Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2019

Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2019

In 2018, Mother Nature's wet, windy, and wintry ways confounded scores of Midwest finesse anglers for many of the 30 days in April. And in some ways, April of 2019 was an encore rendition of her 2018 wet, windy, and wintry ways.


Nevertheless, Rick Allen of Dallas; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; and I occasionally got afloat. And below are the descriptions of how, when, and where we fished and employed our Midwest finesse tactics.

It is interesting to make a brief comparison of April of 2017 and April of 2018 by noting that our April of 2017 guide to Midwest finesse fishing contained 29 logs and 24,220 words. But the April of 2018 guide contained only 11 logs and 11,473 words, and this one has 18 logs and 15,929 words.

As always, we are extremely grateful that Steve Reideler composed many of these logs and proofread all of the logs, which made them more readable and understandable.


April 1

During the last four days of March, we watched Mother Nature waylay northeastern Kansas with wind gusts that reached 47 mph, 1 1/2 inches of rain, some snow, and unseasonably cold temperatures that plummeted area thermometers to 24 degrees.

On April 1, the National Weather Service reported that it was 28 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:53 p.m. A cold wind angled out of the south and southwest at 6 to 23 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The barometric pressure was 30.29 at 12:53 a.m., 30.26 at 5:53 a.m., 30.25 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.13 at 2:53 p.m.


In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 8:27 a.m. to 10:27 a.m., 8:49 p.m. to 10:49 p.m., and 2:16 a.m. to 4:16 a.m.

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 9:32 a.m. to 2:02 p.m.

The water level was several inches above normal. The water exhibited 15 to 38 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 46 to 48 degrees. This reservoir’s patches of coontail are still in their wintertime doldrums. In fact, we were able to find only one feeder-creek arm that is blessed with a significant array of coontail patches, and we found another one that is adorned with sporadic patches of winter-wilted ones.

During the four hours and 30 minutes that we fished, it was a struggle to catch 40 largemouth bass and accidentally inveigle seven rainbow trout and three black crappie. Thirty-six of those 40 largemouth bass were caught inside a small feeder-creek arm that is graced with a significant array of coontail patches, and four largemouth bass were caught inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm that is adorned with sporadic patches of winter-wilted coontail patches. The other shorelines, points and shallow-water flats inside two other feeder-creek arms and along a short portion of the main lake that we probed failed to yield a largemouth bass.

Two of the four largemouth bass that we caught inside the medium-size feeder-creek arm were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a straight-swimming presentation in about four feet of water on a shallow-water flat that is situated in the backend of this arm. Around that same locale, we caught a largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to five feet of water. We caught another largemouth bass on that same flat on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in about three feet of water.

The underwater terrain of this shallow-water flat inside this medium-size feeder-creek arm consists of gravel, rocks, and silt.

We caught 36 largemouth bass along the shorelines and across several small shallow-water flats inside the small feeder-creek arm. Two of the shorelines possess a 45-degrees slope; the others have a 25- to 30-degree slope. Some of the shorelines are graced with laydowns, overhanging trees, scattered patches of winter-dead American water willows, patches of coontail, and 13 docks. The flats are embellished with scattered patches of coontail. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt, and some boulders.

One of the 36 largemouth bass was caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in eight feet of water around a coontail patch on a flat in the backend of this arm.

Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on the initial drop in about five feet of water along a 45-degree shoreline. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle shake presentation in four to six feet of water around coontail patches on the shallow-water flats.

Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD CrawZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to seven feet of water.

Six largemouth bass were caught of the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to seven feet of water.

Twenty largemouth bass were caught on either a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a Z-Man’s mudbug TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three were caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ. Another three were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in four to eight feet of water. The others were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet and no deeper than seven feet of water.

In sum, the major problem that seemed to confound us on this outing was that we could not catch a largemouth bass in areas that were devoid of coontail. Traditionally, this woe wanes once the water temperature climbs into the fifties.

April 1

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Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 1 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

Rick Allen of Dallas and I elected to fish at a state reservoir located in an exurban area north of Ft. Worth that many anglers in these parts ignore.

Nowadays, its reputation as a black bass venue is a poor one. Instead, it is known more for its wiper and white bass fishing.

Its primary geological feature is its rock-laden shorelines. These shorelines are graced with submerged boulders, laydowns, and some flooded buck brush. It used to have some sparse colonies of floating pondweed, chara, hydrilla, and American water willows, but we did not find any signs of aquatic vegetation during this outing.

The morning hours were mostly overcast until 11:13 a.m., when the sky turned partly cloudy and the sun began shining everywhere. The morning low temperature was 36 degrees and the afternoon high was 63 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure dropped from 30.32 at 10:00 a.m. to 30.21 at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar table indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m., 8:26 a.m. to 10:26 a.m., and 8:48 p.m. to 10:48 p.m.

Rick and I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

We were not expecting much during this outing, but by the end of this five-hour endeavor, we had caught 13 largemouth bass and one white bass. But we were surprised that we did not cross paths with any spotted bass or smallmouth bass.

Around the main-lake, we fished along two riprap-laden jetties, portions of five main-lake coves, and seven points. Inside one feeder-creek arm, we fished around several secondary points and a couple of coves. In another feeder-creek arm, we fished around a rock- and brush-covered causeway and a large rock, gravel, and clay flat in the backend of this arm. All of these areas are situated in the lower and middle sections of the reservoir.

The water exhibited about two feet of visibility in the lower region of the reservoir and about 1 1/4 feet of clarity in its midsection. The surface temperature ranged from 54 degrees to 61 degrees. The water level was normal.

We started our search for this reservoir’s largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass inside two coves in the lower end of the reservoir where we launched the boat. And we were unable to locate any bass in these two coves.

Then, we ventured to the east side of the reservoir, where we plied two riprap jetties. We caught two largemouth bass and one white bass from three to six feet of water from the first jetty, but we were unable to locate any black bass relating to the other jetty. We also hooked and lost one largemouth bass that was able to free itself before we could hoist it into the boat. These fish were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a gold Z-Man’s willow-leaf TRD SpinZ affixed to the belly of the Slim SwimZ. This rig, which we call an underspin Slim SwimZ, was retrieved at a slow and steady pace close to the submerged rocks on the jetty.

Inside the first feeder-creek arm, which is located a short distance from the two jetties, we caught seven largemouth bass. This feeder-creek arm consists of two coves, several secondary points, and about two dozen boat docks.

Two of the seven largemouth bass were caught from a section of rocky shoreline inside one of the two coves.

The third largemouth bass was caught from another rocky shoreline inside the second cove.

The fourth and fifth largemouth bass were caught from several patches of flooded buck brush in the back end of one of the two coves.

The sixth one was caught from the tip of a rocky secondary point.

The seventh one was caught from two metal poles near a boat dock.

These seven largemouth bass were abiding in three to eight feet of water. Three were enticed into striking the three-inch green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rig with a slow swimming retrieve. Four were attracted to a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

A main-lake point that is situated about a half mile north of the feeder-creek arm surrendered three largemouth bass that were associated with some large rocks and boulders in six to ten feet of water. One was caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ rigged on a drop-shot rig and presented with a slow drag-and-shake retrieve. The second one was coaxed into striking the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The third one was caught on a red 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD HogZ as it was slowly hopped and bounced on the submerged rocks and boulders.

On the west side of the reservoir, we fished both sides of a rock-covered causeway and a large rock, gravel, and clay flat adorned with flooded patches of buck brush that is located next to the causeway. One side of the causeway yielded one largemouth bass that engulfed the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig while we were employing it with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We were unable to generate any strikes from the other side of the causeway and the adjacent flat.

Three of the five coves, six of the seven main-lake points, the flat next to the causeway, and several of the boat docks that we fished were fruitless.

Our two most effective lures were a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ and a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rig.
The two most effective presentations were either a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and a slow steady swimming retrieve.

