Thursday, June 19, 2014

Carp & Cats!

Flyfished last night for a couple hours at Saylorville Lake.  Northern Iowa has gotten a BUNCH of rain in the past few days, and the reservoir is expected to rise as much as 30 feet!  It was supposed to rise just 4' yesterday!

My buddy Jay and I headed out, and the water is moving up into vegetation that has grown up along the normal pool shoreline this year, but we could still walk along the shoreline easily.

We started out searching for carp to target with flies.  We didn't see any in the shallows, but we decided to fish an area where the wind was blowing into shore, and there were some rocks and gravel in the water.

Jay alternated fishing with a fly rod for carp (he caught a couple carp on flies earlier in the week!) & spinning rod for anything.  He caught the first fish (and the biggest of the night) on an inline spinner...a 26" Channel Catfish!

The wave action from wind and boats was substantial, and I was blind casting, there are a lot of small fish fry/fingerlings in the water right I decided to use a beadhead woolly bugger under an indicator.  The indicator would give the fly plenty of action and keep the fly off the bottom, plus make strike detection easier.  I caught 2 Largemouth Bass while trying for carp, but finally got my target species.  I was happy!

Not a huge carp, but it was a good fight.  I imagined it probably spooked other carp in the area.  I decided to put on a shad-imitating fly pattern and practice casting it with my 12' 5wt Allen Olympic switch rod.  I wanted to determine whether this would be a viable option for the White Bass blitz later this Summer/Fall.  I think it will be.
Here's the fly pattern I was using (I think it was the top one below):

I got 3 nice surprises while doing my testing.  I caught 3 Channel Catfish...23", 24", and 25".  (Corresponding weights according to a conversion table for catfish suggests these would be @ 5.5lbs, 6.3lbs, and 7.3 lbs.)  GREAT FIGHTS!

I was worn out after that, so we left.

As we were walking out, we saw a lot of these big caterpillars...Hawk Moth/Sphinx Moth caterpillars, I think?  I was sad to think that they will be drowned within the next day or so.

Edit: Turns out both caterpillars above are likely color morphs of the White Lined Sphinx Moth.


  1. Never cease to amaze me with your success with the fly rod. Catfish are great on a fly when you can find them. Guess they don't do Chartreuse? Tee Hee.

    1. Cats WILL hit chartreuse! The one I caught earlier this year hit a chartreuse woolly bugger, for example. In this reservoir, shad are the key forage most of the time, and they flash white when the sun hits them, so...white or white & gray works pretty good there.

  2. Always love your catfish experiences, nice trio!


    1. Thanks Gregg! Good to hear from you again! :)