Scoping out microfishing: Nothing like a good first time doing a new thing in the outdoors

Illinois fisheries chief Mike McClelland microfishes a small stream in Schuyler County. Credit: Dale Bowman

Illinois fisheries chief Mike McClelland microfishes a small stream in Schuyler County. | Dale Bowman

It was a good and informative day learning microfishing with Mike McClelland, Illinois’ fisheries chief, in Schuyler County.

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Ill.—Mike McClelland introduced me to microfishing by unpacking a small camo bag, repurposed from its original role in muzzleloader deer hunting.

On the tailgate of his gray Dodge truck, he spread short Tenkara rod blanks. Two had cork handles. Line would be tied to a small red yarn loop on the end of each rod.

McClelland, Illinois’ fisheries chief, mentioned during the pandemic lockdown that he was learning microfishing. It sounded fun and we got together in early June.

“I find that microfishing is analogous to stream fishing for smallmouth – it’s best to go after the spring rains have tapered off allowing for low, clear water levels,” he emailed beforehand.

Microfishing is fishing for small fish with downsized equipment. McClelland learned from a mix of reading and watching YouTube videos.

Dale Bowman
Gear for microfishing.

He started us with pre-rigged setups with red No. 18 Umpqua U-Series hooks on 8x tippet.

“I will go down to No. 24, which is really good for darters,” McClelland said.

The only way I could have done microfishing was to use pre-rigged line and hooks. I could never have threaded one of those tiny hooks.

For a minuscule two-pronged hook remover, McClelland cut off the top of a needle eye.

For bait, many use bits of PowerBait. He prefers thin slices of snack sausage or bits of ham. The rinds help keep the bait on the hook.

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He uses three sizes of clear plastic wells for photographing the small …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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