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Lake of the Week, Oct. 22: Dallas Lake

Discussion in 'Indiana Fishing Reports' started by SC Mike, Oct 22, 2006.

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    Dallas, LaGrange County

    Nearest town: Wolcotville
    Surface area: 283 acres

    Maximum depth: 96 feet
    Average depth: 35 feet
    Secchi disc: NA

    Shoreline demographics: 60% developed; 20% parkland; 10% forested; 10% wetlands
    Shore fishing: Poor
    Accessibility: Via navigable channels from Messick Lake (to the west) or Westler and Witmer (to the southeast); both Messick and Witmer have public access sites with concrete launch ramps
    Motors: Inboard / outboard motors allowed
    Accommodations: None



    FISHING INFORMATION: Dallas Lake covers 283 acres and the water is generally clear, with visibility down to 10 feet. This is a deep lake, with the bottom being close to 100 feet down in the southeastern corner. There are no motor-size or speed limits, making the lake popular with water skiers, so anglers should plan accordingly. Schedule your outings for weekdays and early morning or later evening during summer. At all costs, avoid those long, summer holiday weekends; you might get run over, or foamed under, as the case may be. With that said, it’s worth putting up with some inconvenience to fish Dallas.

    The lake has lots of good-size crappies, including some near-wall-hangers. No, you won’t find 18-inch monsters, but a 14-inch crappie is a distinct possibility.

    You’ll also find channel catfish here, with some up to 15 pounds being taken fairly regularly on typical catfish baits, like chicken livers, cut baits or stinkbaits. Fish during the evening hours to capitalize on the channel cats natural tendency to cruise the shallows in search of food as the sun is setting. Instead or presenting your bait with a bottom rig use a slip float to position your offering just off the bottom along the drop-offs associated to shallower areas where the cats feed at night. Lucky anglers also may catch northern pike.

    According to locals, the lake is also home to a good selection of largemouth bass, most in the 12- to 18-inch range. The lake doesn’t have many weedbeds, so crankbaits are widely used. Good crankbait choices are Lucky Craft, Bandit or Rapala models. Try both shallow and deep-diving designs. Color patterns to choose vary, but a good approach is to have a shad or baitfish color, chartreuse or an orange or red crawdad color scheme. Black and blue jig-and-pigs also are successful, as are imitation soft-plastic crayfish for bass anglers. Also give a jerkbait like a Lucky Craft Pointer or a Rapala Husky Jerk or topwater lure a try early or late in the day. An excellent approach for fishing along the vegetation that does exist is to cast a weightless Senko into and along the weeds. There is something about this bait that can trigger both neutral and active bass to strike. Color choice is very easy, black, watermelon or green pumpkin will cover almost all of the bases for you. Try out a fluorocarbon line and up the pound test to say 15 or 20. The fluorocarbon line is almost invisible under water and it will allow you to get away with using stronger line. You never know when one of those toothy pike might want to play with your Senko. The heavier fluorocarbon line will stand up to the pike teeth a little longer than standard monofilament or copolymer lines.

    Pickerel Bay, on the northeast corner of the lake, is a good spot to find crappie and bluegill. Fish for both with standard tackle such as small minnows for crappie and little jigs with waxies or redworms with or without a slip bobber for bluegill. Don’t forget to try small spinners during the late spring and early summer. Try casting a Road Runner or Beetle Spin in colors such as white, chartreuse or black for best results. The section of the north shore with 70-foot-deep water is good for fishing of most species.

    There is some ice-fishing on the lake, mostly for panfish in channels found on several parts of the lake. Small ice jigs tipped with maggots will catch both crappie and bluegill. Try a larger jig with a minnow or a tip-up and minnow and you may be able to hook a pike or bass through the ice.

    Bluegills are abundant according to a DNR lake survey. Most are less than 5 inches long, but approximately 20% are reaching 6 inches or larger sizes. Largemouth bass also are relatively abundant. A total of 22% of sampled fish were 12 inches or larger and 3% top 15 inches. Black crappie are present in moderate numbers; most are in the 6- to 8-inch length range, but approximately 15% are 9 inches or larger.

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