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Marietta Club Teams with DNR, Corps to Improve Allatoona Habitat

Photo by R. Dale McPherson

The Marietta BassMasters teamed up with Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year to place much needed cover in Lake Allatoona, a 12,000-acre fishery on the Etowah River near Atlanta.

“This project will add considerable fish habitat to an area of Lake Allatoona that is largely habitat deficient,” said Dale McPherson, the club’s Conservation Chair. “Once the lake level rises and the trees flood, the strategic location of the Christmas trees will provide an excellent fishing opportunity for anglers, including bank anglers, who visit Proctor Landing.”

McPherson said that the work was organized in conjunction with DNR biologist Jim Hakala as a part of the GoFish Georgia Program. He also pointed out that improving habitat an Allatoona will be an ongoing effort.

After the Corps picked up about 275 trees at dropoff points and brought them to the landing, club members spent about 2 ½ hours drilling holes in the trunks and then securing the cover to concrete anchor points provided by DNR.

Because the flood-control lake was at winter pool for this January project, the anchor areas were dry, but will be 8 to 10 feet below the surface during spring.

Proctor Landing was chosen for habitat improvement because it receives less wave action that other portions of the fishery. Consequently, the tree bundles likely will provide cover for 6 to 7 years.

“The 25 participating members were more than half of our club membership,” said McPherson. “This was great participation from our members!”

He added that those who did not work contribute $20 each into the club’s conservation account, with some of that money used to buy the wire used to anchor the trees.

“One way or another, every Marietta BassMasters member contributes to our conservation projects.”

(This article appeared originally at


Lake Kingsley Leads Way for Trophy Bass in Florida

Len Andrews with TrophyCatch bass caught at Lake Kingsley.

North Florida’s Lake Kingsley is yielding an abundance of big bass this spring. Unfortunately, most of us can’t fish it. On the east, access is limited to military personnel from Camp Blanding and, on the west, with permission of private homeowners.

Still, it’s indicative of what many of the Sunshine State’s public waters are capable of producing, especially during the pre-spawn and spawn. And with the introduction of Florida’s TrophyCatch program a couple of years ago, we’re now getting a better idea of that what they are producing.

 The latest news from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is that Len Andrews caught and released a dozen largemouth bass that weighed 10 pounds or more during a two-week period at Lake Kingsley. Previously, FWC reported that Joseph Morrell caught three double-digit fish in early March. Morrell’s largest weighed 14-9 and Andrews’ 13-12.

Here’s more from FWC about 74-year-old Andrews and his big bass:

Andrews discovered north Florida’s Lake Kingsley 17 years ago and now routinely visits for three months every year, generally fishing seven days a week. His very first cast with a Zoom 6-inch lizard on a Shimano baitcasting reel and G. Loomis rod yielded a 14-pound, 8-ounce Florida largemouth back in 1999. He has been hooked ever since, and always uses the same lure while sight-fishing for bass in the shallows.

Andrews grew up fishing with friends, and in the 1960s and ’70s he tried his hand tournament fishing, but said he “nearly starved,” even after adding guiding on Rodman Reservoir to his repertoire. Ultimately, he relied on being a union carpenter and supervisor until he retired.

TrophyCatch is an incentive-based conservation program that rewards anglers for legally catching, documenting and releasing trophy largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds in Florida. The second season of this very successful effort to gather information on elusive trophy bass while encouraging anglers to release them began Oct. 1, 2013, and ends Sep. 30 this year. The program itself is ongoing, but having seasons allows the FWC to award a championship ring annually, which is donated by the American Outdoors Fund, and to draw for the Phoenix bass boat, which is powered by a Mercury outboard and equipped with a Power-Pole. Simply registering at makes you eligible for the random boat drawing.

Andrews’ 13-pounder, which he caught on March 11, was verified on a certified scale by FWC biologists Allen Martin and Steven Hooley as the fourth Hall of Fame entry this season. Van Soles recorded the first, a 13-pound, 2-ounce tournament-caught bass from Lake Kissimmee. Joseph Morrell followed earlier this month with two catches a week apart, weighing, 13 pounds, 12 ounces and then our current leader – a 14-pound, 9-ounce bass. Both of Morrell’s catches were also caught and released on Lake Kingsley.

Hall of Fame entries receive a free fiberglass replica mount ($500 value) from New Wave Taxidermy; $200 worth of gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, Dick's Sporting Goods and/or Rapala; a Bass King duffle bag with customized hoodie, shirt and hat; and a Glen Lau DVD. In addition, their names are entered into the Florida Bass Hall of Fame at the Florida Bass Conservation Center .