We failed to entice any strikes with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a Z-Man’s gold Colorado-style Z-Man’s TRD SpinZ inserted into the backend of the ZinkerZ, and a 4 1/2-inch black-blue Grande Bass Rattlesnake rigged Texas-style on a 3/16-ounce slip sinker rig. A 4 1/2-inch watermelon-red Grande Bass Rattlesnake rigged Texas-style on a 3/16-ounce weighted swimbait hook enticed one strike.

April 2

The National Weather Service reported that it was 37 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast to being hazy. The wind angled out of the south, southwest, north, and northwest at 3 to 17 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:52 a.m., 30.04 at 5:52 a.m., 30.15 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.12 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:07 a.m. to 11:07 a.m., 9:29 p.m. to 11:29 p.m., and 2:56 a.m. to 4:56 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There was an array of other anglers afloat, too. In fact, the parking lot at the boat ramp was full to the brim.

The water level was about 12 inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 49 to 50 degrees. The water exhibited 18 to 40 inches of visibility. Massive wads of filamentous algae were clinging to underwater objects. This reservoir’s submerged aquatic vegetation is very sparse, which makes cold-water largemouth bass fishing a chore in northeastern Kansas.

To my and the other anglers’ chagrin, the largemouth bass fishing on this heavily fished flatland reservoir is quite trying.

But during the first 71 minutes of this outing, I was able to catch 14 largemouth bass. They were caught inside a small feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, and silt. One of its shorelines possesses a 45- to 50-degree slope. The other one has a 20- to 30-degree slope. The water’s edges are adorned with laydowns, several overhanging trees, and patches of winter-dead American water willows, which are cluttered with wads of filamentous algae.

Nine of the largemouth bass were caught on a slightly shortened Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as 10 feet. They were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, a drag-and-shake presentation, and a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in five to 10 feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three feet of water.

During the next 109 minutes, it was a battle to catch four largemouth bass.

Two of the four were caught around the tip of a riprap jetty in about seven feet of water while I was strolling a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a drag-and-shake presentation.

One was caught around the tip of another riprap jetty in five to six feet of water while I was strolling the Junebug TRD MinnowZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation.

Then I failed to elicit a strike as I fished around seven more riprap jetties, along 150 yards of the riprap shoreline of the dam and its spillway, and portions of the shorelines and a shallow-water flat inside another small feeder-creek arm.

The fourth largemouth bass was caught inside the first small feeder-creek arm that I fished. It was inveigled on a slightly shortened Missile Bait’s green-pumpkin-flash Ned Bomb affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

In short, the largemouth bass fishing during the first two days of April in northeastern Kansas have been sorrier than the sorry outings that we endured in March.

At the boat ramp, I talked with a power angler who had struggled to catch six largemouth bass. He caught them on a lipless crankbait across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a major feeder-creek arm. He failed to elicit a strike at all of the other areas that he fished. He also said that he has struggled mightily at northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs this year and last year.

April 4

The National Weather Service reported that it was 45 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 57 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the east, southeast, and northeast at 5 to 8 mph. It rained from 4:53 a.m. to 10:53 a.m., and at other times, the sky was either mostly cloudy or overcast. The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 30.06 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.01 at 4:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s columnar calendar note that the best fishing would occur from 10:25 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., 10:46 p.m. to 12:46 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. to 6:15 a.m.

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:58 a.m. to 3:58 p.m.

In March, this reservoir’s water level and clarity were adversely affected by melting snow and significant rainfalls. On our April 4 outing, the water level was about four inches above normal. The water exhibited a tea-like hue with 15 to 36 inches of visibility. The surface temperature fluctuated from 52 to 53 degrees. This reservoir’s once bountiful patches of coontail were extremely measly, and in fact, most of them have completely evaporated.

For the first 63 minutes of this four-hour outing, Rick and I failed to elicit a strike. And those fruitless minutes were spent plying the riprap shoreline of the dam and a 75-yard stretch of a flat main-lake shoreline and point in the upper half of the reservoir.

During the next 137 minutes, Rick and I struggled to catch 14 largemouth bass.

Four of those 14 were caught along about a 100-yard stretch of another shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 60-degree slope. The water’s edge is graced with scattered patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few minor laydowns, one concrete retaining wall, and three docks. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks.

The first of the four largemouth bass was caught along a flat section of this shoreline in about five feet of water adjacent to a patch of winter-dead American water willows, which are laden with gobs of filamentous algae. It was caught about 12 feet from the water’s edge on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TickleZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The boat was floating in seven feet of water.

The second largemouth bass was caught along the steeper portion of this shoreline in about four feet of water adjacent to a minor patch of winter-dead American water willows. It was caught on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig. The boat was floating in 16 feet of water.

The third and fourth largemouth bass were caught in the vicinity of the concrete retaining wall in 10 to 12 feet of water and about 18 feet from the water’s edge. They were caught on the TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation. The boat was floating in 16 feet of water.

Largemouth bass numbers five, six, seven, and eight were caught along a 200-yard stretch of another shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 50-degree slope. The water’s edge possess a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, some laydowns, scores of concrete and rock retaining walls, and twenty docks. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, silt, and rocks.

The fifth and sixth largemouth bass were caught along a rock retaining wall in about three feet of water. They were caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. And they were caught on back-to-back casts to the same locale. The boat was floating in 12 feet of water.

The seventh largemouth bass was caught in about seven feet of water on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation that was about 15 feet from the water’s edge. The boat was floating in 12 feet of water.

The eight largemouth bass was caught in six feet of water on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation that was about 15 feet from the water’s edge. The boat was floating in 10 to 11 feet of water.

We caught largemouth bass number nine, 10, 11, and 12 along a 50-yard stretch of another shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, a few boulders, and several submerged concrete objects. Its water’s edge possesses patches of winter-dead American water willows and three docks.

The ninth largemouth bass was caught in about six feet of water and 12 feet from the water’s edge on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The boat was floating in nine to 10 feet of water.

The tenth largemouth bass was caught in about six feet of water on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig next to a dock and about 10 feet from the water’s edge. The boat was floating in 10 feet of water.

The eleventh largemouth was caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and 10 feet from the water’s edge. The boat was floating in 10 feet of water.

The twelfth largemouth bass was caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in about seven feet of water and 15 feet from the water’s edge. The boat was floating in 10 feet of water.

We caught largemouth bass number 13 around a flat main-lake point in the upper half of this reservoir. This point’s underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is littered with patches of winter-dead American water willows and two docks. This largemouth bass was caught in about four feet of water on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a protracted deadsticking presentation that was about 15 feet from the water’s edge. The boat was floating six to seven feet of water.

The fourteenth largemouth bass was caught along a flat portion of a main-lake shoreline in the lower quarter of this reservoir. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is lined with concrete and rock retaining walls, several docks, and some patches of winter-dead American water willows.

Largemouth bass number 14 was caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water and 15 feet from the water’s edge. The boat floated in six to seven feet of water.

Besides our failure to elicit a strike along the dam and the 75-yard stretch of a flat main-lake shoreline and point in the upper half of the reservoir, we failed to garner a strike around the spillway, along portions of three main-lake shorelines, and around two main-lake points in the lower half of this reservoir. What’s more, we did not garner a strike around a secondary point and its adjacent shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.

At the boat ramp, we talked to two knowledgeable power anglers, who were afloat from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they failed to elicit a strike on a jerkbait, crankbait, and skirted-jig rig.

In sum, the black bass fishing at many locales across the Midwest, even stretching down to Texas, has been trying this year. A Finesse News Network member and savvy angler from central Indiana reported that his catch rate has been a measly 3.25 largemouth bass an hour. A veteran FNN member from northwestern Missouri reported that he failed to elicit a strike on April 3 at a community reservoir that he has fished for years on end. He wrote: “Our bass fishing … is pitiful. I was catching trout on TRDs, but even that has disappeared. I went out today and got skunked my first time in years.” We have also received several reports from elsewhere that mirror the struggles that anglers in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas have endured.

