Monday, November 25, 2013

Plan "B"...and Last Day of Open Water, 2013?

This might have been my last open-water fishing trip of 2013.  Local lakes and ponds are starting to lock up with a covering of ice.

I took the day off work on Friday.  Trout had been stocked the previous day at Ada Hayden Lake in Ames.

I knew it wouldn't be a very enjoyable day.  It had snowed.  The air temperature was 18 degrees F, and I was driving farther NORTH.

Visions of frozen line guides and frostbitten fingers were circulating in my mind.
I dressed for the weather.  I tried putting vaseline in the rod guides to prevent water from freezing them closed.  This didn't seem to work appreciably well.

I walked around the entire north basin of Ada Hayden Lake, stopped to fish at a few spots, but didn't see a single sign of fish.  No jumps or swirls.  I talked to a fellow who was present the previous day during the stocking.  He had caught his limit (5 trout) the previous day, but also hadn't caught/seen a fish this day.

I DID see 2 wild swans fly over and land on a far corner of the lake.  So, THAT was pretty awesome.  Its the 3rd time I've ever seen wild swans flying.

Anyway, I had a "Plan B" in mind for such circumstances as this.  I drove back to Ankeny and visited a pond I had only visited once before this year, back in May.  The water was still open, although the shorelines were covered with snow.

I put on a red/chartreuse microjig under an indicator.  Didn't take long to start catching crappies!  Most were pretty small.  Biggest of the day measured 10".  It wasn't super-fast fishing, but I ended up landing 76 Crappies and 1 Bluegill in 3.5 hours of flyfishing!

I salvaged a very cold day and the possibility of getting skunked, and ended up finding a good way to end the open-water season!


  1. Well YEAH, that is a great day. 76 crappie--unbelievable.

  2. Dave
    That was a busy 3 1/2 hours landing a bunch of fish. Do you ever keep any of the crappie? Those would be good to eat this time of the year. What state do you live in? Thanks for sharing

    1. @ Bill:
      No, I almost never keep any fish. Sometimes maybe once/year I might keep a few.
      I live in "The Fishing Capital of the World". Just kidding, I live in Iowa! :)

  3. Ah yes... the infamous plan B. Looks like your pond may be worthwhile visiting a month from now.

  4. Dave, always great to have a backup plan this time of year. Looks like you made an excellent choice. Do you tie or buy your micro jigs? What weight rod do you fish those micro jigs on?

    1. @Mel,
      I buy the 1/80th oz jigheads, then tie the bodies on myself. They cast extremely easily and effortlessly on a 5wt rod, which is what I use most of the time for warmwater flyfishing.

    2. Thanks, Dave, for your feedback. Could I bother you with one more quick question or two? Where do you buy the jigheads and do they have a painted head or not? Appreciate your support!

    3. @ Mel,
      I prefer and use unpainted microjigheads. I've been buying mine from a guy that pours them locally...but I see there are guys on EBay that sell them for pretty good price. For 1/80th oz jigheads, I'd recommend a #10 hook, if you can find them.

  5. Great fishing! To me, wild fish trump stocked trout any time, ( I realize wild trout are not close to you,) and I have never caught that many crappie, or even close. I use same sized jigs with hooks from Feather Craft, wonderful to experiment with.


  6. Thanks Gregg! Good to know Feathercraft has those jigs! They sound great!