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Midwest Finesse - March 2020

Midwest Finesse - March 2020
Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, with one of the largemouth bass that he and John Thomas caught on Mar. 14.

This guide to Midwest finesse fishing for March of 2020 contains 14 logs and 13,523 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers pursued largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.

It features the piscatorial endeavors of Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ned and Pat Kehde of

Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.

Mother Nature walloped Steve Reideler and his colleagues in north-central Texas with too much rain. Consequentially, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eventually closed all but one of their reservoirs. But Steve Reideler and John Thomas did enjoy a stellar Midwest finesse outing on Mar. 10. 

In northeastern Kansas, our crappie and temperate bass colleagues enjoyed scores of bountiful outings at our federal reservoirs. But those of us who pursued largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were confounded by the largemouth bass virus and the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus closed down one of our power-plant reservoirs, and the largemouth bass virus has drastically affected the smallmouth population in that reservoir. Moreover, it has been reported that the largemouth bass virus has affected the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass at one of our federal reservoirs, and we suspected that it has walloped the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in several of our community and state reservoirs.


On top of the virus woes, and as we lamented in our March of 2019 guide to Midwest finesse fishing, it looks as if the black bass populations that abide in several of northeastern Kansas’ community and state reservoirs have been adversely affected by too much angler predation. What’s more, the aftereffects from too many herbicides being sprayed on the aquatic vegetation and terrestrial vegetation adjacent to the shorelines seems to have adulterated the black bass populations in several of our northeastern Kansas’ reservoirs. We must admit, however, that we cannot definitively prove the causality of this noticeable decline, but our logs reveal that the black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas is much more difficult than it used to be.


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

Mar. 2, 3, and 4

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 2, 3, and 4 outings.

Here is an edited version of that log.


There is either something awry with my abilities to find and catch largemouth bass or there is something askew with northeastern Kansas’ community and state reservoirs and their largemouth bass populations.

One of the problems might be that I will be 80 years old in less than 60 days, and during 2018 and 2019, this old codger has lost his abilities to find and catch significant numbers of largemouth bass in northeastern Kansas’ flatland reservoirs.

For many years, a colleague and I used to be able to catch an average of 10 largemouth bass an hour, and occasionally we caught as many as 25 per hour. Because of our declining catch rate, we have been pondering about changing the name of the Finesse News Network to the Geriatric Fishing Network, and the logs would be aimed for other old-timers and has-beens to read.


But after enduring the most dreadful largemouth bass fishing on Mar. 2, 3, and 4 that I can remember, I decided to remove the word finesse from this log and replace it with failure. So, this is the first edition of the Failure News Network.

On Mar. 2, The National Weather Service reported at it was 33 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky was fair. The wind angled out of the north, northeast, northwest, east, west, and southeast at 3 to 24 mph and it was occasionally calm. The barometric pressure was 29.84 at 12:52 a.m., 29.93 at 5:52 a.m., 29.87 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.75 at 2:52 p.m.

On Mar. 3, the NWS reported that it was 29 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 63 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, west, and northwest at 3 to 23 mph, and it was calm for about six hours. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 29.73 at 12:52 a.m., 29.79 at 5:52 a.m., 29.87 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.82 at 5:52 p.m.

The NWS reported on Mar. 4 that it was 26 degrees at 12:52 a.m. and 62 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, west, north, and south at 3 to 9 mph, and it was occasionally calm. The sky fluctuated from being fair to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.90 at 12:52 a.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.02 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.03 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted the best fishing on Mar. 2 would occur from 3:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., 4:18 p.m. to 6:18 p.m., and 10:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. The best fishing would occur on Mar. 3 from 4:43 a.m. to 6:43 a.m., 5:09 p.m. to 7:09 p.m., and 10:56 a.m. to 12:56 p.m. On. Mar. 4, the best fishing would occur from5:34 a.m. to 7:34 a.m., 6:02 p.m. to 8:02 p.m., and 11:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

On Mar. 2, I spent from 11:15 a.m. to 1:04 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs. The water level at this reservoir looked to be about a foot above its normal level. The surface temperature was 41 degrees. The water was affected by a significant algae bloom, which reduced the water clarity to 12 to 18 inches. When Midwest finesse anglers fish at this reservoir in March and April, we do what we call “black bass fishing for rainbow trout,” or in other words, we catch rainbow trout on our Midwest finesse rigs while we are fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. But on this outing, I failed to elicit a strike. I also failed to find any patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, which we have found across the years to be an essential ingredient in our efforts to find and catch largemouth bass in early March. But after I left this reservoir, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and Bill Beach of Topeka, were able to catch one largemouth bass and five rainbow trout on a very shallow-water mud flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm. It is interesting to note that they failed to find any submerged aquatic vegetation anywhere on this reservoir. The shallow-water mud flat, where they caught one largemouth bass and five rainbow trout, used to support an abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation and untold numbers of largemouth bass, rainbow trout and crappie abided in that vegetation. And during Marches of the past, we used to catch and release dozens and dozens and dozens of largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and crappie in three to six feet of water in and around the submerged aquatic vegetation on this shallow-water mud flat.

From this reservoir, I traveled to another community reservoir, and I fished from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. The water level at this reservoir was about eight inches above its normal level. The surface temperature was 46 degrees across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of one large feeder-creek arm. The water in this feeder-creek was affected by an algae bloom and exhibited about 12 inches of visibility. Along one shallow-water and flat shoreline, I eked out four largemouth bass. Three of them were caught on a Z-Man Fishing Products’ Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on the initial drop of this rig in about four feet of water. Two of them were caught as I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in five to six feet of water. The fourth largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. These four largemouth bass were caught along about a 60-foot stretch of this shallow-water and flat shoreline. One was caught about five feet from the water’s edge, and the other three were caught from 15 to 25 feet from the water’s edge. To my chagrin, I failed to find any patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, and I failed to elicit another strike from other areas across and around this massive shallow-water flat in the back of this large feeder-creek arm. This shallow-water flat used to be an extremely fruitful area, where we could catch and release hundreds of largemouth bass around patches of curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil every winter.

On Mar. 3, I fished at a northeastern Kansas’ state reservoir from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The water level at this reservoir looked to be about 12 inches above its normal level. The surface temperature was 43 degrees. The water exhibited almost six feet of visibility. To my dismay, I failed to find any significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, and I elicited one meager strike, which I failed to hook. I did cross paths with Rodney Hatridge, who is a Finesse News Network member from Shawnee, Kansas, and he reported that he fished about four hours an eked out one largemouth bass.

