Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pend d'Oreille bass still biting

With the biblical high water this season I prolonged a trip to the Pend d'Oreille reservoir until mid-August. Water levels were still up, so I was wondering what the fishing would be like as I unloaded the boat, set up my six-weight Loomis and tied on Biggies crayfish pattern. It didn't take long before the rod jerked violently and a healthy bass fluttered on the surface.
The abundance of June rain and run-off also carried down deadfall and other woody debris to add to the subsurface structure, actually enhancing bass habitat.

The crayfish and pink and white clouser minnow worked well, actually anything with pink, but I imagine if the bass are there, they'll eat just about anything.
The key to catching bass is to find structure and work it at all levels.
Anchoring at the edge of weed beds, drop offs, or by submerged trees, and other structure using a sink-tip or sinking line is effective. Let the fly sink to the bottom then begin retrieve. Alternate between quick strips and pauses.
Top water fishing can also be good. Using poppers or any larger dry fly pattern from mouse, to hopper and even stimulator patterns have caught bass on  the PdO.
 I caught a lot of bass that afternoon, most of which were between 8-12 inches, but I lost about a 4-lb. lunker at the boat and landed a couple about 16 inches.
With  bullet-proof durability bass will continue to thrive in the slow, warm water habitat. There are big bass in the PdO, and despite being an alien species, the reservoir is without a doubt an under-utilized fishery.