Billings report: 2 Stray Casters hit Turtle Creek
In my last blog I suggested some early bass fishing opportunities that region anglers could
take advantage of. Being the faithful Stray Casts contributor that I am, I felt it necessary to
investigate my suggestions. The weekend of February 20th turned out to be the perfect storm
for an early season getaway bass trip. My home responsibilities were good, the weather
looked great, and my fellow fish-head buddy Eric Novotny was available to go. Our destination
was Turtle Creek in Merom, IN and as I reported earlier is supposedly making a little come
back from its glory days. Plans were made, times were set and all that needed to be done
was to catch some fish.
Eric and I departed early Saturday morning (3:30 am) with the plan to drive straight down and
fish all day. The 4 hour trip gave us time to discuss every detail of our up and coming day.
I haven’t been to this lake in over 10 years but in my middle 20’s to middle 30’s I fished this
lake religiously. One year, I believe around 1995, my buddy and I went through 3 sets of trailer
tires going to Turtle. During our discussion we made the determination that it really didn’t
matter if we caught fish or not. The day was going to be beautiful and we would be on the boat,
in open water, with a flipping stick in hand. We decided that this trip was like spring training
for baseball players. I think is an important point to remember when engaging in early
season fishing. These trips give you an opportunity to run the boat, turn on your electronics
and go through the mechanics of casting. Another thing these trips do is provide an
opportunity to develop your mental game of “putting the puzzle” together for the day. Many
bass anglers are just a few weeks away from your first tournaments of the year and these
mentioned points are all important to doing well in your events.
The results? Saturday was absolutely beautiful and as we arrived at the launch my anticipation
grew, now I really wanted to stick some fish! We motored to the north end of the lake which
provided the best water temp opportunities. Water temps were 57-62 degrees. Not to long
into our day we were able to catch a nice fat bass. Without going into all the details, every
bite gave us another clue as to a pattern, and by end of the day we had a solid limit for
about 15-16lbs. I think both of us were happy with the day at that point and we decided
to look around at other areas of the lake. We motored down south where the water temps
were cooler but still in the middle 50’s. Plenty warm enough for bass to be active. We found
some fish down there also, but as the afternoon grew into early evening, fatigue and hunger
started to take over. We called it a day but was very satisfied with the results and our limit.
Sunday was a completely different day as far as weather. North winds had brought in cooler
air temps but still not too bad for the middle of February. Once again we started on the north
end but quickly realized that our pattern from the day before had changed and we needed
to adapt. As I have mentioned these mental parts of fishing are so important to tournament
fishing and exercising these movements are what I really enjoy about early season fishing.
After analyzing the situation we decided to move back south to the area we had fished at
the end of Saturday. This move really paid off for us, and after figuring out that the fish
were extremely tight to one specific type of cover, we boated a solid limit for about 14lbs.
Getting back home late Sunday evening I was very satisfied with our trip and considered it
a complete success. I am not going to say that this lake is back, but I will say that it is worth
an early season trip. I will probably get one more trip in down there before spring hits.
If you like flipping wood cover Turtle Creek will keep you busy for days.
Click here for online info about Turtle Creek.