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Midwest Finesse Fishing: March 2022

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, with one of the 22 largemouth bass that he and John Thomas of Denton caught on Mar. 17.

Mar. 2

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 2 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of that log.

The National Weather Service reported it was 31 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 86 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The low temperature was 30 degrees, and the high temperature was 87 degrees, which was a record high temperature for Mar. 2. The wind was calm from 12:52 a.m. to 8:52 a.m., and then it angled out of the southwest, west, northwest, and north at 8 to 26 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at 12:52 a.m., 30.05 at 5:52 a.m., 30.02 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.96 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about normal. The surface temperature ranged from 40 to 42 degrees. The Secchi stick indicated that the water exhibited about 5 1/2 feet of water clarity. A few small and wind-sheltered areas in the backs of two feeder-creek arms were still covered with ice.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 10:02 a.m. to 12:02 p.m., 10:27 p.m. to 12:27 a.m., and 3:49 a.m. to 5:49 a.m.

This was only the second time that I have been afloat since Dec. 31, 2021. The first time occurred on Feb. 14, which was when Patty Kehde and I fished this state reservoir for 80 minutes, and we caught 22 largemouth bass. The reason for this 59-day hiatus from fishing is that Old Man Winter began making periodic visits to northeastern Kansas on Jan. 1, 2022, and his icy visits began to cover all of the nearby community and state reservoirs that we regularly fish with ice. The ice-melt occurred on Feb. 13, which allowed Patty and me to fish on Feb. 14, and we caught 22 largemouth bass in 80 minutes. But Old Man Winter quickly returned, and our reservoirs became covered with ice again. This second coating of ice finally melted on Mar. 1, and I returned on Mar. 2 to the state reservoir that Patty and I fished on Feb. 14. But to my disappointment, the largemouth bass fishing was much more trying on Mar. 2 than it was on Feb. 14.

In February, vast numbers of largemouth bass that inhabit northeastern Kansas' small flatland reservoirs traditionally congregate on these reservoirs' massive shallow-water flats that are embellished with significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation: such as bushy pondweed, coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, or sago pondweed. And as soon as the ice melts in February, we have been able to catch impressive numbers of largemouth bass. The most bountiful outing occurred on Feb. 9, 2012, when Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 118 largemouth bass and accidentally caught nine crappie in four hours. But towards the end of February and during the beginning of March, these concentrations of largemouth bass disappear.

On Mar. 2, it looked as if the concentration of largemouth bass that Patty and I found on Feb. 14 had made their annual exodus.

I made my first cast at 12:10 p.m. on a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a large feeder-creek arm. This flat looks to be as large as a dozen football fields, and vast portions of it are adorned with patches of bushy pondweed, coontail, and sago pondweed.

It was a time-consuming endeavor on this massive flat to tangle with nine largemouth bass and one crappie. They were caught in the vicinity of a submerged creek channel that meanders along the west side of this flat. Portions of this submerged creek channel are filled with silt, and patches of bushy pondweed, coontail, and sago pondweed also adorn some segments of this silt-laden creek channel. There are also scores of manmade brush piles littering this flat and the edges of the submerged creek channel.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with a drag-shake-and-pause presentation in about six feet of water around patches of sago pondweed.

Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Canada-Craw TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with a drag-shake-and-pause presentation in six to seven feet of water around a meager patches of coontail.

Four of the nine largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation around patches of coontail and sago pondweed in six to seven feet of water.

I spent about 45 minutes searching for submerged aquatic vegetation and fishing across two shallow-water flats inside two other feeder-creek arms. I failed to elicit a strike on these flats.

Inside a fourth feeder-creek arm, I tangled with four largemouth bass and one crappie on a shallow-water flat and silt-laden submerged creek channel.

Two of the four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a baby-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. One of the two was caught around a manmade pile of brush in about three feet of water on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and another one was caught on this rig around a patch of meager patches coontail in about four feet of water with a drag-shake-and-pause presentation.

