Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Braidwood Lake - May 18, 2009

I had originally planned to fish Braidwood Lake on Friday but the rain and storms kept me home. I had the boat hooked up and ready Thursday night but when I checked the radar early Friday morning, I went out and put the boat away just in time to catch the first few drops of what turned out to be an all day rain event. We got dumped on.

Braidwoods Island.

I repeated Thursday nights routine on Sunday evening and hooked the boat up again. This time when I got up Monday morning, there was nothing but blue sky forecast. Unfortunately that doesn't make for the best fishing. I headed out anyway to fish Braidwood Lake for my first time this year.

Another Fisherman.

I put the boat in the water and found that the water was 74 degrees at the north ramps. Perfect! I made a very short run to a spot that's always been good for a fish or two and didn't get a bite. After fishing that area with plastics and crank baits, I ran a little further.

Another scenic area.

I stopped the boat a ways off the the drop off I planned to fish and started throwing a crank bait onto a flat as I headed for the drop off. On the second cast I hooked what turned out to be the smallest Bass of the day. Once I hit the drop off I started throwing plastics. The wind had picked up and it became harder to fish the plastics but I managed to catch one more Largemouth anyway.

A typical Largemouth from today.

After covering that area, I ran a little further to a deep area that has always been good to me and also given me some of the bigger fish I've caught from this lake. Again I started throwing plastics and caught two fish but they were about the same size as the previous fish. After hitting that area I made a wide circle and fished it again with deep diving crank baits and caught two more Bass that were the same size.

From there I ran a short distance to another similar area and caught another fish on a crank bait. I tried throwing the plastics again but the wind was really pushing me around in that spot so I made another long run.

A Pelican in Braidwood Lake.

I wound up on the hot side of the lake where I found the warmest water to be 87 degrees. I fished a rip rap bank and hooked a small Bass on the first cast but he came off before I got him in the boat so he doesn't count. I continued letting the wind carry me up that bank and didn't get another bite.

I deceided to ride around the warm side of the lake and see what kind of wild life I could find. Most of the Pelicans stay in the restricted area but there were a couple where I could get good photos with the zoom lens. I also saw a couple Deer walking in the water and several other bird species.

A deer walking in the water.

On the way back I stopped at the spot where I had caught 4 fish earlier. I managed to get three more Largemouth that were the same size as the others. I decided not to make another pass through that area but go back to the first spot I tried before heading home. I let the wind (which was blowing pretty good by this time) carry me through the area and got one bite on a craw tube, but didn't hook up. By this time it was 11:30 am so I decided to put everything away and head for the ramps.

Another Bass in the boat

So for the day I wound up with 9 Largemouth in the boat the biggest of which was probably 14 inches and the smallest was probably 10 inches. I'm guessing these were fish that the state stocked last year to try to help the lake rebound from a major kill a few years back. That kill, caused by 135 degree water, also wiped out all the vegetation in the lake but I saw signs that the weeds are coming back. I have also read that the state is also adding aquatic vegetation but I didn't see any evidence of that.

Birds over the water.

Since I was able to catch 9 fish on a bright sunny day, that leads me to think that if they can keep the water temperature below 100 degrees on the hot side, the lake should be pretty good next year. It's always been tough to fish that lake in bright sunshine so that fact I caught that many leads me to think that there are a lot of fish in that class which will be even bigger next year because that lake has a longer growing season due to the artificially warmed water.

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