Posts Tagged ‘Branched Oak Lake’

Friday night I all but guaranteed that Big and Little E were going to dominate the Family Division of the Kids White Perch tournament…

I had gone out the night before, and prefished the site. I dialed in where the white perch were hiding… just about two to three feet off the rip rap all along the south side of the tournament area. I went to the local tackle shop and picked up the gear that last year’s winning family used; and ultimately settled on the spot where they were sitting (a perk of volunteering the year before); mostly because it was closest to the bathrooms, play set, and swimming beach for when Little E lost interest in fishing.

I broke out the spinning rods for the first time all year; because fly fishing maybe about more than just the fish, but tournaments are about the fish; and I was going to maximize our chances of winning. I even woke up at 6:00 AM Saturday morning, made coffee, and drove to the lake to claim our spot before anyone else got up. I sat there for three hours prepping gear, setting up a fly rod in case I needed to switch to what worked the night before, and make sure that no one else ended up in our spot…

At 9:00 AM when Little E and her cousin got there, and we put our lines in the water. I was reminded why they call this hobby fishing and not “catching”…

And then I met my Waterloo.

We fished for a little over two hours… and didn’t catch a single white perch. Not even when I switched to my faithful fly rod.

How disappointing… but at least this was no fault of mine. There were very few white perch that were caught. Nobody on either side of me on the bank caught any perch.

But the day was not a total failure. We did manage to catch three bluegills and a catfish. Since Little E and her cousin were back and forth between fishing and the beach, I put them in a bucket so they see the “shishes” for a little bit. After their first trip to the beach, they came back to check on daddy…

Okay, so we didn’t catch any white perch; and therefore did not do well in the tournament. But the kids did have a lot of fun looking at the fish that we did catch. They would stick their hands in the bucket and giggle as the fishies would splash them and dart around. And of course we stopped to pet them…

After this, the fisherman in my daughter got going, and she wanted to fish too…

That’s my girl!

We rounded out the day with a little channel catfish. Since I only fly fish, the number of catfish I catch is very low. I have caught catfish on a fly, but seeing one come up on a fly is a happy accident, not the norm. Virtually every time Little E goes fishing, we are fly fishing; so she has not been with me when I have been lucky enough to hook up with a catfish on a fly.

But seeing her first catfish sure made her day!

This fish was slimy, smooth, and wiggly… everything a two year old loves!

In the end, we tied for last place in the family division with a big goose egg on the board for white perch. But we did catch fish, and Little E and her cousin thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. Little E went right to sleep on the drive home.

And we did manage to snag some nice door prizes… Little E got a blue ribbon for fishing, a bag of plastic worms just like the ones she likes at the tackle shop, a buzz bait, and an awesome smoked pork sandwich. Her cousin also won a fishing pole that is on permanent loan here at our house.

Who cares if we didn’t win. The smiles on Little E’s face made it all worth it. Even if daddy met his Waterloo…

A special thanks to the Randy from the Nebraska Fish And Game Association (www.nefga.org) for organizing the event, and all of the NEFGA volunteers who showed up to support the event. Seeing this kind of support makes me glad to be associated with this group and volunteer for their activities when I can. The event was an outstanding success; and Little E and I are already looking forward to next June to do it again…

And the next 12 months to figure out what we can do better.

See you as I stand around scratching my head and thinking about next year,

E

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Does this make me a bad person???

I just want Little E to have a good time and take home a nice prize. Of course, all the kids get door prizes; but winning is so much more fun; right? Right?? (I am not a believer in the “everyone gets a trophy” movement… if everyone wins, there’s no motivation to work hard… or at all for that matter of speaking…)

If nothing else, I did get to enjoy the peace of a beautiful Nebraska sunset…

See you while Little E and I are dominating the family division of the White Perch Tournament…

E

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I have been getting a lot of search hits on this lately, so I thought I would throw a post up on it real quick. I volunteered at this event last year, and it was a blast! The tournament was a ton of fun for all the kids; and every one of the kids won something!

This is a great event put on by a member of the Nebraska Game and Fish Association (http://www.nefga.org); of which I volunteer for. I will not be volunteering this year though…

Because Little E and I will be competing.

This is a great event for anglers of all ages. Flies Over Nebraska totally recommends it.

The event is held at Branched Oak Lake, north of Lincoln in Lancaster County.

Put it on your calendar now!!!

E

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Flies Over Nebraska is proud to announce the completion of it’s second hit: White Bass!

For those of you keeping score at home, this marks the second hit that Flies Over has completed since coming online this summer. The hitlist has been appropriately updated.

This morning I got a chance to sneak away to fish for a few hours. I started out a Pawnee Lake SRA, just down the road from my house. I needed to try something different then Bowling Lake for a change; and while a coworker of mine considers Pawnee Lake the “Dead Sea of Nebraska”, I have had some good luck with Crappies there… except today.

I gave up after about an hour at Pawnee and only landing a couple white perch. Bored, I decided to go way out on a limb and do something I almost never do: fish Branched Oak Lake.

Nothing against Branched Oak Lake… it is a large reservoir and I tend to have my best luck on small bodies of water. The biggest reason why I don’t go there is the power boaters and jet skiers. To each their own… I don’t have a problem with people enjoying these sports. I just don’t like fly fishing with the wakes of speed boats lapping against me and disturbing all the fish. Because of this, fishing from the shore at Branched Oak is annoying… let alone, I can’t even imaging putting the belly boat out on anything other then a “no-wake” lake…

The reason why I decided to make the short jump to Branched Oak is that it is so late in the summer that most of campers and water sports enthusiasts have long since packed it in for the winter.

Branched Oak also supports some species that most smaller lakes cannot; like flathead catfish, walleye, striped bass, and today’s hit white bass.

I accomplished today’s hit by bouncing a microjig off the bottom in and around some brush in the water. Also picked up a couple more white perch and a bluegill.

Over all it was a slow day fishing. But picking up the “hit” made it worth it.

Then again, any fishing trip is worth it.

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Just got done volunteering for a kids fishing tournament. There were about 200 to 250 people out fishing in this tournament. The goal was to catch as many white perch as possible; which are considered an invasive species here in Nebraska. They have overrun a whole bunch of our Salt Valley Lakes around Lincoln. The tournament was a way to take a bite out of their population; and to get kids interested in fishing.

After we got all the kids signed in, I got to help count fish. Seeing how excited the kids were to turn in their fish was a blast. While most little kids are not ready to get started fly fishing, getting them interested in fishing is a great start. I have never helped with a youth fishing event before, but I can see how this is a great experience to keep kids fishing. I want to make sure there are plenty of lakes and streams full of fish for the rest of my life and beyond; passing on the sport is the best way to ensure that there will always be a fishing hole around the corner.

Whats the most important thing about getting kids (or anyone) interested in fishing? Actually catching fish… and white perch are great for that. They are easily caught on a worm and bobber.

Toward the end of the tournament, the kids turned in their catches and won a whole bunch of prizes. As they turned in their fish to be counted, I had a whole crowd of kids lined up to see the bucket of fish. I had several dozen who wanted to touch them and see their fins. I also got to teach a bunch of kids (and a few adults) the differences between white perch, and some drum that had been turned in as well.

Since the fish are invasive, part of the goal was to help get some of these fish out of the lake. What better way to do that then a fish fry? While white perch make for pretty small fillets, they do make some pretty good fish chips.

All told, about 700 white perch were harvested and fried up. A lot of fun and a good way to spend the day. Thanks to Randy and the rest of the Nebraska Fish and Game Association (www.nefga.org) for putting on the tournament and letting me come volunteer!

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