One of the four was caught on the Canada-Craw TRD MinnowZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about 3 ½ feet of water around some meager patches of coontail.

One of the four was caught on the TRD HogZ rig in about four feet of water around some meager patches of coontail with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

None of the 13 largemouth bass were caught in close proximity to each other, which can be a sign that the wintertime concentrations of largemouth bass have dispersed.

I failed to elicit a strike on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead, which is often an effective wintertime rig around submerged aquatic vegetation on the shallow-water flats.

By the time that I made my last cast at 3:35 p.m., I had no idea where the February concentrations of largemouth bass had gone. For years on end, we have suspected that they become pelagic and are roaming hither and yon in what we old codgers used to call "no-man's land." Perhaps some of our Garmin LiveScope devotees will eventually pinpoint the March whereabouts of these pelagic critters.

Most of March can be a trying time in northeastern Kansas. One reason why is because of Mother Nature's windy ways. Another one is the pelagic or dispersed nature of the largemouth bass. But as April approaches, the wind is not as incessant and intense, and many of the largemouth bass begin to abide along the shorelines rather than roaming pell-mell offshore.

Mar. 4

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about their Mar. 4 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 34 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 73 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the east, southeast, and south at 6 to 33 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.01 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.91 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The surface temperature ranged from 42 to 44 degrees. Our Secchi stick noted that the water exhibited from three to five feet of clarity.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 11:17 a.m. to 1:17 p.m., 11:39 p.m. to 1:39 a.m., and 5:28 a.m. to 7: 28 a.m.

We spent the first 45 minutes of this outing fishing and searching for submerged aquatic vegetation along short portions of two shallow-water flats and shorelines inside one of this reservoir's primary feeder-creek arms, which is located in the upper reaches of this reservoir.

Several years ago these shallow-water flats and shorelines were graced with substantial patches of curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil, and vast numbers of largemouth bass inhabited these areas throughout the calendar year. These patches also subdued algal blooms and readily cleared up the water after trenchant rainfalls. But during the second decade of the 21st century, this reservoir's managers unwisely elected to eradicate the vegetation with massive doses of herbicides, claiming that they were eradicating the Eurasian milfoil because it is an invasive species. In their minds, it is invasive even though it has been in the United States for more than 100 years and many more years before this reservoir invaded one of the classic landscapes of northeastern Kansas.

This reservoir used to be our most bountiful one. Around those patches of curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil, our Midwest finesse tactics allowed us to catch and release vast numbers of largemouth bass, inveigling 101 or slightly more in four hours. But since the demise of the submerged aquatic vegetation, our ability to catch them has declined significantly -- especially in the winter.

On this Mar. 4 outing, we made our first casts at 12:30 p.m. And along the short portions of the two shallow-water flats and shorelines inside this primary feeder-creek arm, we failed to locate any significant patches of vegetation. It was also a struggle to catch one largemouth bass, which was caught along a flat shoreline that used to be endowed with enormous patches of curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil from which we often caught and released scores and scores of wintertime largemouth bass. This largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with a drag-and-shake-presentation in about four feet of water and 20 feet from the water's edge. The water's edge is girdled with some patches of winter-dead American water willows and several laydowns. This area has about a 20-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and silt, which is laced with wads of filamentous algae. There was a meager algal bloom, and the water exhibited about three feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 44 degrees.

We spent the final 65 minutes of this late-winter outing fishing portions of two shorelines inside a large feeder-creek arm, which is situated in the lower section of this reservoir.

We spent about 15 minutes probing a short stretch of the south shoreline in the back third of this feeder-creek arm, and we failed to find any submerged aquatic vegetation and failed to elicit a strike. This area has about a 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and silt. The water's edge is embellished with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few overhanging trees, some piles of brush, and several laydowns.

