwest of Dallas. We fished from noon to 3:30 p.m.

Because the wretched wintertime black bass fishing at the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas is not expected to improve for another couple of weeks, our mission on this day was to search for the first concentrations of pre-spawn white bass migrating into the reservoir’s feeder-creek arms.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:29 a.m. to 7:29 a.m., 11:18 a.m. to 1:18 p.m., and 11:39 p.m. to 1:39 a.m.

It was overcast and 57 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 64 degrees when we launched the boat at 11:40 a.m. By 3:30 p.m., it was 75 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.89 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.76 at 4:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the southwest and south at 5 to 10 mph.

We concentrated our efforts inside a minor feeder-creek arm in the northern region of the reservoir.

The water temperature in the south end of the reservoir was 48 degrees. Inside the feeder-creek arm, the water temperature varied from 55 to 64 degrees. The water clarity was about 1 1/2 feet. The water level was a quarter of a foot above normal.

This feeder creek is graced with an abundance of submerged laydowns, stumps, and brush piles. Its underwater terrain is composed of mostly gravel, clay, some sand, and a few rock ledges.

We shared this creek arm with five other boats, and there were about a half dozen or so anglers fishing from the shore.

In short, the fishing was better than we expected, but it was far from being great. It was a grind for us to allure 13 white bass, one largemouth bass, and one white crappie in 3 1/2 hours.

They were all caught from the lower end of the creek arm in four to six feet of water near laydowns, stumps, and brush piles.

During the winters of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, we found decent numbers of largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, and bluegills inhabiting this feeder creek. Many of them were relating to the sides and ends of the larger submerged laydowns and brush piles that are situated along the steep-slopping shorelines that are close to the creek’s main channel. We are baffled as to why this once fruitful creek arm has yielded only three largemouth bass during this winter of 2018-2019. But I have been told that this feeder creek had been severely flooded with sewage in the fall of 2018, and perhaps that might be contributing to some of its woes.

About 85 percent of the time during this outing, John and I wielded two types of grubs. The first type was a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ, which is a paddle tail-style swimbait. The other type was either a 3 1/2-inch blue glimmer sparkle or a chartreuse sparkle Z-Man’s GrubZ, which are curly-tailed grubs. Both types were rigged on chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs and retrieved at a slow and steady pace about two feet below the surface of the water.

Both types of grubs were equally effective. The pearl Slim SwimZ allured six white bass and one white crappie. The two GrubZs also garnered a total of six white bass. One white bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation next to a laydowwn.

The one largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

March 12

Mother Nature is still playing havoc with Midwest finesse anglers' abilities to get afloat. Those of us who live in northeastern Kansas are grateful that she had the wherewithal to melt all of the ice on March11 and 12 that covered most of our community and state reservoirs. But at the same time she waylaid us with rain, thunder, lightning, and wind. Now we fear that mud and floods will beleaguer us.

What's more, one Finesse News Network member recently participated in a 36-boat tournament at a big reservoir in northeastern Oklahoma, and only one boat caught a largemouth bass, and that minuscule creature weighed eight ounces. There was another tournament report from the same reservoir, and that tournament was canceled because of the weather and extremely sorry fishing.

Likewise, Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, is trying to contend with some of the antics that Mother Nature exhibits in north-central Texas in March and the always difficult black bass fishing that he has to contend with at the community and federal reservoirs that lie near or in the suburbs of Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Here is Reideler’s March 12 log:

It rained during the early morning hours of March 12, and it remained overcast with periodic spells of patchy fog, light rain, and drizzle during the afternoon. The morning low temperature was 56 degrees and the afternoon high struggled to reach 63 degrees. The wind angled out of the southeast and south at 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at noon and 29.97 at 4:00 p.m.

I made an impromptu decision to spend a wet afternoon fishing from the shorelines of a heavily-fished community reservoir located in a northwest Dallas’ suburb.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table noted that the best fishing would take place from 3:33 a.m. to 5:33 p.m., 9:46 a.m. to 11:46 a.m., and 3:58 p.m. to 5:58 p.m. I was afoot from 12:20 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.

The water level was slightly high and a steady stream of water was flowing over the dam’s concrete spillway. The water temperature was 56 degrees and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of clarity.

I began the outing along the east shoreline. A shallow ledge parallels most of this shoreline, and its underwater terrain consists of gravel and sand. The midsection of this shoreline features a broad point that is steep and possesses about a 30- to 35-degree slope. The southern and northern sections of this shoreline are flat. On the north end of this shoreline, there is a long clay and gravel point that extends into the reservoir, and a narrow ditch parallels the shoreline just south of this point.

I failed to elicit any strikes from the sand and gravel ledge on the south end of the shoreline, and the areas around the broad middle point and the long clay and gravel point on the north end of this shoreline.

I caught one largemouth bass in five feet of water from one side of the ditch that lies adjacent to the long clay and gravel point. It was caught with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

A slab-concrete dam forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir. I extracted one largemouth from a shallow clay and gravel hump near the east end of the dam in four feet of water. It was caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was implemented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve over the top of the hump and about a foot below the surface of the water.

The center section and west end of the dam were fruitless.

The reservoir’s west shoreline possesses a 25- to 30- degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of sand and gravel.

This shoreline features a shallow ditch that courses across a large mud flat on the north end of the reservoir, a fishing pier that is situated at its middle section, two tertiary points that are located about 90 feet north of the pier, and a gravel and sandy tertiary point that lies about 50 feet south of the pier.

I was unable to generate any strikes from the shoreline south of the fishing pier.

The deep-water end of the fishing pier yielded three largemouth bass. They were abiding in eight to 10 feet of water. Two were attracted to a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ attached to a blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other largemouth bass engulfed the 3 1/2-inch green-pumpkin GrubZ combo that was presented with a slow swimming retrieve about two to three feet below the water’s surface.

I failed to garner any strikes from the steep shoreline and two points just north of the pier.

The ditch on the north end of this west shoreline yielded two largemouth bass. They were both caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as I was slowly swimming, gliding, and shaking it around the edges of the ditch in four to six feet of water.

The north end of the reservoir encompasses a large and shallow mud flat that is dissected with a small feeder creek. It is adorned with tall stands of cattails. I dissected the area around the deep-water edge of the flat, but I was unable to provoke any strikes.

