Thursday, March 12, 2015

Behold the Yellow Bass

Behold the Yellow Bass

In the 90s The Fox Chain and Fox river were loaded, I mean Loaded with yellow bass.

What's a yellow bass?
" the yellow bass or barfish, is a species of temperate bass native to the south and Midwestern United States. It is an inhabitant of lakes, ponds and areas of large rivers with reduced current such as backwaters and pools. This species can reach a length of 46 centimeters (18 in) TL though most are only around 23.9 centimeters (9.4 in). The greatest recorded weight for a specimen of this species is 11 kilograms (24 lb). This species is sought after as a game fish.[1]
Though sometimes confused with white bass or striped bass, it is distinguished by its yellow belly and the broken pattern in its lowermost stripes. It can also mate with the white bass."

It was the best ice fishing I have ever witnessed. They were the species of my first ice fishing trip! 100-200 fish days were common place. This was with dozens of fisherman! They are all muscle, the size of decent bluegill but twice as strong. It is my opinion that they are the best fighters of all the pan fish. 

Then the fun came to an end. A massive die-off like nothing I have ever seen. Thousands of dead fish lined the fox river. Gone were the fall days of wading for the yellow brutes and destroying my cheap ultra reels I bought when i was young. What happened? This is the best explanation I have seen:

"Yellow Bass and White Bass – The yellow bass decline continued from it’s high of 54% of the catch in 1988 to 4.3% of the catch in 2001. This dramatic restructuring of the population has reduced competition with other species and benefited the overall fishery in the Fox Chain O’ Lakes. Ice fishermen enjoyed the fast paced action of the late 1980″s and early 1990′s but their over-abundance was not sustainable and resulted in poor condition (a starvation state) which opened the population up to naturally occurring pathogens and the massive die offs."

So now to current day, a great winter group on Facebook, ICE JUNKIES OUTDOORS had some members that live on a 300+ acre private lake that had been over run by yellow bass. They asked for volunteers to come and fish them!!! With memories of the good old days I was not going to miss this. The first occasion was a casual group fishing for fun, the second a mini tournament with most fish winning, and the third was a full blown derby with raffles, chili, and hot dogs!!!!! I had a blast and caught a ton of fish with fellow members Sooner Bass well as members from the Kayak Bass League and Aurora Lures.

Most ice fishing tactics worked on the fish. Jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, and pieces of yellow bass belly work well. JC(my buddy Chunsum) caught everyone of his fish on Magic Maggies from Aurora Lures. I used small spoons of all kinds tipped with the baits mentioned above. Minnows also caught their fair share as well as a bunch of crappie.

I fully understand these guys wanting to thin them out to protect the other species, But I personally would love there to be a couple lakes with a yellow bass problem. Lakes I could go to every winter and just crush these under rated yellow fin fighters. I would like to thank all the guys from ICE JUNKIES for letting me experience the gold rush once more.

If you want to experience ice fishing adventure or learn to fish, you can contact me at DuPage Fishing Guide Service