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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Before the Storm

We'd had "nice" weather for the past couple of weeks.  That meant any snow on the ground had long since melted, and the ice on the local lakes/ponds was deteriorating, and I decided to be safe rather than sorry by not fishing.

But, Saturday was the last day of January, 2015.  The DNR was to have stocked a nearby lake with trout earlier in the week, and it was bugging me knowing they were there and I hadn't yet paid them a visit.

I sent text messages to a couple guys I thought might have taken a recent look at that lake.  I was in luck!  One was out there when I sent the text message!  Ice conditions were OK...around 6" thick.  Nobody catching much, unfortunately.

So, I threw my icefishing gear in the vehicle and headed for the lake.

There were a lot of people there, considering the conditions.  It was overcast, 35 degrees F, and drizzling.  The drizzle made the surface of the ice rather slippery.  Apparently there was some open water in one corner of the lake, and a flyfisherman was making me jealous as I watched him casting.  I didn't watch him long enough to know if he caught anything, but he was there for awhile so hopefully he did well.

I ice-fished for 3 hours, didn't see much, other than a couple 12" long rainbow trout that decided to make my day while I was sightfishing the shallower water.
So, not a lot to show for the effort, but it was nice to get out fishing again and catch SOMETHING.
Later that afternoon, the drizzle turned to snow, and it was AMAZING how fast that little bit of precipitation accumulated into 14" of fresh damp snow!
The smaller ponds had extremely questionable ice on them before the rain/snow.  Snow on bad ice can insulate it, preventing it from forming more good ice, even if air temps are conducive to ice production.  Hopefully we'll soon get either better ice, or the ice will disappear, so I can keep fishing!  :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Icefishing, January 11, 2015

Knowing a lot of local anglers can be interesting.  Many people I knew, and many people I didn't know, went icefishing on Saturday, January 10.

Most of the guys I know had an INCREDIBLE day!  I saw their pictures of awesome walleyes, big bass, super-fat perch, and personal-best crappies.

But I didn't go fishing on Saturday.  I went for 4 hours on Sunday.  Before I headed out, I heard from a friend that said nobody was catching anything.  Nobody was even ON the local ponds, whereas the day before there were lots of people out.  Later I heard from guys that fished both days, that Sunday was MUCH SLOWER.

So...I changed my plan to try to icefish for trout, and instead just headed to the same local pond I've been icefishing this season.  Its not even a particularly GOOD pond to icefish.  Its just convenient.

Well, I'm satisfied with my results....no BIG fish were caught, but the numbers were satisfactory.

I started out using a Lindy Frostee spoon tipped with a dead waxworm (cuz I forgot to buy fresh ones during the week).  I caught some fish on that, but the number of strikes and number of fish hooked increased when I switched to a tungsten jig tipped with a waxworm.

I ended up catching over 35 Bluegills, 4 Black Crappies, 1 White Crappie, and 1 Largemouth Bass.




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I forgot to mention....the ice the previous Saturday was 5" thick.  It was very cold all week.  This Sunday (8 days later), the ice had improved to 9" thick!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015! Let's Get It Started!

I ice-fished with my buddy Jay on Saturday, January 3, 2015.  Weather was a decent 32 degrees F, wind of less than 10 mph, mostly cloudy.  Ice was excellent quality, 5" thick.

We fished the same pond I had ice-fished back in November and December.  Really need to try a different body of water NEXT time.  :)

We marked fish in the main basin.  They seemed eager to bite at first, but soon turned to "lookers".  They would follow, but not strike.  So, it was fun to watch the fish on the electronics, but we weren't catching much.  My first fish of the year was a Largemouth Bass.


We drilled holes and checked all over the main basin for active fish, but the story was similar everywhere.  We finally moved towards the west end of this pond, and found a lot more fish, and many were very willing to strike.

I ended the day with at least 15 Bluegills (up to 8"), 1 Black Crappie (11"), 1 White Crappie (8"), and at least 8 Largemouth Bass (up to 13").  All were caught on a 1/16th oz Lindy Frostee Jigging Spoon tipped with a waxworm.



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thank You, 2014!

Fishing has temporarily wrapped up in my area while I wait for the ice to get thick enough to fish on/through.
Time to celebrate and muse over what kind of year 2014 was (for fishing).

First, let me try to generalize 2014's seasonal weather patterns that we experienced here in Iowa.
2014 was characterized by a quick warm-up in the Spring.  I was icefishing through 14"+ of ice one day, went on Spring Break for a week, and came back to start fishing open water!
Spring was followed by a comfortably warm summer that never quite reached its typical hot furnace demeanor.  Actually, you could say it was unusually cool, and this would be substantiated by most of the U.S. having a cooler-than-average summer while the rest of the world was much warmer than average.
Summer in turn was followed by a long, drawn-out Fall.  Temps seemed to hover in the 60's for much of September, October, and first 1/2 of November.
We had the earliest safe-ice (4") for icefishing BEFORE THANKSGIVING (extremely rare), and then several ice-off / ice-on cycles, resulting in some VERY LATE-season open-water fishing...even for a day or two AFTER Christmas (also EXTREMELY rare)!  Crazy!
The white bass Fall run was ok, but would have been better with warmer stable weather.  It didn't seem to last as long as it should have, and was rather spotty.

