What all this water is doing to the fish

Published 7:32 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If this was a 10-month year, we would just be a day or two past the New Year, but instead we have watched two go with a goodly amount of rainfall and showing little sign of slowing.

Now we do need some rain and to know that we just need to look back a couple of years when everything was beginning to look like another dust bowl. It will slow down but giving no indication when.

The water during most of the fall and so far this winter has been high in practically all the streams and bodies of water over most of the state. We are sending our water south on to the Gulf, so the area along the river below us has plenty of water. Having not talked to anyone at the Corps of Engineers, I have no idea what they are doing to combat this water problem, but surely they have a plan.

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Looking at the river here in Bainbridge, one can see a lot of bank along the Flint. Not having been that way in a while, it makes one wonder if they aren’t going to dump water ahead of the influx from the next rains.

I passed by the dam last Tuesday, and they had most of the gates up and dumping water in the Apalachicola. It is still more than full below the dam, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

The Hooch has more water coming down it than the Flint, so we might be in good shape when these next rains to our north start flowing downstream. What we will need is some warm weather to warm the water so the fish will start to bed and the fish that are not bedding will at least be active. Get the temp on up closer to 70 and everything will go wild, maybe even some of us.

The next to the last weekend in February we had a few days that were warm for this time of year, and it was about time. Everybody was either buying bait or selling bait, even a few crickets, but mostly worms and minnows. It is time, and maybe a little late, for the crappie to bed. Many will move into the banks where the water is not so deep and lay their eggs on the limbs and stumps that are there. The eggs stick to the limbs keeping them from just floating down into the mud where they will not have much of a chance of hatching. We normally have good hatches of baby fry crappie and each season has contributed to the good population that we now have in Lake Seminole.

I can remember when we did not have the population of crappie like we have now. But then neither did we have as many bream or shellcracker as we do now and they like the crappie have increased in average size. One thing makes us have more and bigger fish and that thing is food and the grass shrimp is the food and the key to what we have. I know that we all curse the hydrilla, but that is where the grass shrimp live and raise. The fish are naturally going to go where the food and cover is and that is the hydrilla. I hate it as much as any of you do, but without it we wouldn’t have much.

It is going to be after Easter before the weather stabilizes and we can depend on having good predictable weather. Until then we will have to go on the better days and not call in sick on the bad days. You should be able to find a few bass beds in the shallow clear water. There may be a few in the not-so-clear water, you just might not be able to see them.

I toss back most of the bass I catch and especially when they are bedding. Let them lay their eggs and make the males fan the beds and protect the eggs and small fry. He needs something to do and it keeps him slim and trim. The females are the ones that get big and we brag about catching.

The largest male bass I have ever caught was about 4 pounds and he pulled like an 8-pounder. Hang in there, spring is not long off, thank goodness.