The feeder creek on the east end of this shoreline was muddy from the aftereffects of the rain, and I did not spend any time fishing it.

By the time this trying four-hour outing came to a close, I eked out seven largemouth bass. Five of them weighed between 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 pounds. The other two weighed 1 1/2 pounds and 1 3/4 pounds.

Three of them were allured by the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass were caught with the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ rig and a slow swimming retrieve. A slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve was the most effective presentation with the Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ rig.

A local meteorologist has forecasted another round of thunderstorms and gusty winds for north-central Texas. So, we will probably be kept at bay for the next few days.

March 14

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his March 14 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

In north-central Texas, March is a much anticipated transition period from winter to spring. It is when mild and warm days begin to outnumber the colder ones.

March 14 was a mild day. The morning low temperature was 56 degrees and the afternoon high reached 64 degrees. The sun was bright and highlighted a cloudless blue sky. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.01. An annoying wind angled out of the west and northwest at 15 to 25 mph.

I am anxiously waiting for the water temperatures to rise from the upper 40s to the upper 50s in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas. I have found that when the water temperature rises to 58 degrees in the Corps’ reservoirs, the black bass fishing begins to improve significantly from its wintertime comatose state. But as of March 8, the water temperature in the main-lake areas of one Corps’ reservoir was only 48 degrees.

But on March 14, I elected to fish at another community reservoir that lies in a suburb south of Denton. I have fished this reservoir several times since mid-December of 2018, and the fishing has been wretched here. It has surrendered only one largemouth bass in 2019, and it was caught during a 2 1/2-hour excursion on Feb. 4.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing would take place between 5:23 a.m. and 7:23 a.m., 11:13 a.m. and 1:13 p.m., and 5:51 p.m. to 7:51 p.m. I fished from 1:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.

This community reservoir is about the size of a football field. Its underwater terrain consists of mostly sand, gravel, and some silt. The shallow-water areas close to the water’s edge are adorned with winter-dead aquatic vegetation. The stems and exposed roots of the aquatic vegetation are covered with thin layers of filamentous algae.

The impoundment’s north shoreline is relatively flat, and it features several small sandy points and a small concrete water outlet.

A large island and an adjacent cove occupy the west end of this impoundment. Two submerged creek channels run parallel to the island’s northern and southern shorelines.

The east end of the reservoir is formed by a steep clay bank, and it is buffeted with the deepest water in the impoundment.

The south shoreline is steeper than the west and north ones, and it features several prominent points and a decorative stone wall that borders one of the points.

The water in the eastern half of the impoundment exhibited a muddy-brown hue with less than three inches of clarity. The water in the western half was stained with 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 61 degrees in the southeast end of the reservoir and 63 degrees inside its west cove. The water level was about a foot high.

Inside the west cove, I caught five largemouth bass. Two were caught from the south shoreline of the cove, two from the west shoreline, and one from the north shoreline. This cove was sheltered from the wind. I also observed four nests that were occupied by spawning largemouth bass, and this was the first spawning activity I have seen in 2019.

Four largemouth bass and four large crappie were caught from the outside edges of the winter-dead aquatic vegetation near the smaller tertiary points along the north shoreline. The four largemouth bass and three of the four crappie were caught from the west end of this shoreline, where the water was stained and there was some protection from the wind. One crappie was caught from the muddy water near the east end of the north shoreline.

Along the east shoreline, I caught one large crappie from a small brush pile on the south end of the shoreline, but I did not find any largemouth bass inhabiting this area. This shoreline was receiving the brunt of the northwest wind.

Along the south shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass. It was relating to the edge of the channel that runs parallel to the south side of the island.

These fish were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, or a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The GrubZ combo was implemented with a slow-paced swimming retrieve that was just fast enough to cause its curly tail to undulate.

I failed to entice any strikes using an assortment of Z-Man’s Hula StickZs, Finesse WormZs, TRD MinnowZs, TRD CrawZs, Finesse TRDs, TRD HogZs, TRD TubeZs, and an 1/8-ounce black-blue Micro Finesse Jig with a Canada craw TRD CrawZ trailer.

The fishing was better than it was on Feb. 4, but it was still a chore to catch 10 largemouth bass and five large crappie in three hours. The largemouth bass weighed between two-pounds, four ounces and three pounds, three ounces.

All of these fish were caught from sandy areas in less than five feet of water and within 10 feet of the water’s edge. All of the largemouth bass and four of the five large crappie were caught from the stained water areas in the western section of the reservoir.

March 18

The National Weather Service reported that it was 40 degrees at 3:54 a.m. and 54 degrees at 2:54 p.m. From 12:54 a.m. to 8:54 a.m., the sky fluctuated from being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being overcast, and between 9:54 a.m. and 3:54 p.m., the sky was fair. The wind angled out of the northeast, north, east, southeast, south, and west at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.37 at 12:54 a.m., 30.40 at 5:54 a.m., 30.46 at 11:54 a.m., and 30.37 at 3.54 p.m.

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs on March 18.

The intensity of the winter of 2018-19 is reflected by the fact that Rick had not fished for 108 days, and I had not fished seriously for 66 days. It is also a reflection that we have become dyed-in-the-wool geriatric anglers. Consequentially, our aging bodies, minds, and souls have a difficult time nowadays tolerating Old Man Winter’s frigid ways.

The water level at this community reservoir was an inch or so above its normal level. The water exhibited three to four feet of visibility, and at some locales, the surface was cluttered with specks of algae. The surface temperature ranged from 41 to 45 degrees. The ice that covered this reservoir and other nearby reservoirs for weeks on end disappeared on March 12 and 13.

It is interesting to note that the water levels at some of the other reservoirs that bedeck the landscapes around Kansas City, Kansas, and Lawrence, Kansas, are above their normal levels, and the clarity of the water at one of these reservoirs is quite murky, exhibiting three to 10 inches of visibility.

