Toronto Crappie and Cats

Saturday Morning found Eric and I up early and headed to Toronto Reservoir in SE Kansas to try our hand at tree dipping for crappie and float lining/drifting for big cats.

Toronto is well known for its summer time tree dipping for crappie, so Eric and hit the lake about 9 am and headed to Man’s Cove to start looking for slabs. As luck would have it, the trees we wanted to fish were directly in the steady south wind which was blowing at 20 mph. After a short time of fighting the wind we decided to head back up into the back of the cove to get out of it as much as possible. I think both of us had diminished expectations since the most recent report we had told us that the farther back in the cove you went, the slower the bite was. But with the wind being unfishable, we really didn’t have much of a choice. Once we hit our first protected area, it didn’t take long for me to feel that familiar thump – and I quickly had the first slab in the boat. Eric followed up with 3 more nice fish over the next 15 minutes and it didn’t take long for the pattern to show itself. These fish where one crank off the bottom in 5 to 7 ft of water at the base of the trees. Eric was using a single gold hook with a ½ once egg sinker 6 inches up the line to hold it down and having good success. I was using a 1/8th ounce chartreuse jig head slowly letting it fall down the tree.  We where both have about equal success showing us that location was more important than presentation.

After about 2 hours the wind had laid down to about nothing and the temperatures had gone up about 15 degrees so off we went to try and catch some famous Toronto cats. (True meaning was it was so hot in the coves we need some air) Before we left we had 8 nice keeper crappie from 11 to 13 inches long and as many throw backs.

As has been the custom for us the last two years, the wind seems to really blow until we get ready to start drifting for cats or walleye and today was no different. As soon as we started our first drift that 20 mph that kept us from  tree dipping almost completely stopped. It took us almost an hour to float halfway across the lake… well that’s not going to work. We did pick up a hand full of cats but the action just wasn’t enough to keep us excited about the 105 degree heat so we decided to change strategies and stick out some float lines. Just as we started to stick out the float lines, you guessed – a nice NW wind started to blow. Too much wind and float lines just don’t mix. So after an hour of setting out float lines and then chasing them in the building wind we ended up not catching a fish on them… Crap, well at least we have the wind now so we decided to float some more. As you would guess, the new wind started building to a 35 mph gale out of the NW making the lake unfishable. The one positive thing is that the wind made the cats start biting and on our one float we were able to get in before the wind blew us off the lake we managed to pick up a 7 lb cat and a couple of 5 lbers. We slowly fought our way back to the ramp, as we’d had enough of the heat, no wind and then strong wind. All in all, a great day – but as always, you never know what Mother Nature has in store for us in KS. We had a high of 107 and the wind blew from ever direct but the NE.

~Nick

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