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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 10:54am - Jun 28,11
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Location: Northside

Post Posted: 11:05am - May 24,16 
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Image
Image
Image

Sorry, cant put the other pics up. Files too big, or location becomes too obvious. I always waffle back and forth between sharing those pictures and not. I feel like location is an intregal part of the sharing process that this website is supposed to be. But I also have been blasted for sharing pics that show smallmouth spawning spots, which i totally understand, because I have first hand seen people keeping smallmouth that they caught spawning, and they found out about that spot because of pictures on the internet. (That situation was the closest I ever came to getting into a fight with someone on the lakefront).
Anyhow....
Awesome day on the south side. SOOO happy that the smallies are in, and seemingly en masse too. They were all over the place, which is really refreshing after last years junky spawn. Hit a couple of spots south of Jackson Harbor, and between my buddy and I, landed 11 in about 3 hours. (130pm-430pm). All fish caught using 1/4oz Kalins weedless darter jigheads with Stieger Ice color Eerie Darter JR's, or same jig head with a Cabin Creek Jr. Tube in "Smoke Purple Copper" color. Only one fish was under 17"!! They were all big! The biggest was 19.5". All fish landed, photo'd and safely, immediately released. Had a great day with a friend who hasn't fished the lakefront in over 10 years. He had no idea the smallmouth fishery was as good as it is.

Good Luck and lets ALL HELP ENFORCE CPR!!! A couple of the fish I got Monday were caught in the same bed that I have gotten them in years past (noticeably bigger!) and I can only imagine how old some of those bigger fish must be. We have a truly awesome fishery that is on the verge of being a world class smallmouth fishery (if it isn't already). Lets do our best to protect it by making the poachers feel unwelcome and letting them know that we wont stand by and let them steal our fishery right in front of us. DNR poaching hotline is 877 236 7529. I'm getting off my soap box now.... :winker


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Post Posted: 11:17am - May 24,16 
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Very, very nice.

Thanks for the post.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 12:16pm - Jun 13,15
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 02:28pm - May 24,16 
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Well done man! Bigger than the 3 I picked up yesterday.

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Post Posted: 09:48pm - May 24,16 
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You ever just slow roll a grub? Or is it a better bottom bit? I may give it a shot tomorrow and was wondering how you are working it? Thanks in advance

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 10:54am - Jun 28,11
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Post Posted: 01:14am - May 25,16 
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I have not slow rolled a grub this time of year....nor would I right now. You might get one that is agitated enough by it to attack it, but mostly they are spawning right now. Earlier on, in the spring you can catch lots of them on grubs (white 3 inch grub with a pink or chartreuse head). Just pop it and slow roll it back to you. But now its a lot of nothing that catches them. Make your bait look like a goby or crayfish, then just cast it to the right spot and let it sit. Twitch it just the littlest bit from time to time, but they will pick it up and move it if it just continues sitting there. Some of the smaller, cruising males will strike a moving bait, but your best bet is the painfully slow, tedious art of bed fishing.

All of that being said, I can not stress this enough..... If the fish doesn't hit your bait after 45-60 seconds and a couple of casts: LEAVE AND COME BACK LATER. Look at it this way: that fish is guarding its nest/eggs/fry. When you drag your bait into or near its nest, you are distracting it from real threats (gobies, crayfish, minnows, perch etc). If and when you do hook that fish and subsequently pull it off its nest, you are leaving that nest completely vulnerable to predation. Find the fish, catch it quickly, return it quickly. That way, as little harm comes to the fish and it's offspring as possible. You can always come back to that same fish later....sometimes days later. If your first try didn't work, maybe your second will.

The friend of mine I took with me had the hardest time slowing down to fish for bedding lake michigan smallmouth. It was actually kind of funny, He has caught LOTS of big smallies in the NorthWoods of Wisconsin, but he has never bed fished before and no matter how clearly I explained it, he just would stop reeling his line in. Aftert the first hour of me catching and him not, I told him to cast over the bed. He did. I told him to SLOWLY retrieve the jig,until it was just outside of the nest. He did. Then I told him to twitch it PAINFULLY slow, into the nest. He did. Then I took the rod out of his hand, put it on the rocks next to him and told him to use his eyes to watch when the fish took the bait and THEN pick the rod up and set the hook. You could tell he was really not comfortable without "doing something". It was hillarious to watch him wring his hands, nervously waiting for the fish to explode onto the bait. We stood there for a full minute as the smally stared at the bait and became more agitated, but at the end it didn't smash the bait as my buddy was expecting after years of experience in the NorthWoods fishing for smallmouth with topwater and jerk baits. It simply decided enough was enough of this odd intruder into its private space. It lazily floated over to the bait, gently picked it up by the tail (not deep enough for the hook to be in its mouth) and swam just out of its nest, where it dropped the lure. After seeing this display, I turned to my buddy and said "stop....reeling....in". The next cast into that same bed, he caught the fish. It was great.

