Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Silver Lining

Thought this was an interesting cloud too (hey, its what you get when I don't take any fishing pictures for awhile)...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday Night Clouds....6-18-2010

Pretty cool formation going on...

Great Fly-Fishing Outing - 6 Species!

I got to fly-fish with Jenni, Julie, Scott and Steve on Wednesday evening, 6-16-2010, at their private townhome-association pond.
We fished it a handful of times last year.  We know there are largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegills, hybrid sunfish, crappies, and grass carp in the pond.
Our main target is always the grass carp, because they are big fish!  It is also probably the biggest challenge to get them to strike a fly.  In order to tip the scales in my favor, I wore a "lucky shirt"...the one I was wearing when I caught my first grass carp ever on a fly from this pond last summer.

We couldn't really see the grass carp, so we would occasionally toss out some chunks of old hamburger buns to get the fish to feed on the surface.
We had a few strikes on large floating fly patterns that somewhat resembled bread, but no good hook-ups.

We took breaks during which we fished for the "other fish" in the pond.  We caught some small- and medium-sized bluegills, and some medium- and large-sized hybrid sunfish, like this 9-incher:

Next, we noticed some good activity near the inlet culvert, where we had seen some good bluegills hanging out earlier.  I suspected largemouth bass were chasing the bluegills.  So, I put on a foam bass popper fly and headed to the edge of that area.  After just a cast or two, I got a good strike, and an excellent battle ensued.  The bass never jumped, but kept trying to dive to the bottom of the pond.  It was a good fish, which measured at 19"...probably around 4 pounds:
I also caught a smaller bass from that spot, before switching locations and flies again.
We continued to have fun with the bluegills and hybrid sunfish.  I eventually landed a small crappie, too.  Then we fished again for the grass carp.  I switched to a fly that is nothing more than a craft-store "fluff ball" type thing, trimmed to the hook to provide maximum hook gape.  Unfortunately, it sinks, but it is easy to keep it suspended in the water column by VERY slowly retrieving line....just enough to keep all slack out of the line.  This technique worked!  I got a strike, set the hook, and the battle was ON!
I could tell it was a smaller fish than last year's big one, but it was still very strong and a good fighter.  Scott helped with the net, and I was eventually able to lead the fish into the shallows and into the net.  It is NOT a big net, but it worked...HOORAY!
It measured out at 33" length, and I ran this through a lenght-to-weight conversion for Grass Carp, and got an estimated weight of 17.5 lbs.

Well, to complete a clean sweep of all the fish species in this pond, I still needed a channel catfish.  I didn't have high hopes for this, so I just tied on a soft-hackle nymph that had been working well for the bluegills and sunfish in the pond.  I tossed out towards the middle of the pond, near some remaining floating chunks of bread that the bluegills were occasionally pestering, and began retrieving. BAM!  A very strong strike, but not big enough to be another grass carp.  Still this was a decent fish, and catfish always fight good.  I estimated this one to be @ 18" long.

6 species of fish, all on flies, in one evening!  Very awesome!!  Thanks Jenni & Julie for letting me fish with you at your pond again, its ALWAYS a very fun time, even if we don't catch anything.  And thanks for taking such great pictures...again!  Thanks also to Steve, for smoking some good cigars with me, and introducing me to Leinenkugel's "Summer Shandy" beer.  It was so good, I went and bought a case!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Central Iowa Anglers - Magazine article

The following short article and picture about our fishing club, Central Iowa Anglers, appears in the latest issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources periodical.  You'll have to click on the picture to get a larger version that is readable.

Yes...that's me!

Kayak Fishing 6/14 and 6/15/2010

I fished Big Creek Lake on Monday evening from my kayak.  Lots of rain over the past couple weeks have the lake high, with lots of floating debris and an algae bloom.  Fishing was tough.  I managed a crappie and a nice bluegill on fly gear, and another bluegill on spinning gear.

The sunset that evening was especially beautiful from the water.  See the geese?