The last 45 minutes were spent along the north shoreline in the middle section of this feeder-creek arm. It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, many magnificent boulders, and some stumps. The water's edge is adorned by patches of winter-dead American water willows. We fished about a 125-yard stretch of this shoreline. During the first 11 minutes, we failed to garner a strike until we made our first cast with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. Then during the next 34 minutes, we caught 11 largemouth bass and accidentally caught one hefty bluegill on our TRD HogZ rigs. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop in four to five feet of water and about six feet from the water's edge. The other nine largemouth bass were caught on either a drag-and-shake presentation or a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation around the boulders in about seven to eight feet of water and 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge. We made our last casts at 2:35 p.m.

The National Weather Service is telling us that March's windy ways are going to get more blustery during the days to come. And Old Man Winter might make another appearance. Mother Nature's windy ways and periodic affairs with Old Man Winter have made it a task for us old codgers to get afloat during the first 63 days of 2022. So far, we have fished only three times for a total of 430 minutes and struggled to catch 47 largemouth bass.

Mar. 5

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 5 outing with Bill Kenney of Denton.

Here is an edited version of his log.

From 11:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Bill and I fished for five of those six hours at two community reservoirs and one private impoundment in north-central Texas.

The sky conditions varied from overcast to partly cloudy. The morning's low temperature was 58 degrees. The afternoon high temperature climbed to 78 degrees. A peppy wind quartered out of the south-by-southwest at 18 to 31 mph. The barometric pressure dropped from 29. 90 at 11:00 a.m. to 29.82 at 6:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would take place from 2:01 a.m. to 4:01 a.m., 8:13 a.m. to 10:13 a.m., and 2:25 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.

At the first community reservoir, the water was stained and exhibited about 18 inches of clarity. The water level appeared to be normal. The water temperature was 56 degrees.

The north and west sides of this reservoir encompass a concrete culvert and a shallow ditch that extends from the south end of the west shoreline and courses through the center of the impoundment. They are also endowed with scores of bald cypress tree knees, several points, and a small brush pile. A shallow sand-and-gravel ledge protrudes about three to 15 feet from the water's edge, and this ledge encompasses the entire impoundment. The ledge is covered with about a foot of water and drops off into three to five feet of water. The bottom terrain consists of sand mixed with small pieces of gravel and rocks. The shorelines possess 15 to 25-degree slopes.

The north shoreline yielded five largemouth bass and two large crappie. They were caught in six to eight feet of water and about 30 feet away from the shallow sand-and-gravel ledge. Two of these largemouth bass and one of the large crappie were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange TRD TicklerZ rigged on a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Another two largemouth bass and the other large crappie were attracted to a Z-Man's bubble-gut TRD TicklerZ fastened on a black 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One largemouth was caught on a twitch-and-pause motif with a skirted 1/8-ounce black-blue Z-Man's Micro Finesse Jig with a Z-Man's black-blue TRD CrawZ trailer.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the east shoreline.

Along the south shoreline, we caught three largemouth bass that were extracted from about four feet of water and about five to 10 feet from the sand-and-gravel ledge. They were tempted by a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the green-pumpkin-orange TRD TicklerZ rig.

Along the wind-blown west shoreline, we caught 15 largemouth bass in five to eight feet of water from the deep-water side of the sand-and-gravel ledge. Twelve were caught on a shortened four-inch black-red-flake finesse worm rigged Texas-style on a red 1/32-ounce finesse jig and a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation. Three were allured by a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation with the shortened four-inch black-red-flake finesse worm matched with a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

At the second reservoir, we struggled to catch five largemouth bass. We also caught a large bluegill by accident. Its underwater terrain consists of sand and pebbles of gravel. There are numerous tree limbs and other wood debris littering the south and east shorelines. A shallow sand-and-gravel ledge extends about five feet out from the water's edge along the north and east shorelines. The north and east shorelines are the steepest of the four and possess 30- to 45-degree slopes. The south and west shorelines are flatter with 10- to 15-degree inclines. Their water's edges are adorned with bald cypress trees and partially-submerged bald cypress tree knees.