April 8

The National Weather Service reported that it was 44 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky was totally devoid of clouds. The wind was calm for seven hours during the morning, and when it blew, it angled out of the northwest, north, west, and south at 5 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 29.99 at 5:53 a.m., 29.98 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.87 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:14 a.m. to 3:14 a.m., 1:38 p.m. to 3:38 p.m., and 7:26 a.m. to 9:26 p.m.

Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished from 11:17 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

The water level looked to be about 2 1/2 feet above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 58 degrees. The water exhibited two to four feet of visibility.

This was Lau’s first outing in 2019. Since the beginning of the fall of 2018 to shortly after the beginning of spring in 2019, he has been around the world, visiting the Arctic Circle in Finland, working in Cuba, visiting New Zealand, working in Hong Kong and China, visiting Thailand, and saltwater fishing in Baja California.

To our chagrin, his first outing in 2019 was a disappointing one.

For weeks on end, I have been lamenting about the difficult largemouth bass fishing that has been hounding Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas. This sorrowful routine is causing a touch of despair in my psyche and a desire not to pen another log about it. But for the sake of history, I will continue to describe these woeful endeavors.

So, here are a few of the details about our 162-minute outing on April 8:

The highlight is that we caught our first smallmouth bass of 2019, but we caught only one.

Besides that smallmouth bass, we struggled to eke out 16 largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught nine freshwater drum, three rainbow trout, and one white crappie.

The smallmouth bass was caught along a main-lake shoreline in the middle section of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 50- to 60-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows. The smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

Fifteen of the 16 largemouth bass were caught in the lower half of the reservoir.

The one largemouth bass that we caught in the upper half of the reservoir was caught along a main-lake shoreline that possesses an 80-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with meager patches of winter-dead American water willows, some laydowns, and a few overhanging trees. This largemouth bass was caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

One of the 15 largemouth bass that we caught in the lower half of the reservoir was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Bama bug ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It was caught around a laydown inside a small feeder-creek arm in three to four feet of water.

One of the 15 was caught on a Z-Man’s bubble gum Finesse TRD affixed to a red 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It was caught around a dock inside another feeder-creek arm. It was abiding in about three feet of water.

Thirteen of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig. Three of them were caught of the initial drop of the TRD HogZ, nine were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation, and two were caught of a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Many of these presentations were employed while we were strolling.

One of the 13 was caught around a tertiary point in three feet of water inside a feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It has a 30-degree slope.

Five of the 13 were caught around five secondary points inside three feeder-creek arms in four to seven feet of water. The underwater terrains of the secondary points consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. They possess 25- to 35-degree slopes.

There was no consistent pattern regarding the whereabouts of the other seven largemouth bass that we caught. They were caught here and there along many yards of two main-lake shorelines and two shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms. Some of these shorelines have a 25- to 35-degree slope and some have a 45- to 60-degree slope. The underwater terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These largemouth bass were abiding in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as nine to 10 feet.

We failed to elicit strikes on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ Jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ Jig, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Around most of the main-lake, secondary, and tertiary points, we failed to garner a strike. Likewise, many yards of shorelines on the main-lake and inside the feeder-creek arms were fruitless. There was an air of hopelessness with nearly every cast and retrieve that we executed.

April 9

Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, asked Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and me to join him on April 9 to relish a respite from the dreadful black bass fishing that plagued us on April 8, and plagued me throughout much of 2018 and during the first 98 days of 2019.

This outing took place at one of the many private watershed lakes that stipple the landscapes of northeastern Kansas.

Since the conception of the Finesse News Network, we have refrained from posting logs about our Midwest finesse outings that are not accessible to other anglers. Therefore, this is not a FNN log.

But we will note that the surface temperature at this waterway ranged from 60 to 63 degrees. The water level was several inches above normal. The water exhibited about three feet of visibility.

During the five hours that we were fishing, we caught 101 largemouth bass. We failed to count the mind-blowing number of crappie and bluegill that we caught, but we suspect that we tangled with more than 200 of them, and none of them were dinks. Pok-Chi, who will soon be 69 years old, said he had never encountered such hand-over-fist action.

In fact, this was the first time since Nov. 17, 2017, that I had enjoyed what we traditionally call a 101 outing, and that occurred when Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, Jim Stegeman of Olathe, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 8:45 a.m. to 2:29 p.m. On that day, we caught 105 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass.

It was Holscher’s first outing of 2019. After we made our last casts, he said this outing got him ready for his spring guiding business to begin. In the days to come, Pok-Chi and I will occasionally see him and his clients on some of northeastern Kansas’ public reservoirs that we fish. When he is not guiding, we might join him at some of those reservoirs and strive to catch 101 black bass in four hours. And logs that thoroughly describe those outings will be circulated on the Finesse News Network.

April 9

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Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 9 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:25 p.m., I conducted a solo outing at a problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas that I have not visited since November of 2018. Then at 1:30 p.m., Rick Allen of Dallas joined me and we fished until 4:30 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur from 2:14 a.m. to 4:14 a.m., 8:27 a.m. to 10:27 a.m., and 2:48 p.m. to 4:48 p.m.

It was sunny. Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 56 degrees and the afternoon high reached 87 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 11:00 a.m. and it dropped to 29.82 by 4:00 p.m. When I launched the boat at 11:15 a.m., the wind was angling out of the southeast at 8 mph. When I was trailering the boat at 4:45 p.m., the wind was still quartering out of the southeast but its intensity had increased to 15 mph.

The water exhibited between 1 1/4 and two feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 64 to 71 degrees. The water level was three-tenths of a foot above normal.

We stayed on the north side of the reservoir and dissected portions of five feeder-creek arms.

The underwater terrains inside these five feeder-creek arms are similar and consist of clay, sand, some silt, gravel, fist-size rocks, and sandstone boulders. There are patches of flooded buck brush and stickups that grace many sections of the shorelines inside these creek arms.

The fishing was slow, and we failed to find any large aggregations of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass that inhabit this reservoir. But we did manage to catch 15 largemouth bass and two white bass that were scattered hither and yon inside these five feeder-creek arms.

Five largemouth bass were caught in the first feeder-creek arm, two were caught in the second one, one was caught in the third creek arm, four more were caught in the fourth feeder creek, and three were caught in the fifth creek arm.

All of these largemouth bass were caught far apart from each other, and they were abiding near the ends and sides of rocky secondary points in the lower and midsection areas of the creek arms. We caught them in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as eight feet. We positioned the boat in four to 17 feet of water.

Some of the largemouth bass were caught from shallow points adorned with flooded buck brush and stickups, and others were caught from around submerged boulders next to the steeper points.

We failed to elicit any strikes from inside several coves and from the upper ends of the creek arms where small creeks and ditches entered the creek arms.

The most effective rig was a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ fastened to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a slow swimming retrieve. This rig caught 13 of the 15 largemouth bass and both white bass.

A four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed wacky-style on a drop-shot rig and presented with a drag-and-shake presentation caught one largemouth bass that weighed four pounds, eleven ounces.
And one largemouth engulfed a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig as it was deadsticked on the bottom.

Now that spring has arrived and the water temperatures have risen into the 60-degree range in the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas, we are optimistic that the wretched black bass fishing that has plagued us for months on end may finally be coming to an end.

April 12

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Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 12 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

I have been in a piscatorial slump for quite some time now. In 2018, my cohorts and I caught 30 or more largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass only four times. The last time we caught 30 or more black bass in an outing was on Sept. 29, 2018, when Roger Farrish of Highland Village, Texas, and I caught a mix of 40 largemouth and spotted bass in four hours at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoir in north-central Texas.

