Our ponds and watershed lakes produce good bass fishing for several reasons. They in comparison to public waters receive far less fishing pressure. Our Association is for all hunting and fishing as opposed to game species specific membership. Allowing a fishing only membership option would simply allow a few members to pound the best fishing spots. In our system of allowing all members to hunt and fish a multitude of year long opportunities to pursue a variety of game allows only so much free time available in the hunter's schedule. The challenge becomes how to best take advantage of what is available. For fishing it is largely a filler between other seasons.
This picture is an attempt to show the extent of the fishing waters we possess. Notice the depth close to shore as shown by the fisherman. While this is a small pond it runs along a former creek bottom and contains a long narrow deep pool that produces a good number of bass each trip.
The bass in our small ponds become very opportunistic on their food choices meaning they are not picky. It is frequent we here from experienced fishermen that the bass were hitting every thing. Occasionally from less experienced fishermen we here there are not bass.
Hot summer days and cool water strata makes for a lazy bass that once discovered around cover will typically remain there on each return to the fishing spot. Cover in a small pond is easily identified along its banks or rising above the surface.
The skilled bass fisherman will also rise up to the changing water temperature and sunlight conditions as winter turns to spring, spring to summer and summer to fall. Ponds lead the change with watershed lakes following shortly thereafter. Warmer waters mean lower oxygen and a higher sun provides deeper light penetration. What rig that worked yesterday on a watershed lake may not work today on a farm pond. For those that can react to these changes there are fish to catch. For those that do not understand that what worked last time is not catching fish now there will be far fewer fish to catch.
Joe Pace and son fishing a small farm pond. This pond was overlooked for years by those who drove by it on the road viewing it as "...not good enough..."
Joe on the other hand has the skill to recognize good waters resulting in father & son memories forever.
Larger watershed lakes have significantly more submerged undetectable cover. Many of the watershed lakes resulted from the CCC when strong back labor was more extensively used than machinery. This left behind many a stump while the trees many have been removed. A secondary affect of these older watershed lakes is since their construction many years ago tree growth around the banks has come full circle with blow downs toward the softer water's edge. An advantage and disadvantage as the many limbs while holding fish retain many a hook as well.
Private, small lakes and ponds are quiet. The fish are not accustomed to frequent visits by surface slapping baits, shadows on the banks or from boats. Take advantage of sunlight directions and walking in quiet to bank fish before ever considering putting in a canoe or small boat. This makes the small impoundment the realm of the float tube. A quiet, low impact intrusion into the fishing environment.
The same junior sportsman as pictured above with his own float tube.
Slowly moving along in a tube over unseen structure too far from shore casting makes for a better day than those that drag and splash in a boat and motor around the surface making a wake where there has never been a wake before.
Smaller waters have more of the shallow water strata used by fish. Deep water reservoirs are good for city water supplies and flood control. They do very little for bass fishing as they are not of the suspended water variety. A large fish holding strata provides for more area of useful structure that will provide more fish over all. This is the advantage of watershed lakes and farm ponds, more of the water depth useful to the fish than large lakes.
Another one of our bass fishing ponds. Some of our new members shy from our waters we identify as "ponds" preferring the watershed lakes believing the larger the water the better the fishing. Continuing on through this fishing section will show many examples of why the "ponds" should be fished.
The other side of the equation of small versus larger water structure is the shore line. Smaller waters have the graduated water edge that provides the niche for microorganisms and larva that feed bait fish and frogs while as the water increases in depth the ecosystem changes to allow for increasing sizes of the fishery. Compare this to a reservoir where waves are constantly splashing ashore. The wave action will not allow for the amount of food chain development that a calm watershed lake or pond does. In theory the more food available makes for more predator species such as bass to survive for longer periods.
Catch and release is the rule of the day for bass fishing. The fun and satisfaction is in the memory of the catch. Being able to deceive the bass in his own environment where he has lived for a long time seeing everything there is to see and to be able to repeat the memories in the picture above will give a father and son common experiences that will be shared long after the child leaves home. These experiences will allow for common interest discussions on the telephone when the son is away at college. Or, a reason to spend more time together on vacations to see family when the son starts his own family rather than go lay on a beach somewhere distant. And, what better anti-drug is there than a child that enjoys being like dad rather than "hangin' wit' da boys" Make the child feel successful and that will give him or her a world of confidence to deal with any future challenges.
Non-resident hunters have thoroughly taken advantage of our fishing as a diversion from what they are accustomed to in their home state. There is just something about getting out to new water and testing one's fishing skills to attempt to match and hope exceed past home state success.
Non-resident spring turkey hunters find the easier paced afternoon fishing a chance to recover from the early morning hunts. Fall deer scouting is tough to do walking every day or many days and a late morning of fishing allows the body to recover and mind to analyze the areas scouted as well as of course a chance to spend some family time together. A frequent rationalization used by many non-resident hunters to convince the wife that a summer week spent in Kansas would be better for the family than some theme park. If further excuse is required Branson with all of its wife attractions of shows and restaurants is nearby some of our best fishing.
Joe Pace, the father, with a good panoramic photo of a farm pond. Notice the apparent lack of fish holding structure. Also, recognize the shoreline with its abundant food chain value.
Joe was not fooled by calm waters.
For those that are real fishermen like Joe Pace and son above, the opportunity to do well is abundant. All it takes is the fishing skill and the willingness to get out-of-doors and have a go at it. Joe was in his third year as a hunter and fisherman in the Association when he sent in these photos.