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Outdoor Tips & Tricks: Riprap, Crappie Stocking, Boating Safety

Posted: July 31st, 2013 by Bill Dance

Good Ol’ Reliable Riprap

Who hasn’t fished good old reliable riprap?

You know what I’m talking about. It’s those mini-boulders that line embankments in order to help curb or negate erosion of shorelines or canals.

The familiar chuck rock is primarily for stopping erosion on the banks of waterways, but it can certainly be a must fish structure.

Basically, the rocks become covered with algae or phytoplankton and the baitfish feed on that and in turn predators, like bass, show up to feed on bait.

In addition, the cracks and crannies make excellent places for small sunfishes and crawfish to live–and again this makes the structure appealing to hungry sportfish.

Riprap also has heat-absorbing qualities when the sun shines on it. This can increase water temperatures in these areas, also appealing to fish.

Things to look for when fishing riprap include:

* Shallow areas near deep water (and this is often easy to find because navigational channels are often dug near riprap).
* Riprap-coverd points.
* And any riprap area where current is concentrated, even only slightly.

Don’t Stock Crappie In Small Ponds

Stocking crappie in small waters can be a pond-management disaster.

Why? Because crappie invented the word prolific. They are the rabbits of the fishing world. One female can produce 250,000 eggs per spawn!

In small waters, with no predators, like bass, to control their populations, crappie can reproduce so much that they reduce the forage base and fish growth is limited. Even though the crappie are small in size, they may still reproduce and compound the problem.

A prior belief among biologists was to never stock crappie in small waters. Today with the popularity of catch-and-release and bass-crowded lakes, crappie can be successfully stocked in lakes of 5 acres or larger. But even then, it should be stressed that there must first be a very healthy number of prey species present before crappie are stocked.

Perhaps the best small-pond management plan for most of us is to stock bass as your predator fish and bluegill as your prey or forage fish, and leave the crappie stocking to the professionals.

Boating Safety

With spring near about in full swing there’s going to be a lot of anglers on the water, so I’m passing along a few boating safety tips.

Water control officers says that most accidents are preventable if we only use a lot of common sense and caution. For example:

* Check weather and water conditions ahead of time. Monitor it while boating.
* Leave contact information.
* Don’t overload your boat.
* Know your boat’s limits.
* Assign a fellow passenger to help you keep a look out for oncoming boat traffic.
* Prepare for emergencies. Stow emergency equipment and devices on board.
* Wear personal floatation devices (PFDs).
* Don’t drink alcohol and boat.
* Take a boating safety course.

As always, catch one for me!

Bill Dance

Tennessee

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