The water at this community reservoir is rarely murky, and it is normally blessed with bountiful patches of coontail. And it is around these coontail patches that grace the shallow-water flats in the backs of the primary and secondary feeder-creek arms that we traditionally catch significant numbers of largemouth bass once the ice melts and the water temperature ranges from 39 degrees to 45 degrees. But to our chagrin on this March 18 outing, we discovered that the bulk of this reservoir’s coontail patches had disappeared, and the ones that were still existing were very ragged. We suspected that the demise of the coontail patches was another reflection of this winter’s intensity.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 8:52 a.m. to 10:52 a.m., 9:22 p.m. to 11:22 p.m., and 2:37 a.m. to 4:37 a.m. Rick and I fished from 9:45 a.m. to 2:28 p.m.

For the first 85 minutes of this four-hour and 43-minute outing, Rick and I struggled to catch four largemouth bass and inadvertently catch one rainbow trout.

Two of the four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Mudbug TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in three to four feet of water around some scrawny coontail patches on a shallow-water flat in the back of a secondary feeder-creek arm. We failed to land one largemouth bass that unfettered itself from a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and adorned with a gold Colorado Z-Man’s TRD SpinZ. And another largemouth bass freed itself from a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

The other two largemouth bass were caught around some shallow-water and paltry patches of coontail that lie from 50 to 100 feet inside a small feeder-creek arm. One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water. The second one was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in three to four feet of water.

During the next 199 minutes, Rick and I caught 56 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught nine rainbow trout and two black crappie.

During this time period, the sunlight became more intense, and the stems of the coontail ascended upwards, which in our eyes made the scrawny patches of coontail more vibrant. And this resurrection of the coontail patches corresponded with our abilities to catch 56 largemouth bass in three hours and 19 minutes.

Twenty-three of these 56 largemouth bass were caught upon a shallow-water flat in the back of a small feeder-creek arm around paltry patches of coontail.

Two of the 56 largemouth bass were caught in the back of a large feeder-creek arm. One of them was caught along a rocky point. The other one was caught adjacent to a massive boulder. Both of these spots had a tad of coontail nearby.

Thirty-one were caught in the back of the first feeder-creek arm where we began this outing.

At the back ends of two other feeder-creek arms, which were devoid of patches of coontail, we failed to elicit a strike. We also failed to garner a strike while we probed portions of four rock-and-gravel-laden shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms.

Of these 56 largemouth bass, seven were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 10 were caught on a Z-Man’s Bad Shad TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and 39 were caught on either a Z-Man’s Mudbug TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Three of the 56 were caught on the initial drop, and 53 of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Fifty-four of them were caught in three to eight feet of water around patches of coontail on the shallow-water flats in the backs of two feeder-creek arms.

March 18

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his March 18 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

On March 8, John Thomas of Denton and I opted to enjoy a warm afternoon searching for some concentrations of pre-spawn white bass at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir located in a suburb northwest of Dallas. We fished from noon to 3:30 p.m., and we struggled to catch 13 white bass, one largemouth bass, and one white crappie.

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, had a hankering to chase white bass on March 18, so we returned to the same Corps’ reservoir that John Thomas and I fished on March 8.

It was sunny and 37 degrees at 7:00 a.m., 60 degrees when we launched the boat at 11:25 a.m., and 73 degrees when we trailered the boat at 4:30 p.m. The wind quartered out of the south by southeast at 4 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.34 at noon and 30.26 at 4:00 p.m.

Norman and I made our first casts and retrieves at 12:04 p.m. and our last ones at 4:06 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:47 a.m. to 4:27 a.m., 9:02 a.m. to 11:02 a.m., and 9:31 p.m. to 11:31 p.m.

We decided that our best chance of crossing paths with any significant numbers of white bass was to ply the same feeder-creek arm that John Thomas and I fished on March 8.

As we launched the boat, we were delighted to discover that the water temperature in the south end of the reservoir was 58 degrees. The water temperature varied from 63 to 66 degrees inside the feeder-creek arm. The water clarity varied from a few inches at the mouth of the creek arm to 18 inches in its midsection. We did not venture into the creek’s upper reaches. The water level was about a foot above normal.

As noted in my March 8 log, this feeder creek is littered with scores and scores of submerged stumps, brush piles, laydowns, and a few rock ledges. Its underwater terrain is composed of clay, gravel, and sand.

The fishing was stellar by north-central Texas standards. We enjoyed catching and releasing 30 white bass, one largemouth bass, and one black crappie in four hours.

The bulk of the white bass, the largemouth bass, and the black crappie were caught in 10 to 12 feet of water along the edges of the creek channel in the midsection of the creek arm where the water exhibited about 18 inches of clarity. Five were caught from the muddy water in the lower end of the feeder creek near laydowns and brush piles in three to five feet of water.

All of these fish were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Twenty-nine of these fish were attracted to the Slim SwimZ rigs as they were retrieved with a slow swimming retrieve about one to two feet below the surface of the water. Three were caught as the Slim SwimZ combos were slowly strolled behind the boat.

When we first arrived inside this creek arm, we found four other boats and a kayak fisherman already occupying portions of this creek. We took a few moments to speak with three of these anglers. One boat angler reported that he had caught only two white bass. Another boat angler said he had caught one crappie on a fluke-style bait. The kayak fisherman reported that he had not had any strikes.

March 20

The National Weather Service reported that it was 42 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 61 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the west and northeast at 6 to 28 mph. From 12:53 a.m. to 11:53 a.m. the sky fluctuated from being overcast to being foggy and misty to being mostly cloudy, and from 12:53 p.m. to 5:53 p.m., it was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.16 at 5:53 a.m., 30.18 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.07 at 3:53 p.m.

Our normal outings are four-hour endeavors, but Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished for five hours and 45 minutes at one northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs on our March 20. In a subtle way, we were celebrating the end of what seemed like an unending and unendurable winter, which kept us at bay for weeks and months on end. It was Steve’s first outing in 2019, and we tried to enjoy it by fishing for 105 more minute than we would normally.