The water temperature was 60 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal. The water exhibited about 12 to 14 inches of visibility.

All five of these largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water and about five to 10 feet from the sand-and-gravel ledge along the steeper midsection of the north shoreline. They were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged Texas-style on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce finesse jig that was employed with a slow hop-and-bounce presentation.

The third impoundment is a private one, and it lies about 12 miles from the first two community reservoirs that we fished. The fishing was slow at this impoundment, and it relinquished six largemouth bass and one large bluegill.

This reservoir's east and south shorelines are flat and are adorned with aquatic vegetation and a couple of laydowns.

The north shoreline is the steepest of the four, and is adorned with some meager patches of submerged aquatic vegetation and several overhanging trees.

The west shoreline has a shallow ledge that extends about 25 feet out from the water's edge and is covered with submerged aquatic vegetation. This ledge descends into 14 feet of water near the middle of the impoundment.

The east shoreline is also steep with thick patches of terrestrial vegetation at its water's edge. It is endowed with a prominent point and some submerged aquatic vegetation adorns sections of this shoreline.

The water was slightly clearer than the other two community reservoirs and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 65 degrees. The water level appeared to be about four feet low.

We caught one largemouth bass from the steep north shoreline, one largemouth bass from the east shoreline, two largemouth bass from the south shoreline, and two more largemouth bass from the west shoreline. They were abiding within 15 to 25 feet of the water's edge in four to 10 feet of water.

Four were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ rigged Texas-style on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce finesse jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a slow dragging retrieve with a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a shortened Junebug Hula StickZ. The sixth largemouth was allured by a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man's California-craw TRD HogZ that was Texas-rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce finesse jig.

All totaled, we relished tangling with 34 largemouth bass, two large crappie, and three large bluegills in five hours.

Twenty-three largemouth bass and two crappie were caught from the first community reservoir. Five largemouth bass and one large bluegill were caught from the second community reservoir, and six largemouth bass and one large bluegill were caught from the third community reservoir.

Some local anglers are beginning to report that largemouth bass are occupying spawning nests or building nests in the shallow-water areas of some U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in south and central Texas. But so far, we have not seen any spawning activity in the community, state, and federal reservoirs that we ply in north-central Texas.

Mar. 17

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 17 outing with John Thomas of Denton.

Here is an edited version of his log.

Winter is slowly transitioning into spring in north-central Texas. Water temperatures are slowly rising from the mid- to upper-40s to the low 50s. Daytime highs have risen from the 40s and 50s to the 60s and 70s. The night-time lows are also climbing from the 20s and 30s to the upper 40s and 50s.

On this St. Patrick's Day, we fished at a state reservoir located in an exurban area in north-central Texas. This reservoir has become our favorite year-round black-bass venue, and we were hoping to cross paths with a dozen or so largemouth bass now that winter is coming to an end.

When we launched the boat at 9:20 a.m., it was sunny. The sky was partly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 58 degrees. The afternoon high temperature reached 81 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southwest at 15 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.73. As we trailered the boat at 3:05 p.m., the barometric pressure had dropped to 29.60. The wind was still angling out of the southwest, but its intensity had increased to 25 mph. Typically, the daytime high temperature for this time of March in north-central Texas is 66 degrees. The average low temperature is 46 degrees.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, would occur from 4:31 a.m. to 6:31 a.m., 10:42 a.m. to 12:42 p.m., and 4:54 p.m. to 6:54 p.m. We fished from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We spent these 5 1/2 hours fishing a 200-yard section of shoreline inside a small bay that provided us some shelter from the blustery wind. This bay is situated on the lower end of the reservoir.

This 200-yard segment of shoreline has a submerged terrain that consists of clay, pea gravel, chunk rocks, and boulders. It also possesses a 45- to 60-degree gradient.

