My Secret Ponds

Found out they are only going to remain a secret for another three or four years. That gives me plenty of time to go to a place that’s remote, dead quiet and pretty much free of others. Apparently there may be one or two others that share the secret.

There’s a good reason behind the secrecy of these ponds. This is the way in.

It goes on like this for awhile, almost a three quarter of a mile hike in. Not for the feint of heart.

There are six ponds, two I have yet to walk around. Back in March I walked around the other four. Not sure why I didn’t bring a fishing pole that time. They are all manmade ponds, think cooling lakes by the way they are built by berms, and sit a little higher than the surrounding area. I’m guessing they’re somewhere between 30-50 years old.

There are numerous small ravines running through here. The ponds were created by damming up something that looked like this.

The day was a bit cold and the wind kept getting worse the whole time out there. The ponds were all down about a foot lower than when I was here a few weeks ago. There were no footprints to be seen anywhere. Being the lazy fisherman I am, I had my river jig and pearl twister tied on and decided that since these fish probably never see a lure, they’ll hit anything.

On the first cast I was proved correct in that assumption.

The ponds aren’t very big, but this one is the biggest of the group of four. It’s surrounded by willows with a stand of trees along one side. Some kind of tree gnawing rodent keeps the willows under control.

I was catching smaller largemouth bass consistently and assumed that’s what would be in here. Also on every cast, panfish were nipping away at the tail of the twister. Then I got a hit no different than the others, till it dove for the deep spot in the middle of the pond.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled out this.

I held it up against my rod and visually marked a couple of spots. When I got home, the distance measured 22 inches. That would make it a 6 pound bass, give or take a few ounces.

I read all the time how guys get all weak in the knees and they’re hearts start racing and adrenalin pumping when they tie into a big fish. That never happens to me. I just methodically go about figuring out how to land the fish, it’s just a fish.

One of the things I almost never wrote about over the years was the private rod and gun club I belonged to in Virginia. I spent many weeks a year out there for 23 years, fishing for these big green things. It became rather routine and I never saw the point in writing about something I had no intention of sharing with anyone.

But these big mouths you can stick your fist in are pretty impressive.

No, I didn’t hang the jig on it’s lip for the effect. That’s how it was when I landed it. Wasn’t even hooked or at least the jig lifted right off.

The second pond was more out in the open and by then the wind was beating me up. Lots of tail nips and caught a big creek chub. I think that’s a first out of a pond, but does explain why that one bass got that big.

Went back to the original pond to keep trying my luck, more smaller ones.

Since the panfish were nipping away at the tail, I downsized to something they could eat, still in pearl. They quit nipping at the tail. Took another walk all around the lake looking for gills that would hit.

The largemouth bass liked the down sized lure too.

It was odd how the panfish bite died off on the little lure, but was still able to catch a few.

Did manage a couple of gills big enough to lip. One wouldn’t cooperate for a photo and if you look at the underside of this one, you’ll see a wound. Past experience tells me there are also big snapping turtles in this pond. A heron would have left a wound like that on top.

Switched to a slider head with a 4 inch black and purple finesse worm and continued to get hits and catch a few bass.

By this time the wind was howling. I took shelter behind one of the thick stands of willows, caught a few more bass and watched little white caps blowing across the pond.

I considered another walk around the pond tossing the finesse worm, but I was beat up and done, back and hips screaming in pain. I called it quits.

Lost track of how many bass caught at 12, there were quite a few more. Completely lost track of how many I missed, it was considerable. Never bothered counting gills, there were enough to keep me casting.

I think this is going to be one of those places I go to once every three or four weeks. Give the fish plenty of time to forget they were hooked. Definitely need the rain to bring the ponds back up. Two of the ponds already had enough moss around the edges to make them not even worth fishing.

Then there’s the other two ponds I haven’t even seen yet. They are slightly bigger than any in this group of four. Maybe I’ll go back every other week and just split up my time between the ponds, never hitting any particular one more than once a month.

Sounds like a plan.

Didn’t see another set of footprints the whole time I was out wandering around, though I do know I’m sharing these with someone else.

