We slept in a tad Sunday morning, knowing that there would likely be some ice at the ramp – and hoping some local with a big boat would be there first to break things open. That, and letting the sun get a head-start on us might make fishing in the low 20-something degree range a bit more comfortable…
And on to today’s version of “what can go wrong this weekend!?” A little ice at the ramp… expected. The entire surface of a windy 12,500+ acre western Kansas reservoir that was wide open the evening before turned into a sheet of glass overnight… Not at all expected. A half dozen boats, occupants sharing our concerns, mulled about the ramp discussing the situation and waiting for that first brave soul to take the initiative. This came in the form of a group running a large center console outfit with a 150hp – the best man on the ramp for the job. It was not long before he blazed the trail, opening the ramp for everyone. Thanks, guys in center console boat. We owe you a beer.
From there, it was cutting through the ice and making our way out towards the previous day’s marks, with hopes of picking up where we left off yesterday. We got right on the spot and started opening a hole, and after ten minutes of doing donuts in the boat, we had a nice 25-30yard hole that we could work a bit of channel break on – over the top of the same large schools of fish we were over yesterday.
The next two hours mirrored the day before, save for the occasional chunks of ice floating around your lines and the limitations of being in a hole. Same patterns, same colors, same depth, to the tune of 40+ more, all 12”-14”, maybe a couple more pushing the 15” mark. “Unofficially” (I did not measure these out and record) I think our average went up today, closer to the 12.75”-13” mark for Sunday only.
We were consistently rocking on this pattern, when our next obstacle crept in. This time in the form of an ice sheet – the one covering the lake. Thousands of acres of ice started moving, and pinched us right out of our spot. We kept trying to open a new hole, but the ice flow was faster than we were, forcing our hand and a move to the open water at the damn.
The same wind that was picking up and moving the ice also kept us from ever really establishing a pattern at the damn. While we added another 10 or so nice fish, we realized we were fighting a battle that we could not win, finally facing the challenge that we would not get over, and packed it in.
We finished the weekend with over 200 crappie, averaging at least 12.5” per fish. A top day in all of our books, by our standards, and especially when you are holding that kind of average over that many fish, and with a catch-to-keeper ratio of 100%. This is nearly 2,500 inches – or over 200 feet – of crappie.
Truly a classic weekend, and one
to never be forgotten. From the challenges we circumvented, to the awesome, hard-to-find-these-days small town hospitality, to the incredible fishing, this was one for the ages. And one that, the way the ducks and geese have been treating me lately, I really needed 😉