John Thomas of Denton and I had aspirations of ending this sorry trend as we journeyed 73 miles to a scenic Civilian Conservation Corps’ hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma to pursue smallmouth bass. This reservoir is not known for its large smallmouth bass, but it has a large population of smallmouth bass and spotted bass. In our eyes, it provided a good venue for us to try to end our piscatorial slump and provide quite a bit of fun entertainment as well.

The sky conditions changed from partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure measured 29.98 at 10:00 a.m. and 29.90 at 4:00 p.m. As we launched the boat at 10:00 a.m., it was 50 degrees and the wind was blowing out of the east at 8 mph. It was 67 degrees when we trailered the boat at 4:45 p.m., and the wind was quartering out of the southeast at 15 mph.

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According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 5:11 a.m. to 7:11 a.m., 11:02 a.m. to 1:02 p.m., and 5:40 p.m. to 7:40 p.m. We made our first casts at 10:19 a.m. and our last ones at 4:19 p.m.

The water exhibited about four feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 63 degrees in the northwest portion of this impoundment to 60 degrees in its southeast region. The water level appeared to be a couple of feet high.

We employed a variety of Midwest finesse rigs, such as a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a customized three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Trick ShotZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

During this endeavor, we caught smallmouth bass on all of these Midwest finesse offerings. But our two most effective rigs were the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ and the three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rigs. The green-pumpkin TRD HogZ combo was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The three-inch underspin Slim SwimZ rig was used with a slow swimming retrieve. All of the other lures were most productive with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We started this outing inside a large feeder-creek arm on the southwest end of the reservoir. This creek arm contains several rocky secondary points and coves, but we could not find any smallmouth bass, spotted bass, or largemouth bass inhabiting this creek arm.

Our next spot was a wind-blown main-lake hump that lies in the midsection of the reservoir’s west tributary arm. Its underwater terrain is comprised of gravel, sand, rocks, boulders, and a few submerged stumps. The top of the hump is covered with about a foot of water and it is surrounded by seven to 21 feet of water. This hump yielded three smallmouth bass that were caught in six to eight feet of water. One was caught from the south side of the hump, and two were caught from the east side, which is steeper than the southern and western portions of the hump. We failed to garner any strikes along the north side of the hump.

Our third locale was a main-lake point and a 200-yard stretch of main-lake shoreline adjacent to the point. This area is located about a mile north of the main-lake hump that we just left. The underwater terrain of this main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline are similar, containing many patches of partially flooded cattails and submerged rocks and large boulders. This main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline are both flat, with 20-plus feet of water about 30 yards away.

The main-lake shoreline surrendered five smallmouth bass that were scattered amongst the submerged boulders that lie in three to nine feet of water. We did not catch any bass from the flooded stands of cattails.

The main-lake point was fruitless.

After that, we motored inside another feeder-creek arm located in the northwest end of the reservoir. The underwater terrain in this creek arm consists of numerous patches of partially flooded cattails and submerged rocks and large boulders. This creek arm also contains several rocky secondary points and coves.

We caught one smallmouth bass from the end of a rock-and-boulder-laden secondary point on the north side of the creek arm in eight feet of water. We also caught our first spotted bass of 2019. It was abiding along a steep and rocky shoreline inside one of the coves on the north side of the creek arm. It was relating to the side of a large submerged boulder in six feet of water.

Next, we moved to a small island that is located on the east side of the west tributary arm. The two most promising black bass lairs around this island are located along the west and south shorelines. These two shorelines are littered with scores of submerged rocks and boulders in two to 12 feet of water. The submerged boulders along the west shoreline of the island yielded one smallmouth bass. The boulders that grace the south end of the island also surrendered one smallmouth bass. Both of them were caught in three to five feet of water.

After we finished fishing those two portions of the island, we made a five-minute run to the midsection of the east tributary arm where we dissected another main-lake point and about 30 yards of its adjacent main-lake shoreline. This main-lake point and adjacent shoreline are graced with an abundance of submerged rocks and boulders that are covered with two to nine feet of water. We caught four smallmouth bass that were associated with some large submerged boulders in three to five feet of water from the main-lake shoreline. We caught one more smallmouth bass that was relating to a patch of submerged boulders in five to seven feet of water along the east side of the main-lake point.

From that main-lake point and shoreline, we meandered inside a nearby feeder-creek arm that features a long submerged levee. This levee is situated in the middle portion of the creek arm and is covered with three to 12 feet of water. Large rocks and boulders line both sides of the levee, but we did not find any black bass relating to this levee or the submerged boulders and rocks.

After we finished fishing inside the feeder-creek arm, we decided to move to the southern region of the reservoir, where we fished inside another feeder-creek arm. We targeted a steep and rocky shoreline on the north side of the creek arm, and a prominent bluff on the feeder creek’s south shoreline.

The rocky shoreline on the north side of the creek arm is about 200 yards long. We spent about 45 minutes probing the submerged rocks and boulders along this shoreline and we caught six smallmouth bass. They were caught in water as deep as ten feet and as shallow as three feet.

The other bluff is about a mile long, and it forms the southern shoreline of the creek arm. It is buffeted with water as shallow as 21 feet and as deep as 52 feet. We had time to fish about 300 yards of this bluff and it was a tad more productive than the northern one, and it relinquished eight smallmouth bass. These smallmouth bass were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface in water that was 17 to 31 feet deep.

Overall, we had what we consider a stellar outing by north-central Texas standards. We enjoyed tangling with 30 smallmouth bass and one spotted bass in six hours, which is our most fruitful black bass outing in 2019. These smallmouth bass and spotted bass are the first ones we have caught in 2019. We also hooked but failed to land three other smallmouth bass, and we failed to hook several other strikes.

We are not confident that this outing put an end to our piscatorial slump, but John and I both agreed that it was a good start.

April 16

The National Weather Service reported that it was 57 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 83 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast, south, and southwest at 7 to 28 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 29.78 at 12:52 a.m., 29.78 at 5:52 a.m., 29.83 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.77 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar note that the best fishing would occur from 8:39 a.m. to 10:39 a.m., 9:06 p.m. to 11:06 p.m.., and 2:25 a.m. to 4:25 a.m.

Since April 10, the wind has howled in northeastern Kansas at speeds ranging from 25 to 45 mph. Nowadays, my 79-year-old body, mind, and soul does not have the wherewithal tangle with Mother Nature’s blustery ways. So, I have been at bay since April 10.

On April 16, she did not begin howling until after 1:30 p.m. Thus, I made a quick trip to a nearby community reservoir, where I fished until I caught 30 largemouth bass. That endeavor began at 10:46 a.m. and came to a close at 1:20 p.m.

There were a goodly number of anglers afloat, and it was the first time in 2019 that I had to share some shorelines and points with other anglers.

The water level looked to be about three feet below its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 58 degrees. The water at many locales exhibited three to 3 1/2 feet of visibility. Massive wads of filamentous algae cluttered many of this reservoir’s underwater objects. And there are several massive patches of curly-leaf weeds adoring a few of this reservoir’s shallow-water flats. Most of the winter-dead patches of American water willows on the dry shorelines.

During the first 23 minutes, I eked out one largemouth bass. It was caught along the south shoreline about 60 percent of the way inside a feeder-creek arm. It was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and about 12 feet from the water’s edge. The underwater terrain at this locale consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Parts of this shoreline are embellished with some laydowns and a few stumps. The shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope.

During the next 58 minutes, I caught 16 largemouth bass.

One was caught along the end of the rock-laden dam on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s molting craw ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig in about eight of water while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. It was caught about 10 feet from the water’s edge.

The other 15 largemouth bass were caught scattered here and there along about a 200-yard stretch of the north shoreline of the same feeder-creek arm that yielded one largemouth bass along its south shoreline. This shoreline possesses the same features as the south. These largemouth bass were caught from 10 to 60 percent of the way inside this feeder creek.