I ventured to another northeastern Kansas’ community reservoir on Mar. 4. I fished from 11:02 a.m. to 2:22 p.m. The surface temperature ranged from 45 to 48 degrees. The water level looked to be about six inches above its normal level. The water exhibited from 2 ½ to four feet of visibility. My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished this reservoir on Feb. 27, and we caught and released 24 largemouth bass. On this outing, I struggled to catch three largemouth bass and one white bass. I did find a few meager and winter-wilted patches of coontail, but they were not fruitful. I spent the entire three hours and 18 minutes fishing in the upper half of this reservoir. One of the three largemouth bass was caught in about nine feet of water and about 20 feet from the water’s edge along a shoreline with a 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. I caught it while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other two largemouth bass were caught on a massive shallow-water flat in about five feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt, and it is endowed with a few meager patches of coontail and wads of filamentous algae. These two largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. And they were located in close proximity to one another.

While I was afloat, I crossed paths with two other boats, and both anglers said that they had caught two largemouth bass.

In short, it has been a sorry, sorry, sorry first week in March in northeastern Kansas. And I can’t tell if it is my old age that is the source of my woes or if it is the sorry conditions of our reservoirs and their largemouth bass populations. I suspect that both of those elements are adversely affecting my abilities as a Midwest finesse angler.

We fear and suspect that the overuse of herbicides in and around our community and state reservoirs is adversely affecting the fish and the aquatic and riparian vegetation.

We are hoping that the next generation of Midwest finesse anglers can convince and work with the fisheries biologists and reservoir managers to cultivate and creatively maintain a variety of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation and riparian vegetation.

Mar. 6

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 6 outing to one of the power-plant reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 29 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 54 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky was fair. The wind angled out of the north, northwest, northeast, west, east, south, and southeast at 3 to 22 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.40 at 12:53 a.m., 30.47 at 5:53 a.m., 30.56 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.49 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:18 a.m. to 9:18 p.m., 7:47 p.m. to 9:47 p.m., and 1:03 a.m. to 3:03 a.m.

Bob fished from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The surface temperature at the warm-water outlet was 50 degrees, and elsewhere around this reservoir, the surface temperature ranged from 49 degrees along a steep shoreline in the middle portions of the reservoir to 53 degrees along the riprap of the dam. The water level was normal. The water exhibited about 1 ½ feet of visibility. There were globs of filamentous algae embellishing the riprap along the dam.

The black bass fishing at both of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs has deteriorated dramatically during the second decade of this century. Before this decline, a pair of Midwest finesse anglers could catch from eight to 15 black bass an hour. Nowadays, it is a chore for a talented Midwest finesse angler to tangle with three black bass an hour at these reservoirs. Consequentially, Bob struggled to catch nine largemouth bass, two freshwater drum, and one white bass.

These fish were caught on three Midwest finesse rigs: a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig made by Jade’s Jigs, a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig made by Jade’s Jigs, and a Z-Man’s Mud Minnow TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

He noted that by the early afternoon hours there were very few anglers afloat, which might have been a reflection of how difficult the fishing was. He talked to another angler who had struggled to catch five largemouth bass.

Some of Bob’s misery, however, was neutralized by catching a seven-pound largemouth bass slightly before 3:00 p.m.

Mar. 7

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 7 outing with Pat Kehde.

Here is an edited version of that log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 37 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 68 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The condition of the sky fluctuated from being fair to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south at 12 to 35 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.38 at 12:53 a.m., 30.34 at 5:53 a.m., 30.28 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.18 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:10 a.m. to 10:10 a.m., 8:39 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., and 1:55 a.m. to 3:55 a.m.

Lately, I have been in a state of what my wife, Patty, calls piscatorial despair about the lack of submerged aquatic vegetation and wretched largemouth bass fishing that plagues most of the community and state reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

On this Saturday, which is an unusually day for us to fish, she kind-heartedly took me fishing in hopes of finding a way to placate my gloomy disposition and sense of failure about the state of our waterways. When we arrived at a community reservoir that we had not fished for several months, she helped me search for patches of coontail. To our surprise and delight, we immediately discovered that this reservoir was still endowed with several significant patches of coontail and a substantial number of largemouth bass were abiding around some of the patches that we found on a large flat inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the upper half of this reservoir.

The water level of this reservoir looked to be a few inches above its normal level. The surface temperature was 43 degrees. The water exhibited almost four feet of Secchi-stick visibility.

We made our first casts at 11:59 a.m. and our last ones at 1:53 p.m. The last cast occurred when Patty caught largemouth bass number 50. Besides the 50 largemouth bass, we inadvertently caught eight rainbow trout and two crappie.

All of these fish were caught on the massive flat inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the upper half of this reservoir. We estimated that the size of this flat corresponded to the size of about 3 ½ football fields. And this was the only place that we fished.

Our most effective Midwest finesse rig was a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. We caught a few on a Z-Man’ green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’ sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a two-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to an orange 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

These fish were caught in five to nine feet of water. All of them were caught 25 to 50 feet from the water’s edge. They were situated in and around patches of coontail.

A few of them were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Several were caught when we were employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One was caught on a pure deadstick presentation while I was helping Patty unhook a rainbow trout. And the drag-and-shake presentation was the most effective one of all of them.

For years on end, it has been our goal as Midwest finesse anglers to catch an average of 25 black bass an hour. Of course, it rarely happens. For instance, it never happened in 2018, and it occurred only once in 2019. Therefore, Patty and I were delighted to catch 50 largemouth bass in 114 minutes on this Mar. 7 outing.

This outing also reinforced our ideas about the importance and necessity of the reservoir managers and fisheries biologists in northeastern Kansas to begin cultivating and maintaining patches of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation.

Mar. 10

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 10 outing.

Here is an edited version of that log.

Mother Nature pummeled northeastern Kansas with 18 hours of drizzle and rain on Mar. 9. The National Weather Service at Lawrence, Kansas, collected 1.84 inches of rain, and it collected 1.74 inches of rain at the Kansas City International Airport. Consequently, the water levels at most of our streams and rivers are high, and they are muddy. Likewise, the water levels at our community and state reservoirs are one to three feet above their normal levels, and some of them are muddy.

On Mar. 10, the NWS reported that it was 34 degrees at 8:52 a.m. and 47 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the northwest, north, west, southwest, and south at 3 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.24 at 12:52 a.m., 30.31 at 5:52 a.m., 30.32 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.21 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:24 a.m. to 1:24 p.m., 11:54 p.m. to 1:54 am., and 5:41 a.m. to 7:41 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 12:01 p.m. to 2:58 p.m. And the fishing was wretched.

The water level looked to be more than two feet above its normal level. The water clarity exhibited more than three of visibility in some locales, but in the backs of several feeder-creek arms, the clarity was a few inches. The surface temperature ranged from 46 to 47 degrees.

I failed to elicit a strike during the first 98 minutes that I was afloat. During the spell, I searched for submerged patches of coontail and curly-leaf pondweed that usually adorn this reservoir’s shallow-water flats. I was hoping to replicate the bonanza that my wife and I enjoyed at a nearby community reservoir on Mar. 7, when we caught 50 largemouth bass in 114 minutes from patches of coontail in five to nine feet of water on a massive shallow-water flat inside a feeder-creek arm.

