Weekly Fishing Reports for Raccoon Lake (Cecil M. Harden Reservoir)

Weekly fishing reports for Raccoon Lake were provided by fishing guide Harry Minniear of "Finders Keepers" Guide Service. Thanks Harry!

July 19 - July 25, 2004:
Well folks, the dog days of summer are upon us. High ambient temperatures have driven the lake temperature up to about 85 degrees. Fish, just like you and me slow things down and seek the shelter of shade and cooler temperatures. What does this mean? It means simply that many of the larger species have worked their way to deeper waters in search of cooler temperatures. This does not necessarily mean that fish will not feed, but it signifies a change in strategy if you want to catch them. Look for those rocky points on the depth finder and areas of extreme vertical dropoffs and note that the fish will be suspending behind them. Note that the clouds of baitfish will also be in these areas as well. On windy days, try to fish the downwind side of the wind as it will blow these baitfish up against the rocky points and structures that I described earlier. The pan fishing will not be affected in the same way as the larger fish although fishing in shady areas should be more productive. The catfish will still search the shallows in the evenings and early morning hours for an easy meal. That's all for now. Please remember to practice catch and release when possible. Oh yeah, I'll be on vacation next week so look for the next report after August the 8th. Good Luck!
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

June 28 - July 4, 2004:
Lake level is again back to normal after all of the rains that we have had recently. Water temp about 80 degrees. Lake clarity is stained with 2 to 4 feet of visibility. White Bass have been doing well. Small spinner baits white or chartruce in color have been very successful. Mepps and Panther Martin style spinners are also good. Look for splaches of water and cast directly into them with a moderately quick retrieve. If no splaches are noted, do some blind casting up against rocky points for another alternative. Bluegill fishing has also been productive using crickets and worms. The Crappie fishing has been very slow after a very good run this spring. The Largemouth fishing has been about average lately. Again try to fish along points that tend to have a bit of a dropoff and that have rocks or structure. Carolina rigs have had the best results. Striper fishing has been slow. That's about it for today. Remember to practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

June 7 - June 13, 2004:
There was no fishing report last week as I was on my own fishing trip up to Lake Erie for some smallmouth and walleye fishing. A very successful trip, but that's a story for another time. This week I took out a Grandpa and his grandson for a little fishing. Grandpa wanted to go for some white bass and grandson was just out to catch anything. We got grandpa set up with about 3 fish, but none of them made it into the boat. The hook sets were a little lite. Since grandson just wanted to catch a big fish, I tried something I've never done before, and won't be able to do again for another 17 years. Around this part of the state, we've had quite a hatch of locust or cicada insects. I've seen several floating on the lake and decided to give them a try on the end of the hook. Using light tackle and a bobber set about 3 feet up from the hook we proceeded to see what we could catch. Using this setup, we were able to get hold of about a half dozen huge carp and 4 channel cats. I've just got to say that it was some of the most fun that I've had in quite a while. Those carp hit and run like a bull, and with the light tackle, grandson had a ball! I strongly suggest that you give it a try if you want to feel the pole bend and hear the drag take off. As far as the lake is concerned, we're up almost a foot and rising. Lots of rain near the end of the week. The clarity remains good with 2 to 4 feet of visibility. Temperature is in the high 70's to low 80's. See ya next week, and remember to practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

May 17 - May 23, 2004:
Well, the lake is just about there. Still only a foot below summer pool and with the passing thundershowers this past week I would guess that we may reach it very soon. Be cautious of floating sticks and logs as the level continues to rise. The water temperature was measured at 74 degrees last week. Water clarity is stained with 2 to 4 feet of visibility south of highway 36 and muddy with less than 2 feet north of 36. The white bass run in Raccoon Creek is over now. Most have returned to the main body of the lake and are feeding on baitfish in the middle of the lake. Look for the splashes on the surface and cast right into them with a fast retrieve. In other news, the crappie fishing has been excellent so far this year. Lots of folks have been limiting out with some very nice sized fish. I heard of a 3 pounder taken last week on a minnow. The striper fishing has been a little slow. A large crop of shad this year has kept the big fish full and slow to respond to anglers efforts. A final note to remember. This coming weekend is Memorial Day and that means lots of boaters and activity on the lake. Fishermen need to get out on the lake early before things get busy. Be careful out there and have fun. That's all for now. Please practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