One of the largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse WormZ around a pile of boulders in about five feet of water while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It was caught about 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Fourteen of them were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TDR TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Some were caught on the initial drop of the rig. The others were caught on either a swim-glide-and-drag-presentation or a drag-and-shake. These 14 largemouth bass were caught in four to eight feet of water and from five to 10 feet from the water’s edge.

Along 175-yard stretch of a west shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, I caught 11 largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught on either the initial drop of the rig or when I was working with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to about seven feet of water. They were caught from five to eight feet from the water’s edge. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 40-degree slope. It is graced with several significant laydowns. The underwater terrain at this locale consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These largemouth bass were caught from five to 30 percent of the way inside this feet-creek arm.

Along a short section of a riprap shoreline on the east side of this second feeder-creek arm, I caught one largemouth bass on the molting craw ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-shake presentation in about four feet of water and about 10 feet from the water’s edge. It was caught about 20 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm.

Along a 50-yard section of a shoreline inside another feeder creek, I caught the thirtieth and final largemouth bass of this outing. It was caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water in the vicinity of a laydown and about 12 feet from the water’s edge. It is about 20 percent of the way inside this feeder creek. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It is adorned with a few stumps and several laydowns.

In conclusion, it was my first wind-socking, which many folks call a drift sock, outing of 2019, and as the year unfolds there will be many more. Using a wind socking and allowing the wind to propel the boat along the shorelines and around the points and across underwater humps is my favorite way to use and present Midwest finesse rigs on the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, where the wind blow with great regularity during the midday hours. Until this outing, however, the weather and water had been too cold for me to use it. Across many winters, we have found that it is too uncomfortable to deal with a wet and cold wind sock.

April 17

The National Weather Service reported that it was 64 degrees at 3:52 a.m. and 78 at 3:52 p.m. The sky was fair at 3:32 a.m., and at other times, it fluctuated from being partly cloudy to being overcast. The wind angled out of the south, southeast, southwest, and west at 8 to 29 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.80 at 12:52 a.m., 29.73 at 5:52 a.m., 29.67 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.62 at 2.52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 9:26 a.m. to 11:26 a.m., 9:52 p.m. to 11:52 p.m., and 3:13 a.m. to 5:13 a.m.

I ventured to a state reservoir and made my first cast at 1:25 p.m. in hopes to quickly catch 20 largemouth bass, and I accomplished that feat at 2:57 p.m. What’s more, after unhooking largemouth bass number 20 and before putting the spinning rod into the rod box, I made another cast in order to remove a minor line loop on the spool my spinning reel and I caught another largemouth bass. So, in one hour and 34 minutes, I caught 21 largemouth bass and four crappie.

Here is a short synopsis of what transpired:

The water level at this reservoir looked to be about a foot above its normal level. The surface temperature fluctuated from 59 to 60 degrees. The water exhibited about 4 1/2 feet of visibility. Many of the underwater objects are cluttered with wads of filamentous algae – especially the stems of the winter-dead American water willows that grace some of the edges of this reservoir’s shorelines. Most of this reservoir’s patches of submerged aquatic vegetation are still exhibiting their winter doldrums.

Five of the 21 largemouth bass were caught along two shorelines inside a small feeder-creek arm. One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water. The other four were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom style jig, and they were caught in three to five feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in the vicinity of the outside edges of patches of winter-dead American water willows, which were coated with filamentous algae.

Sixteen largemouth bass were caught around eight of the 10 gravel, rock, and boulder jetties that I fished. All of the largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse HogZ rig. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. Three of them were caught on the initial drop of the rig. The others were caught on either swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a drag-and-shake presentation, and at times, I was strolling while employed these two presentations. These largemouth bass were caught in three to about nine feet of water.

If the weather permits, I will be afloat again on April 22.

April 20

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Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing at one of the power-plant reservoirs in northeastern Kansas on April 20.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 41 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 72 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky was fair. During four early morning hours, the wind was calm, and at other times, it angled out of the north, west, southwest, and south at 3 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 29.97 at 5:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.91 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:27 a.m. to 1:27 p.m., 11:52 p.m. to 1:52 a.m., and 5:40 a.m. to 7:40 a.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 59 degrees along the east riprap to 62 degrees along the dam. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility along the dam. The water level was normal.

I fished from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I began this outing along a long riprap shoreline on the east side of the reservoir, and on my first cast, I caught a white bass. Along this stretch of riprap, I caught two freshwater drum and nine more white bass.

I failed to catch a largemouth bass until 9:00 a.m., and it was caught along another stretch of riprap on this reservoir’s east side.

I failed to elicit a strike along a submerged roadbed that lies on the west of the reservoir.

I spent the rest of the outing plying the riprap shoreline of the dam and portions of a shadow-water flat adjacent to the eastside of the dam. While I fished these locales, the velocity of the wind increased, which necessitated the use of a drift sock. And I caught 22 largemouth bass.

In total, I caught 23 largemouth bass and accidently caught three channel catfish, four freshwater drum, and 10 white bass.

The largemouth bass were caught in two to eight feet of water, and the larger specimens were abiding in deep water than the smaller ones. And three of the larger ones were caught on consecutive casts and retrieves.

These 40 fish were caught on three Midwest finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ, a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD HogZ, and Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Punch CrawZ. They were affixed to either a black or a red mushroom-style jig.

I retrieved these rigs by keeping my rod tip up, and slowly swimming them and occasionally executing small twitches with the rod. The TRD HogZ rig has a slower fall rate; so I consciously tried to be more patient with it. Across the shallow-water flat, I retrieved the rigs by continuously twitching the rod and slowly swimming them with my rod tip down.

April 22

The National Weather Service reported that it was 64 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 77 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the west, southwest, and south at 8 to 23 mph. It rained lightly at 3:52 a.m. A thunderstorm erupted around 4:52 a.m., and at other times, the sky was partly cloudy, overcast, mostly cloudy, and fair. The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:52 a.m., 29.87 at 5:52 a.m., 29.95 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.96 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 1:20 a.m. to 3:20 a.m., 1:46 p.m. to 3:46 p.m., and 7:33 a.m. to 9:33 a.m.

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 9:40 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees. The water exhibited three to four feet of visibility. The water level was a few inches above normal. Many of this reservoir’s underwater objects are coated with filamentous algae – especially the patches of winter-dead American water willows, the shallow-water patches of coontail, and countless laydowns.

Rick and I caught 40 largemouth bass in three hours and 18 minutes. But during the final 33 minutes that we were afloat, we failed to catch a largemouth bass. We also caught four white bass and one rainbow trout.

Inside a small feeder-creek arm, we caught three largemouth bass.

Two of them were caught about 80 percent of the way inside this arm. They were abiding around patches of coontail in about four to five feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. This shoreline possesses a 25-degree slope. One largemouth bass was caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation about 15 feet from the water’s edge. The other largemouth bass was caught about 10 feet from the water’s edge on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The third one was caught along a shoreline about 20 percent of the way inside this feeder creek. This shoreline possesses a 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig in about six feet of water with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

We failed to elicit a strike around a main-lake point and 40 yards of its adjacent main-lake shoreline.

We caught six largemouth bass along a 30-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline and its main-lake point. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is littered with scores of overhanging trees and laydowns.

Three of these six largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a red 1/16-ounce mushroom jig. The other three largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. These largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water on either a drag-and-shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along a massive shoreline and around five secondary points inside a large feeder-creek arm, we caught six largemouth bass. They were caught from five to 80 percent of the way inside this feeder creek.

This shoreline and its secondary points possess a 25- to 90-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and some silt. Its water’s edge is littered with laydowns and some overhanging trees. There are some shallow-water patches of coontail.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Four of them were caught on the PB&J ZinkerZ rig. One of the four was caught on a deadstick presentation in about nine feet of water; another one was caught on the initial drop; two were caught while we were strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

Along the other shoreline in this feeder-creek arm, we caught four largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses many of the same features as the other one, but it is not quite as steep. These largemouth bass were caught from 50 to 90 percent of the way inside this feeder creek.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swimming retrieve in three to five feet of water. The other two were caught on the Finesse HogZ rig with swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about six feet of water.