I spent the next 80 minutes fishing along two shorelines inside a large feeder-creek arm. These shorelines possess a 35- to 50-degree slope. Their underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with significant patches of winter-dead American water willows and an array of laydowns and flooded terrestrial vegetation.

Ultimately, I struggled to eke out eight largemouth bass.

Six of the eight were caught along about a 75-yard segment of a 200-yard stretch of one of the shorelines. Three of those six were caught around a tertiary point along that shoreline. Two of the eight were caught around a secondary point along the other shoreline.

All eight of the largemouth bass were caught in the vicinity of the outside edges of American water willow patches in four to six feet of water and from 10 to 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Seven were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a Z-Man’s purple death TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In conclusion, our largemouth bass fishing is in a sorry state of affairs at most of the community and state reservoirs in northeastern Kansas. And according to the weather forecasts, we are apt to get more rain on Mar. 12, 14, 16, and 17, which is likely to adversely affect our abilities to find and catch significant numbers of largemouth bass during the next couple of weeks at these reservoirs.

Mar. 10

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse New Network about his Mar. 10 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

From 9:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I fished at a state reservoir located in an exurban area of north-central Texas. We last fished this impoundment on Jan. 27, and we caught 31 largemouth bass in 4 1/2 hours. We were hoping to duplicate those results during this outing.

It has been unseasonably warm in north-central Texas during the past few days. Daytime temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s. Typically, the daytime high temperature for this time of March is 66 degrees. The average low temperature is 46 degrees. Local weather forecasts indicate that this warming trend will continue for the next several days, but to our dismay, more rainstorms are also expected. 

It was another warm day on March 10. When John and I launched the boat at 9:38 a.m., it was sunny. The sky was partly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 49 degrees and the afternoon high temperature climbed to 80 degrees. During the afternoon, the wind began to stir out of the south and southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure dropped from 30.36 at 10:00 a.m. to 30.22 by 3:00 p.m.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, would occur from 5:51 a.m. to 7:51 a.m., 11:38 a.m. to 1:38 p.m., and 12:04 p.m. to 2:04 p.m.

We spent these six hours probing portions of a small bay that is situated on the lower end of the reservoir, two riprap jetties on the east side of the reservoir, and another couple of riprap jetties and portions of the interior of a spillway channel on the northeast end of the reservoir.

This impoundment’s geological terrain consists of many rock-laden shorelines and points. The bulk of them are adorned with laydowns, submerged boulders, overhanging trees, and flooded buck brush. There are also many flourishing patches of green hydrilla, a long wall of hydrilla, and several winter-dead patches of American pondweed in the shallow-water areas in the lower end of the impoundment. We focused our attentions primarily on the long wall and patches of green hydrilla.

This reservoir’s water level has been slowly rising during the past few weeks, but it is still 3.21 feet below its normal pool. The water exhibited between 14 and 18 inches of visibility. The surface temperature was 53 degrees at 9: 50 a.m., and it warmed to 60 degrees by 3:50 p.m.

We started our search for largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass on the west side of the south bay along two steep and riprap-covered shorelines that are separated by a prominent secondary point. These two shorelines and the secondary point are adjacent to the boat ramp where we launched. These two shorelines and the secondary point are festooned with a long and burgeoning wall of green hydrilla. We caught 16 largemouth bass along these two shorelines and secondary point. These bass were relating to the outside edges of the hydrilla wall in six to 10 feet of water.

We then moved to the east side of this bay, where we slowly plied another steep and rocky shoreline. Portions of this shoreline are adorned with patches of green hydrilla, but these patches are sparser compared to the wall of hydrilla on the west side of the bay. This area yielded 35 largemouth bass that were abiding in eight to 12 feet of water and around the outside edges of the patches of hydrilla.

We failed to generate any strikes from the two rocky entry points at the mouth of this bay.

We then moved to the middle portion of the impoundment and dissected two riprap jetties that are situated on the east shoreline. 

This area was mostly unproductive. It yielded one largemouth bass and one wiper that weighed six pounds and two ounces. The largemouth bass was caught about halfway down one side of the first jetty in about three feet of water. The large wiper was caught in 13 feet of water at the end of the jetty. We then dissected the riprap along the second jetty, and it was fruitless.

After that, we ventured northward about 1 1/2 miles and probed two riprap jetties that form the entrance to a long channel that leads to a large concrete spillway.

Along the first jetty, we caught two largemouth bass. They were abiding in four to seven feet of water and about 10 to 15 feet from the water’s edge.

Inside the spillway channel, we caught two largemouth bass. They were relating to the riprap-laden sides of the channel in five to eight feet of water.

Along the second jetty, we caught one largemouth bass. It was abiding in five feet of water near a patch of large rocks and boulders close to the end of the jetty.

By this time, the largemouth bass bite had slowed considerably, so we decided to return to the first bay where we started the day. We fished around the patches of hydrilla along the east shoreline, which yielded 35 largemouth bass the first time we fished it, and it surrendered another 17 largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding in eight to 12 feet of water and were associated with the outside edges of the patches of hydrilla.

Along the two west-side shorelines and the secondary point where we began this outing, we caught another nine largemouth bass. They were caught near the outside edges of the hydrilla wall in six to 10 feet of water.

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In total, we were delighted to catch and release 83 largemouth bass and one large wiper in six hours. It has been a long time since we experienced an outing as bountiful as this one, and it is considered quite a feat for us to garner 13 bass per hour in our neck of the woods. Surprisingly, we failed to cross paths with any spotted bass and smallmouth bass.

Seventy-seven of these largemouth bass were associated with either the long wall of hydrilla or several other patches of green hydrilla inside the south bay. The other six bass were caught around one riprap jetty on the east side of the reservoir, and around two other riprap jetties and the interior riprap shorelines of a spillway channel that lie on the northeast end of the reservoir.

Forty-nine largemouth bass were allured by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ matched with a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Eighteen were enticed by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Twelve were attracted to a swimming retrieve with a three-inch Z-Man’s green pumpkin Slim SwimZ underspin rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four of them engulfed a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was sporting a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In short, we are beginning to see the end of our sorry wintertime black-bass fishing in north-central Texas.

Mar. 13

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 13 outing with Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas.

Here is an edited version of that log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 35 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 46 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky was fair from 12:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., and then it became partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, and overcast. (It snowed on us for about five minutes around 11:00 a.m.) The wind angled out of the north and northeast at 6 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.25 at 5:53 a.m., 30.40 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.34 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:21 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., 2:48 p.m. to 4:48 p.m., and 8:34 a.m. to 10:34 a.m.

Rick and I made our first casts at 9:55 a.m. and out last ones at 1:55 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs.

The water level looked to be about six inches above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 47 to 48 degrees. The water exhibited from two to three feet of visibility.

We caught 61 largemouth bass and one rainbow trout.

