Jordan Lake Report 3 – 22 – 20

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Since lake levels around the state have come down in late winter, I’ve had the chance to fish Jordan Lake 3 times in the last week and the fishing has been pretty good.

I hit the river area about a week and a half ago in search of white bass to see if their run had started. Hadn’t been on the lake in months so I really didn’t know what to expect.

I tried trolling cranks and spinners but found nothing. Not even a perch. The white bass of Jordan Lake were seemingly not present yet. The water was a slight stain, maybe a touch darker than normal. It was cloudy with a slight west wind, and weather approaching, the barometer was moving, so I expected something to happen.

After paddling up one of the multiple creeks in the area, I decided to try casting for a bit. I threw upstream, downtream and crossstream and still had no takers. I threw a couple different cranks and spinners and finally selected a hairless brass spinner; it would be the last switch before I tried to troll out further on the lake to fish deeper water.

The line flew off the reel perfectly. I let it sink into the current downstream, and just before starting to retrieve, the line thumped hard. I set the hook and felt a large fish. I knew I was hung, but then the head shakes came. The fish darted towards me and into a tree and hung up. I detached from the tree I’d connected to and drifted slightly downstream and it came off still attached to the line. After a decent tussle, I pulled the largemouth bass from the river. It was easily 4 pounds (feature photo).

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I sat there for another two hours catching one after the other. They almost all ran for the same tree and several hung in it and escaped, but most came off just like the first fish, and eventually into the kayak. I released all of them and left that afternoon without another species.

Michelle and I returned the following Sunday and fished deeper water in the river area. A buddy told me he’d caught some in an area he, my brother and I had done well in last year. Even though all the fish were short, due to, IMO ridiculous new regulations the NCWRC placed on white bass last year. They are a panfish, and now they have to be 14″ for the creel, and they reduced the creel limit from 20 to 10.

Crappie can be kept at 10″ on Jordan Lake, which is tougher than anywhere in the state I can think of. I just don’t understand it. White bass are extremely aggressive, plentiful, they are in no danger of decline and are stocked as put and take fish for the table, but now someone got the bright idea to make Jordan a trophy white bass destination, ignoring why the fish is stocked. We catch hundreds literally every year and have always released the overwhelming majority; the creel should not have been changed so drastically. It just makes it harder for law-abiding anglers to catch a meal, while 5 buckets get crammed full of every fish caught by many who don’t even have a license to fish. Happens every year in the Haw, the wardens get called, but nothing happens, they never even come. The reason is political and ridiculous.

Anyhow, we did find a lot of the notorious white bass, but only 3 were legal. We trolled chartruese bomber crankbaits and sexy shad as well. The fish also responded to inline spinners with and without hair. I use barrel weights to get them deep enough. We trolled 2 mph and fished water 10 to 15 feet deep and did really well. It was windy and cold but the fish cooperated. We probably boated 30ish white bass, most in the 10 to 13 inch range, as usual. We also caught crappie (a couple keepers which luckily allowed us enough fish for one good meal) catfish, largemouth and a striped bass. We released everything except 3 white bass and 2 crappie. The biggest white bass was 15″; the other 2 just over the 14″ minimum.

We came back one more time and caught even more fish, repeated doubles and triples. I’d say 70 conservatively in a morning outing and none were 14″. But again, luckily we found several fat crappie to make a meal out of.

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Did I say how much I think the white bass regulations stink?

I saw several folks taking short fish, even one kayaker at Ebeneezer on the way out with a terribly short striper.

Folks, we can do better, and I’m not just talking to anglers.

 

 

White Bass Report at Jordan Lake & Latest Woodworking

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So it’s been a very busy end of winter and early spring, both on the water at Jordan Lake, and working on some really cool commissions I wanted to share.

The 2019 white bass run at Jordan Lake was a trickle at first, then starting last Tuesday, it really tuned on.

I took two different days off work when the rain was light, and at least the weather conditions were what I considered optimal. The water conditions were however, not. The river was stained and the main lake was as well. And talk about high water. I usually can’t stand fishing Jordan Lake when it’s high, but I’ve been so busy, frankly, I needed a day on the water and at least everything else had lined up to get out there.