In a tiny pocket or dent along a main-lake shoreline, we caught six largemouth bass. This pocket is lined with several laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It has a 25- to 35-degree slope.

Four of the six largemouth bass were caught of the initial drop of the Finesse HogZ rig in three to four feet of water. Two of the six were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water.

Along about a 250-yard shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught 11 largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its water edge is graced with many laydowns and overhanging trees. There are also many patches of coontail embellishing some of the shallow-water locales.

Eight of the 11 were caught on the PJ&J ZinkerZ rig. Three were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig. These largemouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water. They were caught on three presentations: initial drop: swim, glide, and shake; drag and shake. And at times, we strolled our rigs.

Along the other long shoreline inside this feeder-creek arm, we caught four largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. The water’s edge is adorned with a number of laydowns, and some of its shallow-water areas possess patches of coontail and curly-leaf pondweeds.

These four largemouth bass were caught on the PB&J ZinkerZ rig in three to four feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop, and two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass along a 30-yard portion of the riprap shoreline of the dam, around a main-lake point, along a 100-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, along a 40-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, and along a 50-yard portion of a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.

Even though we caught 40 largemouth bass in slightly more than four hours, we were disappointed with our inability to find and catch more of them. We were also surprised and frustrated by the fact that we failed to find and catch some of the smallmouth bass that inhabit this reservoir. Thus, we continue suspect that something has gone awry with the black bass fishing in the scores of flatland reservoirs that stipple the various landscapes of northeastern Kansas.

April 23

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Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 23 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished at one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas.

Rick Allen of Dallas and I fished this same reservoir for five hours on April 9, and we caught 15 largemouth bass.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 65 degrees at 5:00 a.m. and 74 degrees at 2:00 p.m. The sky conditions varied from mostly cloudy to overcast. The wind blew incessantly out of the south and southwest at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure fell from 30.01 at 9:00 a.m. to 29.93 at 3:00 p.m. Severe thunderstorms and possible flooding were forecast to begin during the evening hours of April 23 and will continue off and on into the morning hours of April 25. Some wind gusts could reach 70 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:28 a.m. to 4:28 a.m., 8:41 a.m. to 10:41 a.m., and 2:54 p.m. to 4:54 p.m.

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This reservoir is devoid of any aquatic vegetation. Its geology consists primarily of sandstone rocks and boulders. Most of its shorelines are steep and rocky. When this reservoir was first impounded in the early 1950s, there were substantial stands of flooded timber in the feeder-creek arms. But during the past six decades, the stands of flooded timber have decayed and disappeared.

On the north end of the reservoir, Norman and I concentrated our efforts inside one major feeder-creek arm and a couple of main-lake points. We also ventured to the east end of the reservoir where we dissected about two-thirds of the riprap on the dam.

The water level was 2 1/2 feet higher than normal.

Inside the large feeder-creek arm on the north end of the impoundment, the water’s surface temperature was 69 degrees. The water displayed about 14 inches of visibility.

The fishing in this feeder creek was slow and a bit tedious. It was a chore for us to catch three largemouth bass and one spotted bass. We also inadvertently caught one alligator gar.

We caught the black bass in the midsection of the creek arm around the ends and sides of rocky secondary points that were adorned with flooded buck brush and laydowns. They were abiding in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as six feet.

One was caught on a customized three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/8-ounce Blakemore Road Runner jig with a gold willow-leaf blade as it was slow swimming along the outside edge of a a patch of flooded buck brush. Two of the largemouth bass were caught near submerged boulders on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The spotted bass was caught around a patch of flooded buck brush on a slow swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was attached on a black 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.

After we finished fishing inside the feeder-creek arm, we moved to the dam on the east end of the reservoir. The fishing improved here. The water exhibited about two feet of clarity. The surface temperature was 65 degrees.

We caught nine smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one white bass. It was the most smallmouth bass that we have caught at this reservoir in one outing. All of these fish were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD rigged on either a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The most effective presentation was a slow swimming retrieve accented with an occasional pause-and-shake action. The bass were caught in five to 12 feet of water.

From the dam, we moved to the reservoir’s northeast shoreline and probed two main-lake points and portions of their adjacent shorelines.

The water along this shoreline exhibited a slightly brownish tint. The surface temperature was 66 degrees.

We saw a small school of fish foraging on the surface for a brief moment at one of the main-lake points, but we were unable to determine their species and provoke any of them to strike our Midwest finesse offerings before they disappeared.

Overall, we tangled with a mix of 17 smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass in 6 1/2 hours.

Norman caught the largest one, which was a smallmouth bass that weighed three pounds, four ounces, and it is the largest one that we have seen caught in this reservoir.

April 24

The National Weather Service reported that it was 52 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 65 degrees at 12:52 p.m. Most of the time, the wind was calm, but when it stirred it angled out of the north and northwest at 3 mph. At 12:52 a.m., it was misty and foggy, and then it became overcast for 10 hours, and during the next three hours, it was mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:52 a.m., 29.93 at 5:52 a.m., 29.91 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.90 at 12:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:11 a.m. to 6:11 a.m., 4:36 p.m.to 6:36 p.m., and 10:42 a.m. to 12:24 p.m. I was afloat from 9:50 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

This reservoir’s water level is about 3 1/2 feet below its normal level. The water exhibited five to seven feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 60 to 63 degrees. Several significant aquatic insect hatches were transpiring. A major amount of filamentous algae is coating rocks, boulders, patches of winter-dead American water willows, patches of curly-leaf pondweed, logs, stumps, and laydowns.

In two hours and 59 minutes, I caught 51 largemouth bass. Fifty of them were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Nineteen of the 51 largemouth bass were caught along the spillway, a 75-yard stretch of the west end of the dam, a 50-yard stretch of the east end of the dam, and short portions of the dam’s adjacent main-lake shorelines. These areas possess a 45- to 50-degree slope. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The 19 largemouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water on the Finesse HogZ rig. Four were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse HogZ rig. Fifteen of them were caught on either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake retrieve.

Seven largemouth bass were caught along a 200-yard stretch of the north shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and this terrain is embellished with some stumps, patches of curly-leaf pondweed, and a few minor laydowns. The Finesse HogZ rig caught them in three to eight feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop, and the others were caught on the swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along this feeder creek’s south feeder-creek arm, the Finesse HogZ rig caught two largemouth bass, and the Finesse WormZ rig caught one largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 25-degree to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and it is graced with several patches of curly-leaf pondweed, a beaver hut, and a few laydowns. The Finesse WormZ rig caught its largemouth bass with a deadstick presentation in about five feet of water adjacent to the outside edge of a patch of curly-leaf pondweed. The Finesse HogZ rig caught two largemouth bass with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

The Finesse HogZ rig caught five largemouth bass along a 65-yard portion of a main-lake shoreline. The shoreline has a 35- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

The Finesse HogZ rig inveigled 15 largemouth bass along a 175-yard stretch of a west shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. Two largemouth bass were caught along a 40-yard stretch of this feeder creek’s east shoreline. The underwater terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and they are adorned with a patch of curly-leaf pondweed, stumps, laydowns, and logs. Six of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse HogZ rig in three to four feet of water, and eleven of the 17 largemouth bass were caught on either a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a drag-and-shake retrieve in four to seven feet of water.

In sum, a catch rate of 17 largemouth bass per hour is the best one that we have enjoyed in many, many, many months. It is, however, a long way from our coveted catch rate of 25 largemouth bass per hour. We failed to relish one of those coveted outings in 2018. But before last year, we used to enjoy several outings every year when we would catch 101 or more largemouth bass or smallmouth bass in four hours.