May 3 - May 9, 2004:
The lake level is still 2 feet below normal summer pool. Rains earlier in the week failed to make much of a dent in raising the water level. Next week calls for isolated thunderstorms with high temperatures in the mid 80's. The surface temperature is 64 degrees with water clarity in the 2 to 4 foot range. I motored up into Raccoon Creek this week for more white bass fishing. The first 4 casts caught 4 fish with a grand total of 14 fish. Several nice big females full of eggs were caught and released. I was using an 1/8 ounce red jig head with a white 2 inch salt impregnated twister tail. It was deadly around the brush piles. My friend Don who is an avid striper fisherman called me this week to see if I could come up to the lake and weigh a big striper that he caught. I was unable to get up there, but I wish I had. As it turns out, Don caught a 31 pound striper on a shad looking crankbait. I did see a picture of the fish though and it looked like a freak of nature. As far as I know, it may be the biggest striper taken out of Raccoon Lake. The crappie are doing great up in the shallow areas as well. Several guys that I know limited out this week. Minnows and chartruse twister tails caught many of the fish. That's it for now. Good luck and remember to practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

April 26 - May 2, 2004:
Well, we finally got a bit more rain mid week which we badly needed. Right now we're still about 2 feet below normal lake levels. It seems as though those last few feet are always the hardest to get. No real precip is in the forcast for the coming week other than scattered showers. Temperatures are going to be pushing 90 degrees by weeks end. The water temperature has been steadily climbing and is now aboout 63 degrees. Expect the recreational activity to be picking up very soon as well. I had a very successful trip up into Raccoon Creek this past week fishing for the White Bass. A total of 11 fish were caught all using a small white Mister Twister on a white jig head. I thought of trying a different color about half way through but I just could not bring myself to do it since I was having success with a white one. I predict that Raccoon Creek should be productive for White Bass for at least another week or two. That's all for now. Good Luck, and remember to practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

April 19 - April 25, 2004:
The water level is now only 3 feet below normal and rising. Thankfully the rains came during the middle of the week and continued off and on throughout the remainder of the week. All boat ramps are now open at the lake. The water temperature has risen to 60 degrees, and I believe that pre spawn activities are in full swing for most species. I was hanging around the main ramp this weekend to talk to some fishermen as they came in with their catch. Looks like the crappie and bluegill have been biting steadily. One guy had a 13 inch crappie in his livewell.....man, that's about as big as I've ever seen at Raccoon. Minnows were the overall bait of choice. I took some guys out on friday morning. We didn't do very well. We fished for stripers for about 2 hours without a bite. I used a combination of live minnows and a spreader bar with some Storm Swimming Shad lures. We then fished for crappie and bluegill for an hour. I was the only person to catch anything. I was using crickets with a bee moth on the end of the hook. I believe that I had us fishing just a little too deep given the temperature. As the temperature increases, look for the fish to move shallow in order to spawn. I should listen to my own advice sometimes. Good luck out there and remember practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

April 12 - April 18, 2004:
The conditions at Raccoon Lake continue to improve. Although we're still about 4 feet below normal summer pool, the water temperature has risen to 54 degrees. I would call the clarity stained, with 2 to 4 feet of visibility on the main part of the lake. The north side of the lake and shallow coves are still muddy. We are due for some shower activity during the coming week and that would go a long way in boosting the water level. Speaking of the water level, I heard from a very reliable source that the Corps of Engineers has decided to wait and lower the water level for the winter until November 15th. This is about a month later than usual. When they do lower it, they are only going to lower the level by 16 feet instead of the 22 feet that they normally do. These changes are supposed to be permanent. If true, it would be a blessing for all of us fishermen who continue to fish in October and November. I know of one striped bass that was taken from the lake this week. An 18 pounder on a live shiner. I caught a 3 pound walleye while trolling a nightcrawler on a crawler spinner rig. Boy was I excited. I took a picture and let him go. There are not too many of those guys in the lake, so I'll give someone else a chance to catch him too. That's it for now. Remember to practice catch and release when possible. Good Luck!
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

