Monday, November 25, 2013

Plan "B"...and Last Day of Open Water, 2013?

This might have been my last open-water fishing trip of 2013.  Local lakes and ponds are starting to lock up with a covering of ice.

I took the day off work on Friday.  Trout had been stocked the previous day at Ada Hayden Lake in Ames.

I knew it wouldn't be a very enjoyable day.  It had snowed.  The air temperature was 18 degrees F, and I was driving farther NORTH.

Visions of frozen line guides and frostbitten fingers were circulating in my mind.
I dressed for the weather.  I tried putting vaseline in the rod guides to prevent water from freezing them closed.  This didn't seem to work appreciably well.

I walked around the entire north basin of Ada Hayden Lake, stopped to fish at a few spots, but didn't see a single sign of fish.  No jumps or swirls.  I talked to a fellow who was present the previous day during the stocking.  He had caught his limit (5 trout) the previous day, but also hadn't caught/seen a fish this day.

I DID see 2 wild swans fly over and land on a far corner of the lake.  So, THAT was pretty awesome.  Its the 3rd time I've ever seen wild swans flying.

Anyway, I had a "Plan B" in mind for such circumstances as this.  I drove back to Ankeny and visited a pond I had only visited once before this year, back in May.  The water was still open, although the shorelines were covered with snow.

I put on a red/chartreuse microjig under an indicator.  Didn't take long to start catching crappies!  Most were pretty small.  Biggest of the day measured 10".  It wasn't super-fast fishing, but I ended up landing 76 Crappies and 1 Bluegill in 3.5 hours of flyfishing!

I salvaged a very cold day and the possibility of getting skunked, and ended up finding a good way to end the open-water season!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fantastic Evening, 11-16-2013

What started out as a morning with hail and rain, turned into a decent afternoon of light scattered rain mixed with sunshine.  By late afternoon, the air temps had reached into the lower 60's, and the wind wasn't too terrible.  I had to go fishing!

I visited a local pond where I hoped to flyfish for Bluegills.  With the recent cold weather, and this day's rain, sun, and warmer temps...its hard to predict how the fish are going to react.  I hoped they liked the warmth, and it seemed like they did.

I ended up landing at least 15 Bluegills in 2 hours of fishing.  The bigger surprise was that I also landed 8 Crappies, and lost a couple others!  Now...I know there are crappies in this pond, I catch a few every year. But they are fairly rare.  I would guess that most years I don't catch 8 crappies TOTAL from this pond, so catching 8 in a couple hours this day was as amazing as it was unexpected!  They weren't real big...all probably 10" or less, but they were really healthy-looking, and fought well.

Most of the bluegills hit earlier in the evening, and were caught on a Brown "Rubberlegs" nymph with yellow legs.  The Crappies hit later in the evening, and were all caught on a red microjig with a chartreuse tail suspended under an indicator.

Other than the willing Bluegills and bonus more thing made the evening pretty special.  The sky.  It was absolutely beautiful and ever-changing all I kept snapping pictures of the sky in between catching fish.

And then later, my family and I went to see the movie "Thor" in the theatres.  When we got home, the moon was playing with the clouds, and it was pretty cool! Hopefully this GIF file works:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Flyfished During Lunch Hour, 11-14-2013

The wind dropped off a little, and the temperature warmed back up into the upper 40's (F) by lunchtime...a welcome warm-up after the last few day's cold and wind.

I went flyfishing, and discovered 2 things...
The turtles are still out.  I saw a Snapping Turtle and caught this Painted Turtle:

And the second thing was...the Crappies are still hitting.  I landed 4 and lost a 5th.
The crappies hit a red & chartreuse 1/80th oz microjig set about 24" below an indicator.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lake Petocka, 11-9-2013

I'm writing this on Tuesday, and it was 11 degrees F on my way in to work today, and it was snowing yesterday.  BRRRR!
On Saturday when I fished, it was much warmer...a comparatively balmy mid-40's.  Sure, my fingers were cold, but the real killer was the WIND.  It was screaming steadily at 22 mph, and gusting to almost 30 mph!

I was standing knee deep in the water, and the wind and waves factored greatly in creating a mudline downwind along the shore for at good 30 yards or more.  Tough conditions.

Fishing was slow, or at least the catching was.  I felt I had plenty of strikes, but most were single strikes.  Previous trips to this lake had fish that would strike 2 and 3 times or more before getting hooked.

I tried a number of patterns.  I landed 5 trout, and caught at least one each on a Chili Pepper, a BH Black Woolly Bugger, a brown-over-white Clouser Deep Minnow, and a Big Hole Demon.

Extended forecast says its going to warm back up a bit over the next few days.  I'm looking forward to that!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Iowa Wipers

The Iowa DNR conducts fish sampling around mid-October each year on a nearby reservoir. The lake has a wide variety of species, and Wipers are stocked almost annually.

The following show Wipers (Hybrids) of 28"/13 lbs (photo taken in 2012), and 29"/14 lbs (photo taken in 2013), respectively. They don't net many fish this size, of course...but it does show what the reservoir is capable of producing when these fish have an abundant supply of shad!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Last Fishing Outing of October, 2013

With today's lunchtime flyfishing success (see previous blog post), I decided to visit a different local public pond after dinner.
The numbers were lower than I'd hoped for, but I did manage to catch at least 5 Crappies, 4 Bluegills, and 1 decent Largemouth Bass on flyfishing gear.

Like the pond I had fshed earlier in the day, this pond's water was as clear as I'd seen it all year, possibly from the influx of rainwater from the previous day...or possibly despite it?