Took a vacation over the last week to try and target blue sucker during their spawn at a local dam and based my days on dates Ive seen them recorded spawning here in the past. I chose the week months in advance not expecting the late spring we have all been dealing with. The week leading up to the start of my campaign I fished my local spillway. I had heard a few had been caught already here and hoped to get a better example for my lifelist (personal best was ~12''). Among the typical catch of yellow bass, bluegill,and white and black crappie I managed a new personal best walleye.
Unfortunately I didnt have a tape measure, but finally a proper sized walleye! After succesfully landing one the first day, I went back a second to try again before my vacation started, No walleye this day, but I got another personal best in the form of a 21'' Wiper. This was the last fish I needed a picture of that I had already caught before starting a lifelist.
When my vacation finally started we got two days of rain right off the bat and just like that, two days were wasted. The third day called for freezing temperatures the entire day and possible snow. I decided I wasnt losing anymore time to the weather and headed to the dam to search for suckers. Shortly after arrival it started snowing and did for the next 7 hours.
Despite the weather I managed to go through 8 dozen night crawlers (not all to fish, this place is snag heaven). The drum were biting like mad and I caught well over 20 of them along with bluegill and rock bass.The highlight this day wasnt my intended target but a buffalo. After I caught it I assumed it was a smallmouth and was happy because these had evaded me all last year despite all of my regular fishing buddies catching loads of them in front of me.
Later in the morning I was approached by 2 fisheries researchers for the IDNR who were checking for radio tagged lake sturgeon that also spawn here at this time. They told me a week earlier they had egg traps in the area and eggs were present, which meant that I may have been a little late to the blue sucker party (they said they are usually the first to spawn here). We talked fish for quite awhile and exchanged info, they were familliar with both Isaac and Maurer from the site and actually wrote many of the state reports I have referenced in the past to locate odd species. I showed them the photo of the fish above and he said he thought this may be a black buffalo based on the cylindrical body and the fleshy mouth with grooves on the bottom. What do you guys think?
The next day I went back to the same spot. This day the weather was a little better and amongst the usual suspects another buffalo showed up and this one had a much more keeled back and obvious smallmouth mouth.
After the buffalo one of my lighter rods almost went in the river and on the end was solid common carp. It had been awhile since I last had one this size on.
The next day I decided to travel to one of my favorite creeks about two and half hours from me in hopes that it would be relatively fishable despite the semi high water. I was wrong. No sandbars to approach the deeper holes on and pretty swift current. Wading is not allowed in this section, and so I had to figure out another plan. I found a small tributary that barely held water and followed it to where it met the creek I wanted to fish. Here was a small cut out maybe 20 yards across where the current was broken and I decide to try my luck. Here I caught a golden redhorse with some tubercles
and a shorthead redhorse.
The catch that made the day all worth while though came riding along on a golden redhorse.
This was the second chestnut lamprey I had ever seen, the first one was on a common carp a few years ago and fell off and went through the net so we didnt get to look at it closely. I dont know the "legality" of this catch but I call that a fair catch (I was using the redhorse as bait) . Here are a few more pictures because its a cool fish on a cool fish.
After a day off, I decided to try downstream from the blue sucker dam in hopes that maybe I could intercept them downstream. All I intercepted was a blue cat and about 4 shovelnose sturgeon.
The day after I went again to this spot and caught 4 more sturgeon and a mutant smallmouth buffalo.
I knew Isaac needed a shovelnose and sent him the pics while he was at work like a good friend would.
The next day of fishing was planned for a place that had skunked me the first two times I visited and I had made a resolution to catch a fish there this year. The day started off at the dam trying for walleye to no avail. We moved downstream after giving up on the headwaters and I put my first fish on the board ever from these waters, a nice little rainbow.
5 Rainbows later and my buddy caught a brown trout infront of me, his lifer and one I still needed. I started fishing even more intently and maybe 15 minutes later I had my lifer brown trout in my hand.
Though he got his first, mine was bigger and I pretty pleased with the day at this point , especially after landing a walleye amongst all the trout .
He had to one up me again though and got another bigger brown before we called it a day.
Not a bad fish for a part of Indiana other than Lake Michigan.The next day I was supposed to join Isaac to catch a sturgeon, but an injury on this day prevented me making the drive and I thought that was it for my vacation. With at least two new lifers and personal bests I felt accomplised. After his day of sturgeon hunting, Isaac called and wanted to make the drive the rest of the way to my town to try again for white sucker. Despite my injury I knew I could manage driving 10 minutes down the road to meet him for a bit. When I arrived at the spot I pulled in and he had a white sucker in his hand already, and in less than 10 minutes after arrival. We then decided to drive down the road to another spot I hadnt checked so far this year, The ater was just murky enough that you couldnt see the bottom but I knew the spot well and made my first cast into an undercut bank. Less than a minute later I had a decent sized fish on for the size of the very small creek we were fishing. This last fish of the week was another personal best, and while very skinny it was 19" long and the biggest white sucker I had ever seen in person.
Thanks for reading guys, spring is upon us!