April 5 - April 11, 2004:
A lot of folks are sending me E mails asking about the annual White Bass run up Raccoon Creek. Everyone wants to know when the whities make their run up the creek to spawn in the spring. By the way, if you've never made the trek up Raccoon Creek to go White Bass fishin in the Spring, you're missin out on a whole lot a fun and action packed fishing. I tell people that the timing depends on two major factors. First, is the water level. We're still about 4 or 5 feet below normal pool. Generally, it takes just a bit more water for the White Bass to get way up the creek to the best spawning sites. Secondly, the water temperature needs to rise a little more. 50 degrees is the magic number to look for. The water temperature has a direct bearing on when the eggs will hatch. Anything below 50 degrees is no good. We're scheduled for some 70 degree days later on in the week. This, coupled with a little more rain will be the big determining factors. In my humble estimation, I would say that we could look for some serious White Bass fishing in the creek in a week or two. If anyone sees it differently, let me know so that I can get the word out. Please practice catch and release when possible. Good Luck!
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

March 29 - April 4, 2004:
A slow week on the waterfront. Rain and low temperatures kept the action to a minimum this week. The weekend showed a little more promise, but 25 knot winds continued to keep things quiet. Next weeks predictions call for high temperatures to be in the low to mid 50's with a slight chance of rain midweek. The lake level is about 7 feet below normal summer pool and rising slowly. Surface temperatures were measured at about 47 degrees. Water clarity is muddy throughout the entire lake. The north side of the lake above highway 36 has a lot of floating sticks, stumps and logs, which is normal for this time of year as the lake continues to rise. The main ramp at Raccoon State Recreation Area is still the only ramp in use for launching a boat. I had one client scheduled for last Wednesday, but we had to cancel due to poor weather conditions. I decided to give it a go by myself on Saturday morning and try for some crappie. Things looked pretty good in the early going, with two fish taken on a small black beetle spin with a bee moth covering the hook. As I mentioned earlier, the winds became a factor at about 8:00 am, and I didn't catch anything else after that. I'm hoping for better weather next week. The magic number on the water temperature that I'm looking for is 50 degrees. When that happens, we'll be in good shape.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

March 8 - March 14, 2004:
Hi everyone, and welcome to the first Raccoon Lake fishing report of the season. While we are waiting for things to heat up on the fishing front, I thought that I'd dedicate this article to my trusty Old Farmers Almanac. You may have heard of the almanac but may not know what it really is. Well, it is basically a general forecast of the weather for the coming year. The almanac folks predict weather patterns based on scientific calculations of solar activity and meteorological data. It's not just done with smoke and mirrors as some would believe. In fact, over the years the almanac has been pretty darn close on most predictions, but they do claim that they have not yet gained enough insight into the mysteries of the universe to be able to predict the weather with total accuracy. So what does the almanac have to do with us fishing fanatics? Well, as fisherman aren't we always looking for an edge? Don't weather patterns have a large influence on when we fish and how we fish? Of course they do. It doesn't matter if you are a believer in the almanac or not. But just in case you're interested here's what it says about our region for the coming year. Early April starts with a snowfall. The month will be nice with plenty of sunshine, above normal temperatures, and below normal rainfall. May is much the same. The summer will be hot and dry. Hottest temps in mid-June and late July through much of August. September will be warm and dry. October starts with heavy rain and then begins to cool. According to fishing lore the best times to fish starts on the day the moon is new and continues through the day that is it full. Those days this year are March 20-April 5, April 19-May 4, May 19-June 3, June 17-July 2, July 17-31, August 15-29, September 14-28 and October 13-27. According to the almanac here are some other good times to fish. "When the barometer is steady or on the rise". "When the breeze is from the west rather than from the north or east". "During the morning rise and after sunup for a spell". So what is the bottom line in all of this? Most of us go fishing when we can get time off - not because it is the best time to fish. We show up when we can, put on our favorite lure and go to the last spot where we caught a fish. That's about it for now.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

