Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lightning Storm, Evening of 4-29-2013

Lightning storms are cool!  We only got a few raindrops from this storm.  The light show was fast-paced.  Here's a short compilation video (hope this works!):

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Flyfishing Report, 4/26/13 - 4/28/13

My buddy Jay joined my Friday evening, to flyfish a local public pond...the one with the Pumpkinseeds in it.
We both caught Crappies, Bluegills, Hybrid Sunfish, and a few Pumpkinseeds each.  I also caught a couple Largemouth Bass.
Here's one of the Pumpkinseeds that Jay caught:

Sunday I flyfished a public pond in a nearby town.  I caught 10 Crappies and 23 Bluegills in about an hour.  The biggest Bluegill was this 9.5" female:

Sunday evening I flyfished another local pond, hoping to maybe find a crappie or two.  No such luck.  I did catch a couple Largemouth Bass, and 18 feisty Bluegills.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lunchtime Flyfishing Report, 4/26/2013

Wow!  Today during lunch, it was partly sunny, warm (69 degrees F), windy (15mph winds from the South).
Or so the weather websites said.  In truth, it seemed much windier.

My buddy Jay and I met up at a local pond to flyfish together during my lunch hour.  The wind made casting a very REAL challenge.  Jay chose a position that enabled him to cast across the wind.  I chose a position where I was casting directly into the wind.  I must say...I REALLY love this Airflo 40+ fly line!  It just couldn't be any better than it is!  Cuts through the wind EXTREMELY well!

Anyway, we took our positions.  Within a couple casts, I hooked and landed the first scrappy Crappie.  I caught several more before Jay got his gear and casting in order.  But he found fish.  Oh yes!  Suffice it to say, in the short time we were there, we caught plenty of fish.  We both caught Crappies (mostly 9-11"...and we each caught a 13-incher), Largemouth Bass (13"-14" range), Bluegills (various sizes, nothing over 7.5").  In addition to those, I also caught a BEAST Green Sunfish!  It was a CHUNK!!

We both used microjigs about 12" below an indicator.  I used silver, Jay used chartreuse.
Some pictures from today:
My 13-incher.

Jay with his 13-incher.

An 11-incher, getting some good dark "spawning color" around its gills/throat area.

BEAST Green Sunfish.  Very wide body.  Estimating @ 9" long.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lunchtime Flyfishing Report, 4/25/2013

Conditions:  Sunny, 55 degrees F, 10mph wind from the West.

I didn’t get out of the office until about 12:15, which shortened my fishing time.  I arrived at this particular public pond, and a lawncare crew was just finishing up mowing/trimming.  I finished eating my meager lunch while they packed up their equipment and left.  Grass clippings on the pond maybe?  I thought…HMMMM, MAYBE THE GRASS CARP WILL SHOW THEMSELVES!

Maybe.  Something big swirled/rolled/took off from the same spot 2-3 times.  Within casting distance.  But I couldn’t see the fish.  I did, however, see a large white GOLDFISH.  It was sort of hanging around, so I put on something tiny and goofed around half the remaining time trying to get it to strike.  I couldn’t see it clearly enough to make out which was the head end…I could just see a murky “white spot” that would move around the area, then stop for awhile.  But I knew what it was.   At any rate…no detectable strikes from the goldfish.  I WANT TO CATCH ONE OF THOSE ON A FLY!!!

It was really weird…I didn’t catch a single bluegill, although I’m certain there were a few around.  All I caught was 3 decent Crappies, 2 were probably in the 10”-11” range, and all fought EXCELLENT, which you don’t often expect from a crappie.

Here are pictures of 2 of the crappies.  They had nice bellies on them!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lunchtime Flyfishing Report, 4-24-2013

Today's weather: SUNNY (for a change), 45 degrees F and rising. Wind 12 mph from the West.
Had to go flyfishing during lunch...right?

The sun is really bright, the water still a bit stained from all the recent rains and wind.  I fished a few spots without success, before finding some fish in the downwind corner of the pond.  Action was decent once I found them, but I quickly ran out of time.  I ended up catching at least 5 Bluegills, 4 Crappies and 1 Largemouth Bass.

The Crappies weren't overly large...just sort of average-sizes (9"-11" range), but they were REALLY feisty on the end of the line today!  They fought HARD!  The last one wasn't the longest one, but it was exceptionally thick with a big belly and SHOULDERS on it!

