Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Fishing Test 1-2-3

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.

I got out on Thursday, May 17th after work and it had to happen sooner or later. The bite on the creeks started to die off. I started at the creek that has not turned on for me at all this year and only caught five smallies in about 45 minutes. Still another day the bite in this was virtually non-existent, I should have had at least 20 hits in that 45 minutes.

I cut it short and headed off to Blackberry Creek where I’ve been cleaning up and caught seven. One of the seven was a two foot catfish.

I despise catching these things as much as carp, for the same slime reasons.

There gar were all over the creek. One was sitting in shallow water tucked into some rocks. It never saw me coming, so I tried to pick it up. Just about had it, but they’re fast little buggers.

This was the slowest fishing I’ve had on Blackberry Creek all month.

While there I noticed that the creek was now flowing like a normal creek again. The bypass culvert was completely removed. By the way the remaining culvert was destroyed, it wasn’t going to get used again.

This meant the coffer dam was gone and the work in the creek itself was coming to an end. I didn’t bother to go look till Saturday, a couple of days later. I hadn’t bothered fishing upstream of where the dam was yet. I’ve been waiting for this day when the creek was pretty much free and clear.

Below the dam so far this spring, and that’s a very short stretch before it flows into the Fox, I’m somewhere over 200 caught and another 200 or so missed. That’s mainly where I’ve been fishing and it’s only been about a month. Amazing how one creek can be loaded with fish while another not that far away is practically barren.

Went out Saturday morning, the 19th, for barely an hour and fished for the first time the brand spankin’ new 500 yard stretch above the Blackberry now gone dam. The coffer dam was gone and shore work was being done.

The whole area looks pretty well destroyed, but I bet by fall you won’t even be able to tell. It’s been a week since I took that picture and even since then the area has started to green up considerably.

Wound up with 12 caught and 17 missed, all smallies. Not bad for just a few hundred yards of fishing in a stretch that hasn’t seen a smallie migration in 175 years. Saw a quillback carpsucker cruising by too. I don’t know if they were in the creek before the dam removal, but at least one is now.

I started fishing above the first set of riffles…

…and caught one.

I thought this was an indication that the fishing was going to be slow, but I was dead wrong. All through the new channeled creek were fish. The tighter the lure could be tossed along the rocks the better. They were loving the new structure.

The third set of riffles has the shallowest pool directly above them, but the fish were stacked up pretty well there too.

At this spot I got an extremely hard hit, so hard that it snapped my line. This is no small feat considering that I use 10 lb. test and 2 lb. diameter PowerPro. I’ve hauled small logs off the bottom of the river with this line. It’s virtually indestructible. I had a mental image of the biggest smallie in the creek now swimming around with my lure stuck in it’s mouth.

But this just goes to show why I fish for smallies and practically nothing else. A few casts later I caught a fish and reeled in your typical foot long river smallie. Hanging out of it’s mouth was a length of my line. This was the smallie that had snapped my line, a foot long fish. My lure was all the way down in it’s gullet and obviously not causing too much concern for the fish. It had just snapped my line barely five minutes earlier and was still hungry enough to hit again.

Just below my thumb in the picture you can see the green line hanging out of its mouth.

I was intrigued by my fishing test results. Smallmouth bass migrating up a creek for the first time in 175 years, within days of the creek being returned to a normal flow.

I was so intrigued, I went back again later in the day…