We caught 44 largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to an orange 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 13 largemouth bass. A three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig caught four largemouth bass.

Thirty-six of the largemouth bass were caught on a large flat inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the upper half of this reservoir. They were caught in four to nine feet of water. They were abiding in and around patches of coontail that were as close as 15 feet from the water’s edge to as far as about 50 feet from the water’s edge. Our Junebug TicklerZ rigs caught 24 of them on either a drag-and-shake presentation or a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig caught eight of them on either the initial drop or a drag-and-shake presentation. And the Slim SwimZ rig caught four on a straight and slow swimming presentation.

Along about a 200-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir, we caught eight largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 70-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt and some boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with laydowns and patches of winter-dead American water willows. We failed to find any patches of coontail or other varieties of submerged aquatic vegetation. The eight largemouth bass were caught on our Junebug TRD TicklerZ rigs. Two were caught on the initial drop. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. We caught three while we were strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

We struggled to catch one largemouth bass along about a 100-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 50- to 85-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with laydowns and patches of winter-dead American water willows. We failed to find any patches of coontail or other varieties of submerged aquatic vegetation. This largemouth bass was caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig as we were strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water adjacent to a significant pile of rocks and boulders.

We failed to elicit a strike around one main-lake point in the upper half of the reservoir and one main-lake point in the middle section of the reservoir.

Inside a large feeder-creek arm in the middle section of the reservoir, we caught three largemouth bass. We crossed paths with a few minor patches of coontail, but we failed to elicit a strike around these patches. One largemouth bass was caught along a rock- and boulder-laden shoreline with a 45-degree slope on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in about four feet of water. We caught another largemouth bass on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about five feet of water around a secondary point that is laden with rocks and gravel. The third largemouth bass was caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ with a drag-and-shake retrieve in about four feet of water around a secondary point that is laden with silt, rocks, gravel, laydowns, and patches of winter-dead American water willows.

Inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the middle section of the reservoir, we caught 13 largemouth bass. This arm is littered with a dozen docks, and we did not dissect them with our Midwest finesse rigs. Instead, we searched for patch of coontail. And we found several patches.

We caught eight largemouth bass on our Junebug TRD TicklerZ rigs and five on our green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig.

One of the 13 largemouth bass was caught along a shoreline with a 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with laydowns and patches of winter-dead American water willows. It was caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake retrieve in about six feet of the water.

The other 12 were caught in and around patches of coontail in three to six feet of water. Several were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Others were caught as we employed either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake one.

In conclusion, 48 of the largemouth bass were caught in and around patches of coontail. Thirteen were caught around gravel, rocks, and boulders. Therefore, this outing reinforced our ideas again about the importance and necessity of the reservoir managers and fisheries biologists in northeastern Kansas to begin cultivating and maintaining patches of coontail and other varieties of submerged vegetation.

Our catch would not have won a bass tournament or made an interesting television show for folks who are obsessed with catching lunker-size largemouth bass. But we had an enjoyable time catching an average of 15 largemouth bass an hour.

Mar. 14

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse New Network about his Mar. 14 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

From 12:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I took advantage of a break in the recent rain storms and ventured to one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas.

During this outing, John and I opted to fish inside four feeder-creek arms on the lower end of this reservoir in hopes of finding some large aggregations of pre-spawn Florida-strain largemouth bass and spotted bass.

The water level has been rising as a result of the rain storms that lambasted north-central Texas on March 13. On March 14, the water level at this reservoir was 1 1/2 feet above normal. The water clarity ranged from less than 12 inches inside one creek arm to 14 inches in another one.

Typically, we do not get excited about early-spring black bass fishing in the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas until the surface temperatures reach 58 degrees. And we felt encouraged when we discovered that the surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees.

The sky was overcast, and it was drizzling rain for most of the afternoon. The morning low temperature was 50 degrees. The afternoon high temperature struggled to reach 56 degrees. The wind angled out of the north and northwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.09 at noon and 30.10 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., 9:43 a.m. to 11:43 a.m., and 3:57 p.m. to 5:57 p.m.

We methodically fished from the backs of the creek arms to their mouths. We probed clay and pea-gravel flats, steep and rocky shorelines, rock- and boulder-laden secondary points, a short riprap embankment, a submerged roadbed, the area around two boat ramps, and a main-lake point at the entrance to one of the feeder-creek arms. We fished in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 10 feet, and

Inside the first feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass in three feet of water from a clay-and-pea-gravel flat in the northwest portion of the creek arm. It was caught on a slow swimming retrieve with a three-inch Z-Man’s space guppy Slim SwimZ underspin that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

We also dissected several rocky secondary points, portions of three flat shorelines, a submerged roadbed that is lined with flooded buck brush, and a main-lake point that is also adorned with flooded buck brush, but we failed to generate any additional strikes in this creek arm.

Inside the second feeder-creek arm, we plied three steep and rocky shorelines, several rocky secondary points, and a clay-and-gravel ledge near the mouth of the creek arm. The water was muddy with less than a foot of visibility. Many areas of the water’s surface were littered with floating debris, and that debris interfered with many of our retrieves. Ultimately, we were unable to elicit any strikes in this creek arm.

The third feeder-creek was also virtually fruitless. We caught one spotted bass in this creek arm, and it was the first spotted bass we have caught this year. It was caught in three feet of water from a small patch of submerged rocks and small boulders at the end of a flat secondary point about halfway back in this creek arm. It engulfed a Z-Man’s black-blue TRD HogZ that was threaded on a blue 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In the midsection and upper end of this creek arm, we probed several rocky secondary points, a short riprap embankment that is about 25 yards long, and the areas around two concrete boat ramps without crossing paths with any largemouth bass or spotted bass. 

The last feeder-creek arm was the most productive one. We shared this creek arm with seven other anglers that were afloat in four boats. This creek arm yielded seven largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one channel catfish.

All of these fish were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

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Two largemouth bass were caught in less than five feet of water inside a small cove on the northwest end of the creek arm. One of them was relating to the edge of a shallow ditch that is lined with flooded stickups on the north side of the cove. The other one was associated with a small rocky tertiary point on the west shoreline.

Along the east side of this creek arm, we caught two spotted bass and five largemouth bass.

Three of the seven were caught in three to five feet of water inside a small pocket graced with boulders and large rocks near the south end of this shoreline, and two of these three bass were caught simultaneously.

Two of the seven were caught in four to six feet of water from the end of a rocky and steep secondary point at the entrance to another cove along the middle section of the east shoreline.

The other two were caught inside this second cove that adjoins the secondary point where we caught the two largemouth bass. One of the two was caught next to a steep clay-and-gravel shoreline on the north side of this cove in five feet of water, and the second one was caught in eight feet of water near the end of a rocky secondary point on the south side of this cove.