April 24

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs on April 24.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 52 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 65 degrees at 12:52 p.m. Most of the time, the wind was calm, but when it stirred it angled out of the north and northwest at 3 mph. At 12:52 a.m., it was misty and foggy, and then it became overcast for 10 hours, and during the next three hours, it was mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:52 a.m., 29.93 at 5:52 a.m., 29.91 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.90 at 12:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:11 a.m. to 6:11 a.m., 4:36 p.m.to 6:36 p.m., and 10:42 a.m. to 12:24 p.m. We fished from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 75 degrees at the boat ramp to 65 degrees along the dam. The water exhibited about five feet of clarity along the dam. The water level was slightly above normal. Except for wads of filamentous algae, we did not cross paths with any aquatic vegetation, which was a surprise.

The smallmouth bass fishing was wretched. Something has gone awry with this reservoir’s once bountiful smallmouth bass population. Because a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir has been walloped with the largemouth bass virus and its smallmouth bass fishing has become wretched, some northeastern Kansas anglers fear that the largemouth bass virus has affected this reservoir’s smallmouth bass population.

During the eight hours that we were afloat, we fished many of this reservoir’s best springtime smallmouth bass lairs. These lairs are situated on offshore humps, around main-lake points, along some main-lake shorelines, along untold-numbers of yards of riprap jetties, and along portions of the dam. We eked out only 15 smallmouth bass. We did, however, catch one wiper, one channel catfish, two walleye, five crappie, 20 freshwater drum, and 72 white bass.

To catch these fish, I used four Midwest finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ, a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD HogZ, a California craw TRD MinnowZ, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Punch CrawZ. They were affixed to either a black or a red mushroom-style jig.

Pok-Chi caught them on a straight-line spinner and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.
At one hump, the white bass seemed to be at a variety of depths, and it did not matter how we retrieved our baits. We caught them every which way all around this hump.

April 25

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Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 24 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I journeyed to an unpopular and neglected state reservoir located in the rural countryside north of Ft. Worth. Norman has not fished at this reservoir in two years, and I last visited it on April 1 with Rick Allen of Dallas.

It was a beautiful spring day. The sky was partly cloudy and the sun was intensely bright. Area thermometers recorded the morning-low temperature at 54 degrees. The afternoon high reached 86 degrees. The wind was mild-mannered for the first time in days, and it quartered out of the north and northwest at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure remained steady at 29.83.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most productive fishing would occur from 4:24 a.m. to 6:24 a.m., 10:36 a.m. to 12:36 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. to 6:49 p.m. Norman and I fished from 9:44 a.m. to 2: 44 p.m.

The vast majority of this reservoir’s shorelines is rock- and boulder-laden. They are adorned with laydowns, overhanging trees, and some flooded buck brush.

We fished portions of five large main-lake coves, two riprap jetties, four rocky main-lake points, and a deep-water channel that leads to a spillway. All of these areas are situated in the middle and lower sections of the reservoir.

The water exhibited between three and five feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 64 degrees at the boat ramp in the southwest end of the reservoir to 68 degrees along the spillway in the northeast end. The water level appeared to be a couple of feet high, and it had risen over the top of several rock retaining walls along the shoreline inside a couple of coves.

We began fishing inside two coves in the southwest region of the reservoir. We stumbled across some burgeoning patches of hydrilla in the back of one of the coves, but we were unable to locate any bass around those patches of hydrilla or along the rocky shorelines inside these two coves.

We then moved to the midsection of the impoundment and slowly dissected two riprap jetties.

The first jetty surrendered a combination of 13 largemouth bass and spotted bass, and the second jetty yielded 10 largemouth bass and spotted bass. They were caught in three to eight feet of water near the jetties’ submerged rocks and boulders.

The first black bass we caught was a largemouth, and it was attracted to a slow swimming retrieve with a customized three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin underspin Slim SwimZ rigged on a Z-Man’s chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four others were enticed into striking a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD that was affixed on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other 18 spotted bass and largemouth bass preferred a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ that was attached to a 1/20-ounce chartreuse Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Inside a main-lake cove adjacent to the jetties, we caught one largemouth bass from a rocky flat on the northwest side of the cove. This largemouth was caught near some flooded buck brush in four feet of water on the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Inside another large main-lake cove about half of a mile north of the two jetties, we caught four largemouth bass and one spotted bass. We could see one largemouth bass that was suspending about two feet below the surface near the end of a concrete boat ramp in about four feet of water, and we watched it engulf the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ combo that was cast close to it and retrieved in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner.

From a shallow flat along the east side of this cove, we caught three largemouth bass in three to five feet of water. This flat is graced with some flooded buck brush and submerged boulders. Just west of this flat and along a rocky shoreline, we caught a spotted bass in eight feet of water. Then we caught one more largemouth from another rocky shoreline on the north side of this cove in five feet of water near some submerged boulders. All of these bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Inside a long channel that leads to a large spillway, we caught three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and a smallmouth bass that weighed four pounds and seven ounces. This channel is about 60 feet wide. Its shorelines are steep and lined with riprap and a few large submerged boulders. The water in the center of this channel is 21 feet deep.

These five black bass were relating to some submerged riprap and boulders in water as deep as eight feet and as shallow as three feet.

Two of the largemouth bass and the lunker smallmouth were attracted to the swim-glide-and-shake motion of the Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig. Another largemouth and a spotted bass were coaxed into striking a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that was dressed with a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ as it was slowly swimming parallel to one of the riprap shorelines.

After we finished fishing inside the spillway channel, we returned to the two jetties were we caught 23 black bass earlier in the day. We made one pass along the most productive section of the first jetty, and we caught two more spotted bass and one largemouth bass that were associated with the submerged boulders and riprap in five to eight feet of water.

One spotted bass and one largemouth bass were beguiled by the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig and a swim-glide-and shake retrieve. The other spotted bass was attracted to the slow-swimming action of the green-pumpkin GrubZ as it was retrieved close to the side of a large submerged boulder.

In sum, this was our most bountiful outing of 2019, and it is also the most black bass we have caught in one outing at this reservoir. We were delighted to catch 38 black bass, and we accidentally caught two green sunfish and one white bass. Twenty-six of the 38 black bass were largemouth bass and 11 were spotted bass. The highlight of the day was Norman catching and releasing the lunker smallmouth bass, and it is the largest smallmouth bass that he has caught. It is also the largest smallmouth bass that we have ever seen or caught in Texas and Oklahoma.

Our most productive locale was the two riprap jetties on the east side of the reservoir. Though we caught a few bass inside two of the main-lake coves and along the riprap shorelines inside the spillway channel, we failed to elicit any strikes from three of the five coves that we fished and the four main-lake points.

Our two most effective lures were a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on either a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

The most effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

As we were driving home, Norman and I reflected on this stellar outing and we were amazed that Norman has caught his two largest smallmouth bass in back-to-back outings in the same week at two different reservoirs.

April 26

The National Weather Service reported that it was 43 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 72 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind was calm at 1:52 p.m., and at other times, it angled out of the northwest, west, north, and southwest at 3 to 18 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.17 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.05 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:07 a.m. to 7:07 a.m., 5:31 p.m. to 7:31 p.m., and 11:19 p.m. to 1:19 a.m.

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, and I were afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 10:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The water level looked to be about six inches above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 63 degrees to 67 degrees. The water exhibited about 4 1/2 feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam and slightly less than 2 1/2 feet in the upper reaches of one of the feeder-creek arms. We crossed paths with some scant, but burgeoning, patches of bushy pondweed and a few minor patches of curly-leaf pondweed. Many of this reservoir’s shorelines are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water-willows. In many shallow-water areas, wads of filamentous algae covered the boulders, stumps, laydowns, brush piles, and aquatic vegetation. This reservoir’s once vibrant and massive patches of coontail disappeared several years ago. There was a significant caddisfly hatch taking place.

