Friday, May 30, 2014

Evening Flyfishing, 5-29-2014

Public city pond
Temp: 84 F
Sunny, Wind @ 7mph from S
Fish caught: 30+Bluegills, 15+Crappies, 6 Largemouth Bass, 3 Green Sunfish, 1 Channel Catfish

Flyfished last night at a frustrating pond.  This year it has been really good one day, horrible the next.  Last night was GOOD, at least for me.  I was surprised at the lack of weeds growing around the edges, but I'm sure it will happen soon enough.  Bluegills and a few crappies were on nests in the shallows.  Grass Carp were working an area in the shallows...I suspect they MAY have been trying to eat fish eggs, since they were in amongst the bluegill nests...but it could be they were foraging on the few plants they could find.

Busy place...there were 5 or 6 other people fishing, using anything from nightcrawlers under a bobber to baitcasting gear for bass.  The guys fishing for bass got skunked.  One bait fisherman caught 2 bluegills.

Most of the panfish were caught on a chartreuse microjig worked just under the surface over the nests.  The 20" Largemouth Bass was caught on an olive mylar chenille bugger while I was casting to some Grass Carp.  Really nice fish, and quite a stubborn battle on the fly rod....a nice surprise, but I was somewhat disappointed it wasn't a Grass Carp.  I knew it was a bass by the way it would go deep, then charge straight up for the surface....but each time I eased pressure slightly so it wouldn't throw the hook, the bass always decided not to jump.  The fish was so thick and stout, it didn't look all that long.  But the tape measure didn't lie.  The tail fin seems worn down some too.  I'm guessing it would have weighed 5+ lbs.

The 26" Channel Cat hit an unweighted chartreuse Woolly Bugger near shore.  It was a sudden strike and splashing mayhem followed by a run to deeper water and bulldogging.  It was some time before I even got to see the fish.  This fish was healthy, but not as fat as some I have caught it probably weighed 8lbs or less.

Beautiful evening, and some good fish were caught too!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Evening Flyfishing, 5-28-2014

Flyfished last night at a pond that SKUNKED me during the ice season.  Turns out, there ARE fish in it!
I caught over 20 Bluegills (biggest by far was 8"), 5 Crappies (to 11"), 4 Pumpkinseed Sunfish (to 8"), 7 Largemouth Bass (to 14"-15"), and 1 Hybrid Sunfish that seemed HUGE (but measured at 9.25").

Also saw some Grass Carp.
Here's the beast Hybrid:

And here's a Pumpkinseed.  I thought maybe it was too dark out (I was wearing sunglasses), so I took a picture with and without a flash.  I thought the differerence was interesting:
Most of the fish were caught on a chartreuse microjig under an indicator.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Flyfishing Late Afternoon, 5-25-2014

I got out to flyfish for a couple hours on Sunday late afternoon, before a storm with lightning blew in.

I caught at least 20 Bluegills, 6 Crappies, 8 Pumpkinseed Sunfish, and 3 Largemouth Bass.
I caught fish on chartreuse Woolly Buggers, Chartreuse Microjigs under an indicator, and silver Springbrook Wunders under an indicator.
I love how colorful the Pumpkinseeds are, so I mainly just took pictures of them.

This Bluegill had an unusually dark belly and pelvic fins:

Here's a Pumpkinseed guarding a nest:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Evening Flyfishing, 5-22-2014

Last night sure was calm...sunny, 74 degrees.  Perfect, right?  Fishing pretty much sucked.  Nobody was catching much of anything...IF anything.  There were a LOT of folks fishing when I arrived at the pond, and the trail around the pond was busier than I've ever seen it..people walking dogs, pushing strollers, biking, roller-blading....  This is all cool, but because the pond was so calm, the fish spooked everytime somebody went by.

I started out fishing for crappies, but couldn't really move either way down the shoreline because of other anglers, so I stayed put.  I didn't catch any crappies.  I caught one bluegill, and one bass.  The pond was covered in freshly cut grass clippings from earlier in the day.  I started seeing BIG shapes under the grass.  Common Carp and Grass Carp, as far as I could tell.  I started fishing for them, and ignored the other species.

I cast out near 3 shapes, and let my unweighted fly slowly sink.  I couldn't see the fly, but my line started moving.  I set the hook and...FISH ON!  Turned out to be a 25.5" Bigmouth Buffalo!  I didn't even know there were any of those in there!

