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Thursday, August 11, 2016

NE Iowa Trout Fishing, August 9-10, 2016

My buddy Jay and I flyfished 3 streams in NE Iowa this week....Coldwater, Trout Run, and North Bear.
It was very warm, humid, and no breeze.  I felt plagued with many missed strikes I could see, or hooked fish shaking free before I could land them...and fish that just didn't want anything to do with me.  Lots of follows and refusals.  Big fish getting away time and again.  I found it very interesting that once a trout scrutinized the fly, they seemed to have their mind made up, and wouldn't even pay it any attention afterwards.  But, it seems to be short-term memory.  You could go back in an hour and catch that fish.  Silly trouts!  :P
Bald-Faced Hornet nest...it was about chest high, we almost walked right into it!  I slide my cell phone under it and snapped a picture...pretty cool!









Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Flyfishing for Topwater Bass, 8-2-2016

Last night was a very good night, flyfishing for topwater bass.
19"
19" Largemouth Bass

18"
18" Largemouth Bass

17"


And plenty of nice "smaller" ones like this:


Monday, August 1, 2016

Central Iowa Smallmouth Bass Flyfishing 7-30-2016

I flyfished a nearby small river on Saturday from 10:30am-3:30pm.  Water level is low...Gauge Height of 2.65' and Flow Rate of only 22 cfs.  Made for nice, easy wading!
I already had a chartruese microjig on the line, so started with that and caught a Creek Chub, several Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Green Sunfish, and smaller Smallmouth Bass.

I had tied up one yellow Blockhead Popper the previous evening, specifically for this trip, although I had others with me as well.  My plan was to use the Popper as much as possible to hopefully select for larger bass.  I switched to standard and marabou Clouser Deep Minnows a couple times, but stuck with the popper most of the time.  It paid off!
I had fished my way 1/2 back to the car, and had only caught smaller fish...no bass over 12".  Then I caught a 13-incher, and thought THAT might be the biggest fish of the day.

I found a "honey hole", and caught 3 NICE Smallies out of it and some others as well.  The 3 biggest were 16.5", 18.5", and 16" (caught in that order).  All on the Blockhead Popper.
16.5"

18.5" (new Fly Rod Personal Best for me!):
Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
16":

And here's some others I didn't measure, but were nice, colorful fish:

Smallmouth Bass

Just downstream of the "honey hole", another LARGE Smallmouth attacked my popper, and my line broke on the hookset.  I felt bad...it jumped twice over the next 10 minutes trying to throw the fly.  NICE fish.  All in all.... a very fun day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

BENDBACKS (?)

Whew....its a HOT one out there today!

A coworker and I flyfished a local pond during lunch today.

I had a new (to me) style ("bendback") of fly I had tied up and wanted to try out. I've seen these for years, I just had not ever tied one up. And I didn't like the way some were bent, because they looked like they wouldn't do a good job of hooking the fish. So...maybe what I've tied really aren't "bendbacks"? But they work along the same principles

The first ones I tied on #8 "Special Use" hooks I use for my bass poppers:

I wanted something bigger as well, so I went to Sportsmans Warehouse yesterday during lunch and bought some 2/0 bass worm hooks in two styles....and manufactured by Owner and Gamakatsu. I tied up a couple of these larger ones last night.

The theory behind these is they will ride hook-point-up, and the materials also somewhat (marginally) help protect the hook point from fouling on weeds. Tinsel or other material wrapped around the hookshank gives the illusion of a deeper-bodied baitfish.

Yesterday's 3" deluge of rain had the water level up and stained. Anyway, I already had a Blockhead Popper tied on my line, so I used it as I covered 1/2 the pond. I caught one fish. With just 5 minutes left, I switched to one of the #8 Bendbacks (the white one with purple flash), and re-worked just one short piece of shoreline on my way out. I caught 3 bass, and missed bluegills and a decent Hybrid Sunfish. That is pretty great for this particular pond! The bass were all small.... less than 12".

I'm calling the trial a big success! I'm gonna have to tie up some more...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Topwater Bass

I flyfished a local pond I had not fished yet this year.  I fished with a couple guys who fish even more than I do.  They provided the tip about this pond.
We didn't get to the pond until it was pretty late in the evening.  Fishing was tough for a fly angler like me....tall weeds along the steep bank, emergent aquatic weedbeds around the pond.  It took considerable skill to cast a blockhead popper beyond the weedline...they cast like a kite!

I managed to land 6 bass, and missed the hookset on at least 3 others.  5 were decent fish, good fights, and tough to bring through the weeds.  Good thing I had just put on fresh 10lb tippet once I arrived at the pond!  The biggest bass measured 19".  The smallest bass was about 1", and he was impaled on the hook after I was ripping the popper back through the weeds.  I'm sure he was going for the fly though, right?  :)





Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lunchtime Catfish 7-14-2016

Sometimes the story is better than the fish.  Right?
Channel Catfish on a fly.  Photos courtesy of Adam.

Earlier this week, a coworker and I flyfished a local public pond during lunch.  The pond has a black plastic barrel in it that sort of lays on its side.  Its been there for about 2 years now.  I don't know if a wind storm blew it in, or if somebody put it in there on purpose.  It doesn't stay in one place....wind and waves move it very slowly around the pond.

I hadn't seen the barrel recently, but spotted it on that trip earlier in the week.  It was near a corner of the pond I fish often.  I saw a couple Channel Catfish near the open end of the barrel.  They seemed to be guarding it, so were probably nesting in the barrel.  Floating mats of algae and the fact the open end was pointed away from shore made presenting a fly to these catfish nearly impossible.  I went back to work without catching the catfish.

So....today during our lunch hour my coworker and I visited the pond again.  The barrel was still there.  At first the barrel was positioned reasonably well for me to fish it.  But by the time I tried a couple options and settled on a third, the barrel had rotated so the opening was almost directly away from me again, and algae mats appeared right over the top of that end of the barrel as well.  I could occasionally see the catfish beneath the algae, but there was no way to get a fly there.

I spent the next 10 remaining minutes of my lunchtime excursion tossing my fly (basically a black woolly bugger with black rabbit fur tail and black beadchain eyes) around the algae mats, trying to hook the algae and slowly pull the algae mats away from the barrel.  At one point I hooked into a muddy gob of algae, which broke loose from the rest and came flying towards me...hitting my pant leg and leaving a splatter of mud.  Nice....  I'll look great going back to work now!  Oh well.  The time and effort paid off, and I was finally able to get down to the business of trying to present the fly to the catfish.

And within a 1/2 dozen casts to the catfish, I hooked up!  YAY!!!  First flyrod catfish of the year!  It made some great strong, fast runs, bulldogged and thrashed, and I finally managed to bring it to shore.  21".

Pumpkinseeds of Summer

I've been catching some Pumpkinseed Sunfish lately (mid-July).  I think they are done spawning, but I've heard they tend to remain in relatively shallow water all summer.  Although chartreuse has been a great fly color for Pumpkinseeds in the past, they've been hitting pretty well on black lately.  They fly that has done the best was a simple unweighted #8 fly of black rabbit fur tail and UV black mylar chenille body.
Pumpkinseed Sunfish




Pumpkinseed Sunfish




And a few bass...nothing over 16" lately, though.