Spotted Bass Bonanza?

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Posted by Tony Buzolich on 2013-08-21 12:55:50

A few days ago Bill Siler calls and says “Let’s go chase some bass up at the lake”. “Sure, that’ll be fun” and yesterday off we went. Bill had been there the week before camping with his son and did quite well. We had fished this same area before and the fishing was always good. All of the lakes and reservoirs around here are pretty much warm water and hold plenty of black bass in the shallows along with trout and kokonee in the cooler deeper water. Lake Oroville, Collins, Engelbright, Bullards Bar, and Camp Far West are all like this. I’m sure there are lots more throughout the foothills but these I am the most familiar with.

We got on the water at barely light and headed across the lake motoring upstream into one of the fingers of the lake. “There ought to some animals moving around in this low light” I said to Bill, and within the next hundred yards we come upon a large black bear that had been drinking. Startled, it raced up the rocky slide and into the trees before I could get a good picture. Neat, no campground bears here.

As we get to our fishing area the water turns clear and shallow as the currant pushes us back down the canyon. We’re using 6 weight rods with both sinking and floating lines, short leaders, and any kind of popper or buggy looking fly. It didn’t seem to matter as they ate everything that we threw at them. Color didn’t matter either.

Here’s Bill holding the first bass of the day. Nothing big, but they’re all fun on a light rod.

I’m next and I hook upon my first cast. I’m sure these are all spotted bass but note the difference in color and markings.

As we drifted downstream along the rock walls of the canyon it was almost non-stop hook ups. Cast up tight against the rocks, let it sink briefly with a slow strip or two and there was almost always a grab. Many of the caught fish would be spitting up small minnows or fry the size of mosquito fish. Obviously cannibalistic they seemed to eat anything that moved.

It wasn’t long before Bill got his other rod out to try some topwater. Sure enough, they ate poppers too. Acting like a teaser I’d cast next to Bill’s popper with my sinking line and before he’d get his fish in I’d be hooked up as well.

I’m not sure if these were all spotted bass or not. Some of the markings looked just like largemouth with a definite dark stripe while others had no stripe at all. Some looked almost like smallmouth with horizontal bars across their gill plates. I know black bass do intermix and some of these had to be hybrid spots.

In either case, they all gave us a fun tug on the light rods and we may have to do it again soon.

[click here to display pictures]

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