Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 20, 2015 Fishing Report

I visited a public pond in a nearby 'burb, which I hadn't fished since last year.  The pond is posted "Catch & Release ONLY".  You'd think it would have plenty of fish in it, and you'd be wrong.

Folks just don't get it.  One thing I liked about the pond was that it had some nice-sized Grass Carp....and they are a challenge and thrill to try and catch on a fly rod.  I saw no fewer than 4 of them left dead up on the shorelines.  I guarantee they did not die of natural causes.  I fished my way around the entire pond, and came across a few fish in just a few spots.  For a pond where NO HARVEST should be occurring, there is a noticeable lack of fish, a stark contrast to previous years.

I ended up catching 2 Largemouth Bass, 2 Crappies, 2 Hybrid Sunfish, and 9 Bluegills in a little less than 2 hours of fishing.  The fish I landed were mostly decent fish, including one sunfish that measured 10".  I probably won't revisit this pond this year.

Don't get me wrong, I still managed to have fun.  And a weird thing happened.  I somehow managed to lasso a Cliff Swallow (bird) during my backcast!  I thought I had snagged a tree behind me at first.  The bird flew around for a bit, but calmed down and let me untangle it.  It flew away just fine.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bluegills! Get 'em now!

The local bluegills are close to spawning.  Males are on nests in most ponds.  Females are still FAT with eggs.  Beautiful fish!

Even in the bigger lakes, the bluegills are pretty active along the shorelines.

They aren't real picky...they'll hit just about anything a flyfisherman might throw at them right now.  :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Flyfishing Report, Early May 2015

The Crappies in the smaller ponds seem to be done spawning (but males are still hanging around the nesting areas), but are going strong in the bigger lakes/reservoirs.

The Largemouth Bass are nesting in the smaller ponds and probably spawned within the week.  They can be really finicky around the nest!

The Bluegills have just started nesting, and the females are about ready to burst!

PumpkinseedSunfish are also nesting, and currently spawning.

Speaking of Pumpkinseeds....I finally caught a 9-incher!  That qualifies as an Iowa Master Angler size...

Buffalo were spawning last weekend....didn't even know they were IN the pond I was fishing until I saw them.  Common Carp seem to be doing some spawning in the shallow weeds as well.  Grass Carp....I dunno... they are still a mystery to me.  I haven't figured them out yet.

I did foul-hook a common carp, which wasn't intentional, nor very sporting...but still perversely fun.
The hook pulled out before I could land it, though.

And the ducks....well....their chicks must be a favorite food of something in the ponds....the numbers of chicks has diminished from about 10/hen duck to about 2-4 chicks/hen duck now!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Topwater Bite is Slowly Improving

First week of May, 2015, in Central Iowa...
Nicer, warmer weather has settled in at last.  Some dreary days of intermittent light rain, and some breezy sunny days...Highs in the 70's.  Many Largemouth Bass have started to nest, and will be spawning very soon.
The non-spawners seem most willing to hit topwaters right now...or any fly for that matter.

Looking at the top and bottom bass in the above pictures...they look really similar...but they were caught several days apart...

Crappies have been striking the big flyrod bass poppers.  Occasionally one will even get hooked!  The males are on nests, and in the local ponds it appears the females may have dropped their eggs now.

Bluegills are making nests.  And Pumpkinseed Sunfish are sitting on theirs.

And the baby ducklings and goslings are already out of their nests and patrolling the ponds.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Same Fish, 2nd Time This Year

If you take a gal out for a 2nd call it a date, right?  Well....I took this lovely lady out (of the pond) for the second time already this year, so I guess we are dating!
And just like last time, she attacked a Bluegill I was bringing in on my fly rod.  Only, this time when I landed her, the bluegill was nowhere to be seen...did she eat it already?  My microjig hook was stuck in her nose.  What she won't do, just to see me again?  :)

So anyway, it was a pretty fun day of flyfishing with my buddy Jay.  At one point, we presented flies to some huge Common Carp and Grass big, they looked like pods of manatees swimming around!  One particularly large Grassie looked to be 12" across the back, and one particularly large Common looked to be full of eggs....large head and super-deep bodied!  Unfortunately, we didn't catch any of them.  I thought I had one strike, but ended up hooking one of the big Grassies in the tail!  We battled for several minutes, with the fish porpoising out of the water several times, before I managed to pull the hook out before I could land it.

