I arrived at Banner Pits a couple hours early to get a "good spot" to fish from. I knew I wanted the wind at my back if possible, and as much open casting room in front and behind me as possible since it can get crowded and I didn't want to accidentally hook someone that was walking behind me. So, I chose to fish from the end of a short dock next to the boat ramp where the DNR would be dumping the trout into the lake. I saw a handful of fellow Central Iowa Anglers (CIA) members, and we all had plenty of time to chat for a bit. I helped one of our Members launch his pontoon boat, and learned (from his depthfinder) that the surface water temperature in the lake was 63 degrees F. A bit warm for trout coming from the 50-degree hatchery water. That plus the bright sunlight...the stocked trout wouldn't be hanging out in the shallows by the boat ramp very long!
Then the DNR Fisheries Biologist for our area, Ben Dodd, arrived to help with the stocking (although the stocking truck which came separately was 1/2 hour late). We had a great talk about local fisheries. I always seem to learn a LOT in a very short time when talking with Ben. I think I know the fisheries pretty good from the sheer amount of fishing I do...but Ben always has the absolute most current information from ongoing studies, stockings, sampling results, current and up-coming projects, etc. He also expressed his gratitude towards Central Iowa Anglers for the fish-habitat placement projects we had done this year at Lake Ahquabi, Blue Heron Lake, and Saylorville Lake.
As the stocking truck started dumping trout into the lake, I caught my first fish of the day! Except it was a small Green Sunfish, which I turned and handed to a small boy that was standing behind me on the dock. He thought that was pretty cool! I was hoping to catch the first TROUT of the day, but that honor when to the older gentleman standing next to me. He wanted his limit of 5, so he could take them home to his trout-loving wife to cook up for supper. Fishing was pretty slow, however. He caught 2, and I added two to his bucket. He left with those 4. I eventually caught another off the dock, all on fly gear with a microjig under an indicator. When the fishing slowed, I tried other fly patterns, some spinning gear with lures, and even PowerBait Honey Worms. The PowerBait didn't get ANY strikes at all. I moved off the dock to a different section of shoreline, where some of my CIA buddies were still catching a few fish. They left with their limits, and I caught 2 more on flies and one on a Mepps spinner.
I ended up catching 6 Rainbows by the time I left Banner at 3pm. Yeah, it was SLOW! It was about what I expected for this early in the Fall season.
Then I headed to Lake Petocka, which wasn't far out of my way on my return trip home. I was surprised to discover just ONE angler there fishing. Turns out he got there about 20 minutes before I did. It was FREAKING WINDY and COLD!!!! Way different than Banner! I've heard it said there is a beautiful woman behind every tree at Lake Petocka. Maybe they should plant some trees there! Because of the howling wind coming from the WNW, I didn't try the fly rod, I just used a plain silver #1 Mepps on spinning gear. I saw trout scattered along the shorelines. Some were really dark. Turns out those were Brook Trout. The first fish I caught was a bass. Then I caught a really NICE Rainbow...probably 15" and VERY fat. I was getting my camera out to take a picture of it when the other angler walked over. He was a friendly younger guy who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard. We talked for awhile, and instead of getting a picture, I just gave him the trout. He said he had caught a nice Brookie. I went back to fishing my way along the north shoreline of the lake. I ended up catching a total of 6 Rainbows at Petocka (plus the bass), and also foul-hooked a Brook Trout in the chin. I took a few pics of that one because it was so pretty, then released it. I had a handful of other trout on that didn't stay hooked. It was rather slow too, but despite the wind and cold, I enjoyed it more than the fishing at Banner for some reason. I left Petocka at 6pm.
|Brook Trout at Lake Petocka, Bondurant, Iowa|
Total for the day: 12 Rainbow Trout, 1 Largemouth Bass, 1 Green Sunfish...and the one foul-hooked Brook Trout.
Ben said the trout that went to Banner and the trout that went to Petocka were from different hatcheries. I thought it was AWESOME they brought some brookies to Petocka! From what I saw, the Rainbow trout at Petocka averaged slightly bigger, while the trout at Banner had better colors.