Now on to the fishing statistics from my yearly Fishing Log.
I decided that rather than typing up a big long text description, I will just post the summary page from my Fishing Log here as images.



This summary page of my Fishing Log, I copy over and add onto each subsequent year, so I can directly compare each of the last 9 years (so far) that I've kept this electronic log.

I will say that 2014 missed tying my 2nd best (most fish in a year) year by 8 fish!  Dang...I should have stayed longer on my last trip!!!  :)

Other than that, 2014 was not my best in any category...but 2nd best in a couple.  I did catch more Largemouth Bass this year than in any of the previous 8 years.

Some notable catches this year:
I caught my first Dorado (Mahi Mahi) this year, and my first Goldfish(es) on a fly rod.  I also caught Personal Best FLY ROD fish of the following species:
-Smallmouth Bass (17")
-Hybrid Sunfish (9.25")
-White Bass (16")
-Rainbow Trout (14.5")
-Smallmouth Buffalo (24.5")
-Pumpkinseed Sunfish (8.5")
-Goldfish (6")

-I had previously caught pike on flies in Canada, and this year I finally landed one on a fly in Iowa!

I caught 18 species on the fly rod this year.

Some highlights were the Dorado:
The Goldfish:
Some 13" Crappies:
A 20" Largemouth Bass I managed to catch 3 times on flies this year:
And a 30" Common Carp:

2014 was a pretty decent year for fishing, all things considered.
I'm looking forward to what 2015 will have to offer!

Good luck to all of you, and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 29, 2014

LAST Open Water Flyfishing for 2014

I flyfished a local public pond on December 26...day after Christmas.  Still had open water.  As I write this today, December 29, the local ponds are once again (4th time this season?) covered in ice, and it appears they will remain that way until Spring.

I flyfished for 3 hours in 33 degree F weather, used a chartreuse microjig under a strike indicator.  Caught 45 small crappies.
That should do it for fishing this year.  :)
I'll post a separate blog entry detailing my year, and giving all the year-end statistics. :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Open Water Flyfishing Report, 12-14-2014

I'm reiterating some of this, as I find this season's weather so far very interesting.

As I may have mentioned in my previous blog entry,  central Iowa had fishable ice abnormally early in the season.  I fished through 4" of ice on November 22.  This was the EARLIEST in the season I have ice-fished, as far as I can remember.

Then, the ice melted COMPLETELY, and we had open-water once again.  It soon re-froze, and I fished through 4"+ of ice on Dec. 6.

By the following weekend, the ice turn sour again. By Sunday afternoon, some local ponds had at least SOME open water, and a couple were 100% ice-free.  I went ice-fishing.  This was the LATEST in the season I flyfished open water.  Of course streams and rivers can stay open year-round, but for pond fishing in Iowa, this is extremely unusual.

I did well...flyfished for 90 minutes around dusk, caught 33 Crappies, 1 Largemouth Bass, and 1 Hybrid Sunfish on a chartreuse microjig under an indicator.




The local ponds eventually lost ALL of their ice, again.  And as expected, the weather has again turned cold, and the lakes are freezing over once again, for the third time this season!


Monday, December 8, 2014

IceFishing Report, 12-6-2014

I got out icefishing locally on November 22, which is pretty early for this area!  We had  safe 4" of ice for a couple of days.   I didn't have any live bait, so I just tried a variety of icejigs and small spoons tipped with plastics (some were scented, such as various Gulp! products).  I caught bass, bluegills and crappies, but it warmed up that afternoon, and I felt unsafe with the ice cracking under me, so I left.  Within a couple days after that, the ice deteriorated and completely disappeared again.



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Fast forward to this week.  Ice started appearing again last weekend and got better over the course of the week.
I ice-fished a public pond in town on Saturday from 9:15am-1pm.  I would have like to have stayed longer, but I had other stuff to do.  The ice was 4" or better everywhere.  It was still in good shape when I left, but once again there are some warmer days in this week's forecast.  Not sure if the ice will stay good or not.

I was using a 1/16th oz Lindee Frostee spoon the entire time, tipped with a waxworm.  The waxworms made a big difference in getting the bluegills to commit, compared to tipping with plastics.

I ended up catching 35+ bluegills, 4 bass (to 13"), 3 crappies (11", 11", 10"), and 1 green sunfish.