Monday, March 5, 2018

First Open Water Fish for 2018

Much anticipated.  My last open water fish were caught on December 1, 2017.  Then the local waters became covered with ice, and so the icefishing season progressed.  About 3 months from the last open water fish, my first open water fish for 2018 were caught on March 3.

The ice disappeared VERY fast this past week.  We had high temps in the upper 40s (F) and into the 50's this week.  Couple that with the warmer-than-ice water under the ice, the ice eroded from both sides.  I was fishing on 6.5" of decent ice last the previous Sunday. 6 days later, these same waters (local public ponds) are wide open.  CRAZY!  Usually a warm rain will help the ice disappear faster, but we didn't even need that help this year.  Hopefully the weather and ponds don't experience a relapse and freeze over again.

So, I flyfished 2 local ponds, from @ 11am-3pm.  At the first pond, I caught bluegills and small crappies.  I used a microjig under a strike indicator.  I was fun to watch that indicator go down and feel a fish on the fly rod again!  I tried a larger jig under a bigger indicator...the same setup that worked for bass at the end of last season...but did not get any fish....I did have a couple strikes, but they were feeble, so I assume they were bluegills or crappies messing with it.

I try to take a picture of the first open water fish of the year, but it flipped out of my hand and back into the water while I was trying to get my phone out of my pocket.'s bluegill #2.

And the first small crappie of the day:

At pond #2, I continued trying for bass for awhile with the larger jig & indicator.  Caught totally inhaled the jig!  I didn't measure it, but it was probably a 14"-15" range bass:
I had no more strikes on that, so I switched back to the smaller microjig and indicator to try for bluegills.  Actually ended up catching at least 5 more (smaller) bass on that, along with a mixture of sizes of bluegills.  This was a really nice one:

A very successful start for the season!  The fish were reasonably aggressive, considering the water temperature is still very cold.