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Gary Howey

INDUCTED INTO THE
NATIONAL FRESHWATER FISHING
HALL OF FAME
” IN 2017

Fishing Small Bodies or Water By gary Howey

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

May 30, 2022

Team Outdoorsmen Productions Joel Vasek, Geddes S.D. with a big bass, he took from a stock dam near Geddes,

  When I first moved into Nebraska, discovered most of the anglers did the majority of their fishing was done on the Missouri River and since I didn’t have a boat, I needed to figure something out.

   The fishing I did at that time was from the shoreline and on smaller bodies of water, and it didn’t take me long to find out that these small waters were the home of some good fish.

    These included stock dams and farm ponds where I needed to adapt my presentations, as most of these bodies of water held several different species of fish, which included bass, bluegill, crappies and catfish.

    I wanted to educate myself before doing any fishing, reading and studying up on the fish I was going after, where I learned what water temperatures they preferred, what structure these smaller bodies of water offered, water temperatures they preferred, spawning temperatures and the bait presentations that worked in smaller bodies of water.

   Of course, since bass were the dominant predator, I spent much of my time on these smaller bodies catching them. Didn’t catch any wall hangers, but I learned a lot about the things that made pond and stock dams better fishing.

    Several of the smaller waters I would be fishing, held a lot of fish, most of which were small, and it didn’t take long to understand why!

   The balance between predator and prey was way off, with not enough predators, bass to keep the panfish numbers down and when the balance is off, not only are the bass a predator fish, but so are the panfish learning quickly that a bass nest offers a quick meal as they rob the bass nest of eggs.

    In these smaller bodies of water, taking too many bass from them, quickly throws the balance, so catch and release becomes important when fishing them.

   Depending on the size of the water, the fish can be located at about any depth, with difference in the bottom configuration having a lot to do with where the fish are located.

    All species of fish need some sort of security, where they can quickly go to avoid danger, these include, deeper water, into weeds, brush and in amongst other structure in the pond.

    As I mentioned earlier, water temperature has a lot to do with where the fish will be located, because fish are cold blooded, their body temperature is in direct correlation to the water temperature.

  When water temps drop, so does the metabolism of the fish, so in the spring, the fish are waiting for the water to warm in order to spawn with these areas, often have easy access to deeper water.

   Each species of fish has a preferred water temp to spawn, Bass need 55 to 80 degrees to spawn, with the fry appearing in forty to seventy hours. Bluegill 68 to 75 degrees with they’re eggs hatching in in four to five days, Crappie need 50 to 60 degrees to spawn, with the eggs hatching in four to five days.

The male of these species creates a shallow depression, a nest in the shallower water by fanning with his tale and as water temperatures, reach the needed temperatures, the female moves into the nest and the eggs are deposited and fertilized, with the male stays behind to protect the eggs.

   Once the female channel catfish has completed laying her eggs, the male fertilizes them, then the female moving into beaver runs or holes, to nets, where the eggs hatch in four to ten days.

  As the water warms, the fish will be moving around more and needing more food, where they’ll become more aggressive.

  There are numerous baits that appeal to the fish including live bait, worms, insects, small spinners, crankbaits, plastics and worms.

  Because these smaller bodies of water in the spring and early summer are quite clear, don’t get too close, as your shadow may spook the fish.

  Other thing that you’ll need to remember when fishing smaller bodies of water is to move slowly, as the fish’s lateral line easily picks up the vibration from and angler plodding towards the water.

  You’ll need to fish slower, using smaller baits, lighter line and since anglers will be fishing beds.

Don’t take every big fish home, as by removing the bigger predators, you could end up messing up the entire balance of that body of water and end up with no fish that amounts to anything with the whole pond being taken over by runt fish.

    As I mentioned earlier, water temperature has a lot to do with where the fish will be located, because fish are cold blooded, their body temperature is in direct correlation to the water temperature.

  When water temps drop, so does the metabolism of the fish, so in the spring, the fish are waiting for the water to warm in order to spawn with these areas, often have easy access to deeper water.

   Each species of fish has a preferred water temp to spawn, Bass need 55 to 80 degrees to spawn, with the fry appearing in forty to seventy hours. Bluegill 68 to 75 degrees with they’re eggs hatching in in four to five days, Crappie need 50 to 60 degrees to spawn, with the eggs hatching in four to five days.

The male of these species creates a shallow depression, a nest in the shallower water by fanning with his tale and as water temperatures, reach the needed temperatures, the female moves into the nest and the eggs are deposited and fertilized, with the male stays behind to protect the eggs.

   Once the female channel catfish has completed laying her eggs, the male fertilizes them, then the female moving into beaver runs or holes, to nets, where the eggs hatch in four to ten days.

  As the water warms, the fish will be moving around more and needing more food, where they’ll become more aggressive.

  There are numerous baits that appeal to the fish including live bait, worms, insects, small spinners, crankbaits, plastics and worms.

  Because these smaller bodies of water in the spring and early summer are quite clear, don’t get too close, as your shadow may spook the fish.

  Other thing that you’ll need to remember when fishing smaller bodies of water is to move slowly, as the fish’s lateral line easily picks up the vibration from and angler plodding towards the water.

  You’ll need to fish slower, using smaller baits, lighter line and since anglers will be fishing beds.

Don’t take every big fish home, as by removing the bigger predators, you could end up messing up the entire balance of that body of water and end up with no fish that amounts to anything with the whole pond being taken over by runt fish.

  Gary Howey, a Watertown, S.D. graduate, now residing in Hartington, Neb., is a former tournament angler, fishing & hunting guide, an award- winning writer, producer, photographer and broadcaster and in 2017 was inducted into the “National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.”

  Howey developed and was the Producer-Host for over 23 years of his award winning gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures television series. He’s the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in Southeastern South Dakota, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in Central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in Northwest Iowa,  if you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.GaryHowey’soutdoors.com , and www.outdoorsmenadventures.com, , with more information on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E Howey, Outdoor Adventure Radio, Team Outdoorsmen Productions.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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