Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, 10-24-2010 - Fly-Fished an Urban Public Lake in Des Moines

I drove my daughter and 4 other girls to their choir rehearsal in downtown Des Moines on Sunday, and had some time to kill before it was time to pick them up. I visited a good-sized urban public lake I hadn't fished since Spring. I recall catching some decent bluegills and small bass there.

Well, there were lots of people walking or biking on the paved path around the lake, but only one other guy was fishing when I arrived, and he left after I caught 2 small fish right away. I'm not suggesting that is WHY he left. But I'm glad I didn't have to listen to the copper bell on the end of his rod any longer.

It was really slow. I don't know this water very well, so it was a struggle. I finally had a good fish on. They stocked wiper fingerlings in the lake in the Spring of 2009, so I figure they should be about 10" long by now. I saw the fish on my line, and it was silver. I knew it was either one of the wipers, or a crappie. It got off as I put pressure on it to lift it from the water. DRAT!

A few casts later, I got a snag, and had to break my line. OOH, structure! I retied, and cast a few feet to either side of where I got the snag. Nothing! Must be a pretty small snag. I lost a few more flies to that snag before I left, but I discovered some bluegills and some really nice 12" crappies (both white and black crappies) were near that tiny piece of structure. I was THRILLED! I caught 7 nice crappies (plus the smaller bluegills) in a fairly short time. And that time was interspersed with me casting into the willow trees and brush behind me no less than 3 times, and I had to retrieve my fly from that mess.

Still...those were some HEALTHY crappies. I could have put together a pretty delicious meal if I'd been in a position to keep any of them.

These were caught on 1/100 oz Springbrook Wunder microjigs. I used natural grizzly chickabou for the tail, and some goldish sparkle chenille for the body.


  1. Dave
    Those are some nice crappie on the fly---I have never landed a crappie on the fly, could you post an image of the fly you were using? Were you fishing the fly stripping it in small jerks or a pause? I am going to Miss. in a couple of weeks and will be fishing some structure with my brother and anything you can tell me would be helpful for the crappie. Thanks for sharing Bill

  2. Sure Bill. I'll start a new post for those fly patterns, rather than edit this post. Good luck in Mississippi! They've got JUMBO crappies there! :)