Identification tips, where to find, and how to fish for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, panfish (bluegill, redear sunfish, and black crappie), channel catfish and striped bass.
Trout have a forked tail, two widely spaced dorsal fins, (a fleshy adipose fin), small scales, and teeth. They may have a pink band on each side of their body, a silver back with black spots, and a silver belly.
These colorful creatures thrive in cool, clear, oxygen-rich water. In winter, they are usually found in the open-water areas of lakes near the surface, and in deeper, cooler water in the summer.
Use night crawlers, red worms, salmon eggs, or power bait on a #8 hook about two feet off the bottom with a sliding sinker. Also, shiny lures less than one inch long may be cast or trolled. Try wet or dry flies in streams or along lake shorelines. Trout are most active in cooler air and water temperatures.
Five per day.
These fish have thick, elongated bodies with a black stripe along each side. Their jaw extends past the midpoint of their eyes. They can grow to 17 pounds or more.
The best time to fish for bass is during the spring. They prefer warm, shallow, shaded, weedy, or tree-covered areas.
Use natural bait (nightcrawlers and crayfish) or black or purple plastic worms rigged with #1 weedless hooks and crank baits or bass plugs. They must be at least 12 inches long to keep.
Five per day in combination with smallmouth bass.
These fish have thick elongated bodies often with vertical barring along each side. Their jaws do not extend past the center of their eyes. They may grow to five-plus pounds.
Smallmouth bass prefer cooler and deeper water than largemouth bass. They are more often found in moving water near inlets and steep, rocky areas.
Smallmouth bass prefer plastic lures, especially those combined with a spinner pulled through their habitat. Crickets and nightcrawlers are also good baits. Must be 12 inches long to keep.
Five per day in combination with largemouth bass.
These fish have thick, elongated bodies with black lateral stripes.
They patrol open water, 10-40 feet below the surface. They will move into the shallows to feed on small fish.
Use a strong rod and reel with at least 20 lb. test line, because a 20 year-old "striper" may weigh 40 lbs. Use trolling lures resembling small fish. Must be 18 inches long to keep.
Two per day.
Identification: Bluegill have pointed pectoral fins, blue-black gill covers, and vertical bars on the side. Typical panfish have a forked tail and a fused, spiny-soft dorsal. Their compressed, short bodies are designed for short bursts of speed in backwater areas.
Redear sunfish have pointed pectoral fins, dark gill flaps with orange-red edges, and a spotted pattern covering their bodies. Bluegill and sunfish can grow to three-plus pounds. Typical panfish have a forked tail and a fused, spiny-soft dorsal. Their compressed, short bodies are designed for short bursts of speed in backwater areas.
These fish prefer shallow, muddy shoreline areas where submerged trees and weedbeds are found. Sunfish prefer deeper areas than bluegills.
Use a bobber to hold a #12 hook three to four feet off the bottom. Use red worms, meal worms, or grasshoppers.
No size or catch limit.
Black crappie have seven to eight dorsal spines with dark, random spots on their bodies and fins. Pectoral fins are round. Typical panfish have a forked tail and a fused, spiny-soft dorsal. Their compressed, short bodies are designed for short bursts of speed in backwater areas.
Most of the year, crappie spend their time in close-knit schools in open and deeper water than sunfish. During the spring spawning season they feed along the surface on schooling minnows. After spawning they can be found around sunken brush piles. Crappie can grow to three-plus pounds.
Try streamer flies, jigs, grasshoppers, or grubs pulled along the surface or bobbed around brushy areas, or mid-water worm trolling.
Anglers may keep a daily limit of 25 crappie of any size.
The head of this type of fish is flattened top to bottom. These fish have no scales. They use their whiskers as scent sensors to locate their meals. They have pointed, forked tails, spots on their olive green-blue bodies, and black whiskers.
White catfish have a uniform skin color, white bellies and lobed tails. Catfish can grow to 35-plus pounds.
Catfish comb shallow shoreline areas near vegetation and undercut banks.
These fish eat almost anything. Some of the best baits are chicken liver, crayfish tails, anchovies, mackerel, nightcrawlers, clams, or sardines, placed on a #2 hook with a 1- to 6-ounce sinker.
Fish of any size may be kept to a limit of five per day.
Illustrations (above) by: Joseph Tomelleri