Catching sunfish a great place to start

Nothing is more frustrating to a beginning angler than a day spent doing a whole lot of fishing without doing much catching. This is especially true of young anglers whose patience level runs pretty thin, but there are some fish species that can make getting started a little more enjoyable for the beginning angler. Collectively, they are known as sunfish.

Sunfish include bluegill, redear sunfish, green sunfish, black crappie and white crappie. These fish may not get real big, but they can put up a good fight.

“Bluegill can be real fun fish to catch. They will readily bite on a lot of different baits, and pound for pound they put up a great fight. This combination makes them a great option for beginners,” said Ivy Santee, angler education coordinator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “Sunfish tend to school up, or to gather together. This means where an angler catches one sunfish there will most likely be several more.”

Sunfish are generally found near structure, so anglers should look for them near rocky areas or points, near logs or drop-offs and near vegetation. Dallin Nielsen, a young angler from Henderson, recently found fast action for bluegill and crappie by casting from his float tube back toward the reed beds along the bank. He was using a No. 10, olive-colored damsel fly pattern on a small pond in central Nevada.

“A common mistake anglers make when fishing for sunfish is using bait that is too large. Bluegill and the other sunfish have small mouths, so anglers need to use small hooks and light lines. The hook should be no larger than a size eight or perhaps a number 10 with only enough bait to cover the hook,” said Santee.

Sunfish can be found in lakes and reservoirs throughout Nevada. In the southern part of the state, anglers may want to try Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Floyd Lamb Park, Echo Canyon Reservoir and Nesbitt Lake.


Accidents prompt safety reminders

After several fatal accidents on the Colorado River System over Memorial Day Weekend, The Nevada Department of Wildlife reminds boaters to both boat sober and take a boating education course to reduce the risk of serious boat accidents.

NDOW is investigating two fatal boat accidents from this weekend not counting accidents on the Arizona side. One of the accidents was alcohol-related, prompting boating officials to stress the importance of boating sober and of a better educated boating public.

“So many people don’t realize what they don’t know,” said David Pfiffner, the game warden lieutenant at NDOW responsible for boating safety on the Colorado River system.

NDOW also reminds Nevada boaters of the five-year-old state law that requires some boaters to take a boating education course before hitting the water. According to the law, boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1983, must take a boating education course to operate a motorboat of 15 horsepower or more on any Nevada interstate water, such as Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, and the Colorado River south of Davis Dam. Educating boaters on safe boating practices and wearing life jackets can go a long way to reducing boating fatalities on Nevada’s waters.

Boaters can take a course from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons, take a correspondence course free from NDOW or take an Internet course offered at www.ndow.org.

Boaters who wish to learn more about any of NDOW’s safe boating programs can visit the Web site or call (702) 486-5127.

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