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Lake of the Week, Dec. 2nd: Middle Fork Reservoir

Discussion in 'Indiana Fishing Reports' started by SC Mike, Dec 2, 2006.

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    Middle Fork Reservoir, Wayne County

    Nearest town: Richmond
    Surface area: 177 acres
    Maximum depth: 41 feet
    Average depth: 21 feet
    Secchi disc: 2.1 feet
    Shoreline fishing: Good
    Accessibility: City-owned public access with concrete ramp on west shore
    Motors: 6 HP maximum
    Accommodations: Park, boat docks, ADA fishing piers
    Source: Impoundment on Middle Fork of East Fork of Whitewater River
    Shoreline demographics: NA


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    FISHING INFORMATION: There are people all over Indiana wishing they had a little lake like this one near their house. Middle Fork Reservoir is filled with largemouth bass, big bluegill and enormous channel cats. A 6-hp limit keeps the lake quiet and fishing tops. Locals know they have a good thing going on. For a long time, the lake was overrun with a too-abundant population of panfish. Attempts to reign it in with stockings of first muskie in the 1980 and then northern pike in the 1990s, just didn’t work. But largemouth bass did. By 2000, the bluegill growth and size structure was improving and crappie were growing faster. It got to the point that the largemouth were the most abundant species in the lake.

    Today, weekly tournaments pull in largemouth every week that approach seven pounds or bigger, and the bluegill are unbelievable. Jerry Hammond, who is co-owner of All About Bass Bait & Tackle (700 N. 10th St., Richmond, IN, 765-935-3800), says the bass are doing real well. “Most people practice catch-and-release, which is real important to keeping this fishery going.” A 2005 fish kill affected the largemouth bass and bluegill, but spring 2006 tournaments are already being won by seven-pound fish, so nobody is too worried.

    Hammond says the biggest largemouth come from under the bridge (SPOT 4). The bluegill are big and plentiful, and 10-inch fish are good biters in early spring. After that, the smaller fish are going to hit the hooks. But smaller on Middle Fork is still a big bluegill by many measures. Crappie haven’t fared as well. In the last few years, they’ve slacked off a bit, according to Hammond. They’re plentiful, but small, rarely reaching 10 inches. The catfish are outstanding. “Just last week I had a guy bring in a channel cat that weighed 25 pounds,” said Hammond.

    The rocks near the dam on the south end of the lake (SPOT 1) are good for crappie fishing Also try the ledge at a sharp bend near the bridge on the north end of the lake (SPOT 2) for crappie and just about anything else you’re interested in. Brush piles found along the shore all around the lake are also good places to work for bluegill, especially along the eastern shore about mid-lake (SPOT 3). If you’re looking for a tackle-busting day of fishing, target the massive carp in the lake.

    Try plastics and live minnows for largemouth and minnows almost always do well if you’re after crappie. Largemouth also seem to fall for buzzbaits early in the season and deep-running crankbaits during the summer. Redworms and beemoths (waxworms) should produce well for bluegills. Chicken livers, dough balls and crawlers bring in the big cats.


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