Catch Your First Fish of 2011 Yet?

The smallmouth in the photo below was not big or feisty. No, it actually barely pulled the bobber below the surface when it picked up my live shiner. It fought like the shocked, cold little fellow it was, basically flopping once then curling into a "C" shape and reluctantly coming to my hand. But you know what? I don't care, because I'm now officially on the scoreboard for 2011. This was my first fish of the year.

I hooked this smallmouth in the outflow of our local power plant. Fishing the plant ain't pretty, but it's one of the best options mid-winter if you're just dying to bend a rod. Everything from monster walleyes, to muskies, to stripers fall there this time of year...just not when I'm around. Considering the main river is about frozen solid, it's fun to imagine what beasts have congregated in the small pocket of warm water surging out of the plant. Perhaps I'll find out next time.

So who else has a fish on the board this year? What was your first species of 2011? Let's hear about it.