Besides that celebration of the end of winter, we needed to spend an inordinate amount of time afloat on this outing in order to find and catch a few of this reservoir’s black bass. This reservoir used to be a bountiful reservoir for Midwest finesse anglers. We used to catch scores of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and a few hefty ones to boot. For example, we caught a six-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass on April 19, 2013, a six-pound, six-ounce smallmouth bass on April 25, 2016, 50 smallmouth bass and 26 largemouth bass on April 28, 2016, in four hours, and several times when we caught more than 80 black bass in four hours. But during the past two years, this reservoir has become a problematic waterway for Midwest finesse anglers, and this demise seems to correspond with the reservoir’s managers and caretakers spraying massive doses of herbicide that eradicated all of the Eurasian milfoil, which in advertently killed patches of American water willows, American pondweed, and coontail. These caretakers rationalized this killing by saying that Eurasian milfoil is an invasive or nonindigenous species. Of course, Midwest finesse anglers relished the patches of Eurasian milfoil that embellished this reservoir, and when it was announced that the reservoir’s managers were going to use a herbicide to kill the Eurasian milfoil we wondered how many years does a plant or animal have to exist in the United States before it is no longer an invasive species. Eurasian milfoil is reported to have been in the United States since the last decades of the 19th century. It seems that many of the overseers of our waterways fret more about invasive species than they do about the toxic chemical that they use in their attempts to eradicate the invaders. (For more information about invasive species, we suggested that folks should read Fred Pearce’s “The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation.”)

On March 20, the water level at this reservoir looked to be about 18 inches above its normal level. At most locales, the water exhibited two to 3 1/2 feet of clarity, but there was one local where the visibility was less than four inches. The surface temperature ranged from 43 to 45 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:35 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. Steve and I fished from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We were engaged in an endeavor that we call bass fishing for trout, and even though fished for345 minutes, it was a mighty struggled for us to catch 18 largemouth bass and 12 rainbow trout, and we accidently caught five hefty freshwater drum.

From 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the wind chill was quite bothersome, and during this spell, we caught only four largemouth bass and two rainbow trout.

Throughout this outing we probed portions 10 shorelines, eight secondary points and several tertiary points inside six feeder-creek arms. We fished six main-lake points and portions of three main-lake shorelines.

We caught four largemouth bass around one secondary point inside a large feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It is endowed with a 45- to 50-degree slope, and it also graced with a ledge. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in six to eight feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a two-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about eight feet of water.

We caught four largemouth bass along a main-lake shoreline. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It a submerged creek channel is adjacent to this shoreline. The shoreline has an 80- to 85-degree slope. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the HogZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water. A two-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin/chartreuse laminate ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a slow swim-and-glide presentation caught two largemouth bass in about seven feet of water.

Along two shorelines inside and several tertiary points inside a small feeder-creek arm, we caught 10 largemouth bass. These shorelines possess a 25- to 45-degree slope. There underwater terrains consist of gravel and rock. Some of the water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows. a few minor laydowns, and two docks. Seven of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig, and three of those were caught on the initial drop in three to four feet of water, and other four were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in four to eight feet of water. Three were caught on a two-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with either a drag presentation or a slow swim-and-glide presentation in five to eight feet of water.

We caught the 12 rainbow trout and five freshwater drum on the same rigs and presentation styles that we caught the largemouth bass. Some were caught at the three locales where we caught the 18 largemouth bass, and some were caught at a few of the shorelines and points that we failed to catch a largemouth bass.

In sum, our catch rate was a paltry three largemouth bass and two rainbow trout an hour. We had more than a dozen strikes that we failed to hook, which is fairly normal phen0meon when we are bass fishing for trout. And several fish liberated themselves shortly after they were hooked.

March 20

The National Weather Service reported that it was 42 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 61 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the west and northeast at 6 to 28 mph. From 12:53 a.m. to 11:53 a.m. the sky fluctuated from being overcast to being foggy and misty to being mostly cloudy, and from 12:53 p.m. to 5:53 p.m., it was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.16 at 5:53 a.m., 30.18 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.07 at 3:53 p.m.

Our normal outings are four-hour endeavors, but Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished for five hours and 45 minutes at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs on March 20. In a subtle way, we were celebrating the end of what seemed like an unending and unendurable winter, which kept us at bay for weeks and months on end. It was Steve’s first outing in 2019, and we tried to enjoy it by fishing for 105 more minutes than we would normally.

Besides that celebration of the end of winter, we needed to spend an inordinate amount of time afloat on this outing in order to find and catch a few of this reservoir’s black bass. This reservoir used to be a bountiful reservoir for Midwest finesse anglers. We used to catch scores of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and a few hefty ones to boot. For example, we caught a six-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass on April 19, 2013, a six-pound, six-ounce smallmouth bass on April 25, 2016, 50 smallmouth bass and 26 largemouth bass on April 28, 2016, in four hours, and several times we caught more than 80 black bass in four hours. But during the past two years, this reservoir has become a problematic waterway for Midwest finesse anglers, and this demise seems to correspond with the reservoir’s managers and caretakers spraying massive doses of herbicide that eradicated all of the Eurasian milfoil, which inadvertently killed patches of American water willows, American pondweed, and coontail. These caretakers rationalized this killing by saying that Eurasian milfoil is an invasive or nonindigenous species. Of course, Midwest finesse anglers relished the patches of Eurasian milfoil that embellished this reservoir, and when it was announced that the reservoir’s managers were going to use a herbicide to kill the Eurasian milfoil, we wondered how many years does a plant or animal have to exist in the United States before it is no longer an invasive species. Eurasian milfoil is reported to have been in the United States since the last decades of the 19th century. It seems that many of the overseers of our waterways fret more about invasive species than they do about the toxic chemical that they use in their attempts to eradicate the invaders. (For more information about invasive species, we suggested that folks should read Fred Pearce’s “The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation.”)

On March 20, the water level at this reservoir looked to be about 18 inches above its normal level. At most locales, the water exhibited two to 3 1/2 feet of clarity, but there was one local where the visibility was less than four inches. The surface temperature ranged from 43 to 45 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:35 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. Steve and I fished from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We were engaged in an endeavor that we call bass fishing for trout, and even though we fished for 345 minutes, it was a mighty struggle for us to catch 18 largemouth bass and 12 rainbow trout, and we accidentally caught five hefty freshwater drum.

From 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the wind chill was quite bothersome, and during this spell, we caught only four largemouth bass and two rainbow trout.

Throughout this outing we probed portions of 10 shorelines, eight secondary points and several tertiary points inside six feeder-creek arms. We fished six main-lake points and portions of three main-lake shorelines.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/DSCN2202.JPG

We caught four largemouth bass around one secondary point inside a large feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It is endowed with a 45- to 50-degree slope, and it is also graced with a ledge. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in six to eight feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a two-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about eight feet of water.