October 2003:
The lake is rapidly being drained to the customary winter pool level. For those who are not aware, the corps of engineers lowers the lake level some 22 feet each fall, and will begin again to hold water in the early spring. This is to accomodate the typical spring rains and aid in keeping the Wabash and Ohio river flood plains from getting to high. Water temperature is holding steady at 55 degrees. Clarity is muddy with less than 2 feet of visibility. Recreational boating activity has fallen off dramatically in recent weeks. Stripper fishing has been doing fairly well recently as temperatures have been mild for this time of year. The problem is finding a bait shop which carries the larger minnows for striper fishing. Most shops have just been carrying crappie minnows this time of year. Pan fishing has been slow. As the water receeds, much of the cover and structure is now sitting high and dry along the edge of the mud banks. A fish finder is a must in order to locate structure on the bottom. That's all for now folks. Look for the next report in early November.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

Fishing Report Update:
The Corps of Engineers is slowly starting to draw the water down for the winter months. With that, the fishing will drop off greatly in the coming months. What I will do, starting now, is to give monthly fishing reports through March. At that time I will resume the weekly fishing reports and carry on as normal.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

September 15-September 21, 2003:
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to fish this week. I had to put out some feelers to some buds who did fish to see what was going on. The only guy who caught anything was my friend Don who works for The Boat Place up on Highway 36 just east of the lake. Don reports that he and his girlfriend caught 3 stripers on a wiggle-o lure, fishing on the rocks. They caught a 9, 15, and a 16 pounder. Not a bad days catch! The lake conditions have improved greatly. The level is now back to summer pool. Rain showers on Sunday nite and on Monday may raise it a little. The water temperature measured by me on several parts of the lake yesterday is holding between 74 and 75 degrees. Visibility is muddy with less than 2 feet. The floating debries of logs and stumps are all but gone now after the latest big rain on Labor Day. Look for the temperatures to remain mild this week with lows in the upper 40's to low 50's. I noticed that the recreational boating activity had really fallen off this past weekend, which is good for us fishermen. That's all folks. Please remember to practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

September 8-September 14, 2003:
I just got back from being on vacation for the last few weeks. When we got up to the lake, we found our pontoon boat adrift after it had broken loose from our seawall due to the 7.5 inches of rain that pelted the area. I guess that I picked a good time to be out of town. Needless to say that the lake rose some 15 feet above summer pool and caused a lot of headaches. I took some folks out both Saturday and Sunday. The pan fishing was ok but not great. There was a catfish tournament this past weekend as well. I was hanging around the docks asking questions, and some guys really cleaned up. The most successful teams were using cut shad. Several very nice sized channels and blues were harvested. This next week is looking good. The weather reports are favorable with night temperatures dipping into the low 50's with lots of sunshine during the days. The lake conditions are below average, with minimum visibility and lots of floating debris. Expect the water temperature to start dropping a bit with the forecast falling temperatures. The corps of engineers is dropping the lake level very rapidly. We should reach normal pool by the end of the week. Thats all for now. Please practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