In closing, our attempt at finding some significant concentrations of pre-spawn largemouth bass and spotted bass was a dismal failure. During this four-hour endeavor, we had a difficult time locating and catching eight largemouth bass and three spotted bass.

As for now, we have not been able to locate any large concentrations of largemouth bass and spotted bass that inhabit this Corps’ reservoir, but we now see an improvement in the black-bass bite that has been almost nonexistent in December, January, and February. We can only hope that as the water temperatures continue to warm in the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas, the Florida-strain largemouth bass and spotted bass will become easier for us to locate and catch.

Mar. 17

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 17 outing with Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas.

Here is an edited version of that log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 40 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 47 degrees at 1:53 p.m. It was foggy and misty for two hours and overcast the rest of the time. The wind angled out of the north, northeast, east, and southeast at 3 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.25 at 12:53 a.m., 30.27 at 5:53 a.m., 30.29 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.25 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 6:09 a.m. to 8:09 a.m., 6:36 p.m. to 8:36 p.m., and 11:56 a.m. to 1:56 p.m.

Rick and I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs. The water level looked to be at least six inches above its normal level. The water exhibited from three to four feet of visibility. The surface temperature dropped from 47 degrees at 9:55 a.m. to 46 degrees at 1:55 p.m.

On Mar. 13, Rick and I caught 61 largemouth bass in four hours at a nearby community reservoir. It is always a joy to catch more than 15 black bass an hour – especially since the black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas has become so trying in 2018 and 2019.

During our Mar. 17 outing, however, our black bass fishing became trying again, and Rick and I struggled to catch 24 largemouth bass in four hours, which is a measly average of six an hour. In fact, it was a chore for us to catch eight largemouth during the first two hours and 10 minutes that we were afloat.

Even though we caught 16 largemouth bass during the last 110 minutes that we were afloat, we never established a significant location pattern.

As we fished, it seemed as if the largemouth bass were finding and catching us rather than Rick and I finding and catching them.

The only noteworthy location pattern that we established was that flatter shorelines were more fruitful than steeper ones. And shallow-water and offshore flats were totally fruitless – even the few that were adorned with patches of coontail.

We did establish a presentation pattern, and it consisted of two standard Midwest finesse rigs.

One was a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo caught 10 of the 24 largemouth bass.

The second one was a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or an orange 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. These TRD TicklerZ rigs caught 14 largemouth bass.

Occasionally, we wielded four other standard Midwest finesse rigs that failed to elicit a strike.

One largemouth bass was caught on a deadstick presentation. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. A few were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The bulk were caught as we employed a drag-and-shake presentation while we were either strolling or casting and retrieving our TRD TicklerZ rigs.

We caught the largemouth bass in four to eight feet of water.

A few of them were caught around patches of coontail. Four were caught in the vicinity of patches of winter-dead American water willows. But we could not determine what kind of lairs the others were abiding around.

We spent the first two hours and 10 minutes probing the shallow-water flats and two massive shorelines in the upper half of this reservoir. These locales yielded eight largemouth bass.

We spent the final 110 minutes probing a massive shoreline in the lower half of this reservoir and a short segment of the dam. Twelve largemouth bass were caught along that massive shoreline. Four were caught along the dam, which was the steepest area that we caught a largemouth bass on this outing.

The four that we caught along the dam were caught from four to six feet from the water’s edge. The other 20 largemouth bass were caught from 15 to 25 feet from the water’s edge.

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In conclusion, it was a puzzling four hours of fishing. In fact, it was so puzzling that it is impossible to compose a log that focuses on how, when, and where we caught 24 largemouth bass. We made hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of casts, retrieves, and strolls that failed to gender a strike. Our catch rate was so paltry that if we had failed to employ our mechanical fish counter, we would have guessed that we had caught about a dozen rather than 24 largemouth bass.

Mar. 21

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

March has been extremely wet and windy in north-central Texas this year. Normally, we receive an average of 3.32 inches of rain during March, but so far, we have received 10.53 inches this month. And this excessive amount of precipitation has left several of the U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ reservoirs and a state reservoir flooded and muddy. 

On March 21, there was a break in the rain. So, John Thomas of Denton and I journeyed to a state reservoir that lies in an ex-urban area of north-central Texas. This reservoir has been our most bountiful venue during the past couple of months. But when we arrived at the boat ramp, we were disappointed to find that the reservoir was flooded and the water was extremely muddy. We decided not to waste our time here, so we travelled another hour eastward and fished at a popular U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir instead. 

The sky conditions fluctuated from being partly cloudy to overcast to mostly cloudy to overcast. The morning low temperature was 39 degrees. The afternoon high temperature peaked at 65 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.45 at noon and 30.31 at 4:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the east and northeast at 10 to 15 mph. 

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would most likely occur from 2:29 a.m. to 4:29 a.m., 8:41 a.m. to 10:41 a.m., and 9:05 p.m. to 11:05 p.m. John and I fished from about noon to 4:00 p.m.

John and I concentrated our efforts inside three feeder-creek arms, two main-lake coves, two main-lake points, and a 50-yard section of a main-lake shoreline adjacent to one of the two main-lake points. These eight areas are located in the east tributary arm of the reservoir. We shared these locales with other boat anglers and bank anglers, who were also taking advantage of the break in the rain. 

The water exhibited about 18 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 55 to 57 degrees. The water level was rising and appeared to be about four to five feet above normal. In fact, several picnic areas that are situated near the shorelines were flooded and a couple of boat ramps in one feeder-creek arm were closed. Floating debris, such as dead leaves and small twigs and branches, hindered many of our casts and retrieves.

This reservoir’s underwater terrain consists primarily of red clay, pea gravel, fist-size rocks, and boulders. There are also many acres of flooded timber, laydowns, stumps, brush piles, and many acres of flooded buck bush that were flooded from the recent rains.

The black bass fishing was tough. Our best efforts garnered only five largemouth bass and one black crappie.

The two main-lake coves yielded one largemouth bass and one large black crappie that were caught along the south side of the first cove. The largemouth bass was caught in seven feet of water along a 25-yard stretch of a steep and riprap-laden embankment near the mouth of the cove. The large black crappie was abiding next to a large patch of flooded buck brush in five feet of water about halfway back in the cove. They were caught on a Z-Man’s hot snakes TRD TicklerZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to elicit a strike in the other cove.

We were unable to elicit any strikes from the two main-lake points and a main-lake shoreline next to one of the points.

The first major feeder-creek arm yielded one largemouth bass. This creek arm is long and wide. It encompasses five large coves, about a dozen secondary points, several shallow-water flats, an island, and many pockets indent the shorelines. This largemouth bass was caught about a third of the way inside one of the five coves on the north side of the creek arm. It was associated with a large stand of flooded trees and buck brush in four feet of water. It was enticed by the hot snakes TRD TicklerZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to locate any other bass inside this creek arm.