As the sun went down, good numbers of Grass Carp were lifting their heads halfway out of the water to suck in the floating grass.  It was pretty cool to see, there were more than I expected in there, and good sizes.  I cast out to them, and my line started moving away, so I set the hook.  Grass Carp on for about 4 seconds...long enough to peel off about 10 yards of line, and spook the rest of the pod of fish, which left an area of the the size of a garage looking like the U.S. Navy had dropped depthcharges for submarines!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Flyfishing for Goldfish with David Wyner, 5-20-2014

Yeah...we did it.  We flyfished for Goldfish.
A little history: 30+ years ago I caught some Goldfish from a pond near my Grandparents townhome.  It was a fairly new pond at the time, and being a kid who liked catching fish, it was a lot of fun!  We used spinning rods and some sort of bait on a hook.

Ever since I started flyfishing, I've wanted to catch some Goldfish on a fly with flyfishing gear.  Over the years, I've seen at least one BIG Goldfish in almost every local public pond in my town.  Its rare that I see them, and even rarer that I've cast to them with a fly they might even consider.  I've gotten them to look at my fly on rare occasions, may have even had a light strike or two, but have never been able to hook one.

Flash forward to a week ago.  David Wyner took up flyfishing earlier this year, and managed to catch a rather HUGE HUGE Goldfish on a fly within the past week.  Seeing that fish made me want to put some serious effort into trying to add Goldfish to my flyfishing Life List of species.  I asked Dave if he was interested in trying it, and he said there was a pond near his house that "has WAVES of Goldfish".  Its not the pond where he caught his jumbo-sized fish, but that seemed like kind of a fluke to me was a solitary fish, and probably not worth the effort to try and catch another one from there...if there even WAS another one in there.  When he told me where he lived, I discovered the pond he was talking about was THE SAME pond I had fished 30+ years ago!  How cool!  We made arrangements to meet up and go fishing.

We parked the car about 50 yards from the pond.  As soon as we got out of the car, we could see pods of Goldfish swimming around in this pond.  Hey, if you are going to attempt something difficult, its a good idea to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible.  Well, there was no shortage of Goldfish in this pond.  After getting a closer look, I'd estimate the numbers to be in the tens of thousands!  They were swimming around in groups, sometime milling about in a circular pod, other times streaming out playing follow-the-leader in a line up to 20' long.  I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures of some of these massive pods of Goldfish...In one area, the fish would occasionally turn in a circle, rise to the surface and practically fight to be on top, apparently trying to feed on something at the surface, although no food was visible in the area.

The fish probably averaged around 5"-6" long.  I was hoping for bigger, but am glad they were at least big enough to hit a fly!  And there WERE some bigger ones in there, they were usually solitary fish or there might be one mixed in with each pod of smaller ones.  They were hard to get to, and didn't seem very interested in eating.

We did see a loaf of bread (looked like the size/shape of a foot-long Subway sandwich bun/loaf) that someone had tossed in the water, probably to feed the ducks that were swimming around.  The Goldfish seemed attracted to it, but did not feed on it while we were standing on shore next to it.  But it did seem to keep them coming back to our area, which was definitely a plus.

At first I had tried a different area of the pond, were the fish would come by only occasionally, and they would usually swim right on by quickly.  I had a few strikes on a chironomid pattern under an indicator.  I discovered that if I led a group of fish far enough with my cast, they were attracted to my indicator hitting the water...whereas if I cast too close, they were spooked.

David caught the first few Goldfish, and invited me to fish closer to him.  I did, and it made all the difference.  I started out in that 2nd area fishing with a #18 Elk Hair Caddis.  After I tied it on, I discovered that is also what David was using.  I had a few strikes on it, got one hook-up that broke my 6x tippet.  It wasn't a big fish.  Next, I tied on a #14 Red Fox Squirrel Nymph variation that I tied up to be somewhat shaggy-looking, and no tinsel ribbing.  The Goldfish LOVED that! We discovered if we cast into the pod of fish while they were doing their aggressive surface thrashing, they would often hit the fly quite willingly.   I caught 4 Goldfish in short order.

They were absolutely beautiful fish!  Such deep orange-red coloration and fins.

We could have caught many more, I'm sure, but decided to try another pond adjacent to this one.  No decent-sized goldfish were seen there, and by the time we came back to the first pond, there was a Dad & son standing in the area where we had been fishing, trying to recover the floating bread.  We left and fished another pond (a new one for me, since I had never tried it before) and both did really well on decent-sized crappies, bluegills, and 12" average bass.

So, I caught a new-to-me flyrod species, and got to fish one pond from my childhood, and another that was completely new to me.  It was definitely a great evening of fishing!  Thanks for indulging me in my quest, Dave!!  :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Crappies on a Fly Rod

I do pretty well with catching Crappies with flyfishing gear.  I've fished with a fair number of other fly anglers who have used this same technique, and they have also caught plenty of Crappies.  It works on big lakes and smaller ponds, and even on rivers, although on the bigger lakes, it tends to be more seasonal, because I fish from shore and you have to time this for when fish are in the shallows, or you can use it all summer long if you fish from a boat/canoe/kayak/belly boat, etc.