August 18-August 24, 2003:
Not a lot of new excitement on the fishing front this week. Pan fishing has held up as per last week. One change that I noticed was that the white bass caught this week were a big as I've seen them all year. I saw several that were near the 1 pound range. White or silver Little Georges did most of the damage. The Little George lures can be hard to find sometimes, but Wal-Mart and Mortons Bait and Tackle just east of the park on highway 36 does carry them. The Little George is a heavy lure. Combine that with some light tackle and 6 pound test line and you can sling that rascal a mile. It needs to be reeled in moderately fast in order to keep it just 1 to 2 feet below the surface. I've caught a lot of fish with the Little George over the years. Most have been largemouth, but the whities are tearing them up as well. Speaking of largemouth, I caught 4 this week. All of them were fairly small. Folks ask me all of the time to point them towards big largemouth. I wish I knew. It would seem logical that both small and big largemouth bass would inhabit somewhat the same areas (except for the spawn), but I've never been able to catch anything over 6 pounds in Raccoon Lake. My lures of choice are spinner baits and a Carolina rigged plastic lizzard. I've caught a few while trolling for stripers, but that has been very rare. Fishing conditions remain constant. Lake is holding at summer pool. Water temperatures in the high 70's. Clarity is still muddy with less than 2 feet of visibility. Expect possible showers midweek. I'll be on vacation until the 8th of September so I'll miss the next report. See you after that one. Remember to practice catch and release when possible.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

August 11-August 17, 2003:
A VERY GOOD week for fishing! Lake level has been stable at summer pool for a week now. Fish have started to return to normal pattern after all of the high water that we've had lately. Earlier in the week my friend Don caught a 16 pound striper on a deep diving Rapala while throwing around rocky outcrops, and I caught a 15 pounder today while trolling a sucker minnow about 12 feet below the surface. What a great fight! I had two other sets of clients this week who had successful outings. We caught about 15 to 20 bluegill on worms and crickets. We were fishing around stumps and trees that had fallen from the side of the banks. Additionally, we caught some very nice white bass using number 2 roostertails. The solid white and solid yellow colors were the most productive. I also talked to another friend who has been doing some bank line setting for catfish and was catching a bunch using goldfish as bait. As far as lake conditions go, temperature is in the mid 70's, water clarity is muddy with less than 2 feet of visibility. Remember that the big fireworks are planned for Labor day weekend. Plan your fishing accordingly. Be careful out there and practice catch and release when able. Talk to you next week.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

August 4-August 10, 2003:
Well, after just getting back from a very successful fishing trip to Canada, I've had just one day to gather some information to put into this weeks report. Having beat the bushes and interviewed my sources, there's not much that has been happening on Raccoon Lake during the past week. The catfishing with live bait made a little bit of noise as well as white bass fishing with silver spinners. Other than that, it's been quiet. Some good news to report though, the lake has been falling rapidly and is now only a foot above summer pool. That will give us about two more months of fishing at summer pool levels before the corps of engineers starts to lower to the winter pool level. The draw down begins directly after the covered bridge festival. I will be taking some clients out on monday and thursday of this week, so I'll have a little better information for next weeks report. I anticipate the striper fishing to pick up again with the water level back to normal. That's all for now. Take care and good fishin!
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

July 21-July 27, 2003:
Same song, second verse. In other words, no changes from last week. Come to think of it, no changes from the last 3 weeks. Lake level is 13 feet above summer pool and muddy with less than 1 foot of visibility. What I think I'm going to do this week is discuss a few alternatives to fishing directly on Raccoon Lake when you've made the trip and find the lake level way up like it is now. Ever tried motoring up the Troutman Creek entrance to Raccoon Lake? Troutman feeds into Raccoon on the northwest side of the lake. When the lake gets up to where it is now, it's pretty easy to get up there. You may have to dodge a few floating logs, but the trip can pay dividends. It's only going to be for panfishing, cause casting for bass will be difficult unless you are interested in doing a lot of direct jigging or a bit of flipping. The backflow from the lake forces the banks of Troutman to flood way up into the willows and heavy timber. This kind of fishing for bluegill and crappie can be a lot of fun and productive. The other alternative is to fish the outflow waters on the backside of the dam at Raccoon Lake. In this case, a boat is not required to reach your destination, but an automobile is. Several big flathead catfish are taken quite frequently directly behind the dam. Bottom fishing with nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or large minnows seem to be the best. If you continue a bit further down the tailwater, say about 300 yards from the dam, the crappie seem to gather in and around that area. Anyway, something else to think about when the conditions on the main lake are less than perfect. A little side note, I will be leaving next week for an 8 day fishing trip in Canada. Gonna do some smallmouth and muskie fishing. With that in mind, my next report for Raccoon Lake will be sometime after the 8th of August. Talk to ya soon!
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

