FLW Outdoors Fishing Report - Hunting and Fishing on Federal Land

Murray, KY – Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Outdoors Weekly Fishing Report.

This is the time of the year when you should become a fishing opportunist, if you're not one already. In other words, be prepared to fish for anything that will bite, because really there's no type of fish in particular to target now. Get on some kind of little pattern, stick with it and you can have a good day.

Eric Benson of Benson's Sporting Goods told me that most of his customers are reporting hit-and-miss action for bass. He said Tuesday a couple of guys came in and bought some shallow- and medium-depth crankbaits because they both had caught their limits that morning. So that reinforces the notion that bass are starting to leave the ledges and bars and move toward the shoreline, though they're still pretty scattered everywhere for most people.

The deep-water ledge bite has been slowly falling off for the last few weeks, but deep-diving crankbaits and jigs are still producing here and there. Schooling bass also are still popping up on the big flats, creek mouths and main lake and will take spoons, topwaters and even crankbaits.

At least the bass that are being caught now are a bit bigger, on average. Give it another couple of weeks, and bass will be settled in their fall patterns and starting to feed more frequently.

Actually, fishing for crappies has been pretty decent lately, and will get consistently better as the weather and the water continues to cool down. Typically, most of the fishermen who are catching slabs now are fishing 12 to 15 feet deep in the mouths of the big creeks like Jonathan Creek and Blood River. Some people are using live minnows, but southern pro tube jigs on sixteenth-ounce jig heads fished with spider rigs are doing about as well, or better.

In related news, a bill was submitted in the U.S. Congress the other day that would establish the rights of hunters and fishermen to use federal lands. House bill 2834 is called "the recreational fishing and hunting heritage and opportunities act," and you might want to keep your eyes and ears open as the bill moves through the House of Representatives and senate. Hunters and fishermen have a lot of friends in congress, but they also have enemies. This bill, if it passes and is signed into law, would guarantee that various federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest service have to come up with more programs that foster hunting and fishing on federal land.

They also couldn't make any regulations that affect the rights of law-abiding citizens to access federal land in the same ways we can use state-owned land. In other words, federal agencies couldn't manage public land the way they see fit without being more sensitive to the wishes of hunters and fishermen. Stay tuned, I'll have more on this very important bill as it progresses.

For now, that's all. Enjoy the weather while it lasts, and keep your lures wet. This is Scott Ellison for FLW Outdoors, signing off.

Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW Outdoors College Fishing Promotions Manager.