The bass was in the 13"-14" range, and it too had an exceptional belly on it:

I also took a poor-quality picture of an odd wading bird that I couldn’t readily identify.
I think it’s a Dowitcher…but not sure if it is a Long-Billed Dowitcher or Short-Billed Dowitcher, since apparently they are extremely difficult to differentiate.  Or…it might be something else entirely!  I assume it is migrating through...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fishing in the Rain - 4/22/2013

It is Spring, after all.  And its hard to complain about the rain after the very dry conditions we experienced last year.  So...I just put on a rainsuit and go fishing.
I had about 40 minutes to spend fishing last night, and it just so happened to be raining during that time.

The public pond I chose to fish was clearer than some of the other ponds, but noticeably murkier than it usually is.  I flyfished, using a chartreuse microjig under an indicator.  I fished quite awhile before I hooked my first fish, a decent Bluegill.

Fishing was extremely slow and I really can't explain why, unless the fish were just not in the areas / depths I was targeting.  I ended up catching just 4 fish total...3 Bluegills and 1 Crappie.  But the Crappie was a very strong 13-incher, so I was every excited about that!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Report - April 20-21, 2013

I have to say that in the middle-to-later part of the week, the cold weather and almost constant rain really had the fish put down.  The cooler influx of water would have been very welcome during the summer months, but the water really hasn't had much of a chance to warm up yet locally.  What we ended up with was basically an influx of cold water into the local ponds, colder than the water that was already there, waters rose 2-3 feet in most ponds, strong wind and wave action stirred up the water and turned it muddy...reducing visibility considerably.  I got skunked at two out of 3 ponds during one stretch in the later 1/2 of the week.

But this weekend, the sun finally came out, the wind died a little bit, and the air temp warmed up some.  The fish were as ready to play as I was!

Saturday around noon, I got to flyfish for a couple hours.  I paid my 3rd visit to the local pond where I had discovered the Pumpkinseeds.  I spent most of my time in the shallow channel area between two pond basins.  I used a gold microjig under an indicator, and caught some Crappies, Bluegills, Hybrid Sunfish, and 4 more Pumpkinseeds.  The last two trips were made in the evening under cloudy conditions, and I felt the pictures didn't do justice to the coloration on these beautiful Pumpkinseeds.  So I took advantage of the sunlight and snapped plenty of pictures:

Saturday evening I also got out again, this time to another local pond.  There was a lot of dead time between fish as I worked my way around the pond until it got too dark to see.  I ended up catching 8 Crappies and 11 Bluegills, using a chartreuse microjig under an indicator.

Sunday evening I got out once more, and visited a 3rd local pond.  The wind was blowing strong, the pond was REALLY muddy, and there was a rainstorm approaching.  I started flyfishing where water was flowing into the pond, and the water was a little bit clearer than the rest of the pond.  I set the chartreuse microjig just  12" under the indicator, because I knew the water wasn't deep here, and I proceeded to catch a decent number of really nice, hard-fighting Bluegills up to 8.5", and a couple of Hybrid Sunfish up to 9" long.  Each fish was really stout, and each fought extremely well.  I was pretty excited about those bluegills!  I'd left my camera at home, otherwise I would have taken some pics for sure.  The spot died, so  I also hit a few other spots around the pond, and caught a few more scatter Bluegills and 1 decent 13" Largemouth Bass.  Before I left, I went back to that first spot and caught some more really nice Bluegills again.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Pond, Visit #2

My first trip ever to this pond (as you will remember from my previous blog), last week, resulted in catching a bunch of bluegills, and a fair number of Hybrid Sunfish and some Pumpkinseeds.

Last night's flyfishing outing, my second trip ever to this pond, I again caught a bunch of bluegills, decent numbers of Hybrid Sunfish…

...but I didn’t catch any Pumpkinseeds for the first hour.  I recalled that the first trip I had tried 3 different colors of microjigs, and almost all the Pumpkinseeds hit the chartreuse.  I also recalled that I thought I had a crappie on last trip, but didn’t land it.

Unlike last trip, this time I saved a little bit of remaining daylight for fishing the channel and beyond.  The north end of the main pond turns into a narrow channel that cuts across to the backs of some townhomes sort of near my neighborhood. There it opens up again into a smaller pond basin area.  Actually, the smaller basin looked bigger than I thought it would.  I didn’t really get to fish the smaller pond area, except right where it connects to the channel, because it just got too dark to see my strike indicator.  Anyway, at first I was still using a gold microjig that I had used on  the main big pond area.  I went up the channel to just beyond where it first widens out slightly.  I was casting towards the far shoreline, and caught a couple crappies!  I ended up catching at least 7 crappies scattered throughout the channel area.

I also caught 3 bass this time.  2 were small, one was a nice feisty “medium size”….maybe 13”. 