July 14-July 20, 2003:
This week has been a carbon copy of last week. Water level remains high at 12 feet above normal summer pool. Temperature at surface is 79 degrees. Lots of floating logs and sticks throughout the entire lake. Water clarity is muddy with less than 1 foot of visibility. I fished twice during the week, once for stripers and once for catfish....no luck either time. A check of the local bait shops yielded no positive information on anyone catching much. I did talk to one fella at the fish cleaning station who caught 4 white bass on a yellow Little George lure. Reports from the corps of engineers say that it may be August before they begin to lower the lake back to normal. That's it for now.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

July 7-July 13, 2003:
A very tough week for fishing. The week was characterized by a series of thunderstorms and high winds which caused the lake level to jump over 10 feet above normal summer pool. This left most of the Raccoon residents scrambling to move their boats off of their sea walls and docks in order to stay ahead of the rapidly rising water level. At one point the lake was rising about 4 inches an hour. With the Wabash River expected to crest sometime early next week, I doubt if the corps of engineers will be letting much water out of the lake, as Raccoon Creek directly feeds into the Wabash River just north of Terre Haute Indiana. Needless to say, the rising lake level has had an adverse affect on the fishing conditions. The clarity throughout the lake is muddy with less than 2 feet of visibility. Lots of floating logs and branches. The water temperature has lowered slightly and is in the low 70's. Just not much good news to report at this time. A check of the extended forecast for this area is promising though. Temperatures in the mid 80's, with little precipitation expected in the coming days. It's too soon to tell when the lake level will begin to drop. Hope for some good news in my next report.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

June 30-July 6, 2003:
Another busy week on the lake. Stripers continue to hit on the live bait on the slow troll. Estimates are from 15 to 20 feet below the surface. Stick to the main body of the lake within sight of the dam. I have taken several folks out this past week in search of bluegill and crappie. Lots of success using worms and crickets near the shorelines around structure. I met up with a bass fisherman who tells me that he has been doing quite well using a red rattle trap along the rip rap on the west side of the lake. Here is a little secret for you. Feel like doing a little fishing but don't have a boat or don't feel like launching your boat today? Get a bucket of crappie minnows and head for the floating docks at the main boat launch ramp at Raccoon Park. Set yourself up between the boats that are tied up at the docks in the shady part of the water. Hook those minnows through the upper lip and set them just above the lake bottom. We are talking about ultra light tackle, and you will be amazed at the amount of crappie you can catch here. I even saw someone catch a small walleye there last week. As far as the lake conditions go, there has been a rapid change as of Saturday afternoon. Large and vicious thunderstorms rolled through and the lake shot up a foot. Visibility is muddy throughout the whole lake with less than 2 feet of visibility. The corps of engineers have opened up the flood gates to release the water at a faster rate than normal to stay ahead of the rising lake level, but it remains to be seen as to how far the lake level will rise. We really got clobbered with a bunch of rain in a short amount of time. So much so that the annual fireworks display was postponed until the Labor Day weekend. That's about it. Take Care and Good Fishin'
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