At least it was easy to launch.

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I was looking at a skunk after nearly an hour and a half of searching, but then found them, and when I say found them, I mean found them like never before. Double after double after double trolling, so I just started casting.

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Now most people who fish for white bass for any number of years know they can just about count on days when those fiesty critters just keep biting; fair weather, blue-bird days, overcast, it doesn’t seem to matter, when you get on a biomass of them and have the right lures; it’s indeed non-stop fishing. And I have had many of those days. I thought I’d known no more frantic fishing until last week. I got tired of catching and releasing them; mainly because out of probably 200ish fish on the day, only 1 met the new 14″ minimum for my creel. And they’re just about my favorite fresh water meat for the table.

It was a surreal day of fishing. Cloudy then clear, off and on. Winds weren’t light, and the current (the Army Core of Engineers was aggressively pulling water at the Jordan Lake Dam) was intense. I fished in the river and the main lake, on two seperate occassions, and the results were nearly the same. A ton of fish were caught, but only 1 keeper both outings over 14″.

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But the fish are staging in 10 feet of water now and seem to be scattered around even into the shallows from there. Anything under 15 feet and you’re in the zone. Crankbaits, inline spinners, beetlespins and grubs, whatever, go throw it. Just remember the new regs, only 10 for the creel too.

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Now I have had several woodworking commissions of late and they really let me get creative. Hope you like the stuff. If you think you might be interested in anything, there’s a custom woodworking page on this site, feel free to give it a look and contact me if you’d like to talk about a piece. It’s all chainsaw-milled lumber, and I mill it and do all the work. The little hummingbirds are inexpensive and great for gifts.

Good luck fishing!

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Jordan Lake Report

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Striped bass and white bass were chewing good on Jordan Lake this past weekend.

I didn’t have the highest of hopes for the fishing before this weekend arrived. Weather reports were clear blue-bird skies, with very little predicted cloud cover and HOT. Luckily, Saturday there were storms forming south and east of the lake throughout the day, so the pressure was moving… The large, multi-cloud-form goliaths hovered all day and loomed large late, but never drenched us. Lightning started coming from the thunderheads as we trailered the boat though.

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Captain Stu and I got on the lake around 3pm Saturday and started catching fish right off. We found a very big white bass, close to 16”, after finding good sonar marks in an area with light boat traffic. The fish hit so hard we thought it was a striper, but when we saw the tall profile as it came boatside, I yelled, “I’m having fish tacos for dinner!”

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We ran though the area a few more times, but it was still early, so without another taker we moved on. And we found fish again and again, literally everywhere we trolled the rest of the afternoon. Bait balls are already on the main lake….

We followed the fish from deeper water to shallower water as the evening wore on and though we caught a ton of nice white bass, a few perch and a really nice crappie, we only found one striped bass just short of a keeper. But it was still a nice fish and fight; Stu got the honor…

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We fished til near dark, and continued catching, it was an afternoon of chinese fire-drills for sure; multiple double and triple hookups resulting in the two of us working our tails off… Then finally, exhausted, we hit the ramp. I cleaned the fish once home and had fried fish by 10:30pm lol; long day; then I woke at 4:15am to go again with my friend and his girlfriend.

Well, we did have plans….good ones!

Dawn was beautiful…

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We had our kayaks in motion before dawn and started pulling hardware before the sun was up. And we started catching fish right off. Stripers, white bass, crappie, catfish and perch attacked our lures the entire time we fished, and like the day prior, literally everywhere we fished.

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All the stripers were short, though we landed maybe 20 between the three of us. Then there were the white bass, which we caught a ton of. And although we all caught near citation specimens, Erin caught the biggest. This fish had to be 2 pounds and close to 16 or 17”. She fought it a good while, so it gave me time to cruise over to her and snap a few shots. (Below & feature photo)

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Her man was busy racking up numbers as well; he landed at least 3 in the 15” range. Perhaps the new regs on the white bass are working, I’ve noted bigger fish per catch the last 2 years, and this was the first time in a while I’ve had a couple days catching the numbers we did.

