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Monday, April 14, 2014

April 12-14, 2014 Weather in Central Iowa

After fishing on Saturday, I learned the temperature had risen to at least 84 degrees F!  That was probably 13 degrees warmer than what had been forecast.   It was windy enough to keep things cool, but I did get too much sun.

That evening, we had a beautiful lightning storm!  I went out on the front porch with my cell phone and took some video, then saved individual frames as images.  Here's a short segment of video that had a lot of good lightning:
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Here's some of the better still shots I saved from that video:



Saturday evening, it proceeded to rain, and didn't really stop until early Monday morning, when it turned to sleet/snow.  Not a lot of snow accumulation, but the grass was nearly buried.  

Also, early Sunday morning we got some hail, and given the warmth of the air on Saturday, and the strength of the storm on the radar...I definitely gave thought to the possibility of a tornado forming!  I don't think our hail was particularly large, but I heard of hail just south of Des Moines was 2" golf-ball size.  And I also heard that Cedar Rapids or Cedar Falls even had some BASEBALL size hail!  Yowza!

It had been pretty dry here, so the rain was much needed.  I heard we got maybe a bit over 2" for the weekend, and everything is nicely soaked now.  Should help get the Spring growth jumpstarted...well, as soon as the snow & ice melts, that is!

Banner Pits Trout, 4-12-2014

Saturday was a beautiful day..  Temperatures rose to  84 degrees F, it was sunny most of the day, and the wind didn't get  too strong until early afternoon.
After a friend reported catching a Brook Trout at Banner Pits a couple days earlier, I decided to make the trip down there to see if I could catch one.  Spoiler alert: I didn't catch a Brookie.

I arrived at the lake @ 10:30am.  The park folks had been doing controlled burns to clear out some underbrush from the forest on the steep slopes surrounding the lakes.  There was still lots of ash, some smoke, I could occasionally hear trees and branches falling in the woods, and I saw some fires still burning.

I decided to hike into a bay I've always seen but never fished before.  There was a couple guys in a boat there when I arrived.  They moved on after 45 minutes or so.  After they left, I caught a small bluegill.  There weren't as many trout here as I had hoped, but I stayed there until 4:30 pm anyway.

There was a goose sitting on eggs in the area I was standing to fish.  I walked right up onto her without seeing her, before she stood and hisses at me.
She let me fish right next to her throughout the day without any more trouble.

Anyway, I tried a lot of flies.  The ones that  seemed to work best had either a small beadhead, or a glass beadhead, or were unweighted.  I think the water was clear enough that the fish could spot and attack the fly from several feet below it.  I had 4 fish break my 8lb tippet, which was very unusual, and the trout also seemed to spit the fly quickly here, which resulted in me missing/losing a LOT of strikes.  I ended up landing just 12 Rainbow Trout.  Could have been worse, but also could have been much better.  They were beautiful fish, though.


A couple additional interesting things happened on this fishing trip.  First, a gentleman and lady were walking through the charred woods on top of the steep bank on the opposite side of the bay I was fishing.  At first I thought maybe they were going to come down to where I was and fish. They walked until I believe they saw me.  Then, the gentleman backed further into the trees, facing the bay.  The young lady turned to face him, which put her back towards me.  She dropped her pants.  I thought maybe she needed to go to the bathroom...it happens.  But she didn't crouch.  I assume the gentleman photographed the splendor from his side, while I just enjoyed the view I was afforded.  She pulled up her pants and they meandered out of sight.

About 10 minutes later I heard walking up on that bank again, and thought maybe they were back.  But it turned out to be 2 fellows who were coming down to fish near me.  As soon as they set down their gear, one said, "I'm going to have a cigar."  Well, I was already halfway into one myself, so I turned struck up a brief conversation about how nobody would mind if we started a forest fire today, seeings how it was all in ashes already.  Turns out, this was Joe.  Joe asked if my name was David.  Yes.  He said he enjoyed my website/blog!  Well...how cool is that?  And then he got out his flyfishing gear and started casting.  Hey, I like this guy!  Enjoys cigars AND flyfishing!  :)
Well, Joe, it was certainly nice to make your acquaintance!  Hopefully we'll run into each other fishing many more times in the future. I told you I snapped a candid photo of you and was going to put it in my blog.  Turns out the picture was horribly overexposed for some odd reason.  I did my best to fix it, and then thought it looked decent once I added some effects to it.  I apologize it didn't turn out better, but its still a pretty cool shot I think.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lunchtime Flyfishing, 4-11-2014

After getting skunked during lunch yesterday, I returned to a more reliable pond, and the microjig/indicator pattern is still working well.
It was bright sun, warm, with just enough wind to put a decent chop on the water.