I got to meet him.

We agreed to keep these a secret.

23 thoughts on “My Secret Ponds

    1. Ken G Post author

      I really need to study up. I was seeing a few things I don’t recall seeing before. Too many red wing blackbirds. Their sound gets a little grating after awhile.

  1. Chris Beckstrom

    great post as always Ken, forgive me for saying so but that one bass is a HOG! I know you’re not big on such terminology… I feel like it could swallow my dog. Those twister tails never cease to amaze…

    1. Ken G Post author

      Hawg, pig, brute… It was big. Twisters are the most versatile lure on earth, they catch everything. Even caught baby sharks with them in the surf off Hilton Head. BUT, they’re not cool. Supposedly.

  2. Jim McClellan

    The ponds are beautiful. Looks like it would be a great place to take a bream buster and some earthworms and spend the day. The bluegills were perfect eating size.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Maggots are my favorite. You can catch a half dozen gills on a hook full of them before you have to add more.

      Not sure I’m allowed to keep any fish out of here, but I will be asking.

      1. Ken G Post author

        I’ve got a few years for this one Walt. I can think of 4 other people that know about this, I think at some point the bugs will even keep a couple of those away.

        Frank, next time I’ll bring my wife’s car. It’s a black Range Rover, yeah, that’s it. Or, I know what you drive, I’ll just run you off the road.

  3. ayearonthefly

    I’m headed up to Illinois at the end of the month, how about sharing the secret on where these gems are. With me… No? I guess I’ll just have to fish those Mississippi river backwaters just like when I was a kid. Great post!

    1. Ken G Post author

      How far north are you coming?
      If you’re going to be up in the Galena area, you should wander over to the Apple River. I can give you some tips on that one with no problem. Let me know.

      1. ayearonthefly

        That’s right were I will be. Near Clinton IA actually. I’ll look into that water while I’m there. I’d you happen out there later this month shoot me an email

  4. Blake

    your very generous with some very good spots. i dont share well with others

    other people gotta learn how to keep their lips sealed

    1. Ken G Post author

      This is a tough one to find Blake if you don’t know where to start. Didn’t give away the starting point except for that wall of green.

      The smaller the water, the more secretive I’ve become. Public land I’ll talk about rather freely, parks and forest preserve districts want people out there so they can justify buying more. I’m all for that.

      The rest? I can be bribed. Bring cash.

  5. Dan Roloff

    Looks like a great apot to get away. Nothing like harassing fish that don’t see a lure often.

    1. Ken G Post author

      It was so quiet my ears were ringing louder than usual. When I would go out to Virginia, it would take three days for that ringing to subside. We don’t realize how bad it is till we get away from it all.

      I need to get to that one bigger pond to see what’s in there.

  6. mike allen

    I live on the other side of town Ken and cant get a fix on that location, thought I knew most. Enjoy that slice of heaven!! they are rare these days.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Mike, if it were the Fox, I’d give you GPS coordinates to the spot. I agonized over putting up this much info, that is very rare for me. I like to think I’m known for giving things away.

      This is a nice little slice. Luckily, even in 3 or 4 years, the hike in will probably keep most out.

      You’ll figure it out, keep looking 🙂

  7. Gretchen Steele

    Wonderful post! I am particularly fond of small ponds like these – I have several favorites scattered out through abandoned strip mines. They all require a little boot leather burning, but it’s always worth it – not just for the fishing, but for the solitude, the enjoyment of the things I see along the way in and out and just being somewhere few, if any folks know about. Oh that tree eating rodent- keep your eyes open- betcha it’s a big fat beaver 😉

    1. Ken G Post author

      Was looking for where the wood was getting hauled off to, but didn’t find it. Got to be around somewhere.

      I wish I could find more like this pond spread around out there. It’s well worth the hike in. Thankfully I’m immune to poison ivy. Incredible vines found. I’ve seen some big ones, but I didn’t know they could get that big.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’m fighting the urge to go back there. Need to give it a break. Wish I could find more like that. I’m not really in pond/lake country, so they are few and far between.

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