January Fishing Sessions: Wallworth/Upper Cooper River (01/05)

Hello, Dear Readers!
The year has just started, and fishing is already picking up. The fish do not hibernate, and they will bite as far as you give them something to eat, in front of their faces. After a cold front, we finally have a couple "warm" days coming up (warm for some), with high 60s on Sunday! Amazing, huh?
As a tradition, I like to go to Wallworth Lake every beginning of January. I still remember the vivid memories of the first time I went there: the Pumpkinseed were BEAUTIFUL, as well as the Bluegills and Black Crappies. It was a huge surprise for me that they were in there, hence the water was always muddy because of Evans Pond. Curiously, I didn't find this spot by accident: I had heard rumours of the "fish ladder" project that was implemented to Wallworth and Evans Pond (for the migration of certain fish), and even stories of stocked Trout in Wallworth, back in the days...So, everything was planned: the trip, the rigs, and the bait. And it worked in the end! =) 
The weather was good and the conditions were right! So, I hit Wallworth Pond with my friend Erik K. on January 5th. In 2012, I hit Wallworth on the 7th, and ended up very well: 1 White Sucker, 1 Golden Shiner, tons of Bluegills and Pumpkinseeds, some Black Crappie, and even a Largemouth Bass! This year, things didn't go that well...
I fished the lower portion of Wallworth until Erik arrived (around 10:30 a.m.): no bites at all. No Pumpkinseeds, Sunnies, or Black Crappies. No wonder: the water was VERY COLD, and a portion of the Lake was actually frozen. From my observations, Evans Pond was 95% frozen; Driscoll was totally frozen, as well as Hopkins Pond.
So, after Erik arrived, we fished the upper portion of the Wallworth Lake. Erik's plan was to catch a Carp - therefore, he had 3 rods in the water with corn. My goal was to just catch a fish - anything, so I had nightcrawlers on all of my 3 rods. As far as I remember, I had 1 bite on a suspended piece of nightcrawler, and I missed it because the nightcrawler was too long on the hook. Around noon, I told Erik about my "side plan:" "If we don't get any bites here soon, we move to the Upper Cooper River."
Well, we didn't get any more bites at Wallworth. Therefore, we moved to the Upper Cooper River (the only place that wasn't frozen, besides Wallworth). We went to the same spot where I got my 5lb Channel Catfish on a piece of American Eel in the Summer of 2012, in water shallower than 12 inches. We set up the rods with the same baits, and I started to pick up bites on the nightcrawler right away! The Sunnies were pretty hungry! I got a couple Pumpkinseeds and Bluegills on the nightcrawler and super worms. Erik was still waiting for his Carp...
After a couple fishes, I decided to go fishing for some Black Crappie at another nearby spot (30 seconds walk). I changed one of my rigs for a Crappie rig, and got one on a Gulp! Minnow on the first cast. I looked at Erik, and he was getting ready to move as well, packing up 2 of his rods already. Just after a took a picture of the little guy (below), Erik started yelling that he got a fish on his remaining rod! I run there as soon as I could, and I saw a beautiful Carp surface to the top.
Since we didn't have a net, and the place was pretty high, I took a couple pictures of the fish in the water. Well...Erik was determined to land that fish (his first fish of the year), so, he asked for my lip grip. I have to say...he lay on the muddy floor to get that fish! After the dirty job, he measured the fish (5lbs) and we took some pictures.
After it, I got a couple more Black Crappies, and even a little Yellow Perch on a piece of suspended nightcrawler! We called it a day...Erik's plan worked out well, and I finished my day with 4 different Species of fish: Bluegill (7), Pumpkin Seed (2), Black Crappie (7), and a Yellow Perch (1).
Pictures are below, boys and girls of all ages (typical "Uncle Steve" here)! Enjoy: 
I was fishing at the upper portion of the Wallworth Lake with Erik K. I got only one bite, and missed it. That was it. 

First Bluegill of the year! =)

First Pumpkinseed of the year!

Another Bluegill - a bigger one. It's impressive that they all hang in that little portion of the River, which is only 12 inches deep, and really muddy! That's why that spot is such a good place for Catfishing in the Summer.

Another little guy, on a Gulp! Minnow.

First Black Crappie of the year!

Erik's Common Carp in the water. Beautiful fish.

Erik with his 5lber Common Carp. When it comes to Carping, perseverance is the key! If he had moved his last fishing rod at that time, who knows what would have happened, huh? Unpredictability is one of the many factors that makes fishing so much fun.

The biggest Crappie of the day - 8 inches.

Same Crappie, another angle. Thanks for the picture, Erik!

X-ray time! No wonder some people call them "Papermouth," huh? Force the retrieve a little bit too much, and you will lose them if the hook-set wasn't too strong. It's pretty interesting, isn't it? You can actually see the Gulp! Minnow and the jig inside its mouth.

Finally, I ended the day with a little Yellow Perch on a piece of nightcrawler. It was small (5 inches), but worth the trip! Yellow Perch are gorgeous fish.

Better enjoy this week, while the weather is giving us a break!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.