The water level has been slowly dropping during the past few weeks, and it was 4.39 feet below its normal pool. The water exhibited a murky-green hue with about 12 inches of visibility. We found the surface temperatures ranged from 50.7 degrees to 52.3 degrees.

Overall, the black-bass fishing was much better than we had expected, and we savored scuffling with 22 largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. All of them were relating to the submerged rocks and boulders in four to 13 feet of water, and none of them were small.

We employed several Midwest finesse rigs, but only two of them were effective. One was a modified 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's hot-craw ZinkerZ with its tail split and rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead, and it allured 16 largemouth bass and the freshwater drum. The second one was a shortened 4 1/2-inch black-red-flake soft-plastic worm fastened on a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead , and it beguiled six largemouth bass.

The only effective presentation was a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. The strikes were very subtle and difficult to detect in the robust wind.

Mar. 25

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about their sorry Mar. 25 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 27 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 58 degrees at 4:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the north and northwest at 3 to 33 mph. The conditions of the sky varied from being fair to foggy and misty to mostly cloudy to overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:52 a.m., 30.00 at 5:52 a.m., 30.16 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.12 at 3:52 p.m.

The first 85 days of 2022 have been a frustrating time for Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas. Mother Nature's wet, windy, and wintery ways have kept many of us old codgers at bay for days on end. And when we have been able to get afloat, we have struggled to catch a largemouth bass. For example, we have fished just four times since Dec. 31, 2021, and we have caught only 52 largemouth bass in 7.7 hours of fishing, which is a sorry average of slightly more than six largemouth bass an hour.

Traditionally, most Marches can be a trying time for locating and catching significant numbers of largemouth bass in the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and our Mar. 25 outing was quite vexing.

The water level looked to be about 1 ½ feet above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 46 to 48 degrees. Our Secchi stick noted that the water exhibited from about 1 ½ to three feet of clarity.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 5:31 a.m. to 7:31 a.m., 6:02 p.m. to 8:02 p.m., and 11:22 a.m. to 1:22 p.m.

We executed our first cast at 2:10 p.m., and our last ones at 3:56 p.m. We spent most of the time hoping to find spots that were sheltered from the wind that was howling from 20 to 30 mph while we were afloat.

Inside a feeder-creek arm in the lower portion of this reservoir, we found a short section of its north shoreline that was somewhat sheltered from the wind. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and some stumps. Some of our retrieves revealed that some of this underwater terrain is embellished with patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, but we were unable to collect any samples of it. The water's edge is adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few piles of brush, and one dock. Somehow we caught four largemouth bass along this shoreline.

Two of the four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and 15 feet from the water's edge. The second one was caught on a deadstick presentation in about seven feet of water and 20 feet from the water's edge.

Two were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and 12 feet from the water's edge. The other one was caught along the outside edge of what felt like a patch of submerged aquatic vegetation with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and about 12 feet from the water's edge.

We spent about 20 minutes fishing along three short sections of the north shoreline inside another large feeder-creek arm. These sections have a 20- to 25-degree slope. Their water's edge is lined with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, several laydowns, a few minor piles of brush, and four docks. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and some silt, and there are a few patches of Eurasian milfoil adorning several areas along this terrain. We caught one largemouth bass at one of the outside corners of one of the docks. It was caught in about 10 feet of water on our Junebug Finesse TRD rig with a drag-and-shake presentation.

We spent the final 10 minutes of this outing battling the wind along a 50-yard section of a shoreline inside another large feeder-creek arm. After complaining about the wind and failing to elicit a strike, we decided to go home.

In short, it was a struggle to catch five largemouth bass in one hour and 46 minutes of battling the wind.