In 40 minutes of fishing, I caught 7 Crappies, 3 Bluegills, and 2 Hybrid Sunfish.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lunchtime Flyfishing, 4-9-2014

4-9-2014
Public Pond
60 degrees F
18 mph wind from SSW
Fish Caught: 7 Crappies, 1 Green Sunfish


Jay and I met up during lunch to flyfish. Casting into the wind was a challenge.
Jay did about the same as I did...I think he also caught a Bluegill or two.
Used a 1/80th oz microjig under an indicator.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First Week of April 2104

I've been playing around with my switch rod some more.  Caught more bass, crappies, bluegills and trout on it.  So, that's been fun.  Have used a regular fly rod as well.
Pretty typical catches for this time of year.
These microjigs work GREAT when suspended beneath an indicator:




Trout were somewhat interested in striking things on/near the surface, so I tried a "foamhead woolly bugger" like the one below, and caught a couple trout after they had splashed on the surface.  It didn't completely float, but it sank very slowly.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Trout Fishing at Lake Petocka - March 29, 2014

Saturday was a beautiful day, but it started out below freezing.  I arrived at the lake @ 9am, and slush was forming in my rod line guides for about the first hour.

Dale G. arrived at the lake first, and had caught 2 trout on flies by the time I arrived.  Wearing fingerless gloves, his hands were very cold!  We split and hit different parts of the lake to try and find more trout.

Of course I would be on the wrong side of the lake!  Dale found some trout about the same time that my friend Jay showed up to flyfish.  We joined Dale, and caught a few fish.  It was spotty fishing, slow but fairly steady.  I left around 1:15pm or so, but returned later in the evening to try again.  I only caught one more fish, which brought my total to 13 trout for the day.  A lot of work for few fish, it seemed, but it was a great day to be outside, and it was still fun to catch some fish.  And some were decent-sized.  The DNR stocks them at @ 12", but I caught some the measured up to 14".

Here's Jay with his first flyrod trout of the day:

And here's some of the trout I caught:



I used mostly beadhead woolly buggers...flashy gold seemed to work best for me today.  I also caught a trout on a beadchain-eye fly I tied to look like a baby sunfish...the fish in the 3rd picture was caught on that, and the fish in the last 2 pictures were caught on a fly I tie that has a marabou tail, gold mylar tubing body, and a few turns of black ostrich at the head.  They like that one!

Allen Olympic Switch Rod - Trial Run

I wasted a bunch of time on Sunday (March 30, 2014)...but when 4pm rolled around, I finally decided to visit a local pond and try to figure out how to cast with the new 12' 5wt Allen Olympic switch rod I got.

For those that don't know, a typical Single-hand fly rod is usually less than 10' long.  A Spey rod is a long fly rod, generally over 12' long, and is designed to be cast with two hands on the rod.  Spey rods make use of specialized lines to make longer casts possible with heavier flies.  They are especially popular for fishing saltwater and for fishing larger rivers for salmon and steelhead.  A Switch rod is sort of between these two types of rods.  Switch rods are usually between 10' and 12' in length, and can be cast using single-hand or two-hand techniques.  I got one with the idea of making longer casts in lakes for white bass, wipers, and trout.

So anyway, it was very windy.  And I had visited another local pond the previous day and found it to be muddied by waterfowl and with globs of decomposing organic material floating up from the bottom.  So, I didn't expect to catch much, if anything.

I arrived, rigged up the rod, and started casting.  I tried a Snake Roll cast, a Snap-T cast, a Switch Cast, and maybe one or two other 2-handed casts, as well as a single-hand Roll cast and Overhead cast.  I'm totally new to this, but I thought I was doing reasonably well.  Next, I figured I may as well try to catch something, to see how the rod feels when hooking, fighting and landing a fish.  I knew I might not catch anything at all.  But then I proceeded to have one of the best days I have EVER had at this pond!

I ended up landing at least 13 Bluegills up to 9", and 33 nice Crappies up to 13"!  What a blast!  I was very happy to discover that these fish put a very nice bend in my Switch rod!

Below is the 13" Crappie.  BEAST!  Fought like a bass!





Below is a 9" Bluegill.
What a GREAT evening!!!
I should mention that I used a 1/80th oz chartreuse microjig set about 18" below an indicator.  I tried slowly swimming some flies through the area, but didn't have any takers.  The indicator allowed a slow presentation, while the wind and waves pushed the indicator slowly along and gave a nice vertically jigging motion to the fly.