//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/DSCN2201.JPG

We caught four largemouth bass along a main-lake shoreline. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. A submerged creek channel is adjacent to this shoreline. The shoreline has an 80- to 85-degree slope. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the HogZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water. A two-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin/chartreuse laminate ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a slow swim-and-glide presentation caught two largemouth bass in about seven feet of water.

Along two shorelines and several tertiary points inside a small feeder-creek arm, we caught 10 largemouth bass. These shorelines possess a 25- to 45-degree slope. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel and rock. Some of the water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows. a few minor laydowns, and two docks. Seven of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig, and three of those were caught on the initial drop in three to four feet of water, and four others were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in four to eight feet of water. Three were caught on a two-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with either a drag presentation or a slow swim-and-glide presentation in five to eight feet of water.

We caught the 12 rainbow trout and five freshwater drum on the same rigs and presentation styles that we caught the largemouth bass. Some were caught at the three locales where we caught the 18 largemouth bass, and some were caught at a few of the shorelines and points that we failed to catch a largemouth bass.

In sum, our catch rate was a paltry three largemouth bass and two rainbow trout an hour. We had more than a dozen strikes that we failed to hook, which is a fairly normal phenomenon when we are bass fishing for trout. And several fish liberated themselves shortly after they were hooked.

March 21

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his March 21 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

After Norman Brown of Lewisville and I discovered that the water temperature at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas had reached 58 degrees on March 18, I was eager to return to the same reservoir in search of pre-spawn largemouth bass. Typically, we do not get excited about early-spring black bass fishing in the Corps’ reservoirs until the water temperatures reach 58 degrees. And this is the only Corps’ reservoirs that I am aware of where the water temperature is in the upper 50s. I have checked a couple of other Corps’ reservoirs that lie in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas, and their water temperatures are still in the low 50s.

On March 21, John Thomas of Denton joined me for a warm afternoon outing at the same Corps’ hill-land reservoir that Norman Brown and I visited on March 18. We fished from about 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The first 210 minutes of this excursion was in search of pre-spawn largemouth bass and some spotted bass, and during the other 120 minutes, we pursued white bass.

It was a beautiful and sunny spring day to be on the water. The morning low temperature was 41 degrees, and it quickly warmed to 74 degrees by mid-afternoon. The wind angled out of the northwest at 8 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.24 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.14 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 3:07 a.m. to 5:07 a.m., 9:21 a.m. to 11:21 a.m., and 3:36 p.m. to 5:36 p.m.

We opted to target three feeder-creek arms, a riprap-laden bridge embankment at the mouth of one of the feeder creeks, an area around a main-lake bridge, and portions of a marina in the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm.

The water exhibited about 26 inches of clarity. The water level was less than a foot high. The water temperature in the main-lake area was 56 degrees, but in the three feeder-creek arms and inside the confines of the marina, the water temperature ranged from 57 to 60 degrees.

Our attempt at finding decent concentrations of pre-spawn largemouth bass was a failure.

We fished from the upper ends or back sections of two of the creek arms to the lower end or entrance to the creek arms, one rocky shoreline at the entrance to the marina, and the mouth and part of the midsection of the third feeder creek. Our primary focus in these areas was centered on several steep and rocky shorelines and secondary points, two steep shorelines near the mouth of one feeder creek where a creek channel curved in close to the shorelines, a submerged roadbed at the mouth of a known spawning cove and the flat areas inside that cove, and several clay and gravel flats located near other known spawning coves. We fished in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 17 feet, and all of these locales were fruitless.

We also slowly dissected a riprap embankment at the mouth of one of the feeder-creek arms that extends out to a bridge in the main-lake area and a couple of concrete support columns underneath the main-lake bridge. We had hopes of crossing paths with a spotted bass or two, but to our dismay, we caught only one feisty three-pound freshwater drum. It was caught in eight feet of water from underneath the bridge on a Zoom Bait Company’s four-inch green-pumpkin Mini-Lizard dressed on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as we were slowly swimming, gliding, and shaking it down the slope of some riprap.

At this point in the outing, John and I were so frustrated and bewildered by the horrendous black bass fishing that we decided to try to salvage the remainder of this outing by pursuing white bass in a small feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir.

This creek arm is littered with submerged stumps, brush piles, and laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of mostly clay, gravel, and some sand. It surrendered 30 white bass on March 18, and we were hoping that it would surrender as many this time.

The water clarity inside this creek arm varied from 12 inches at its mouth to two feet in its midsection. The water temperature ranged from 63 to 66 degrees.

We found the white bass more cooperative than the black bass. We enjoyed catching and releasing 31 white bass in two hours, which saved our outing. We also hooked two largemouth bass that were able to jettison our lures from their mouths when they jumped out of the water.

These white bass were caught along the edges of the creek channel in the deeper sections of the creek where the water was 10 to 14 feet deep. We did not catch any of them near the stumps, brush piles, and laydowns in the shallower portions of the creek where the water ranged from four to seven feet in depth.

All of these fish were caught on either a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Usually, the 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ is our most productive lure, but this time the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ was more productive. Both of these grubs were employed by slowly swimming them about one to two feet below the surface of the water.

As for now, we have no idea as to the whereabouts of the largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass that inhibit the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas. We can only hope that as the water temperatures continue to warm in the Corps’ reservoirs, the black bass will become easier for us to to locate and catch.

March 22

The National Weather Service reported that it was 39 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 65 degrees at 3:53 p.m. Throughout the day, the sky changed from being fair to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy. The wind was calm at times, and when it stirred it angled out of the southwest, west, northwest, north, east, and northeast at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.17 at 5:53 a.m., 30.21 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.16 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 11:59 a.m. to 1:59 p.m., 12:25 p.m. to 2:25 p.m., and 6:12 a.m.to 8:12 a.m.

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 9:32 a.m. to 2:42 p.m. And we caught 65 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught 11 rainbow trout.

The water level was a few inches above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 43 degrees to 49 degrees. The water exhibited about three feet of clarity, and many locales were affected by a significant bloom of planktonic algae, which affected the clarity.