Tuesday I fished from the kayak on Saylorville Lake.  That reservoir is also EXTREMELY high (30' above normal pool).  I managed about a dozen small white bass on an in-line spinner.  Then I took a tour of the lake in my kayak.  It was fun being over the tops of willow trees that normally line the shore above the usual high water line, and seeing them on the fishfinder.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Evening Fishing, 6-4-2010

I drove by a pond I was hoping to fly-fish for bluegills, but found too many people along the shoreline. So, I drove to another city-owned pond that I haven't fished this year. Its a decent-looking pond, at least 12' deep, edged with limestone rip-rap, fountain in the middle...but there is a horrible ring of algae around the entire pond, out to about 12' to 20' from shore. I've only ever caught tiny bluegills from this pond, so I rarely fish it. But Jim ice-fished it a couple winters back, and had several fish break his line, plus he said he caught some decent bluegills. I never doubt what Jim says. :icon_salut:

My success was dismal, and only managed to avoid a SKUNK by catching this Green Sunfish on a Gurgler:

By the way, in another pond I fish, the little Green Sunfish are spawning right now.  Check out the egg-filled belly on this little gal!

Anyway...ss the sky darkened, I decided to hit the original pond I was going to try. The other anglers had all left!
They didn't leave me many fish, it seemed.

I switched flies to a brown nymph thing I had tied up. I caught a couple bass and a few medium-sized bluegills. After it was completely dark, I finally landed a decent bluegill, this nice 9" female that was fat enough, she may still be full of eggs, although the spawn is several weeks past.

Just a few casts later, a big hit! Oh WHAT A FIGHT! I'm sure I'll still lose my share of big fish, but I have pretty much learned that if a big fish wants to run...LET IT RUN. It took a while (which is part of the fun anyway, but I never want to overplay a fish), but I finally landed this 22" Channel Catfish.

After releasing it, I check my tippet, and it was very scratched up and STRESSED...like when you pull on a plastic bag so much it stretches but doesn't break. I didn't feel like changing the tippet just then, so I called it a night.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Some Fly Patterns That Use Epoxy and Mylar Tubing

Actually, instead of epoxy, I've been using an "epoxy-alternative" called Clear Cure Goo.  It is cures within seconds of hitting it with a special UV flashlight.  Its quick, its easy, its not messy....I like it!
Here's some stuff I tied just messing around with it.  (I am not claiming any of these to be patterns I originated.)

The one above is similar to Vig's Big Minnow.  It has foam inside, so it should float (I haven't tried it yet).

The rest of these will sink.

These final two below are made with the CCG, and glass beads.

Interesting evening - 6/3/2010

After the most excellent Central Iowa Anglers meeting last night, my buddy Jay and I headed out to Saylorville Lake to practice casting...and hopefully get lucky and catch something.  When we got there, the wind was blowing pretty strong into shore.  We decided to use spinning gear, and left the fly gear in the car.

Short story is, Jay caught a white bass... I caught a white bass, walleye, and freshwater drum.

Longer story is....as we were fishing along the shore, I found this nice arrowhead!
Although I often look a bit when fishing out there, this is the first time I've actually found anything worth picking up.  I'm still pretty excited about the find.

Ok...back to the fishing. It was SLOW. I threw up on a shallow flat that was maybe 3' deep, and eventually had a huge hit. It was peeling line and fighting well, shaking its head....I figured it was a good catfish. But it was a 26" Freshwater Drum, the biggest I've ever landed.

Big mouth on this dude...and it easily sucked in the MFBB:

Wasn't much long after that, and I landed the walleye. We didn't measure it, Jay guessed it at 14", I was gonna guess 15". Didn't matter, he went back in the lake too.

And now I don't remember who caught the first white bass. The one I caught was probably 11"...and surprisingly fat and healthy-looking. Actually, we looked at it pretty hard to figure out if it was a white or wiper...and we just weren't sure. To our eyes, it had features of both.
Didn't take a picture of that fish.

We left before it got dark.