If you are a frequent paddler, there may still be places near where you live that you have never launched or fished. For some, the extreme climate changes make it difficult to hit the favorite spots of the year. Here it is February, and the lakes still have thick ice. But if you have local areas where there is moving water (like the Frenchman Creek just below the Enders Dam in Southwest Nebraska), there is a chance you can find fish without having to drill a hole. This particular creek was flowing with around six inches in most places, which is just enough to float my Emotion “Stealth” in the crystal clear water. Many of these creeks are not very wide, ranging from just a few feet to the width of a normal gravel road.
As you paddle along these narrow creeks, there are small pools of water that tend to hold fish that prey on small creatures looking for protection in the submerged rocks and dead timber. It is usually an exciting adventure not knowing what these waters hold in their limited depths. The paddling is usually fairly easy, but there may be times you have to get out and walk your kayak through very shallow areas. The scenery is usually gorgeous, with miniature waterfalls and beautiful rock formations.
As I floated and paddled in the afternoon sun and brisk north wind, I noticed many large carp suspended in the water where pools formed. I thought it might be worth a try to dip a jig at them. Sure enough, I had a taker! The fish took my bait and started the battle. It didn’t take long to land the 18” fish, and after a quick photo I released it and paddled some more. You may find the same scenarios in your area. Just look where the stream bends - there is usually a small pool that is holding habitat.
Be sure you understand the laws regarding floating these creeks, which cross many private lands. You may need to cross under barbed wire fences, which can be very risky in moving water. If there are side roads, you can drive within walking distance of most of these small creeks and find several other fishing holes. You can either launch or fish from shore on most of these fishing gold mines. Once you find a place that looks good, cast the waters - it won’t take long to land a few fish. I tried this method, and found a nice hole loaded with creek chubs and rock bass.
The peaceful and serene landscape provides an environment that brings therapy to the soul. If you are looking for a new adventure, something a little different, try that water you drive by each time you head for those prime waters you fish every day. You might just discover a new passion!