We spent 90 minutes methodically plying one main-lake shoreline. This shoreline is more than 500 yards long. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few laydowns, some overhanging trees, and several brush piles. It is also embellished with eight riprap jetties. It possesses a 25- to 40-degree slope.

Along this shoreline, we caught 20 largemouth bass. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on a shortened Berkley PowerBait MaxScent’s green-pumpkin The General affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Berkley’s Half Head Jig. Three were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-laminated ZinkerZ affixed to a firetiger-hue 1/16-ounce Berkley’s Half Head Jig. Three were caught on a Z-Man’s dirt Finesse HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Berkley’s Half Head Jig. Ten were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Three of the 20 largemouth bass were caught around two of the eight riprap jetties. The majority of the other 17 largemouth bass were caught adjacent to or a few feet from the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows. But three were caught under an overhanging tree. And a few were caught many feet from the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows.

Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on a deadstick presentation. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake retrieve. A few were caught while we were strolling and employing either a drag-and-shake retrieve or a drag-and-slight-deadstick retrieve. We caught them in water as shallow as 2 1/2 feet and as deep as seven feet.

Along a shoreline in the back of a feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about five feet of water. This shoreline’s underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few laydowns, some overhanging trees, and several stumps. It possesses a 25- to 35-degree slope.

Inside a small feeder creek and adjacent to a point, we caught a largemouth bass on the initial drop of the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig in about four feet of water near a minor laydown and a patch of American water willows.

We caught two largemouth bass along a 60-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows and a few overhanging trees. It is also embellished with two riprap jetties. It possesses a 25- to 35-degree slope. These largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught in about three feet of water around one of the jetties on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig. The other one was caught along the outside edge of a patch of winter-dead American water willows with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about four feet of water.

Six largemouth bass were caught along one shoreline adjacent to a main-lake point, and another largemouth bass was caught along the other shoreline adjacent to this point. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows. It possesses a 30- to 35-degree slope. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the dirt Finesse HogZ rig and four were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig. We caught them in three to five feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Three were caught on a deadstick presentation. Two were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation.

We caught one largemouth bass along the dam on the green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about six feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. It possesses a 45-degree slope.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s dirt Finesse HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/8-ounce Berkley’s Half Head Jig on a deadstick presentation in about four feet of water along the spillway. The underwater terrain of the spillway consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 15-degree slope. It is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows.

In total, we caught 33 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught five channel catfish, two crappie, one freshwater drum, and one bluegill. We caught them on a variety of presentations and locations. Eighteen of the 33 were caught on our Finesse HogZ rigs.

We fished many yards of shorelines and points that failed to yield a strike.

When we fail to catch at least 40 largemouth bass on our Midwest finesse rigs in late April, it is a very disappointing outing in northeastern Kansas.

In years past, this was a bountiful largemouth bass reservoir. For example, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I enjoyed one four-hour outing by tangling with 176 largemouth bass. Since the demise of its massive patches of coontail, the largemouth bass fishing has become progressively trying. What’s more, the largemouth bass virus has afflicted the black bass that abide in a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, and some of us suspect that the virus is inflicting its damage on the largemouth bass population in this state reservoir that David and I fished for four hours on April 26.

April 29

The wind howled in northeastern Kansas on April 27 and 28, and it was a cold wind on April 28.

On April 29, the National Weather Service reported that it was 53 degrees at 6:56 a.m. and 63 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The sky was overcast for hours on end, but there were a few moments when the sun peaked through the heavy cloud cover. Nearly an inch of rain fell during the early morning hours. The wind angled out of the east, southeast, west, northwest, and north at 8 to 29 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.75 at 12:52 a.m., 29.83 at 5:52 a.m., 30.01 at 11:52 p.m., and 30.04 at 2:57 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place at 7:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m., 7:42 p.m. to 9:42 p.m., and 1:09 a.m. to 3:09 a.m.

Because the National Weather Service was predicting that the wind would be pesky and it would rain on April 29, I was not going to fish. But around 10 a.m., the wind tamed down a touch and the NWS’ radar indicated that it would not rain hereabouts. Therefore I decided to venture to one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs, and I fished from 10:57 a.m. to 1:57 p.m.

This decision to go fishing was motivated by the fact that the National Weather Service was forecasting that it would rain on April 30 and May 1, and this old man does not like to fish in the rain like he did when he was a tad feistier.

This community reservoir’s water level is about 3 1/2 feet below its normal level, and water is being flushed out of this reservoir at a rather significant rate. The water exhibited one to two feet of clarity at locales inside one feeder-creek arm that had been blasted by two days of brisk winds. In the vicinity of the dam and at several other locales, there was five to seven feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 60 to 62 degrees. A minor hatch of caddisflies was occurring at times. Along several shallow-water locales, wads of filamentous algae are coating rocks, boulders, patches of winter-dead American water willows, patches of curly-leaf pondweed, logs, stumps, and laydowns.

During the three hours that I was afloat, I caught 48 largemouth bass and one white crappie.

Seven of the largemouth bass were caught along the spillway and a short section of its adjacent main-lake shoreline. This location possesses a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. All seven of these largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught in four to eight feet of water. Three of them were caught on the initial drop, and four were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Two largemouth bass were caught along a 75-yard stretch of the west end of the dam, and four largemouth bass were caught on a 50-yard stretch of the east end of the dam. The dam has a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of rocks and boulders. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse HogZ rig, and two were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD MinnowZ affixed to blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught in three to seven feet of water. Three were caught on the initial drop, and the other three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Three largemouth bass were caught along a 150-yard stretch of the north shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and this terrain is embellished with some stumps, patches of curly-leaf pondweed, and a few minor laydowns. The Finesse HogZ rig caught them in three to eight feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop, and one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Two largemouth bass were caught along a 80-yard portion of a main-lake shoreline. The shoreline has a 35- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. One was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse HogZ rig in about three feet of water. The other one was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. The wind was blustery along this shoreline, and I used a drift-sock to control the boat.

I used the drift-sock along a 175-yard stretch of the west shoreline inside a wind-blown feeder-creek arm. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s molting craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water, and the other one was caught in about six feet of water as I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. At several spots along this shoreline, the water exhibited one to three feet of visibility, and along these areas, I caught seven largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught in three to seven feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse TRD rig, and five largemouth bass were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

I continued to use the drift-sock along a 125-yard stretch of the east shoreline inside this wind-blown feeder-creek arm. And the Finesse TRD rig caught 21 largemouth bass. They were caught in four to nine feet of water. Five were caught on the initial drop of the rig. The other 16 were caught when I was executing either the swim-glide-and-shake presentation or the drag-and-shake presentation.

These shorelines possess a 25- to a 40-degree slope. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and the water’s edges are adorned with a few minor patches of curly-leaf pondweed, stumps, laydowns, logs, and overhanding trees.

Within a 10-foot by 10-foot square area situated under an overhanging tree along the east shoreline, I caught five largemouth bass in seven to nine feet of water. In the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, it is a rare phenomenon to catch that many largemouth bass in that small of an area during the last days of April.

In sum, my hourly catch rate was an average of 16 largemouth bass an hour. The Finesse TRD rig was the most effective rig; it caught 29 of them. The Finesse HogZ was the second most effective rig; it caught 14 largemouth bass.

April 30

We noted in the introduction to this April guide that Mother Nature’s rainy ways confounded Midwest finesse anglers at times.

It is interesting to note that she ended it with a bang of wide-spread thunderstorms on April 30.

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, said that two inches of rain fell in less than an hour, and more is expected to fall.

Stacey King of Reeds Springs, Missouri, reported that five inches of rain fell around Table Rock Lake, Missouri.

Three and half inches fell into our rain gauge at our house in Lawrence, Kansas.

Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, reported that Salt Creek was well out of its banks. It has a medium flow of 21 cubic feet per second, but during the evening hours of April 30, it was running at 11,400 cubic feet per second.

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