Welcome to the Saturday Fishing Report.
Well, it was another hot and wet week in the Ozarks. The spawn is over and the lake level is holding steady at about 920-921ft.
I really only got one good day fishing. I went out twice, but the first time was a bust and I didn't even get the rods out of the car. I went out Monday. The park was open, but it was packed, and I was too chicken to try any other places for fear they were also packed with holiday weekenders. Plus, I got a late start, so going anywhere else would've put me that much more past the time of good morning fishing.
Then I went to the park on Thursday morning. It was about 50% less packed than Monday. I tried a couple spots on the creek side. Got a few bites, but those were worm-stealing panfish. Then I went over to the lake side, where all the campers were. I found a camper-free spot in a cove, parked the car, and fished from the parking spot. Sat right on my car. It was kind of awesome. Caught three little punkinseeds and one 12.5" smallmouth. I also managed to attract what felt like every kid in the park. They'd ask 'did you catch anything?' as they walked or rode their bikes past me. Sometimes they stopped for longer conversation periods. When several of them stopped after I'd put the smallmouth back, I told them about it. One boy who seemed about 10 years old informed me that largemouth only have to be 8" to keep. I set him straight - nicely, of course. All bass have to be 15" on this lake. No exceptions. He looked embarrassed and a little shocked. Poor kid. Some adult somewhere must've steered him wrong.
Which brings me around to an important point. Kids look to the adults for guidance in anything. In this case, the legality of keeping the fish they just caught. He didn't just pull the number 8 out of the sky. Somehow or other, he learned from someone that was the size of a keeper largemouth. Shame on them. Shame on them if they steered him wrong and shame on them if they told him 8" was okay because they were ignorant of the fishing laws in this area. (I don't think 8" is a keeper bass in any area, but I could be wrong. Except rock bass, maybe, and those aren't really bass anyway.) And shame on them if they allowed him to keep a too small fish because they didn't want him to feel bad about throwing it back. Before you go fishing in a strange area, learn the rules. Teach kids the rules. And obey the rules in front of children, so they learn to be upstanding fishermen, too.
Well, that's it for me today. Have a great week and spend some time outdoors if you can. Also, take a kid fishing if you can. Kids and fishing go great together.