We caught one largemouth bass inside the second major feeder-creek arm. This feeder-creek arm is similar to the first one. It is long and wide and features seven coves, two sets of concrete boat ramps, several steep and rocky secondary points, and a prominent rock ledge near the mouth of the creek arm. All of the shorelines are festooned with flooded buck brush and timber. This largemouth bass was caught along the west shoreline in five feet of water around a large cluster of flooded buck brush near the mouth of a cove. It was allured by a Z-Man’s purple death TRD TicklerZ on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to cross paths with any other black bass in this creek arm. 

We caught two largemouth bass inside a minor feeder-creek arm. This creek arm encompasses several rocky secondary points, clay-and-gravel flats, and small coves. There is an abundance of flooded buck brush and flooded stands of trees. Both of these largemouth bass were caught along this feeder-creek’s east shoreline and about a third of the way inside the feeder creek. They were caught about 15 to 20 feet away from the outside edges of the flooded buck brush in three to five feet of water. One was caught on a Z-Man’s bama bug TRD BugZ that was fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The second one was caught on the Z-Man’s purple death TRD TicklerZ rig. Both of these combos were implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to elicit any other strikes from several secondary points, flats, and clay-and-gravel shorelines inside this creek arm.

More rain is expected to arrive during the late evening hours of March 21. Therefore, it appears that we will have to endure another two to three weeks of wretched early-spring black-bass fishing before we begin to see these horrible water conditions improve and our catch rates increase.

Mar. 23

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about their Mar. 23 outing.

Here is an edited version of that log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 44 degrees at 8:52 a.m. and 51 degrees at 2:52 p.m. It was misty and foggy from 12:52 a.m. to 9:52 a.m., and then it was overcast from 10:52 a.m. to 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the east, northeast, and southeast at 3 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:52 a.m., 30.11 at 5:52 a.m., 30.16 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.10 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:31 a.m. to 12:31 p.m., 10:52 p.m. to 12:52 a.m., and 4:21 a.m. to 6:21 a.m.

Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have not been walloped with the 10.52 inches of rain, which is 7.21 inches above normal, that our colleagues in north-central Texas have been walloped with in March. Many of their reservoirs are in flood stage. Instead, we received 3.19 inches in Lawrence, Kansas, so far in March, which is 1.37 inches above normal, and the water at many of our community and state reservoirs is above their normal levels, and the water clarity ranges from stained to murky.

During our lunch on Mar. 23, my wife, Patty, asked if she could take me on a quick trip to survey the conditions of the water at one of our state reservoirs. In our minds, a short fishing trip would be a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the stay-at-home order that has been recommended for us 79-year-olders to withstand as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, we hitched up the boat and went fishing from 1:30 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet above its normal level. The surface temperature was 49 degrees. The water exhibited 12 to 36 inches of secchi-stick visibility, which was much clearer than we expected.

To our surprise, we caught 13 largemouth bass. They were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

They were caught in the back third of a feeder-creek arm along a flat and shallow-water shoreline and around two of this shoreline’s secondary points.

The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. The water’s edge is adorned with significant patches of winter-dead American water willows, and we think that there are some patches of winter-wilted coontail adjacent to the patches of American water willows. There are also limbs of several overhanging trees that are sticking well into the water.

The largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop of our TRD TicklerZ rigs. The other 11 were caught while we employed either a drag-and-shake presentation or a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught immediately adjacent to the outside edges of the patches of American water willows to as far as 10 feet from the outside edges.

It is forecasted to rain again on Mar. 24, which will keep us old codgers in our stay-in-home motif.

But it is predicted to be sunny and 70 degrees on Mar. 25. Thus, it is likely that Patty and I will attempt to continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle by fishing on Mar. 25 at one of northeastern community reservoirs. And, of course, we will practice proper social distancing as we travel to this reservoir and while we launch the boat and fish. 

Mar. 25

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about their Mar. 25 outing.

Here is an edited version of that log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 44 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 64 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being foggy and misty to being overcast to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 7 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12:53 a.m., 29.89 at 5:53 a.m., 29.85 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.75 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:31 a.m. to 1:31 p.m., 11:51 p.m. to 1:51 a.m., and 5:41 a.m. to 7:41 a.m.

My wife, Patty, has recently become infatuated with a Midwest finesse fishing phenomenon that is called black-bass fishing for trout.

This tactic takes place at several community reservoirs in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri every March, April, and November. In the past, it has occurred while I and several of my Midwest finesse colleagues employed our standard Midwest finesse rigs and presentations to catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and as we fished for black bass, we would inadvertently catch and release some rainbow trout. Some of these outings have been quite bountiful in Marches of the past. For example, we have caught and released 59 rainbow trout and 33 largemouth bass in four hours on Mar. 22, 2016. We caught and released 75 largemouth bass and 25 trout on Mar. 25, 2015.

But for some unknown reason, Patty had never gone black-bass fishing for trout until this past Mar. 7, and now she is beguiled and bedazzled by it.

To placate her newfound hankering, we went black-bass fishing for trout at a community reservoir on

The water level at this reservoir looked to be more than a foot above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 45 to 48 degrees. The water exhibited from 18 inches to 40 inches of visibility.

It is interesting to note that never in the many decades that we have fished at the community, federal, and state reservoirs that embellish the various urban, suburban, and exurban terrains of northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri have we seen as many people fishing on a weekday. This must be one of the ways folks in northeastern Kansas are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

We made our first casts at 12:27 p.m. and our last ones at 3:09 p.m. We failed, however, to catch and release as many rainbow trout as Patty was wishing to catch, but she did catch the biggest rainbow trout that she has ever caught. By the time we made our last casts, our mechanical fish counter revealed that we had caught and released 48 largemouth bass and three rainbow trout.

Patty and I have recently become wedded to either s Z-Man’s green-pumpkin or Junebug TRD TicklerZ. And on this outing, we caught all of the fish on either a Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to an orange 1/15-ounce TT Lures’ Nedlock jig. And those were the only Midwest finesse rigs that we used.

We caught 11 largemouth bass along a 150-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm that lies in the upper third of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 60-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with untold numbers of laydowns and many overhanging trees. Some spots are adorned with minor patches of winter-dead American water willows, and there are a few winter-wilted patches of coontail. Some of the largemouth bass were caught as we were employing a drag-and-shake presentation. A few were caught as we worked with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on the initial drop of our TRD TicklerZ rig. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. Most were caught while we were casting and retrieving, but several were caught while were strolling and employing the drag-and-shake presentation. They were caught in five to seven feet of water.

Along about a 30-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a minor feeder-creek arm and adjacent to a main-lake point in the upper third of the reservoir, we caught four largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows, and there are a few winter-wilted patches of coontail in the vicinity of the patches of American water willows. We caught these largemouth bass while we employed a drag-and-shake presentation. They were caught in about six feet of water.