One of the largemouth bass was caught on a flat main-lake point. Its underwater terrain consists of sand, gravel, rocks, and a few boulders, and this terrain is laced with occasional patches of winter-wilted coontail. This largemouth bass was caught in about seven feet of water on a Z-Man’s The Deal Finesse ShadZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-and-glide presentation.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/DSCN2204.JPG

In the back of a large feeder-creek arm, we caught five largemouth bass around a secondary point and its adjacent shoreline and along another shoreline. The underwater terrains of these locales consist of gravel and rocks, which are embellished with some scrawny patches of coontail. These largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with either a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation or a drag-and-subtle- shake retrieve.

Fifteen largemouth bass were caught on a large shallow-water flat in the back of a small feeder-creek. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. This flat is adorned with significant patches of coontail, which are slowly recovering from their winter-wilted phase. These largemouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water on either the PB&J ZinkerZ rig or the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig. Three of these largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and the rest of them were caught while we were employing three different retrieves: the swim, glide, and subtle shake; drag and deadstick; and drag and shake. Some of these presentations were executed as we were strolling.

Forty-four largemouth bass were caught around and amongst a series of shallow-water coontail patches along a shoreline and three flats inside a small feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt, and some boulders. These largemouth bass were caught on the PB&J ZinkerZ rig, the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig, and a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD Hogz affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught in three to nine feet of water. Four of the largemouth bass were caught of the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught while we were employing the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation, the drag-and-shake presentation, and the drag-and-deadstick presentation. At times, we were strolling and executing those presentations, but most of the time we were casting and employing those three presentations.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass along a 50-yard stretch of the riprap shoreline of the dam and around the dam’s spillway, along a portion of a rock-and-gravel-laden shoreline inside a minor feeder creek, across the shallow-water flat in the back of a minor feeder creek, across a portion of a massive shallow-water flat in the back of the reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm, and two short stretches of the gravel-and-rock-laden shorelines that are situated about halfway inside a small feeder-creek arm. None of these locales were adorned with significant or even insignificant patches of coontail.

In sum, we found during our many years of employing Midwest finesse tactics on the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas in February and March that the most fruitful locales are shallow-water flats and shorelines that are embellished with submerged aquatic vegetation, such as coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. And again this classical pattern was the only effective one for us on March 22.

March 23

On March 20, Joshua Landon Loveall of Columbia, Tennessee, became a member of the Finesse News Network. He is the 405th angler to join the network. And on March 24, he submitted his first log to the network.

Here is an edited and shortened version of that log:

My father, my four year-old son, and I made our first kayak float of 2019 yesterday.

The river was flowing at 1,000 cubic feet per second. It has dropped from 2,000 cubic feet per second during the last four days, and it is continuing to fall.

The weather was sunny and 64 degrees with a variable wind that was gusty at times. Our days have been warm, and our nights have been cold. We had a frost more often than not this week, and the redbud trees are just now getting their first flush of color.

We launched at 1:00 p.m. We were afloat until 5:00 p.m., and we covered 5.5 miles of the river.

This is our home river. It possesses an average width of 30 yards. Thanks to a couple of weeks of dry weather, the river’s level is below its seasonal norms. The water temperature ranged from 56 to 58 degrees. The water exhibited two to three feet of visibility, which is as good as it gets in this river.

I began the outing by using a 1/32-ounce Charles Brewer’s Slider Company’s Slider Crappie Head jig affixed to a 1 1/2-inch Slider Crappie Grub. Then I switched to a three-inch green-pumpkin Slider Dropshot Worm.

My favorite way to catch this river’s black bass and other species while floating is strolling with a drag presentation. But repeated casts to the shoreline with a steady drag to the back of the kayak produced nothing. My most productive retrieve was a steady do-nothing swimming presentation at a pace that kept the presentation halfway between the river’s bottom and surface. The most productive locations were sunny shorelines that were devoid of the current or with current breaks. I caught six smallmouth bass and three rock bass. I floated without an anchor or stake-out pole so there was rarely a follow-up cast to a location that produced a fish.

The highlight of the day was the last fish I caught. It occurred when I made a cast right behind a bridge piling that was providing a major current break. And while I was reeling quickly for another cast, I spotted a large shadow following my rig. I stopped the retrieve, dropped my rod tip, and then the spinning reel’s drag began to scream. It was my largest smallmouth bass to date, measuring at just over 16 inches.

March 24

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his March 24 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

While we are waiting for the black bass fishing to pick up and get on track at the U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas, Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I conducted a three-hour afternoon bank-walking excursion at a heavily-fished community reservoir located in the Dallas metropolitan area.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table noted that the best fishing would take place from 2:02 a.m. to 4:02 a.m., 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., and 2:28 p.m. to 4:28 p.m. We were afoot from about 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The sky was overcast during the morning hours and partly cloudy during the afternoon. The wind was mild mannered and blew out of the south and southwest at 4 to 8 mph. The morning low temperature was 62 degrees and the afternoon high soared to 84 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.02 at 11:00 a.m. and it fell to 29.93 by 4:00 p.m.

The water exhibited two feet of clarity. The water level appeared to be normal. The water temperature ranged from 65 degrees at the east shoreline to 66 degrees along the west shoreline.

The north end of this reservoir consists of a large and shallow mud flat lined with tall stands of cattails. It is also a migratory waterfowl nesting area, and it was bustling with two swans, a large flock of coots, some Canadian geese, and several mallard ducks. Therefore, we did not disturb them, and we avoided fishing this area.

We started fishing along the midsection of the east shoreline; the north end of this shoreline was occupied by another angler. The east shoreline features a long clay and gravel point on its north end, a small ditch that lies just south of the clay and gravel point, a wide sand and gravel point that is located in the middle section of this shoreline, and another ditch along its south end. A long sand and gravel ledge parallels most of this shoreline.

We caught four largemouth bass from the end of the broad point in about five feet of water and 25 feet from the water’s edge. They were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it was slightly modified by inserting a gold Z-Man’s willow-leaf TRD SpinZ (with a 90-degree bend in its shaft) into the hook slot located along the underside of the Slim SwimZ, and it gave this traditional Midwest finesse rig a little more pizzaz. We referred to this combo as the underspin Slim SwimZ, and it was employed with a slow and steady pace that was just fast enough to activate the Slim SwimZ’s boot tail and allowed the willow-leaf blade of the TRD SpinZ to rotate.