While trying for the grass carp, I caught a big 9" Hybrid Sunfish:

I also caught a couple crappies, a bunch of bluegills, and a couple beautiful Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

I finally field-tested a new Firetiger-colored streamer I'd created.  It worked!

Here's what they looked like before they get wet/eaten:

Another great day of flyfishing!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Weird Fishing - April 2015

It has so far been a relatively dry Spring.  Temperatures have varied, and this past week saw temperatures @ 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the previous week.  It sometimes seems like the fish can't catch a break.  They start to get ready to do their seasonally-appropriate spawning ritual, when the weather cools down and disrupts those plans.  But, it is still early in the season for that.

I assume it is also due to the low amounts of rainfall, that the waters in our local waters are incredibly clear right now.  In many cases, ponds currently have the clearest waters I have EVER seen in them.

So, a visit to a local public pond one evening this week, during a slight break in the seemingly ever-present wind, resulted in very clear water, but no fish in sight.  Because it was still sort of windy, I fished from the upwind pond shoreline.  I got a couple small nibbles on a microjig under an indicator while flyfishing.  Not promising.

Just a very short walk from the main pond is a smaller pond that is usually only good for bluegill, and the very occasional bass.  I fished there for the first time this year.  It was still tough...I think the fish could see me quite well.  I finally found some nice bluegills, though.

There were some very chunky fish in the mix...and not all of them were females.
I also caught one small bass and a Green Sunfish.

One other interesting thing on this trip...I was surprised to see that some ducks have already hatched out some ducklings already!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mid-April Fishing, 2015

We just had a doozy of a cold front arrive, and it looks to be planning to hang around all this week.

The previous week had provided some pretty good fishing, though.

I spent a weekday fishing with my friend Dave, searching for the elusive spawning White Bass.  We both caught fish, but the "target species" was practically a no-show.  I did catch 2, including this chunky female that measured @ 15.5"

I followed that up by flyfishing a local pond.  It was pretty exciting.  It was the same pond where I caught the big bass while flyfishing, that hit and ate a bluegill I was reeling in.  Well...different day, same situation.  A bass followed a bluegill I'd caught into the shallows as I was bringing it in, and grabbed it!  I did the same technique I used last time this happened.  Only, this time it didn't work.  I ended up reeling in nothing at all...except for my microjig, that is.  The bass kept the bluegill, and didn't have to suffer through a brief photo session with me.  And THEN, 10 minutes later, an even BIGGER bass grabbed my microjig!  After a decent battle that mostly involve me holding on while it peeled line, it went airborn and threw my microjig.  It was a BIG BASS!  So, I was on the losing end of both big bass encounters, but I was smiling and enjoying every minute of it all the same.

And I caught plenty of fish, including this really nice Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

Also on Thursday, a buddy called.  He flyfishes.  It was his birthday, and he wanted to catch a new species....a Pumpkinseed Sunfish.  He asked for advice on where to go.  I told him. I checked in with him later in the day, and he managed to catch a couple of these beautiful fish!  How awesome is that???

Saturday rolled around and it was intermittenly drizzling...a gray and dismal-looking day.  My friend Dale G texted, wondering if I was out flyfishing somewhere.  I said no...but that I could meet up with him.  We visited the big bass pond.  As I pulled up, my buddy Jay was just walking towards the pond, and was calling me!  So, the 3 of us flyfished the pond and had a great time.  I fished exclusively for bass, and also caught a crappie.  I had 2 big bass on that both broke my 8lb tippet, using fire-tiger colored craft fur baitfish streamers.  I replaced the 8lb tippet with 10 lb, and landed more bass up to @ 16.5".
Here's what the streamer looked like that the big bass took (twice), and even the crappie hit it!

The crappies were wearing the ultra-dark spawning colors.
Dale was catching a lot of crappies casting out to deeper water and using a beadhead woolly bugger.  He was also catching small bass.  He had a really nice bass chase HIS bluegill in once, too!!  And Dale also caught his very first Pumpkinseed Sunfish, along with plenty of bluegills and hybrid sunfish.

On Sunday, Jay called me to flyfish again, at the same pond.  And once again I started out flyfishing for bass.  I caught bass on a 4" baitfish pattern with a bunny-strip tail, and even more on a blockhead popper.  Those topwater bass are exciting!

I switched to a gold Springbrook Wunder microjig for awhile, and caught bluegills, crappies, hybrid sunfish, a Pumpkinseed Sunfish, and even a bass or two.

Really fun flyfishing!