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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last Week of March, 2015

I've fished a couple times since my last blog entry.
Had one overcast Wednesday evening at a local pond, flyfished for 1.5 hours, caught 12 Crappies, 7 Bluegills, all on chartreuse microjigs under an indicator.
On the following Saturday, I flyfished the same pond for 5.25 hours during the middle part of the sunny day.  I caught 45 Crappies, 8 Bluegills, and finally caught the first open-water bass of the season.  The most interesting thing to me was, it was a sunny day and the saying goes "Bright Day, Bright Lure".  Typically chartreuse works well most of the time, and should have worked this day.  I caught some on it, but I did a lot better once I switched to a dark-colored microjig.  They really hit it much more aggressively.



The next trip was during my lunch hour on Monday.  It was probably the first 70+ degree (F) of the year, with 20mph winds gusting to nearly 30mph.  I fished a pond close to work.  I didn't do well, but managed to land a couple bluegills. (Fact check...it was NOT the first 70-degree day of the year.  There was 2 days in the 70's and 1 day in the 80's in mid-March....while I was in Europe with my family for Spring Break.  So....Monday was the first 70-degree+ day I had experienced in Iowa this year, but not actually the first.  Capiche?)  :)

Later that evening, the wind died down, so I visited another pond for an hour around dusk.  Small bluegills seemed concentrated near the surface in the downwind ends of the pond...in fact some of them had their backs sticking up out of the water well out from shore.  They appeared to be eating stuff (probably midges) off the surface.  I caught at least 6 Bluegills, but I was really hoping for Crappies.  It was a beautiful evening.
 Then on Tuesday during my lunch hour, I visited another pond.  Algae is already greening up in this pond.  It was tough going, but I managed 4 Crappies and 8 Bluegills on a microjig under an indicator.

Tuesday evening after dinner I had the opportunity to flyfish again at yet another pond.  It was a beautiful evening... 70 degrees F and little wind.  The water in the next pond I chose was fairly clear.  As in most of the other ponds, the fish were in shallows near shore, or suspended shallow over deeper water.  I imagine that very top thin layer of the water column is the warmest water the fish can find right now.  I caught some fish on a microjig under an indicator, but it seemed the fish wanted to eat even more shallow than that, so I switched to stripping in a yellow Boa Yarn Leech, and did ok with that.  I ended up catching 3 Crappie, 14 Bluegills, 5 Hybrid Sunfish, and 1 Largemouth Bass.

That wraps up the month of March.  It started off with a great day of icefishing, and ended with a decent evening of flyfishing....ironically both on the same pond.

Monday, March 23, 2015

First Flyrod Fish of 2015

Just got back from a Spring Break trip to the Mediterranean with my family (future post about that to come).  I was happy to see the ice had melted off all the local ponds while I was gone.  I wasted no time in getting out to flyfish a couple of the local ponds on 3-22-2015.

I had a good day!  The fish wasted no time in doing their part....I caught a Crappie on my first cast!  I used a chartreuse microjig under an indicator, and ended up catching 45+ decent Crappies and 19 Bluegills.

Its good to be home!




Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Photo on Iowa DNR Website

I check the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website (http://www.iowadnr.gov/) frequently. There is some excellent information there for anglers.  There is a lot of information on lakes, including lake topographic (bathymetric) maps, and the latest fish sampling information.

I just happened to visit that website today, and usually I just quickly navigate past the home screen to the lake information pages.  But today, I paused and looked at the pictures that were scrolling on the home screen, to see if there was current news I might be interested in.  The last picture in the series was of a Rainbow Trout.  Nice.  I clicked to navigate away from that page, and then it hit me.  I went back and looked at the picture again.  Yeah....that looks like one of my pictures....kind of looks like a fly I would have tied...and...the fly is attached to the line with a No Knot Fas-Snap.  Not that many people use those around here... That's gotta be my picture!

I checked my fishing pictures, and located the original.  It is one I had submitted along with an article that was published in the DNR's "Iowa Outdoors" magazine.  I don't think they ended up using this particular picture in the article.  Its nice they are getting some use out of it.

Here's a screen capture of my computer screen...with the DNR website (on the right), and my original picture pulled up on the left.

COOL! Its fun to see my  pictures being used on the IDNR website!    :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Icefishing - March 1, 2015

Been awhile since I had anything worthwhile to post.

February passed by with only one short ice-fishing trip to show.  The fish were as negative as I have ever seen them, usually running away from my presentation as fast as they could.  I felt very lucky to manage just 3 small bluegills out of that trip!

So, I sure am glad its MARCH!  I went icefishing yesterday (March 1, 2015) with my buddy Jay.

The pond we selected treated us well when flyfishing it this past summer, but we icefished it one day last winter and only managed a combined total of ONE fish for a couple hours of effort.  The only fish we marked that day (besided the one caught) were TINY fish not interested in eating.  Flash forward to yesterday.  I was the first to arrive at the pond, and drilled 5 holes across one end of the pond.  I marked fish in 3 of the 5 holes.  Good sign.  As Jay pulled up and started unloading his gear, I dropped a tungsten jig tipped with a waxworm down one hole, and immediately had a fish on.  Then I missed a couple, and then landed another by the time Jay walked out on the ice.

We did well.  I don't know Jay's totals, but by the time I left @ 5pm, I'd landed at least 50 Bluegills, 5 Pumpkinseed Sunfish, 5 Crappies, 5 Bass, and at least 10 Hybrid Sunfish.  Fantastic!  The fish were mostly VERY positive, often charging the lure from 4' away and striking immediately.

The bass weren't big....probably all less than 12".  The bluegills weren't very big either, probably topping out at 7.5", although I've caught bigger ones there during the summer.  The Pumpkinseeds were pretty decent, fought REALLY well, and are pretty rare to catch while icefishing.  In fact, they were the first ones Jay and I had ever caught through the ice.  The crappies were healthy.








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.