Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fly-Fishing for Gar

Gar have been on my list of fish I want to catch on fly-fishing gear for a couple years now.  I have caught them on spinning gear in the past.  Last year I made 4 trips to a lake that has gar, but I wasn't successful in getting any strikes, or seeing any gar.
Turns out I was fishing the wrong side of the lake!  Ben and his friend Ted have been having some success catching gar out of this lake this year on flies.  So the trip was planned to meet out there on 7-26-2010, and go after gar!

Ben took his belly boat, Ted arrived later in his inflatable pontoon.  I took my kayak.  The day we fished wasn't typical of the previous trips, according to Ben.  We spotted very few gar near the surface that day.

We didn't cast until we saw fish, so it was really a lot of HUNTING before we could do the FISHING.
Still, it was fun.  Most fish hit within' 9'-15' from my kayak, so you could totally watch the follows and strikes.  We just cast slightly ahead and beyond cruising fish, and brought the "rope flies" across in front of them.  They nearly ALWAYS followed or hit it if it was close enough to their mouth.  The nylon "rope flies" aren't designed to hook the fish (since it is difficult to sink a hook into their bony jaws), but to get tangled in their teeth.  Sometimes it worked well, other times it didn't.  I singed the ends of some of my rope flies to melt the ends together.  I think this helped prevent the fly from slipping out of their jaws sometimes.

Anyway, enough of that.  Gotta get to the pictures.  Also want to sent out a big THANK YOU to Ben for getting me on some fly rod gar action!
By the way, we caught Shortnose Gar, which don't get as big as some other gar species.
This one was about 25" long.  The 2nd one I caught was probably a couple inches longer.

Gator Head!

Rope Fly in the teeth.

Check out those wicked teeth!

Here's Ben with a rather cute little gar:

Fly-fished a local pond in the evening on 7-22-2010.  Fishing has been rather slow lately.  I've been catching fish, but nothing particularly noteworthy.  Its been really hot and humid lately, and the City has sprayed some sort of chemical around the edges of some of the more popular ponds to help get rid of the mats of algae and some of the aquatic weedbeds along the shorelines.

The crappies must be hanging in deeper water during the daylight hours, because I haven't been catching ANY until the sun goes down.

I did get this really fat 22" Channel Catfish, and it was GREAT fighter!  It was released, of course.  Given the time of year, I wonder if might have been full of eggs?

I also caught this 10" crappie.  Not huge, but pretty decent for this pond.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend pics - mid July 2010

A nice Hybrid Sunfish caught on my fly rod.






Another wasp...

Center of a Sunflower.

Turkey Vultures

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The GOOD Summer Bugs!

I took these pics around the yard recently:

Red Admiral Butterfly

I don't recall what the name of this one is. 

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

OK, I know these last 2 aren't bugs, but who doesn't enjoy a colorful sunset?

Carp Pictures, But Not Fishing

I had a late lunch with my family at the floating restaurant of a nearby marina.  It was a great day to hang out by the water, and have a couple (or more...hey, we were there for 4 hours!) brews.

Anyway, its fun to go there and see the big carp swimming around hoping for an easy meal of table scraps.  It would be even MORE fun to hook into some of these fish with a fly rod!

I mean...look at this!  Sipping food off the surface like trout! :o)

Ankeny Summerfest 2010 Fireworks

I shot these from our back porch with a handheld Nikon Coolpix S640 digital camera.  Sweet little camera!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Warmwater" Trout Fishing?

Our fishing club, Central Iowa Anglers, had our monthly meeting last night. We held it at a small public lake, and had a fish fry....the food was excellent! Afterwards, many of us fished.

This lake is an old borrow pit. It has a shallow shelf around it, then a drop-off to deeper water beyond. No significant structure to speak of. The water is relatively clear, compared to other lakes in central Iowa.

I spotted some bluegill beds in the shallows, and there were some good-sized bluegills on them. I had a number of hits, but the fish were quickly spitting the fly back out. I only caught one bluegill, but it was a good 8"-8.5".

This lake was stocked with trout for the first time this past fall & winter. It was a "put-and-take" fishery. They weren't expected to survive the summer water temps. One of our club members spotted a small group of trout near shore, where a field tile was draining cool water into the lake. I started off with a small nymph, similar to a Prince Nymph, but with some modifications. I caught one or two trout on that, but it was slow. I tried some other things with no success. I tied on a small wet fly tied using grizzly marabou for a tail, and small gold mylar braided tubing for a body. The trout LIKED this! I ended up landing 8 trout total. I'd caught trout on flies before, but used spinning gear at the time. Most of my trout are caught while ice-fishing. So, these were the first trout I'd caught on fly gear! Hooray!

Normally when I go trout fishing locally, it is on "stocking day", when the catching is sometimes fairly easy. But these fish have been in the lake now for probably at least 6 months, so are more saavy than freshly stocked fish.
Here's some trout pics from last night:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

2010 Fireworks

With poor weather forecast for 4th of July fireworks displays, we went to nearby town of Slater, Iowa, for their fireworks exhibition on July 3rd.