We fished around a main-lake point and along about a 250-yard stretch of a massive main-lake shoreline in the upper third of the reservoir. The wind confounded our abilities to meticulously probe many spots along this shoreline, and we also shared it with a power-fishing angler who was practicing for a tournament on Mar. 28. Ultimately, we caught six largemouth bass along about a 100-foot stretch of this shoreline. The fruitful section of this shoreline possesses a 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with scores of laydowns and many overhanging trees. We caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of our TRD TicklerZ rig. The others were caught as we were strolling and using the drag-and-shake presentation. We caught them in four to eight feet of water.

Along another 250-yard stretch of a massive main-lake shoreline in the upper third of the reservoir, we caught five largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 75-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with many laydowns and untold numbers of overhanging trees, and these trees and laydowns are difficult for finesse anglers to meticulously probe around when the wind and waves are pounding them, and it was a struggle for us. Some spots are graced with minor patches of winter-dead American water willows, and there are a few shallow-water locales that are embellished with winter-wilted patches of coontail. Two of the largemouth bass were caught adjacent to patches of American water willows with a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. One was caught around some patches of coontail with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. The other two were caught around boulders and rocks with a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

We fished along a 150-yard stretch of a shoreline in the back of a major feeder-creek arm. This feeder creek is situated in the mid-section of this reservoir. The shoreline is endowed with two secondary points. This shoreline and its points possess a 30- to 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with a couple patches of winter-dead American water willows, laydowns, and overhanging trees. We caught four largemouth bass on our TRD TicklerZ rigs around rocks and boulders with a drag-and-shake presentation in five feet of water.

Inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the lower half of the reservoir, we fished about a 175-yard stretch of the shoreline and caught three largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows, laydowns, and overhanging trees. Some of its shallow-water lairs are endowed with patches of coontail. All three largemouth bass were caught as we were employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water.

The last area that we fished was a shallow-water flat near the mouth a medium-size feeder-creek arm that is located in the mid-section of this reservoir. This flat and its shoreline are adorned with a major laydown, some minor laydowns, patches of winter-dead American water willows, and significant patches of coontail. Our TRD TicklerZ rigs caught 15 largemouth bass. Three were caught of the initial drop, and a dozen were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. The bulk of them were associated with the patches of coontail, and a few were caught around the laydowns.

In conclusion, it was a delightful 172 minutes and a safe way to escape from the confines of the stay-at-home order that has been recommended for us 79-year-olders during the COVID-19 pandemic. And even though we failed to tangle with scores of rainbow trout, Patty is ready to do it again.

Mar. 26 

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 26 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

I travelled to a scenic Civilian Conservation Corps’ hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma to pursue smallmouth bass. This reservoir is not known for large smallmouth bass, but it has a significant population of them which we can target specifically.

The sunlit sky was cloudless. The barometric pressure measured 29.91 at 10:00 a.m. and 29.80 at 3:00 p.m. As I launched the boat at 10:27 a.m., it was 65 degrees and the wind angled out of the southeast at 8 mph. It was 91 degrees when I trailered the boat at 3:07 p.m., and the wind angled out of the southeast at 12 mph. 

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 12:24 a.m. to 2:24 a.m., 6:34 a.m. to 8:34 a.m., and 12:44 p.m. to 2:44 p.m. I made my first cast at 10:47 a.m. and my last ones at 2:46 p.m.

The water exhibited about five feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 62 degrees in the northwest portion of this impoundment to 65 degrees in its southeast region. The water level appeared to be about four feet high.

I employed a variety of Midwest finesse rigs, such as a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a three-inch Z-Man’s calico candy Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s yoga pants TRD HogZ fastened on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a Z-Man’s Laguna shrimp TRD TicklerZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Z-Finesse ShroomZ jig.

During this outing, I caught smallmouth bass on only one of these Midwest finesse offerings— the Z-Man’s sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ rig. The only productive presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. 

I started this outing at a wind-blown main-lake hump that lies in the midsection of the reservoir’s west tributary arm. Its underwater terrain is comprised of gravel, sand, rocks, boulders, and a few submerged stumps. The top of the hump is covered with about three feet of water and it is surrounded by seven to 21 feet of water. This hump failed to yield a single strike.

Next, I moved to a main-lake point and a 200-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline adjacent to the point. This area is located about a mile north of the main-lake hump. The underwater terrain of this main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline are similar, containing many patches of partially flooded cattails and submerged rocks and large boulders. This main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline are both flat, and eventually there are 20-plus feet of water about 20 yards away from the water’s edge.

The 200-yard stretch of main-lake shoreline surrendered one smallmouth bass that was dwelling amongst the submerged boulders that lie in three to nine feet of water. I did not catch any bass from the flooded stands of cattails.

The main-lake point was fruitless.

After that, I moved inside a medium-size bay located in the northwest end of the reservoir. The underwater terrain in this bay consists of numerous patches of partially flooded cattails and submerged rocks and large boulders. This bay also contains several rocky secondary points and coves.

In the midsection of this bay, I caught three smallmouth bass from a rock ledge that is situated on one side of a rock-and-boulder-laden secondary point on the north side of the bay. They were abiding in five to eight feet of water.

I failed to garner any strikes inside two small coves and three other secondary points inside this bay.

From there, I moved to the midsection of the east tributary arm where I dissected another main-lake point and about 30 yards of its adjacent main-lake shoreline. This main-lake point and adjacent shoreline are graced with an abundance of submerged rocks and boulders that are covered with two to nine feet of water. I caught six smallmouth bass that were associated with the large submerged boulders in three to five feet of water from the main-lake shoreline. I caught one more smallmouth that was relating to a patch of submerged boulders in five to seven feet of water along one side of the main-lake point.

From that main-lake point and shoreline, I meandered inside a nearby bay that features a long submerged roadbed. This roadbed is situated in the middle portion of the bay and is covered with three to 12 feet of water. Large rocks and boulders line both sides of the roadbed, but I did not find any smallmouth bass, spotted bass, or largemouth bass relating to the top of this roadbed or the submerged boulders and rocks that border the sides of it.

After I finished fishing inside the bay, I moved to the southeast region of the reservoir, where I fished around two main-lake points and inside another large bay just south of the two main-lake points. 

I failed to elicit any strikes from the two main-lake points.

Inside the large bay, I targeted a steep and rocky shoreline on the north side of the bay, two flat and rocky secondary points, and a boulder-laden shoreline around a small island in the middle section of the bay.

The rocky shoreline on the north side of the creek arm is about 200 yards long. I spent about 45 minutes probing the submerged rocks and boulders along this shoreline and I failed to generate any strikes.

The two flat and rocky secondary points in the middle portion of the bay surrendered four smallmouth bass. These smallmouth bass were associated with some submerged beachball-size boulders in five to eight feet of water and about 25 to 30 feet from the water’s edge.

The rocky perimeter around the small island yielded one smallmouth. It was caught next to a large boulder in seven feet of water. I failed to locate any other bass from the remainder of this island’s shoreline.

