Pony Express Lake (240 acres) should offer good fishing for channel catfish and largemouth bass in 2019 if the lake remains at normal water levels. Extreme drought prevailed during 2017-2018 and the lake began serving as an emergency (but temporary) water supply for the nearby city of Cameron in the fall of 2018. So, local weather patterns will play an even bigger role in the fishery during 2019. Fishing access could be limited and fish behavior could change if lower water levels occur.
Our 2018 electrofishing surveys showed adult largemouth bass had maintained abundance at nearly the 10-year average with sizes of fish slightly higher than in 2017. Thanks to past planting efforts, aquatic vegetation (water willow) along the shoreline has become established and it now provides reliable rearing habitat for juvenile bass during the summer. Harvestable-sized bass (greater than 15") comprised about 17 percent of all bass over 8 inches in our samples, while bass over 18 inches made up about 6 percent. Larger bass (up to 20" in our 2018 samples) are typically located in shallow locations during spring spawning but move to deeper submerged structure (tree stumps and brush piles) in the summer.
The crappie population in 2018 appeared to be a mixed bag from our electrofishing results. White crappie were less abundant and smaller than in 2016, although there were some fish in the 10-12 inch range. Black crappie were also in lower abundance but the percentage of fish over 8 inches increased 40 percent over 2017. The best crappie fishing occurs near shore during the spawning period (April-early May) and most anglers are successful using small jigs. During warmer summer months, larger crappie are often concentrated in submerged brush. Channel catfish are regularly stocked and anglers often enjoy good catch rates for fish 16-22 inches with larger fish caught on occasion. Some of the best catfishing action occurs after rain events when fish concentrate to feed at inlets to the lake. During summer, many catfish are caught along old creek channels in the main body of the lake. The most popular catfish baits include worms, cut baits, and prepared stinkbaits. Common carp are abundant and can be caught on corn or prepared dough baits. Carp are concentrated in the shallow arms of the lake during late spring, where their spawning activity is easy to detect with extensive splashing. This lake offers a great opportunity for bowfishing.