Welcome to Panfish!

Part One Hundred-thirteen

Warm Water/Fresh Water Chat
Host NorthLander (substituting for Fritz Fratz)- Monday. 6-8 p.m. PST (9-11 EST)

Variety

By Ron Griffith (aka WindKnot or RG)

Of all the types of fishing I do, I definitely love creek fishing best. The greatest thing about creek fishing is the wonderful variety of fish available.

I never know what I might find on my line on the next cast. It might be a pugnacious rock bass, a brightly-colored sunfish, even a catfish, carp, or gar.

I have often set out up or down a creek with a particular species in mind, only to end up fishing for another species entirely or just taking a mixed bag. It makes for some very interesting angling. One must be versed in many different techniques from nymphs to dries to fishing deer hair bugs or poppers for bass.

Sometimes I have even used crawfish scent on flies to entice catfish or carp, some fish respond to scent better than to sight. It has even been speculated that largemouth bass get more responsive to scent as they get older and larger. I personally see nothing wrong with exploiting whatever sense a predator uses. Is appealing to a catfish's sense of smell any different than appealing to a trout's sense of sight? This isn't meant to become a debate or a defense of methods, just an overview of some of the things that can make a great day on the creek.

The best thing about creek fishing is that something is always biting. I don't think I've ever had a day on a creek when I couldn't catch a fish of some kind. When fishing for trout or bass, it's not uncommon to go all day without a strike. This almost never happens when wading a backcountry warmwater creek that is loaded with many different species of fish. The fish may not be large, but they are consistently hungry, and, there are enough larger specimens to keep things interesting. I have caught some rather large smallmouths out of creeks that could almost be jumped across. It doesn't always take a lot of water to sustain a large fish.

I use several tools to help me find new and different waters to fish. One of the first things you will need is a good map of your region. I use county maps here in Arkansas, and supplement them with plat maps I find at the local newspaper or courthouse. The county maps come in handy for finding fishable creeks and the plat maps will help you find out who owns the property you might be fishing on. It's always best to ask permission. In my state, any navigable stream is public property, but as far as I know, the definition of navigable has never been settled. Most landowners are friendly and will give permission if they are asked politely. I have only been turned down twice that I can remember, and one of those later gave me permission.

At any rate, if you need a fishing fix, find a backcountry warmwater creek, jump in and just start wading. You might want to pack a lunch and a bottle of water though, because you might find yourself staying out longer than you planned. ~ Ron Griffith

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