Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blue Heron Lake, 5-10-2013

On Friday I had the day off work again, so I went fly fishing at Blue Heron Lake in West Des Moines.  I wanted to target short nose gar.  Mark D had tipped me off about gar spawning there a week or two before when we had a very warm day...right before some really cold weather that then shut the fishing down.

Anyway, I got to the lake around 11:30am.  I put on the hip waders I had gotten for Christmas, put on my waist gear bag (big glorified fanny pack), grabbed my fly rod and headed down the trail to the lake.  I hadn't gotten far when I saw a fellow with a fly rod walking towards me.  What would the chances be?  "Mark?" I said.  "Yeah."

I had corresponded with Mark for several years, but we had never before met in person.  This made my whole day!  Mark didn't have to leave right away, so he very kindly offered to walk back to the lake with me and show me some spots where he had been seeing fish lately.  The first spot held plenty of gar, he assured me, but the fish weren't showing themselves yet.  We moved to a second area.  Mark said there were carp spawning there around some shallow flooded weeds.  There wasn't much action there at first, but as we stood and talked, the action picked up.

Turns out it was Bigmouth Buffalo that I saw spawning, but there were a LOT of Common Carp around feeding behind the spawning buffalo, and also feeding in the shallow weeds.  Since gar didn't seem to be active yet, I decided to chase some carp.  They were quite serious about their feeding, and were fairly oblivious to my presence.  Some swam right up to my boots!  After catching a fish or two, I realized I  could just dangle the fly straight down under the rod tip to present to fish that were quite close to me.

I stayed until @ 2:15pm.  In that time I managed to catch 6 carp on flies.  I used a Mr. P's Carp Carrot pattern.  Here's a picture of me hooked up with the first carp of the day.  Mark snapped the picture right before he had to leave.

Here's some pictures of a couple carp I caught.  One measured 25", and the other measured 26".  I didn't measure the others, but one or two might have been a bit bigger.

You can see a large hook in the bottom of this one's gill plate.  I removed the hook before releasing the fish.

I ended up spotting 7 gar in the shallow weeds.  One ate the fly, one I snagged on the outside of the jaw.  Both jumped and threw the hook.  I could have caught more carp.  It was fun, but the wind was picking up, making line control more "work".

On the way out, I almost stepped on this Garter Snake!

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