Right after I caught that bigger bass, I threw back in the same spot and hooked another something nice.  I thought maybe it was another bass.  It turned and ran straight up the channel and angled towards the opposite shoreline.  I mean it ROCKETED up that channel!  It was peeling line out of my hand and off the reel.  And I was using a 6wt!  In hindsight, I should have horsed it more.  My line would have held, but I was worried about the hook pulling loose.  In the end, the fish found some weeds/muck, and got free.  DANG!  Whatever it was…it was NICE.  Not like 10lb catfish nice…but a solid fish and FAST/strong!  I really wonder what it was.  I still suspect bass (maybe 18-19” range?), but it could have been grass carp, BIG crappie…heck, it could have been a muskrat!  There was at least one swimming around the area around dusk.

Anyway, it was exciting.  As the cloudy light started to get dark, I did switch to a chartreuse microjig, and caught more crappies in the channel, and 3 more Pumpkinseeds…plus a few more bluegills.  Here's a couple of the Pumpkinseeds:

So…all in all it was an interesting evening of flyfishing.  That channel area is intriguing.  It is not very deep, and I have a feeling by late spring/summer it will be overgrown with weeds…so I think I will try to fish there a bit more while the weather is still cool.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pumpkinseeds & Hybrid Sunfish!

Last night I fly-fished from @7pm-8:15pm.  I visited a pond just a few blocks from my house that, odd as it may seem, I had never fished before!  The pond is probably @ 6 years old (?), and I'm not exactly sure when it was first stocked.  I've seen folks fish it, see them catch fish that, obviously, were big enough to catch.  :)
I decided to try it.  The weather was crappy...37 degrees F, breezy, overcast, damp (it had been raining/drizzling sporadically throughout the day).

I stuck with my favored tactic of late...a microjig under an indicator.  Long story short, I caught @ 28 Bluegills, 10 Hybrid Sunfish, and 6 Pumpkinseed Sunfish.

Hybrids are cool because they are so aggressive and fight REALLY hard!  Of the 20+ public ponds in my town...I'm not sure I've ever caught a Pumpkinseed before.  If I did, I probably  assumed it was a Hybrid Sunfish.  But last night, catching multiple Hybrids and Pumpkinseeds at the almost the same time...There was a marked difference between these fish.  So...I am EXCITED, because I can now add Pumpkinseed to my "Fly Rod Species List"!
Here's some pics:
Here's 3 Pumpkinseeds

At @ 7", this was one of the bigger Pumpkinseeds:

And here is an 8" Hybrid Sunfish:

I'm looking forward to fishing this pond around spawning time...and get some good pics of these Pumpkinseeds in their spawning colors!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Addendum..Another Catfish!

After catching a couple catfish on flies yesterday during lunch (see previous blog entry), I had some time in the evening to kill while waiting for my kids to finish their extra-curricular activities.  So, I flyfished a public pond in a town @ 20 miles from home, from about 6:50pm to 8:20pm.

The weather was cold (@44 degrees F), breezy, cloudy, and rain drizzled periodically.  Because the bluegills and crappies still seem to be hitting light, I used a microjig under an indicator.  I ended up landing at least 18 Bluegills, 2 Crappies, 1 Largemouth Bass, 1 Hybrid Sunfish, and 1 Channel Catfish.  The catfish was a big surprise, I'd never caught one in this pond before.  And it was a DANDY!  I measured it at 28.5" long.  According to data provided by the State of Pennsylvania, that lenght approximately correlates to a weight of 11.2 pounds.

The catfish was a GREAT fight.  Fortunately I had confidence in my line/rod/reel.  The weak link was the microjig.  It has a small, thin-wire hook than can straighten out under pressure.  I was afraid to put too much pressure on the fish because of that hook.  Big fish hate being in shallow water, so every time I'd get the fish near shore, it tried to run back for deeper water.  The hook was in the soft but tough corner of the mouth, which is the perfect spot, and allowed me to turn the catfish's head when it ran.  Once I got it into the shallows, I had to step into the clammy cold water to grab the fish.  Man, that is exciting stuff!  :)

Wouldn't you just know that the catfish layed nice and still on the ground while I measured it, but while I was digging out my camera, it decided to do some barrel rolls on the ground, tangling it in the line and covering itself with debris.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Early Season Catfish Plan

I love it when a plan actually works like I hope it will.
Its been a couple weeks since the ice finally melted off the local ponds/lakes.  We've had a few warm days over the past week, finally.  Last night and this morning, we got our first decent RAIN of the season.  The rainstorms didn't last long, but the rain came down hard when it did.
I thought...hey, the runoff should bring some much needed water into the local ponds.  One fish that really likes water flowing into a pond is Channel Catfish.
So...my hope was to try and catch some catfish on flies during my lunch hour today.  I had the pond and the spot picked out in my mind.
Admittedly, the deck was somewhat stacked against me...There USED to be some large catfish in this pond, but I had not even SEEN a catfish in this particular pond during the past 3 years.  And...catfish LOVE warm water, and the local ponds are still pretty cold.  Add to that this storm front is bringing cold weather back.  They've even put possible SNOW in the forecast two days from now!
Sometimes, catfish can be extremely picky about what they will strike.  Sometimes they'll hit anything.