The other two clubs that are part of TrophyCatch are the Lunker Club for bass between 8 and 9.9 pounds, and Trophy Club for bass between 10 and 12.9 pounds. Verified Lunker Club entries receive $100 in gift cards from our partners and a club T-shirt. Trophy Club entries earn $150 in gift cards and a long-sleeve club shirt. All three groups also get a club decal and customized certificate.

To enroll in any of the three clubs and support conservation, anglers should register at, where they will also log in to submit their catches. A verified catch must be properly documented by one of the following means:

  • Photo of entire fish on the scale with the weight showing (if not perfect, be sure to supplement with a closeup showing the scale and at least part of the fish, a shot of entire fish on a tape-measure, and maybe a girth photo);
  • Link to a tournament website with official results, or to a publication that includes your name and verified weight of the individual fish;
  • A copy of an official printed tournament weigh slip, with tournament information that includes your name and the verified weight of the individual fish, or;
  • Provide the name and contact information for an FWC official who saw the actual fish being weighed and can verify the entry (e.g., creel clerks, conservation officers, event volunteers).

Other anglers can view the gallery and map on the TrophyCatch website to see where all the great catches are being made, and follow us at


You Can't Reel Too Fast if a Bass Wants Your Bait

Illustration from The Bass Fishing Matrix

Secret: No matter how fast the gear ratio of your reel and how fast your retrieve, you can’t get a bait away from a bass if it wants it. At best, you are reeling at 2 to 3 miles an hour, while a bass can swim at bursts of 12 to 18 miles an hour. So even if you are “burning” a bait, catching it requires just a jog for a bass. 

Secret: Fisheries scientists estimate that only 5 percent of fish in any given bass population are actively feeding at one time. Thirty percent are inactive and 65 percent are neutral. That why accurate casts, subtle presentations, and enticing retrieves are so important.

From my first book, Better Bass Fishing. Both it and my second, Why We Fish, are available from Amazon and other booksellers. BBF is filled with "secrets" that will help you catch more and bigger bass. A collection of essays, WWF is a celebration of the many reasons that keep us returning to the water. Bill Dance and others contributed. Check out its 33 reviews at Amazon.


Colorado River Reservoirs Drying Up

Lake Mead. UCLA photo

Two of the West’s largest and most important reservoirs --- Lakes Mead and Powell --- are below 50 percent of capacity and falling, as a 14-year drought continues in the Colorado River basin.

Additionally, for the first time ever, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is slowing the flow from Powell to Mead.

“What we’ve seen in the last two years are the worst consecutive years of inflow in the last 100 years,” said Terry Fulp, Lower Colorado regional director.

“We’re going to slow Powell’s decline. That will hasten Mead’s decline. But next year, we can adjust again.”

If rain and snow doesn’t bring relief soon, lots of “adjustment” might be required for the seven states and 40 million people who depend upon the Colorado water. For example, water managers theorize that Arizona has a 50-50 chance of seeing its allotment cut by 11.4 percent in 2016 and Nevada 4.3 percent.  That’s the equivalent of the water needed for 26,000 homes.

Additionally, flows vital to both recreation and ecosystems along the river will be threatened. Sport fishing and other outdoor recreation on the Colorado are worth an estimated $26 billion annually.

“We can’t simply sacrifice recreational and environmental flows when times get tough,” said Ann Castle, assistant secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“We know that outdoor recreation is an important driver of the Southwestern economy, just like agriculture, so we’ve got to consider all of those things together.”

The president of American Rivers, meanwhile, said that the problem is not the drought but how water in the basin is managed.

“What we need are fundamental changes in how we manage water in the Colorado basin,” said Bob Irvin. “This is the loudest wake-up all so far.”

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


Another Troublesome Invasive Plant Is Spreading

A pilot project in Michigan has resulted in the discovery of an increased threat to fisheries posed by European frog-bit, an exotic floating plant.

Statewide monitoring by the Early Detection Rapid Response coalition revealed European frog-bit in Saginaw Bay, Munuscong Bay, and around Alpena on Lake Huron. Previously, it was thought to be established in just a few localized sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula.

“Responding quickly to a new invasive species is critical to increasing our chances of success, and it requires a well organized, collaborative effort between multiple agencies and other partners,” said Russ Mason, chief of the Wildlife Division for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Thanks to grant funding for the project through the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, control measures were quickly implemented, including physical removal and trial treatments with herbicides. By mid September, 1,500 pounds of the invasive had been pulled out of the infected areas.

Additionally, education, outreach, and future control activities are being planned with angling groups and other stakeholders.

European frog-bit resembles a miniature lily pad, with leaves about the size of a quarter. Forming dense mats, it shades out beneficial submerged native plants, disrupts natural water flow, and inhibits access.

It originally was accidentally released into Canadian waters during the 1930s, spreading throughout Ontario and into New York, Vermont, and other eastern states.

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)