I decided to try extra hard to catch a redear sunfish and I figured that the right place to do so was in Reynolds Pond, a shallow warmwater fishery about ten miles west of Bend.
The pond is listed in some fishing guides as being 20 acres in size, but I am fairly certain that it is no more than half that. However, the several small islands in the pond give it significantly more shoreline to fish.
As usual, the few times I have fished the pond, I first stopped at the Alfalfa Store to get directions to the pond. The store has, on their own, created a map to help anglers wanting to fish the pond, that they are able to find it.
On my previous trip to Reynolds, I found Glenn, the store owner, to be most helpful. I was saddened to learn that Glen was no longer with us, but his son, Justin, did a great job of making sure I was going to be able to find the pond – even producing the same map that his father had showed me.
And so I soon found myself at the pond and tried a few casts from shore before I launched my polyethylene float tube-like fishing device called a “River Rat”. I managed to quickly catch a couple of small bass underneath the small primitive “footbridge”. I also saw a couple of ten-inch bullheads in water less than a foot deep, but spooked them even though I cast well away from them.
And then I was in my River Rat and serious about catching a redear sunfish as well as largemouth bass and black crappie. But the fishing was slow for everything but very small bass. When I approached the spot where I caught a ten inch crappie on my previous trip, I started using Berkley 1.5-inch fliptail grubs and soon had several more crappies. However, they only averaged about six inches in length.
As soon as I found some substantial shallow water shaded areas, I switched over to a Zoom fluke and in quick order I had a couple of three pound largemouth bass. They found incredibly well and I hoped they were pond-reared fish and not recent transplants from Davis Lake.
I never encountered any redear sunfish and I paid close attention to any spot that looked like a spawning area. On my first trip to Reynolds, a man walking his dog had stated that he was amazed by how many jumbo sunfish were laying on the bank dead. They were gone by the time I was there, but I did notice a number of brown bullheads that had recently died.
It now seems that, what I had hoped to be was a regular die off of redears after spawning, might have instead been a more serious, more permanent dieoff. Area ODFW biologists believe that there are still a few redears present in Reynolds Pond, but I am certain that if that is the case, the population is very, very low.
In the meantime, I caught another nice largemouth weighing two and a half pounds and ended up with about 20 crappie and whether, or not, there are any redear sunfish left in the pond, the bass and crappie fishing is very good. I think that next year, and especially the year after, are going to be stellar crappie years.
I am also going to make an effort to fish Reynolds when the largemouth are in the prespawn mode when larger fish should be available in the shallows. According to Justin, a friend of his caught bass to six pounds earlier this spring.