Pony Express Lake (240 acres) should continue to offer good fishing for catfish and bass in 2018. 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. Our 2017 electrofishing surveys showed adult largemouth bass were more slightly abundant than the 10-year average however the sizes appear to have declined a bit over the past three years. Thanks to past planting efforts, aquatic vegetation (water willow) along the shoreline has become established and it now provides both spawning habitat for adult bass during spring (April-May) and rearing habitat for juveniles during the summer. Harvestable-sized bass (greater than 15") comprised about 14 percent of all bass over 8 inches in our samples, while bass over 20 inches made up only about 2 percent. Larger bass (up to 22") are typically located in shallow locations during spring spawning but move to deeper submerged structure (tree stumps and brush piles) in the summer
There is still good potential for quality white crappie to be caught in 2018. Our 2017 electrofishing catch rates suggest crappie may be less abundant than in 2015-2016 but the percent of fish greater than 10 inches was slightly higher. Of all the crappie we sampled greater than 5 inches, 42 percent were 10 inches or larger. 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. Growth of other panfish species (bluegill and black crappie) remains suppressed from competition for food with the extremely abundant gizzard shad. 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 is a great opportunity for bowfishing.