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After fishing the majority of the morning in fairly shallow water, we followed the fish to deeper water and caught them in a variety of ways; mostly trolling though. We used crankbaits, sassy shads, bucktails and spinner baits and hooked up at pretty fast speeds; luckily our adrenaline was pumping!

We released every single one of the critters, and after the crowds and the heat started up just before noon, we hit the ramp and split. Pretty good weekend.

Spring Stripers, White bass & Crappie

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I got out on Jordan Lake this afternoon and found striped bass, white bass and crappie feeding heavily.

It was a perfect afternoon; the cloud cover was thick, rain was light to non-existent, and the wind was light. I couldn’t stand it.

Launched the kayak around 1:00 and started into a narrow area I’ve found fish laying before. I started with both rods rigged with KVD 1.0’s; the pics will show what happened…after just a few moments, one of the rods bounced, and I decided to reel it in and make sure it was clean; the area I was fishing was shallow and there was no reason to pull crap around. But on the retrieve, as I was approaching a fast rate, the rod doubled over with my first striped bass of 2018.

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I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the fishing Gods, so I tossed it back after a quick pic.

Then after a few more minutes, and having no luck, I thought to myself, I’ve seen this movie before, let’s speed this up, and within seconds this nice crappie joined the party. Well it is spring….burn em!!!!

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After that, the pattern had revealed itself and the fish repeatedly fell prey to the same technique. Stripers, catfish, perch, crappie, and white bass couldn’t resist the tiny crankbaits.

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Then, after a short break, cuz my legs were burning…my first double of the year, a duo of white perch that were far more trouble to document than they were worth…

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I was releasing everything today, and these were no exception.

Then…more stripers!

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And the clouds got really scenic for a bit…

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They seemed to roll in some direction I was supposed to follow, so I did, and then…bam!!

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And then…bam again!!

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At this point it was kind of embarrassing.

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Six Species Slab Smackdown

 

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So this afternoon was a no-brainer to go after some slabs.

I wanted fish tacos and I was lucky enough to find the ingredients today. The weather was what I call perfect for fishing. Light winds, overcast, rainy-at-times and cool with constant approaching weather.

I got on the water around 2:00 and started catching fish right off. There was bait on top of the water, but I never saw any surface activity. I launched and headed into the back of a cove I’ve had plenty of luck in over the years and hit a keeper striper before I could get all three lines out.

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I had two rods spooled with leadcore already out and was dropping back a crankbait in the center of the spread when the first rod doubled over. It was a decent fish and fought hard, digging deep repeatedly in 20 fow. I lip-gripped the striped bass and brought it into the yak. It was about 21″, so I took a quick pic and released it. I was only planning on keeping whites or crappie.

I trolled through the area a while and picked up a few small catfish before landing the first white bass. I thought it was a striper, as usual with the bigger whites. It was almost 14″ (feature photo) and hit the ice. Then, I trolled right back through the same spot and hit a nice crappie, just about 12″ and it too joined the white bass.

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Then, the sun popped out, the temperature went up and the bait and fish vanished. The wind picked up a bit too, so I trolled across the lake and hit a different area. Once there, I found fish on structure and started jigging after a few passes with no takers. I caught several bream, with one nice one first. I thought about keeping them, but turned them back.

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Then, I caught another striper, it was short and also quickly released.

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Right afterwards, as the the bait sunk back to the bottom I pulled the first time and felt a huge bite. I was sure I was hung then felt the shaking and new I was on a nice fish. It dug good and shook its head several times before I turned it upward and was able to bring it to the side of the yak. Awww. Anyway it was nice fight…

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The afternoon started getting late and I was headed back to the ramp and the wind died. The clouds covered the sky again and I decided to tie on a chugbug. I love those things. Rivers, lakes wherever. I chucked it along a bank a few times and had one blow up. I figure it was a maybe two pounds, but it was fun for the sixth species of the day.

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After that the wind started up again and I split. Only kept the crappie and white bass but it was just enough. I love overcast calm days on the water.

 

Jordan Lake Stripers

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I got out on Jordan Lake today to chase striped bass and white bass and found the fish feeding readily.

