We recently went fishing at Fish Creek, west of Mandan. It had been quite a long time since I was at this lake. I was absolutely stunned to see the over abundance of weeds and plant growth in and around this lake. The water level seemed to be down a bit, but I don't think that's the reason for seeing more weeds. I think the weeds have just grown up so much more than in the past. As we fished I also noticed there seemed to be an awful lot of this variety of blue dragonfly. They hovered and swarmed around us all day as we fished. It was kind of fun watching them. Often we would find three, four or five of them lined up on our fishing poles like you see birds on a wire.
With the tall weeds growing out from the surface of the water in so many places they had plenty of places to land for a rest from flying around. We used the trolling motor most of the time at this lake. The little bit of use of the larger motor just managed to wrap weeds around the prop. The water seemed to reflect a greenish cast to it with lots of floating material rising up from the lake bottom. There was also lots of small plantlife floating around as well.
This was a fun afternoon. I caught a small mouth bass almost immediately upon casting out my line. And Mr. B also had one on his line as I was attempting to land mine. We caught our limit of both bass and trout within a few hours. Considering the number of small mouth bass we threw back (being too small to keep) we were kept busy with the fish biting for several hours. I don't remember how many we caught and threw back, or got away, but we certainly caught lots of fish this day.
We used night crawlers on our hooks and were catching both bass and trout steadily. I didn't know trout were a type of fish that swallow everything: bait, hook and sinkers. Thankfully all of the trout we caught were big enough to keep since it was nearly impossible to retrieve the hooks without doing so much damage to the trout they wouldn't survive anyway if thrown back. The bass were different as they often would spit out both the hooks and worms in order to get away. If we did not have a net some of the ones we caught would have got away. There were quite a number that did get away with us being too slow to get them in the net in time.
I found out I need a new reel for my fishing pole. I had trouble with the drag when it came to reeling them in. It didn't seem to matter how the drag was set, it just didn't work right. Looks like we'll be going shopping for fishing supplies before we head out to the lake again. That's okay, I've had that reel for so many years. I'm surprised it has held up this long.
You can see one of the more open areas of the water here in this last photo. There were areas of the lake where a current went through, or the lake was deeper, so the weeds did not reach the surface. Most of this lake was showing 12'-14' deep on the fish finder, but there were some areas that were deeper, like 25'-30'. The fish finder revealed fish in nearly all areas of the lake. Some areas showed multiple large schools of fish. Our strategy was to position ourselves just behind a clump of weeds and allow the wind to cause us to drift away from the weeds. We were getting so many bites, Mr. B had to resort to pinching our night crawlers in half to bait our hooks so we wouldn't run out before we were done fishing for the day. (Okay, I admit it. I'm a big namby-pamby when it comes to baiting the hook. I'm happy to let Mr. B do it for me, and he seems okay with this arrangement, too.)
We left the lake with five small mouth bass and five trout that were pretty good size. After cleaning fish that evening we put the trout in the freezer for another day, and ate half of the bass that night. They are very tasty fish. I cooked the last of the bass last night for supper. Yum!