Today...well...Although I was dreaming of catching a catfish, I was flyfishing for crappies and bluegills like I usually would.  The area of the pond I had decided to target did have a trickle of water running in, was very muddy, and the water in the pond was high enough to cause some current from its outflow.

I used a chartreuse microjig @ 18" below an indicator.
I missed some lazy strikes.  The first solid hookup with a fish turned out to be...a Channel Catfish!!!  Hooray!!  At 14"-15" range, it was probably the smallest catfish I've ever caught in this pond.  But it looked very healthy.

I was hoping I was onto something...but it could VERY easily have been a fluke.  Maybe a dozen casts later, the indicator sank again.  Fish on!  And...  Another catfish!!!
It was roughly the same size as the first...so I'm guessing they are the same year-class of fish...and may have either been spawned in the pond, or stocked by the City or other interested parties.  Regardless, I was VERY happy to find some catfish in this pond again, and catch them on my fly rod.

Well...that was it for catfish, in the short time I had available.  I did miss a few more strikes, and landed two more fish.
One was this nice 11" Crappie:

And the other was this NICE 8" Green Sunfish...which had just a HUGE belly on it:
All things considered, I was pretty excited about today's lunchtime flyfishing excursion.  :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

First Trout of 2013

I was trying to decide where to flyfish last night.  I decided to try a nearby lake that had been stocked with trout in January.  I never know what to expect at this lake.  It can be tough.

I fished from shore from about 6:15pm until 8pm.  When I arrived, it was sunny, 57 degrees, with a 10mph wind from the North.  I fished a short section of the SW and South shorelines, where the waves were pushing into shore.  The water was clear and high.  I gave my Cabela's Hip Waders their maiden voyage.  But, once I stepped off the shallow rocks along the shoreline, I was sinking into the soft sand-covered clay bottom, so I just stayed on shore.  I was also using my new 9' 6wt TFO BVK rod, and Lamson Konic reel loaded with an Airflo 40+ line.  That line casts really well, even into the wind!

I started out using a heavily weighted Chili Pepper pattern.  I saw a couple small swirls down along the shore and tossed it that way.  First trout of the year was a TINY little fella...The DNR doesn't stock them this small, typically, so I was wondering if there was some natural reproduction going on in this lake?  Maybe...maybe not.

I made some casts towards deeper water, but wasn't getting the strikes I was hoping for.  So, I switched to an unweighted black Woolly Bugger.  I tossed that around in shallow water.  I ended up landing a total of 12 Rainbow Trout, and had a few others come unbuttoned.  Almost all the trout I caught came within about 3' of shore.  I pulled at least 6 or 7 trout out of one small area.  At first I thought maybe there was a slightly deeper hole there caused by wave action that was pounding a shoreline feature.  Later, I walked over and looked.  Nada.  It looked just the same as everywhere else, so I can't explain why I caught so many fish from that spot.  Must have just been my lucky night.

Trout #2 was bigger than #1.

And a bit later, I liked all the spots on this nicer fish:

As the light faded from the sky, the wind died down, and the lake surface smoothed out somewhat.  I could see fish hitting small bugs on the surface.  I cast to some of these areas with that Woolly Bugger, and got a couple follows, but no strikes.

There was a gentleman fishing not too far away from me.  He was using spinning/casting gear.  It looked like he tossed some lures, but mostly was sitting motionless, so I assume he was fishing some sort of bait.  I didn't see him catch anything...but I was pretty intent on catching my own fish to pay close attention.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More Tying

I've been playing around with ideas, as usual.  Nothing original, of course.
Here's a Shannons Streamer I tied and then used markers to make a Firetiger / Perch / Bluegill pattern:

And then I tied up some Full Motion Minnows, which is pretty much comprised of all rabbit fur:

I also tied up on Crafty Minnow, which is pretty interesting in that it forms a bulky head without using a dubbing loop.  This isn't the best example, but gives you an idea....I plan to tie a few more to get the head shaped even better: