I've had the itch to go fishing for a couple of weeks now. It's been over a year and a half since I've been. I think that driving over the bridges of the White River for the past couple of weeks is what really set this in motion. The river has been down due to lack of rain and has looked really inviting. It's always a very calming thing for me to fish on the banks or even in the river. I prefer to fish in the river and to feel the water rushing around my legs and minnows nipping at the hairs. That is, if it's warm enough. The best time for this is when its really hot outside and the water feels not only calming but refreshing as well. August seems to be a prime month for this, and as I'm writing this I'm contemplating going down to the White...
M called me up on Thursday to see if I wanted to go fishing with him over the weekend. This was my chance (or more, my excuse) to get my license and fulfill this urge. I figured that he would want to go to the Tippecanoe to go fishing. I love fishing rivers, the variation in the types of water keep things interesting. Even going to the same place day to day will see a series of changes in that particular spot of the river. With the variety of types of water also typically comes a variety in the types of fish in a river. This can be a fun thing as well as you never know exactly what it is that you will catch.
Normally I fish for Small Mouth Bass. Because this bass tends to be a smaller to medium sized species of fish, fishing for it often lead to catching other types of fish as well. I find this very appealing too. While in the Boundary Waters fishing for Small Mouth often also leads to catching Norther Pike, and often large ones. When fishing there, I change up the way that I fish slightly to accommodate this by using a heavy leader so that the occasional Northern won't chomp off my lure. But river fishing doesn't really require any adjustment to the way that I fish to catch things other than Small Mouths. This weekend was a prime example of this.
While I did catch a number of Small Mouths there were a few other singular fish that I also caught as well. The first, and this shouldn't come as a surprise for those in the know, was a Walleye. Before catching this one, M and I were chatting in the canoe about Walleye. Him saying that he would like to catch some of these for dinner that night. Admittedly I did too as Walleye is my favorite of all the cooked fish I've ever had, fresh or salt water. I told M that I was familiar with catching them in lakes as I fished for them also quite a bit in the Boundary Waters for food. However, I wasn't very familiar with targeting them specifically in rivers. The techniques in lakes for these 2 fish are very different as they occupy very different parts of the lake. Well, not so much in rivers, especially small ones where predatory fish seem to hunt similar areas.
Another fish that I caught was a Skip Jack Herring. This was a fun fish to catch and seemed very similar to catching a Small Mouth as they are both strong fighters and jumpers. I love catching jumping fish. These 2 traits are the reason that I continually fish for Small Mouths. And Smallies in rivers pull harder, despite the fact that they don't get quite as big typically, but I digress. Upon inspecting the Skip Jack I commented to M that that it looked and fought like a freshwater Tarpon. In fact, one of its nicknames is 'Tennessee Tarpon'. The similarities are very very striking. Later on when we were chatting again I queried to M that I wondered what the eatability of this fish was. Not very good without pickling it first I just found out via google. M noted that he didn't think that it would be a good one to eat due its diet. This isn't so much the case as it's more that it's a very bony and oily fish. Since I typically don't go fishing specifically for food, this might be a fun species to try and target. Besides, it would be fun to tell people I'm fishing for 'Fresh water Tarpon'.
The third type of fish that I caught that wasn't a Small Mouth was a Fresh Water Drum. I never did say anything about the eatability of this fish as I had always (wrongly) assumed that it was a bottom feeder much like a carp. But this is only because the shape of the fishes body is similar to that of a carp. I also thought it odd that I caught these last 2 fish in the way I was fishing as well. I was fishing with lures that mimic minnows. Minnows seem to be high on the diet of both of these fish. And, in fact, Freshwater drum is supposed to be really good to eat. Some even compare it to Walleye. That's good to know as that is the 2nd time I've caught one while fishing for Smallies on the Tippy.
All in all it was a great weekend for fishing. It was great to be on the river and getting exercise from paddling the canoe and soaking in the soon to be last of the summer sun. Hopefully I can get out a couple more times before the season ends.