My fishing buddy Dwayne Schwartz is a very avid spinnerbait /buzzbait user when bassfishing and the last few weeks have provided him with some of the season’s best fishing.
Last week for example, I talked him into checking out a couple of old log ponds near Yoncalla. I have been curious about these ponds for the last few years, but have only fished them from the shore with limited success. Dwayne and I arrived before daybreak at the Yoncalla Log Pond, a very shallow lily pad covered pond of more than 50 acres. Until the last few years, legal access was not available, but that changed when Douglas County Betterment acquired the pond in May of 2012.
Scattered among the lily pads are several smallish areas of open water that are not reachable by casting from the bank. These areas intrigued me greatly, but when we arrived at the pond I developed a cramp in my left calf that I could not make go away. Since the swim fins I use when fishing out of my polyethylene float tube had straps that are weed magnets and the pair of fins without straps didn’t stay on very well, I opted to be a cheerleader and stayed on the bank.
I definitely wasn’t second guessing myself when Dwayne went strikeless while fishing the first two areas of open water, but when he reached a somewhat larger area of open water his buzzbait accounted for three 12-inch largemouth bass in three casts and eight bass in 20 casts.
Dwayne caught 17 bass to two pounds before moving on to the next area of open water and ended the two and a half hour trip with 22 bass to 17-inches with a couple of blow-ups from obviously larger bass that chickened out before actually grabbing the lure.
The next destination was Mt. Baldy Pond, a couple of miles west on Highway 99.
It took Dwayne only three casts to land his first bass and despite fishing the buzzbait in full daylight, he landed nine bass to 13-inches in less than two hours. Dwayne only spent a few minutes trying for panfish with no success, but the ponds do contain small numbers of crappies, bluegills and brown bullheads.
Since oxygen levels and water depth seem to be limiting factors in both ponds, dredging a few deeper spots and installing aerators would allow for a major improvement in fish carrying capacity. In the meantime, fishing any open areas during pre-dawn hours seems to work just fine.
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.