Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Good Few Days!

I flyfished a local public pond on the evening of Saturday, October 15.  It was cloudy with occasional light drizzle, and even a rather heavy drizzle for several minutes at one point.  There was surface activity on the pond...what appeared to be mostly bluegills and/or crappies chasing baitfish....but also the occasional BIG swirl or explosion of something much bigger working the area.

I tried for bass with a topwater, but had no takers.  I switched to a microjig under an indicator.  First fish of the evening, a 9" Pumpkinseed Sunfish.

Caught a few bluegills, changed out the microjig/indicator for other bluegill patterns, and caught some more bluegills.  Not many, though.
As the cloudy sky darkened, I put the bass popper back on, and fished my way down a shoreline.  I had a couple strikes, one probably a bass, one or two that were probably bluegills or hybrid sunfish.
And then...closer to shore than I would have imagined...a big strike!  Strong fish!  Landed and measured the Largemouth Bass at 20"...VERY GOOD for this area!

My next opportunity to fish came on the following Monday evening.  I have visions of hungry aggressive Grass Carp in my mind.  I planned to go to the pond where I recently lost a big Grass Carp when the hook straightened out....but rather suddenly had the impulse to try a different pond I had not visited recently that has a good population of Grass Carp.
This nearly always has pretty good to very good water clarity, but the low angle of the sun in the evening made it nearly impossible to spot any Grass Carp.  Once again I tried for bass, but only caught a few bluegills on the big popper.  I tried for bluegills, and only caught a few, plus a crappie.  I relocated to a different area of the pond as my fishing time was rapidly ending.  I fancast a shallow area, caught another bluegill or two.  Then I had a good strike, and a nice fish on.  I couldn't tell if it was a bass or crappie, but it was fighting very well.  I landed it, and the crappie measured 14.5"!

These are all Iowa Master Angler-sized fish.  I have had entire YEARS where I caught plenty of fish, but none that qualified for Master Angler submission.  The rules state you can only enter one of each species in a given calendar year, and I had already entered a Largemouth Bass and a Pumpkinseed Sunfish this year.  I did enter this crappie, though. :)  Catching 3 Master Angler fish of different species over a span of 3 days....  Very special!  Even more so when considering I typically flyfish small heavily pressured public waters.
I hope the great fishing lasts a while longer, but the season will be changing very dramatically soon.

Fall Urban Trout stocking starts at the end of this week in my county!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fishing Update... Mid-September thru Mid-October, 2016

Temps are cooling....we've had temps as low as 33 degrees (or less...I've had FROST on my windows a couple mornings).  But some days have seen high temps into the mid 70's and even low 80's.  Fish don't seem as confused as I do....:)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ankeny Ponds Map - 2015 Edition

Here is a map to the ponds in Ankeny.  It shows which ones are public or private.  Any public pond, whether designated as a Fishing Pond or not, may be fished.

One error is Sierra Hills Pond.  It is NOT public.  It is PRIVATE and is also posted with signs for NO FISHING.  FYI.
I'm not sure if you can download this from here in a legible size or not.  No problem.  I've also posted the original PDF file here (see link below), which will enable you to view/download/print the PDF at your convenience.
Link to Ankeny Ponds Map

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Encounters with Nature, Update 9/16/2016

My original post on Encounters with Nature was fun to put together: .

Approximately 3 years later, I've got some additional encounter pics to share.  Many of these were included in blogged fishing reports here, but I wanted to compile them into their own blog entry.
Many great encounters involve wildlife, as in the original post....but some cool encounters might also involve plants, weather-related phenomenon, or sunrise/sunsets.  I've included some of those here as well.
I always figured snagging/catching a seagull was bound to happen at some point.  Seagulls will dive-bomb lures, or fly overhead when you are casting lures.  Well, one evening I was wading a shallow flat of a local reservoir, tossing a topwater lure for White Bass.  2 Seagulls had already tried to drop down on the lure and snatch it from the water.  The third one was quicker than I gave it credit for, and it managed to outwit my manuevers of "keep-away".  It caught the lure.  It really could have gone MUCH worse from that point.  But after a few wing flaps, it alighted on the water and calmly allowed me to pull it in, where I used needle-nosed pliers to grab the hook and free it from the gull's beak.  It was not in past the barb, and was not in any fleshy area.  After freeing it, it simply flew away.

Geese & Ducks:
Geese and ducks LOVE my local public ponds.  Some are so overrun by them, you can't take a step around the pond without stepping in their poo.  They muddy the pond waters horribly.  Their poo contributes an amazing amount of fertilizer to the ponds, causing algae blooms that last most of the open-water season.  Geese especially are sometimes extremely loud and obnoxious when all the angler wants is some peace and quiet.  I like 'em....and yet they are something of a nuisance in this situation.

I even hooked a duck this year that swam over my line.  It was horrible!  It was a female, and once hooked, a group of male ducks swarmed her and began doing what male ducks do to female I tried to use my line to pull her away from them.  It was several minutes of absolute mayhem....feathers flying & flapping wings everwhere!  The hook finally came loose.  I was mortified at what had just happened!

Redwing Blackbird:
These birds can be very protective if you get near their patch of cattails!  They will ruthlessly dive-bomb you, raise heck, and even hit you.  I ignored this one, but it finally got brave enough to tap my on top of my without looking up, I pointed my fly rod straight above me and made some slow circles in the air.  The rod gently bumped the bird still hovering over me, but that bump seemed to discourage it from bothering me further.  No need to be mean to the bird, right?

Cliff Swallow:
In keeping with the bird theme...I blindly "lassoed" a Cliff Swallow out of mid-air during a backcast while flyfishing.  Only the line was around the bird, the hook did not catch it.  It flew away just fine.

Other Birds:
I forget now what I determined this to be...Dowitcher?....but its the only time I've ever seen one in Iowa.  Must have been migrating through?


Deer are generally good about keeping their distance.  Its always nice to see them out and about when I'm fishing.

Of course there are the pesky, annoying bugs like mosquitos and biting flies that hang around near water.
Definitely a very personal "encounter with nature" each time.  But who wants to photograph those?
So here's some of the more interesting insects might see when enjoying the great outdoors.

Brood III of the 17-Year Cicadas:

Bald-Faced Hornets:

Cicada Killer:

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly:

Sunsets and Skies:
I'm rarely fishing before sunrise these days.  But I frequently fish beyond sunset.

I see these occasionally around the ponds.