After the other angler left the north end of this shoreline, we moved to the area that he vacated. We then dissected the area around the ditch and the long clay and gravel point. We caught two largemouth bass at this locale. One largemouth bass was caught in four feet of water from the ditch, and the other one was caught from the south side of the point in about six feet of water. One of them was caught on the three-inch green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rig and a slow swimming retrieve. The other bass was attracted to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ threaded onto a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/IMG_3192.jpg

The south end of this shoreline was the most fruitful area, and it relinquished six largemouth bass. Four were caught in four to six feet of water from the deep-water side of the sand and gravel ledge. Two were caught in six to eight feet of water on the bottom of the ditch that is situated on the south end of the ledge and just north of the concrete dam. Two were caught on the three-inch green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ and a slow swimming retrieve. The other four were caught on a blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig sporting a Z-Man’s molting craw TRD CrawZ as it was slowly dragged, shaken, and paused crossed the bottom and up the ledge.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/IMG_3197.jpg

We failed to catch any largemouth bass along the concrete-slab dam that forms the southern border of the reservoir, but we did see one largemouth cruising along the base of the concrete slabs, and we are speculating that it was searching for a nesting site to spawn.

The west side of the reservoir was not as productive as the east side. This shoreline possesses a steep slope. Its submerged terrain consists of mostly sand and gravel. A fishing pier adorns the middle portion of this shoreline. A small tertiary point lies about 50 feet south of the pier and two other tertiary points are situated several yards north of the pier. Another ditch lies on the north end of this shoreline, and it cuts across the large mud flat by the waterfowl nesting area on the north end of the reservoir.

One largemouth bass was caught from the small tertiary point located south of the fishing pier. It was caught in three feet of water and about 10 feet from the water’s edge on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. This was the last strike and the last largemouth bass that we enticed at this reservoir before Norman left at 2:00 p.m., and I finished fishing this shoreline by 2:30 p.m.

After I finished fishing this reservoir, I decided to stop at another community reservoir on my way home, and this one is located about 13 miles northwest of the first one. This community reservoir is smaller than the first one; it is about 100 yards long and about 60 yards wide.

I fished at this reservoir from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and to my dismay, I could only muster seven largemouth bass and three large black crappie.

The water in this reservoir displayed about 2 1/2 feet of visibility, which is unusually clear for this impoundment. Typically, it exhibits about 1 1/2 feet of clarity. I was surprised to find that the water temperature was 71 degrees. The water level was slightly high. Thick mats of filamentous algae covered everything, and it was beginning to form a wall along all of the reservoir’s shorelines and extended five to seven feet out from the water’s edge. And this wall of algae made lure presentations and landing fish difficult.

I dissected a steep clay and gravel shoreline on the east side of the impoundment, two creek channels that course along the north and south side of an island, a flat clay and gravel shoreline with several minor points along the northern portion of the reservoir, a cove on the west side, and several minor points along the south shoreline.

I caught one largemouth bass and one large black crappie in four feet of water from around a large tree limb that was submerged on the east end of the north shoreline. A small point in the midsection of the north shoreline surrendered another largemouth bass and two large black crappie that were abiding in three to five feet of water near the outside edges of two large patches of filamentous algae.

One largemouth bass was caught from the wall of filamentous algae from a main-lake point at the entrance to the cove on the west end of the reservoir. It was extracted from three feet of water and about five feet from the water’s edge.

Inside the west cove, I caught two largemouth bass that were scattered along the cove’s northern shoreline. They were about six to 10 feet from the water’s edge and abiding in less than five feet of water.

The creek channel on the north side of the island was fruitless, but the creek channel on the south side of the island yielded two largemouth bass that were several yards apart from each other. They were extracted from three to five feet of water and were relating to the shallow-water side of the creek channel closest to the shoreline.

By the time this outing came to an end, Norman and I had caught a combined total of 19 largemouth bass and three large black crappie in 4 1/2 hours. The bite was fairly good at the beginning of the day while the sky was overcast, but it quickly slowed to a crawl when the sky became partly cloudy and the sun began to shine. Nonetheless, this is still our most fruitful outing of 2019.

Twelve largemouth bass were caught from the first reservoir and we were surprised that we did not see any signs of spawning bass with the water temperature in the mid-60s. Seven largemouth bass were caught at the second community reservoir, and I did see several pair of spawning largemouth bass on nests in the 71-degree water.

None of the largemouth bass that we caught were dinks. The smallest one weighed one pound and thirteen ounces. The largest one weight three pounds and ten ounces.

The most effective Midwest finesse offerings were the three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rig, which allured eight of the 19 largemouth bass and the three black crappie. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ combo caught seven largemouth bass. The Z-Man’s molting craw TRD CrawZ rig beguiled the other four largemouth bass. I also experimented with an 1/8-ounce Z-Man’s chartreuse-white Micro Chatterbait with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin Slim SwimZ attached as a trailer, but I was unable to provoke any strikes with this rig.

March 24

Joshua Landon Loveall of Columbia, Tennessee, posted a report of the Finesse News Network about his March 24 outing.

Here is an edited and shortened version of that log:

Our children have spring break the next two weeks, and they will stay with my in-laws for the first three days of this break. My wife's parents live on a Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir that is part of the Tennessee River system. Her great grandfather purchased a cabin lot shortly after the dam was built, and the family has been coming here ever since.

The weather was partly cloudy and 71 degrees. The wind would gust heavily at times and then be calm for a spell. The water temperature was 60 degrees. The water level was steady and four feet below its summer pool.

My in-laws’ house is situated two-thirds of the way inside a feeder-creek arm, which merges with the main-river arm.

On this outing, I decided to forgo the kayak and walk the shorelines. Seems I remember reading past posts on In-Fisherman’s Midwest Finesse site about the late Chuck Woods of Kansas City, Missouri, or other anglers, such as the late Guido Hibdon of Gravois Mills, Missouri, beaching their boats and fishing by walking the shorelines. And I have a great deal of fun walking the shorelines when the reservoir is below summer pool.