Upon returning home, we talked with a friend. He is a veteran Midwest finesse angler and a wizard at wielding a 2 ½-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig. As we talked, he reported that the weather had kept him at bay for weeks on end, and he had been able to fish only twice this year. Both outings were in March at a community reservoir that is situated on a very suburban landscape in northeastern Kansas. This reservoir used to be one of his most bountiful ones, but it has been walloped by the largemouth bass virus and heavy applications of aquatic and terrestrial herbicides. During the seven hours that he and several of his colleagues have fished together this year, they have failed to catch a largemouth bass at this reservoir. From his perspective, this has been the most trying March in his many decades of pursuing largemouth bass in northeastern Kansas.

We have six more days of March, and the National Weather Service predicts that the wind will gently stir at about 5 mph on Mar. 26, and the high temperature will be about 55 degrees. There is a chance for sprinkles and snow flurries on Mar. 27. Area thermometers will climb to 63 and 80 degrees on Mar. 28 and 29, but the wind will howl up to 30 mph on one of those days. On the next to the last day of the month, area thermometers might reach 62 degrees, but it will rain and some thunderstorms may erupt. And on the last day of this trying month, there is a 10-percent chance that it will snow.

Mar 26 and 28

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about their sorry and short outings at two community reservoirs in northeastern Kansas on Mar. 26 and 28.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The largemouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas has been so difficult that it is difficult to compose a log about our outings. Therefore, we have opted to compile these two outings into one log.

On Mar. 26, the National Weather Service reported that it was 26 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 57 degrees at 4:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, northwest, and northeast at 3 to 22 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:52 a.m., 30.13 at 5:52 a.m., 30.17 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.12 at 3:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about 12 inches above its normal level, which is the aftereffect of the recent rainfalls. The surface temperature was 48 degrees. Our Secchi stick noted that the water exhibited almost three feet of clarity inside the two feeder-creek arms that we fished.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 6:26 a.m. to 8:26 a.m. and 6:56 p.m. to 8:56 p.m.

We made our first cast at 12:30 p.m. and gave up fishing at 2:20 p.m.

We spent most of this 110-minute outing fishing along a massive shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm in the lower portion of this reservoir. This shoreline's underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and some stumps. Some of the boulders are humongous. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. Portions of the underwater terrain seemed to be endowed with some patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, but our attempts to collect samples of it were unsuccessful. The water's edge is laced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few piles of brush, and one dock. Somehow we eked out four largemouth bass, which were caught along a minor section of this long shoreline. They were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a deadstick presentation in about six feet of water and 10 feet from the water's edge. The other four were caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water from 10 to 20 feet from the water's edge.

We failed to engender a strike along several portions of another shoreline inside this feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 20- to 50-degree slope. The water's edge is adorned with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few piles of brush, three docks, one concrete retaining wall, and several overhanging trees.

The third and last area that we fished was a 125-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm in the lower portion of the reservoir. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. The water's edge is adorned with continuous patches of winter-dead American water willows, one dock, and one boathouse. We caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig in the vicinity of a tertiary point, in about six feet of water, and about 10 feet from the water's edge.

On our Mar. 28 outing, the National Weather Service reported that it was 35 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 57 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the east at 7 to 31 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:53 a.m., 30.10 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.02 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about six inches above its normal level. The surface temperature was 48 degrees. The water exhibited a greenish-brown hue, which might be a byproduct of the recent rainfalls, and our Secchi stick noted that the water exhibited from about two to three feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 8:12 a.m. to 10:12 a.m. and 8:39 p.m. to 10:39 p.m.

We made our first cast at 1:30 p.m. and gave up fishing at 3:21 p.m. We spent most of the time hiding from Mother Nature's gusts of wind.

We caught two largemouth bass along about a 300-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and some silt. It has a 20- to 60-degree slope. The water's edge is festooned with several patches of winter-dead American water willows, some overhanging trees, nine docks, several concrete and stone retaining walls, a stone bridge, some minor piles of brush, and a few laydowns. Both of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug TRD TricklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about three feet of water near a patch of winter-dead American water willows. The second one was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation near a laydown in about six feet of water.