Bed fishing can be tedious and stressful, but I absolutely love it. It can also be dangerously easy if you are good at it and in a spot with lots of fish. Be as respectful and careful as possible while still having fun doing it.

DUBZEE

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Post Posted: 06:48pm - May 25,16 
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I just don't get the appeal of pulling CPR fish off of their beds.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 10:54am - Jun 28,11
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Post Posted: 11:01pm - May 25,16 
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To each their own I suppose. Especially if they aren't hurting anything. Personally, I don't see the appeal of powerlining, but I'm not going to judge them. If they are being respectful to the fish, other fishermen and have the proper licenses, let them enjoy the water as much as you do. Have you ever sight fished bedding bass before? I think it's a ton of fun, plus for most shorebound Lake Michigan anglers, it is the best and by far the most productive way to catch them. You can catch them other times from shore, but never in as many numbers, or with the consistent size that you can when they come in to spawn. Also, just because one spot lends itself to bed fishing, doesn't mean the harbor 2 miles north will be the same. ChiCityYaker was getting them today, pre spawn a little further north than where I saw them mostly on their beds. I'll take what the Lake gives me, and when it gives it to me.

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Joined: 02:57pm - Dec 18,13
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Location: LakeFront

Post Posted: 07:14am - May 27,16 
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One big concern is, do all the fish continue to "bed" after their CPR?

Will a fish abandon their nest if it is hooked and pulled out the lake? Will survival instincts tell them to go elsewhere and consequently not spawn or lose their nest to predators?

One fisherman will never skew the population in a fishery as vast as LM, but these are just some points to think about.

GS

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Post Posted: 07:31am - May 27,16 
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Thanks for taking the time to post, those are some great fish!

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Post Posted: 11:12am - May 27,16 
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GrandSlammer wrote:
One big concern is, do all the fish continue to "bed" after their CPR?

Will a fish abandon their nest if it is hooked and pulled out the lake? Will survival instincts tell them to go elsewhere and consequently not spawn or lose their nest to predators?

One fisherman will never skew the population in a fishery as vast as LM, but these are just some points to think about.

GS


Definitely not trying to start a flame war or anything. I remember reading that pulling fish off the bed bumps the mortality rate up for the fry quite a bit especially when there are gobies around. I know one person won't make a big dent, but it is a common practice for people who in this case enjoy the smallmouth bass population in the lake. It's something to protect and maybe something to tread lightly on.

Either way those are some beautiful bronzebacks for sure.

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Post Posted: 12:55pm - May 27,16 
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Smallmouth will go right back to the bed if they are released quickly and unharmed. They will continue to stay on the bed for the duration of the spawn as well. They will also come back to that spot the next season as well, even if they have been caught there. Not only have I read this, and been told it by tournament anglers, but I have seen it myself. As I mentioned before, I have compared pictures from one year to the next and have FOR SURE pulled the same fish off the same bed multiple years. I have also many times caught a fish, then seen it right back on the bed where I caught it moments/hours/or days ago. Also, not trying to start an argument, and you guys are right....it NEEDS to be done correctly, and respectfully, or it can be harmful. I'm going out again on Monday (hoping it wont be too crazy) and trying a couple of different spots that I have never hit this time of year. One i would bet is in the full spawning stage, the other spot I would bet isn't quite there yet. Ill post results and of course be as respectful as possible.
Also, there are limits to what I and most others will and will not fish for duriong the spawn. I NEVER interupt the actual mating process (which I see pretty frequently), and I NEVER pull a fish off a bed that has visible fry. I did it once years ago, when i was younger and first starting to bed fish. After I hooked the adult, the fry scattered, and did not come back. I visited the bed later that day, and a couple of days later. It was completely empty. Not sure if they moved, or if they just fled and ended up not making it, but I felt terrible. After that is when I started researching their spawning habits, talking to more seasoned anglers who have done it and learned where the vulnerabilities are in the practice.

There seems to be some disagreement amongst some of the tournament anglers as to whether or not it is an ethical practice, but that is a totally different scenario from recreational sport fishing. Tournaments often require you to keep your fish, transport them back to the marina for weigh in and then release them, but not back to their nests...just release them back in the same body of water they were caught in. I think we can all agree, that would probably be damaging to an active nest. But recreational bed fishing shouldn't have that fish off the bed for more than 60 secnds or so.

https://www.bassmaster.com/news/ethics-bed-fishing


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Post Posted: 01:10pm - May 27,16 
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One big concern is, do all the fish continue to "bed" after their CPR?

Will a fish abandon their nest if it is hooked and pulled out the lake? Will survival instincts tell them to go elsewhere and consequently not spawn or lose their nest to predators?

