As we discussed in Part I of this series, now is the time to be fishing ponds and lakes for Bluegills and the Black Crappie.  

This is the time of year that these fish spawn and thus stack up near shore and provide the best spring pan fishing.

The limit is 50 pan fish per day; quite liberal for sure. What many folks, including those who own ponds and lakes, do not understand is that you must remove some fish each year or the populations get stunted rather quickly. 

We saw that happen in the l970s when the good perch fishing at Canton Lake stopped. That year in ice fishing season, we all caught numerous very small perch. We never fished there again.

The best way to treat freshly caught pan fish in my type of fishing from shore is to use a floating basket. The basket is composed of wire mesh and a floatable plastic top. You can keep putting freshly caught fish in this floating basket until you are done fishing for the day.

What I do is put the collapsible basket in a plastic washtub for the trip home.  Upon arriving home, the fish are taken from the wire basket and put in a plastic bag for the refrigerator. I keep them in the frig overnight and fillet them the next day.  It works well for me to do them the following day as quite often I am tired from fishing.

I fillet the fish and put them in cold, salted water for several hours or overnight, back in the refrigerator.  The next day, wash the fillets and put as many in a plastic container filled with water as your family will devour in one meal. For the two of us, 10 to 12 fillets are just right.

Fish frozen in water are good for at least one year, if not longer. I cannot say for sure since we eat my catch fairly quickly and give some to my brother and our friends for the table. That gesture is always appreciated.

Usually the middle of June ends the spring spawn.  I take the summer off and start fishing again in September. The autumn fishing is good until the colder weather in mid to late October.

This is a wonderful way to introduce someone to fishing. Usually you will catch fish and for the newbie, especially a young person, this is an easy way to hook and land fish.

Enjoy the things in nature that God gives to us each day.