Monday, August 1, 2016

Central Iowa Smallmouth Bass Flyfishing 7-30-2016

I flyfished a nearby small river on Saturday from 10:30am-3:30pm.  Water level is low...Gauge Height of 2.65' and Flow Rate of only 22 cfs.  Made for nice, easy wading!
I already had a chartruese microjig on the line, so started with that and caught a Creek Chub, several Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Green Sunfish, and smaller Smallmouth Bass.

I had tied up one yellow Blockhead Popper the previous evening, specifically for this trip, although I had others with me as well.  My plan was to use the Popper as much as possible to hopefully select for larger bass.  I switched to standard and marabou Clouser Deep Minnows a couple times, but stuck with the popper most of the time.  It paid off!
I had fished my way 1/2 back to the car, and had only caught smaller bass over 12".  Then I caught a 13-incher, and thought THAT might be the biggest fish of the day.

I found a "honey hole", and caught 3 NICE Smallies out of it and some others as well.  The 3 biggest were 16.5", 18.5", and 16" (caught in that order).  All on the Blockhead Popper.

18.5" (new Fly Rod Personal Best for me!):
Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

And here's some others I didn't measure, but were nice, colorful fish:

Smallmouth Bass

Just downstream of the "honey hole", another LARGE Smallmouth attacked my popper, and my line broke on the hookset.  I felt jumped twice over the next 10 minutes trying to throw the fly.  NICE fish.  All in all.... a very fun day!


  1. I would say that it was a fantastic day of wading for some very good Smallmouth. Great job, Dave.........

    Question: Do you have any trained fish back there that bring the fly back to you after you snap the line?

    1. It was a special day, for sure. I just found out a professor at Iowa State University is doing a long-term study on the Smallmouth Bass in that stretch of river, and they haven't sampled any bass over 12" in the past 2 years.

      As far as training the fish...I'm trying! I have some ponds where the bass usually spit my popper out after breaking my line, allowing me to retrieve it. :)

  2. Hey Dave,

    I'm new to Ames and an avid fly fisherman, and I tie a little as well. I'm working on a project with Ben Dodds out at Big Creek and Brushy Creek, and he directed me to your blog

    If you're ever looking for a fishing buddy, let me know!

    1. Reweber,
      You bet! Ben Dodd is a GREAT guy! :) Shoot me an email or other way to contact you, and tell me more about yourself. I'm interested to learn where you are from, what you like to fish for, and the projects you are doing at Big Creek/Brushy Creek. Does it have to do with fish retention, and tagging/tracking escaped fish?
      My email is:
      I live in Ankeny, about 25 miles south of Ames. Ankeny has @ 30 public ponds you can fish. Saylorville Lake and the Des Moines River are very close by, and Big Creek is fairly close as well. I get up to the Ames area a handful of times each year. The river can be fun to flyfish. There is also Ada Hayden Lake, which has some Hybrid Striped Bass in it (2015 sampling showed the fish to be mostly in the 18"-20" size range), and it gets stocked with trout in the late Fall. Hopefully we can fish sometime. Until then, I'm more than happy to answer any questions you might have about fishing in the area.