I finished this outing plying another rocky main-lake hump and three sections of rocky shoreline inside three smaller main-lake coves. These areas are located in the southwest region of this reservoir. To my dismay, I was unable to generate any other strikes from these locales.

Overall, the smallmouth bass fishing was slow and difficult. I caught 16 smallmouth and failed to land one. I also failed to hook a couple of subtle strikes.

Mar. 29

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse New Network about his Mar. 29 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

It has been unseasonably warm in north-central Texas during the past few days. The morning lows have been in the low- to mid-60s, and the afternoon highs have been in the mid- to upper-80s. And while I was fishing at a Civilian Conservation Corps’ reservoir in south-central Oklahoma on March 26, it reached 91 degrees.

On March 29, I returned to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that I fished on March 21 and 23. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only Corps’ reservoir that has remained open in north-central Texas. The others are closed because of flooding from the recent rains.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods on March 29 would most likely occur from 2:48 a.m. to 4:48 a.m., 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and 3:12 p.m. to 5:12 p.m. I fished for three hours from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A minor cold front passed through north-central Texas during the early morning hours of Mar. 28, and the unseasonable high air temperatures have cooled down a bit. On March 29, the morning low temperature was 49 degrees and the afternoon high reached 75 degrees. (The average low temperature for this area on March 29 is 50 degrees and the average high temperature is 72 degrees.) The wind quartered out of the east and southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.17 at noon and dropped to 30.09 by 3:00 p.m. The sky conditions varied from being partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to overcast. More rain is in the offing during the late evening hours of March 29 and into the morning hours of March 30. 

The black bass fishing at this reservoir has been wretched all year. But since it is the only reservoir within 50 miles of my driveway that is still open, it is my, and many other local anglers, only option for pursuing black bass in north-central Texas for the time being.

The water level was 4.93 feet high and the Corps was not releasing any water through the dam. The muddy-water conditions are beginning to improve somewhat now, and the water exhibited between 12 and 18 inches of clarity. The water temperature ranged from 61 degrees in the southeast region of this reservoir to 64 degrees inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the west tributary arm. The water temperature was in the mid-50s on Mar. 21 and 23.

I focused my attention inside two feeder-creek arms and two main-lake coves in the west tributary arm. Normally, my cohorts and I spend our time in the east tributary arm, but that portion of the reservoir was crowded with pleasure boaters, jet skiers, and the first water skiers that I have seen this year. Therefore, I opted to practice good “social distancing” during this COVID-19 pandemic, and moved to the much less crowded west tributary arm.

This reservoir’s underwater terrain consists primarily of red clay, pea gravel, fist-size rocks, and boulders. There are also many acres of flooded timber, laydowns, stumps, brush piles, and buck brush that were flooded from the recent rains. Many power anglers would consider these areas as a flipping-and-pitching paradise.

As I noted above, the black bass fishing at this reservoir has been wretched all year. It was just as wretched during this outing, too, and I barely managed to eke out three largemouth bass and one channel catfish.

Inside the first feeder-creek arm, I failed to elicit any strikes from several small coves, secondary points, and a short section of a flat shoreline in the upper or back end of this creek arm.

Several rocky secondary points, two small pea-gravel flats and a short section of steep shoreline inside the second feeder-creek arm were also devoid of any largemouth and spotted bass. I caught one channel catfish by accident in five feet of water from one of the secondary points in the upper end of the creek arm. It was associated with a cluster of flooded bushes on one side of the point. 

I shared this creek arm with a power angler who was flipping and pitching a large jig-and-craw combo into the tangles of flooded buck brush, laydowns, and flooded timber along the west shoreline of this creek arm, but he reported that he had not garnered any strikes up to that point in time.

The first of the two main-lake coves yielded two largemouth bass. They were caught many yards apart along a flat shoreline on the east side and about halfway back in this cove. They were relating to the outside edges of flooded buck brush in four to six feet of water. I failed to locate any black bass at several other secondary points and pea-gravel flats in this cove.

The second main-lake cove is situated about a mile west of the first one. It relinquished only one largemouth bass that was caught in five feet of water from a brush-covered flat in the back end of this cove.

I also dissected several other secondary points and two small flats in this cove, but I was unable to garner any other strikes.

In conclusion, two largemouth bass and the channel catfish were caught on a four-inch Zoom Bait Company’s black-blue mini-lizard rigged on a blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The other largemouth was allured by an 1/8-ounce Z-Man’s white Micro Chatterbait with a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached as a trailer. This combo was presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve around the edges of flooded bushes and laydowns.

I failed to garner any strikes with five other Midwest finesse offerings.

Mar. 30

The National Weather Service reported that it was 36 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 70 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The sky conditions fluctuated from being clear to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy. The wind was calm until 7:52 a.m., and then it angled out of the east and southeast at 7 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 12:52 a.m., 30.19 at 5:52 a.m., 30.17 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.05 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 3:33 a.m. to 5:33 a.m., 3:59 p.m. to 5:59 p.m., and 9:46 a.m. to 11:46 a.m.

Patty Kehde and I took a two-hour trip to one of northeastern Kansas’s state reservoirs, and we had hopes of catching at least 20 largemouth bass. We launched the boat at 1:07 p.m. and had it back on the trailer at 3:29 p.m. This reservoir gets battered by intense angler predation, but to our amazement, there were more anglers afloat and anglers along the shoreline than we have ever seen before at this reservoir. And to our chagrin, we struggled mightily to catch and release 12 largemouth bass.

The surface temperature was 56 degrees. The water level looked to be almost two feet above normal. The water clarity ranged from about eight inches to about 30 inches of visibility. 

During our first hour afloat, we crossed paths with Gail Bessey, and we talked with her for about 10 minutes. She is a veteran and talented Midwest finesse angler, and she told us that she had struggled to catch 20 largemouth bass in about three hours. At this time, we had not elicited a strike by fishing along a 50-yard stretch of a flat shoreline inside a major feeder-creek arm and along 50 percent of the riprap shoreline of the dam.

Our twelve largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/15-ounce TT Lures’ Nedlock jig.

Four of the twelve were caught along a short shoreline inside a tiny feeder-creek arm. They were caught adjacent to the outside edges of patches of winter-dead American water willows in about four feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

One largemouth bass was caught along a 100-yard stretch of a flat shoreline inside the back half of one of the primary feeder-creek arms. It was caught in about three feet of water around a patch of winter-dead American water willows on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig.

Along about a 150-yard stretch of another shoreline in the back of this primary feeder-creek arm, we caught seven largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 70-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is lined with scores of laydowns, some patches of winter-dead American water willows, and a few patches of coontail. One was caught on the initial drop around a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. One was caught on a deadstick presentation in about five feet of water. The other five were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water.

From our perspective, the largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir began to deteriorate dramatically in 2018, and as of this March outing, it looks as if it is still in a sorry state.

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