I started out jigging in about 18′ of water and hooked the only striper I kept on a piece of metal. The fish fought like a much bigger striped bass, but once I landed the 21″ specimen I knew I had a grilled dinner, so I put it on ice. All I needed at that point was a fresh lemon. This fish had a fair amount of broken lines, but it was just a striped bass.

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But after a few more minutes of jigging and no takers I could see action on the surface of the water around me. The wind was light and I had trolling gear aboard, so it wasn’t long before I started pulling hardware. I started off in 15 FOW and had marks all around.

And I was quickly rewarded for the change of tactics. Clouds had been moving in from the west, and as the afternoon progressed, the colors changed from reds to purples tinged with orange as the sun found its way to the horizon. The wind slightly changed to a WSW and it wasn’t five minutes into the pass when the leadcore rod with a sassy shad doubled over. I fought the fish while keeping the other line moving and landed another nice keeper striped bass before releasing it after a quick pic.

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After I turned around to make another pass through the area I immediately found my sonar lit up again. And after another few moments the same rod doubled over again and I fought a really nice white bass to the boat. I thought it was another striper the way it fought, but once I boat-flipped the large panfish I knew I had another cooler fish. It hit the ice and I set back out.

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There was a slight lull and I changed jig heads as I was running through the same general area. At times I would pull cranks and at times I didn’t. But after a while I decided to change colors and ran a chartreuse Bomber over shallow structure. I’d been running a white Bomber as my prop-wash bait, but it was a deep crank, so I opted for a 6′ – 8′ model and quickly found fish receptive.

This was my first striper double of the year (feature photo) and after fighting the fish to the boat, I released them after taking pics. I only planned on keeping 1 striped bass for a grilled dinner over the weekend and the white bass was a bonus. As you can clearly see, one fish was caught on a sassy shad and one was landed on a crankbait.

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I caught a few others, but released everything else. All my fish were caught in 14′ to 24′ of water and almost every fish was caught using white sassy shads on chartreuse jigheads.

Good luck!!

Chasing White Bass

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I’ve been out a few times recently trying to see what the white bass are doing.

With the impossible-to-predict-weather we’ve seen so far this past sprinter and spring, the anadromous fishes have been off from their normal upriver spawning runs.

So I went this past Sunday on the kayak and found striped bass, white bass, crappie and more on Jordan Lake, then I took a stroll through a scenic area on the Haw River earlier this week and searched the pools and eddies for the small-but-ferocious fighters, and finally rushed to meet up with Captain Stu Dill yesterday after work to see if we could find any fish on the main lake before the weather hit.

So Sunday was awesome…

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I found and caught six species. Released all the perch, bream and smaller whites and crappie and largemouth bass, but I did release one big striper…check out the video.

 

I don’t like to keep freshwater stripers over 22″ for the table. So I usually release the bigger fish. And I’d already put a 22″er in the ice box along with the whites and crappie. So that was a great day; probably caught 30ish fish, almost all on jigs and sassy shads trolling in 20′-24′ of water.

Then, I got the itch to seek out the creek dwellers. I walked to a cool spot on the Haw River and took some pics before catching one little male, which was photo’d and quickly sent back to the river…

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The fishing was slow, but the afternoon was priceless.

Then I decided to hit the water yesterday after a half day of work with Captain Stu Dill and we worked as hard as we could. We employed a run-and-gun strategy; knowing we didn’t have a lot of time before storms would hit. Stu drove and I tied and re-tied rigs, trying to see if the fish would eat. But the rain quickly arrived and the air cooled considerably. We figured we were golden; barometer dropping, cloudy and overcast, no wind, blah,blah,blah.

We almost got skunked; if not for the hungriest white bass in the world yesterday, which also hit a small jig with a white sassy shad trailer. (feature photo) It was quickly photo’d and released as well. But the storms ran us off the water less than 2 hours after we launched, so we didn’t even get to fish any prime time.

So the moral of the story is the same as usual with spring fishing. Get out there and do it, but don’t be too disappointed when the sure thing on a spring day turns into a non-starter. Just breathe in that fresh air and enjoy the time afield and afloat.