One fisherman will never skew the population in a fishery as vast as LM, but these are just some points to think about.

GS

I remember reading that pulling fish off the bed bumps the mortality rate up for the fry quite a bit especially when there are gobies around.


My 2 cents is I agree with both of the above. And I understand that many take great care to return fish but when smallmouth are on the beds, I fish for other species during their spawning time, and several times while fishing Burnham harbor, I've seen the same bass hooked and landed 3 times in a 5 hour period. After I told one guy the fish he was targeting had been hooked twice already today, he gave me the "you must be an idiot look" and proceeded to antagonize that fish for 45 minutes until it hit. On any given weekend there will be numerous anglers walking around the harbors wearing their polarized glasses targeting bedding fish, and one guy has no idea if or how many times the fish he's targeting has been hooked that weekend. I have to think that this causes stress on those fish and has to have an impact on their ability to reproduce. Not looking for a flame war just some throwing out a different point of view.

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Post Posted: 01:31pm - May 27,16 
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I'm glad to see you were able to land on some. I know you spend a lot of time out there and its nice to have your efforts pay off especially with such good looking fish.

As far as bed fishing, I agree it can be a fun time and offer good numbers of fish, but to me the potential negative impact outweighs those factors.

An Ohio State University study estimated every time an angler pulls a guarding smallmouth from the bed gobies will eat approximately 400 eggs (~3% of the eggs laid by larger adult and even higher percentage for smaller fish).

Here is a video of what the bed will look like almost immediately after the fish is removed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWt_uffYZ4M

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Post Posted: 06:00pm - May 27,16 
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4season angler wrote:
I'm glad to see you were able to land on some. I know you spend a lot of time out there and its nice to have your efforts pay off especially with such good looking fish.

As far as bed fishing, I agree it can be a fun time and offer good numbers of fish, but to me the potential negative impact outweighs those factors.

An Ohio State University study estimated every time an angler pulls a guarding smallmouth from the bed gobies will eat approximately 400 eggs (~3% of the eggs laid by larger adult and even higher percentage for smaller fish).

Here is a video of what the bed will look like almost immediately after the fish is removed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWt_uffYZ4M



So if it's a fish getting caught numerous times in a weekend or a day or whatever it's probably safe to say that their nest is getting emptied out pretty easily.

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Post Posted: 09:21am - May 28,16 
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[url]http://www.berkley-fishing.com/Berkley-ae-fishing-for-spawning-bass.html/url]

http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/Bass_on_Beds_Final.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVoK5GEEHmM

MANY experts/ state regulations/ professional fishermen (tournament anglers and guides) agree. The science supports that bed fishing does not effect mortality rate, growth rate or population. ESPECIALLY on larger lakes with good habitat, abundant spawning habitat, abundant food resources and a large population of fish. I would say southern Lake Michigan qualifies as big, with abundant food sources, great habitat, great spawning grounds and a massive population of fish. I especially found it interesting that the Indiana DNR article said that even during the spawn, a population is not quantifiably effected by fishing unti 40% of sexually mature adults are HARVESTED....not just caught and released, but HARVESTED! That was amazing to me. There is ABSOLUTELY NO POSSIBLE WAY that 40% of the spawning bass in southern lake michigan are even caught and released, let alone harvested. The science just doesn't support a closed season during the spawn....which is why many NOrthern states have eased or relaxed their regulations on spawn time fishing. Used to be many northern states had a closed season for bass during the spawn. After years of research though, many of those states have re-opened fishing and switched to a catch and release only season during the spawn. That alone should be all the evidence needed to prove that bed fishing does not harm the population.

Dubzee

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Post Posted: 09:23am - May 28,16 
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Sorry, first link didn't post properly. Here it is:
http://www.berkley-fishing.com/Berkley-ae-fishing-for-spawning-bass.html

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Post Posted: 05:37pm - May 28,16 
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D-DUBZ wrote:
Sorry, first link didn't post properly. Here it is:
http://www.berkley-fishing.com/Berkley-ae-fishing-for-spawning-bass.html


Thanks for posting the article. I hope you don't think I'm judging you or anything. I just like to hear people's thoughts on stuff like this. When I say I don't get the appeal of bed fishing I mean when people spend so much time aggravating a single bedding fish to bite.

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Post Posted: 12:26am - May 29,16 
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No offense taken! I don't think you are judging. I also didn't want people thinking I SOLELY bed fish. I don't. Most of my bass aren't caught bed fishing. I think one of the things I like about it is that there is MUCH more of a me vs. the individual fish aspect. I am casting to a specific fish and am trying to win that specific battle. I'm not casting blindly, or to a likely spot and hoping there is a fish there. It feels more personal I guess. Not sure if that makes any sense or not. If you haven;t tried it before, you should give it a shot. It is a completely different sport. Much more like hunting almost than like "normal" fishing.

Dubzee

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