I began fishing at 4:00 p.m. I began fishing with a 1/32-ounce Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s Slider Crappie Head jig affixed to a three-inch green-pumpkin Slider Worm , and it caught one largemouth bass. I switched to a well-worn 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce River Rock Custom Baits’ Tactical Finesse Jig, and this rig caught one largemouth bass, one bluegill, and a freshwater drum. The most productive retrieve was a straight do-nothing at a medium pace. In some spots, I was being harassed by bluegill that were not quite large enough to engulf the ZinkerZ rig. At these locales, I would scuff a spot in the gravel, which allowed me to find it again.

I overheard two fishermen in expensive bass boats bemoaning the poor fishing. Thus far on this outing, I had to agree with them.

Eventually, I switched to a bison-hue Trout Magnet affixed to a black 1/64-ounce Trout Slayer jig. I employed it with a twitch presentation. It allured four bluegill and two freshwater drum.

Like many Midwest finesse anglers, I like getting strikes more than I like pursuing black bass to the exclusion of all others. The Trout Magnet is a wonderful bait for just catching fish.

When the sun started to set, the bluegill bite ceased, and I switched to a three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s Original Slider Head. It caught a 14-inch crappie around a stump. When I got too close to a submerged log, I spooked a large fish, which created an impressive wake. Around another stump, the Hula Stick rig elicited a thumping strike. I set the hook, and it felt as if the rig was snagged. For a moment or two nothing moved. Then the waters parted into a flurry of activity, and I think that I hooked a large largemouth bass that proceeded to break my four-pound-test braided line.

I really liked the shortened Hula StickZ on the Original Slider Head. I will have to experiment with it some more.

I stopped fishing at 7:00 p.m.

March 25

The National Weather Service reported that it was 48 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 56 degrees at 3:52 p.m. From 1:52 a.m. to 6:52 a.m., it was misty and foggy, which was mixed with some light rain. After that, it was overcast until 5:52 p.m., and then the sky was fair. The wind angled out of the northwest, north, and northeast at 3 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.13 at 12:52 a.m., 30.17 at 5:52 a.m., 30.29 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.28 at 3:52 p.m.

I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs. Some of our community and state reservoirs are filled to their brims with cold and muddy water, and the fishing at those waterways has been horrible. For instance, Steve Oritz of Lawrence, Kansas, fished one of our cold and muddy community reservoirs on March 16 and failed to elicit a strike. Then Paul and Shaun Finn of Olathe, Kansas, fished the same reservoir on March 23, and the only strike that they generated was from a white bass. These three anglers, by the way, are very talented anglers.

The state reservoir that I fished on March 25 was filled to its brim. In fact, it was about 18 inches above its normal level. But the water was not muddy. It exhibited 15 to 48 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 48 to 49 degrees. This reservoir is normally adorned with massive patches of coontail, but most of them disappeared during the long and ice-covered winter of 2018-19. But gobs and gobs of filamentous algae are clinging to all kinds of underwater objects.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:50 a.m. to 4:50 a.m. 3:16 p.m. to 5:16 p.m., and 9:03 a.m. to 11:03 a.m. I was afloat from 12:52 p.m. to 3:38 p.m.

On this outing, I was hoping to catch at least 20 largemouth bass in less than two hours, and when I accomplished that feat, I would go home. But it took me two hours and 43 minutes to catch 20 of them. During the first hour and 10 minutes, I seemed to be on track to accomplish that feat by catching 13 largemouth bass. Then it took one hour and 33 minutes to catch seven more largemouth bass.

I caught the first 13 inside a small feeder-creek arm and around a main-lake point at the mouth of this feeder creek. The underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, and rocks. The water’s edge is adorned with many laydowns, a few overhanging trees, and patches of winter-dead American water willows. The stems of the American water willows are coated with filamentous algae. There are some paltry patches of extremely winter-wilted coontail gracing some portions of this small feeder-creek arm. One shoreline has a 40- to 45-degree slope. The other shoreline has a 25-degree slope. The shorelines are graced with several tertiary points.

Six of the 13 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two of the 13 were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

One of these 13 largemouth bass had crayfish’s antennae protruding from its stomach, and this is the first time that I have seen it in 2019.

Two were caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig adjacent to patches of winter-dead American water willows in about five feet of water. The other ones were caught while I was employing either a drag-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-hop presentation in five to eight feet of water in the vicinity of the American water willows and skimpy patches of coontail.

I fished around seven riprap jetties. I failed to elicit a strike around four of the jetties. Around one jetty, I caught a largemouth bass in about seven feet of water on a drag-and-shake retrieve with the TRD TicklerZ rig. At another jetty, I caught a largemouth bass on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig in about three feet of water. Around another jetty, I caught two largemouth bass on back to casts with the TRD TicklerZ rig; one was caught in eight feet of water with a drag-and-shake presentation, and the other one was caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water.

Along the spillway, I caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig in about four feet of water. This portion of the spillway has a 40-degree slope, and it is lined with riprap.

I failed to elicit a strike inside two other small feeder-creek arms and along short portions of two shorelines in the backs of two large feeder-creek arms.

Ultimately, I returned to the small feeder-creek arm that yielded 13 largemouth bass during the first hour and 10 minutes that I was afloat. Within 10 minutes of this second endeavor, I caught largemouth bass number 19 and number 20. They were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-hop presentation near the outside edge of patches of American water willows. One was caught in three feet of water, and the other one was caught in about six feet of water.

Shortly after I released largemouth bass number 20, the boat was on the trailer, and I was on my way home.

Recommended for You

Boats & Motors

Technical Notes: Calculating Prop Performance

In-Fisherman - May 01, 2019

In-Fisherman Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula

Panfish

Dock Shooting Crappies

Matt Straw - July 03, 2018

Catch those weary crappie with this technique!

Bass

Rigging Soft Bass Baits Correctly

Matt Straw - May 15, 2018

Balance is the goal when tipping jigs with trailers.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

See More Stories

More Midwest Finesse

Midwest Finesse

AirBaits' AirRig

Ned Kehde - May 01, 2019

Midwest finesse anglers are employing the AirRig that is affixed to a small mushroom-style...

Midwest Finesse

Junes of the Past

Ned Kehde - May 31, 2019

Midwest Finesse

Mays of the Past

Ned Kehde - April 29, 2019

Links to past May outings of Midwest Finesse Fishing blogs.

See More Midwest Finesse

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×