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!