Abundant rainfall maintained high water levels on Pony Express Lake (240 acres) during 2019. Spring electrofishing surveys resulted in lower catch rates for largemouth bass but that may be due to the dispersal of bass with flooded shoreline habitat available. Our 2019 surveys also suggested the percentage of bass under 18 inches had increased from 2018 levels with the greatest increase (29 percent) in fish from 12-15 inches. Larger bass in our samples (20 -22 inches) were slightly more abundant than observed in 2018. Largemouth Bass are typically located in shallow locations during spring spawning but move to deeper submerged structure (tree stumps and brush piles) in the summer.
Our 2019 survey results suggested the crappie population was slightly improved since 2018. Catch rates for white crappie in 2019 were slightly higher with a greater percentage of fish from 10-12 inches long. White crappie from 6-7 inches were also abundant giving potential for better crappie fishing in coming years, if growth rates are good. Black crappie were also collected in 2019 but they were much less abundant than White Crappie. Sizes of black crappie were very similar to those of White Crappie in our samples with a range from 4-14 inches. 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.