June 23-29, 2003:
Another fabulous week for fishing on the lake. My friend, Dave of D&L Bait Barn, located on Raccoon Lake, hit a grand slam this week. He and his brother Steve caught two 20 lb stripers a 19 pounder and an 18 pounder, all within the span of 2 days. They caught their lunkers while slow trolling with live bait. If any of you follow my writings for the fishing report, you know that I have always preached the slow troll with live bait, and for Dave it really paid off. That is not to say that success cannot be found with lures, but I find that the live bait consistently produces more fish over the long haul. These were absolutely beautiful fish! With what I saw last week, I'd say that the stripers are really active and feeding now. On another note, I took a father and daughter out pan fishing this week and we also hit the jackpot. We brought in about 30 bluegill, most of which were very nice sized. We even caught 3 channel cats while fishing the shallows for the bluegill. We used worms, and crickets with a bee moth on the end of the hook. Both were equally successful. For those interested in the bluegill fishing, may I suggest fishing along the dam and set up about 10 to 15 feet out away from the rocks. Bobber depth should be between 3 to 4 feet. I think that you will have lots of success in that area. A big reminder...this next weekend is 4th of July. Get out early if you want to fish, cause the lake will be a mad house with the fireworks and recreational boaters. Lake conditions are ideal for fishing and the weather report for next week calls for mid 80's for the highs and mid 60's at night. Full moon on 16 July. That's it for now. Take care and Good Fishin'
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service at Raccoon Lake

June 16-22, 2003:
Wow, what a week! The fishing exploded this week with all of the nice weather we had. Daily highs in the low 80's and night temperatures in the mid 50's. The big stripers finally decided that they were going to start feeding again. I personally witnessed about a half dozen stripers taken in the 20 pound range. All were taken on live bait with their bellies bulging full of fish. Mornings seemed to be the most productive. My sources tell me that the bluegill were also hitting hard on live bait too. White Bass are starting to chase after the top water minnows as well. My wife caught 4 whities while trolling a white road runner about 3 feet under the surface. The lake conditions are ideal. Water temperature is 70 degrees. Clarity north of Highway 36 is muddy with less than 2 feet of visibility. Clarity south of the 36 bridge on the main lake is stained with 2 to 4 feet visibility. Very heavy recreational boater activity all weekend. Starts at about 9:00 am and runs till about 6:00 pm. Weather forecast for next week calls for much of the same. New moon scheduled for 29 June. That's about it. Take care and good fishin.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service on Raccoon Lake

June 9-15, 2003:
Given the heavy rains this week, the lake level is 1 foot above summer pool. The water clarity is muddy with less than 2 feet visibility. Northerly winds and heavy recreational activity has contributed to the muddy condition. Water temperature is 68 degrees. A full moon occurred on the 14th with a new moon expected on the 29th of this month. The temperatures have been on a warming trend with 80's expected all next week and a chance for isolated showers as well. Night temperatures expected in the 60's. A catfish tournament was held on Saturday the 14th with the largest fish weighing in at just under 5 pounds. Several other cats were taken on live bait. White Bass are starting to fire up on the surface as they go after minnows. Very difficult to spot them on the surface with the high winds and heavy boat activity. Early morning or evening fishing will help. The Shad have still not formed up into the big schools as of yet. This combined with the cooler than normal temperatures have kept the stripers from hitting like they normally do. Expect the warmer temperatures to solve this problem. My friend Dave of D&L Bait Barn told of a 29 pound Striper being taken this week while trolling a crank bait along the shore. Unfortunately, no other details on that one. I plan on an all night catfish excursion tonite with a striper troll in the morning ......I'll let ya know how it turns out. Until next time.
Harry Minniear - "Finders Keepers" Guide Service

May 19-25, 2003:
The lake level is about 11 feet above the summer pool. The Corps of Engineers is releasing water at the maximum rate to speed up the lowering process. Barring any near term heavy rains, the level is expected to drop between 6 to 8 inches per day. The lake temperature remains cool at 66 degrees. The water clarity remains muddy with less than 2 feet visibility, but clearing slightly in deeper areas. Next week the forecast is for light showers during the middle of the week with a warming trend entering the high 70's to low 80's by weeks end. A new moon will start on May 31st. Expect recreational activity to pick up sharply as the lake warms and continues to drop to summer pool levels. Pan fishing continues to produce results in the coves and around structure. The action on the larger species of fish has been a bit slow, but one report of a 20 lb striper taken on a white bucktail jig was reported by my friend Dave at D&L Bait Barn. KEEP ON FISHIN!
Harry Minniear

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