We caught three largemouth bass along about a 350-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the middle section of the reservoir. This shoreline has a 30- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and it is enhanced with some significant ledges. The water's edge is graced with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, and it is littered with 26 docks. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water adjacent to two docks. The other two were caught on the TRD TricklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water.

We spent the final 10 minutes of this 111-minute outing battling the significant wind gusts and probing about 60 yards of the dam. Its shoreline has about a 60-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows. We caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man's California-craw TRD BugZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. They were caught on the initial drop along the outside edge of the patches of winter-dead American water willows.

The largemouth bass fishing and the weather in northeastern Kansas have been abysmal since Jan. 1, making it difficult for us to fish, and when we go fishing, it is difficult for us to catch fish and want to keep fishing. On this outing, we chatted with another angler who reported that he had been fishing for about two hours and had elicited only one strike. When we returned home, we talked to a friend who had fished at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs on Mar. 27, and he struggled to catch two largemouth bass, one wiper, and one white bass. We received an email from a Midwest finesse colleague who lives in Indiana, and he wrote that it has "been a pretty rough spring so far over here with this inconsistent weather and heavy rains."

To our chagrin, the National Weather Service is predicting that Mother Nature's cantankerous ways will plague northeastern Kansas on Mar. 29 with a south wind of 15 to 20 mph and gusts that might surpass 35 mph. Then on Mar. 30, there is a 70-percent chance that it will rain with thunderstorms and perhaps a few snowflakes will appear and wind gusts will reach 35 mph. And the wind will continue to howl on Mar. 31.

Mar. 31

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 31 outing with Rick Allen of Dallas.

Here is an edited version of his log.

On March 24, Rick joined me at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas for a morning of black-bass fishing. But as soon as we arrived at our first spot, a belt inside the trolling motor snapped in two, and we spent some time trying to repair it on the water. Ultimately, we were unable to make the necessary repairs, so we ended the outing without making a single cast. I spent the remainder of the day removing the trolling motor from my boat and delivering it to a repair shop for repairs. I was informed that it will take a couple of weeks for the repairs to be completed.

On Mar. 31, I joined Rick at a state reservoir located in a rural area of north-central Texas. It is the same one where John Thomas of Denton and I fished on March 17.

Our outing on Mar. 31 was delayed for about two hours because a large thunderstorm erupted over the reservoir. We arrived at the boat ramp at about 11:50 a.m. We made our first casts at noon and our final ones at 4:30 p.m.

After the thunderstorm subsided, the sky quickly cleared and there was an abundance of bright sunshine. The morning low temperature was 43 degrees. The afternoon high temperature climbed to 72 degrees. The wind quartered out of the northwest at 15 to 18 mph with a few 20- to 23-mph gusts. The barometric pressure measured 29.92 at noon and 29.86 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 4:13 a.m. to 6:13 a.m., 10:25 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., and 10:47 p.m. to 12:47 a.m.

The water level was 4.48 feet below its normal pool. The water was dingy with about 14 inches of visibility. The surface temperature warmed slightly from 53 to 55 degrees as the afternoon progressed.

We concentrated our efforts along a 200-yard portion of a rocky shoreline inside a small bay in the lower end of the reservoir. It possesses a 45- to 60-degree incline. Its underwater terrain consists of small pieces of gravel, chunky rocks, and scattered boulders.

This section of shoreline is the same one John Thomas and I targeted on March 17, when we caught 22 largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. This time, it relinquished 23 largemouth bass. They were abiding in three to nine feet of water and were relating to the submerged chunky rocks and boulders.

We wielded a bevy of Midwest finesse rigs, and nine of them were somewhat productive. The most effective one was a shortened plastic 4 1/2-inch black-red-flake finesse worm fastened on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The most effective presentation— by far— was a slow and continuous crawling retrieve along the bottom.

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