It works from ice-out to ice-up.  The only change is during the heat of summer I fish deeper beneath the strike indicator, on the outside edge of weedlines, or even out over open water.

So, here's what I do.  I usually use a 9' 5wt fly rod, with a 5wt Weight Forward Floating line.  I used a 7'-9' tapered leader, and at least 3' of 8 lb test tippet (3X).  I could use lighter tippet, but the fish don't seem to be line-shy, and I've had my share of surprise encounters with large catfish and bass that would not have been landed with lighter tippet.

At the end of my tippet, I use a No Knot Fas-Snap, size Medium.  I like these because I can change flies quickly in near darkness (or anytime), without having to take the time to retie a knot and shortening my tippet.  It also allows flies to swing freely and move naturally in the water, similar to using a non-slip loop knot or Duncan loop knot.  I've used the Small size, but have had them bend open too easily on larger fish.

The fly pattern I use for this particular technique is a microjig.  A number of colors will work, so experiment with your favorites.  One of the most consistent producers is Chartreuse.  I usually use chartreuse grizzly marabou for the tail, but solid chartreuse marabou or rabbit fur works great too.  The jighead is 1/80th oz with no collar, and a size 10 hook.  You can find great prices on these on eBay. The body is just chartreuse yarn...REAL chartreuse craft yarn, it lights up super-bright under a UV light.  Its hard to find.  Dubbing would also work.  I use a bright orange thread, 6/0 UNI thread, but any color would probably work just fine.

Use a strike indicator of your choice.  My current favorite is the Fish Pimp original size strike indicator in the bright yellow color.  Their website has videos showing 3 different ways you can attach this indicator to your line.

I set the indicator about 18" above the microjig.  I check it periodically while fishing by holding the indicator up in my hand, the microjig should hang just below my elbow.  This depth seems to be magic in most of the waters I fish, experiement to find the right depth in your waters.  Deeper works better in the Summer, and sometimes deeper can also be good in the Fall, at least during the brightest part of the day.  Crappies like to come up for a meal, so keep the microjig above where you suspect the fish to be.

I cast out along the shores and drop-offs, or beyond weedlines, or over submerged rock piles.  Windy days are nice, as the waves pushing the indicator up and down impart great action to the fly, which the crappies find to be irresistable.  Let the fly work in one spot for up to 10 seconds, then move the indicator 6" to 12", and let it set for another 10 seconds, and so on until you're in water that is too shallow.  If the Crappies are especially active, a very slow steady retrieve will get strikes.  The indicator just goes down or sideways.

That's its.  It works great!
Here's some fish caught just in the past few days:

My friend Chad has videos on his website.  One video demonstrates how to tie these microjigs, and in another video he actually demonstrates this flyfishing technique.  He's even fishing one of the public ponds in my town!  :) Here's a link to the page that has these videos.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fishin' in the Rain, 5-15-2014

I flyfished for 1.25 hours on the evening of 5-51-2014.  It briefly rained on me, but it wasn't heavy or long enough to discourage me from fishing.

Do you have one of those places that you fish where one day it will be really good fishing, and the next trip will be just horrible, and you wonder where all the fish went?  I was fishing at one of those places last night, and my PREVIOUS trip there was the good one.

I caught a decent number of crappies that time.  This trip, I couldn't buy a single one.  There were female crappies moving into shore that evening, full of eggs.  I expected some to still be around.  We've had nothing but colder weather since then, so perhaps that has put them off?

I caught 3 bass (which was unusual...normally I don't catch any there), before deciding to try a smaller neighboring pond that has a few bluegills in it.  Good choice, as it turned out.  I caught at least one more bass there, and at least 11 bluegills, many of which were decent-sized.  There was a mix of males, still developing their spawning coloration, and females with bellies getting fat with eggs.

The fish all hit a 1/80th oz microjig about 20" below a strike indicator.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Flyfishing Saturday Evening, 5-10-2014

I flyfished a public pond on Saturday evening from 7pm-8:45pm.
Saw a pair of geese with their young ones walking around...and the nest with the egg that didn't hatch:

Using a microjig under an indicator, I caught @ 60 fish!
7 Crappies
5 Largemouth Bass
8 Pumpkinseed Sunfish
10 Hybrid Sunfish
30+/- Bluegills

Friday, May 9, 2014

Flyfishing 5/7 and 5/8/2014

Wednesday evening I had an hour to kill, so I visited the WDM DMACC pond.  I caught 13 Crappies, averaged 9-10", 2 Largemouth Bass, and 7 Bluegills of assorted sizes.  There were 5 other anglers there using spinning gear.  4 of them were there together as a group.  I think they caught 3 fish between them.  They were loud and competitive (I remember those fun days!), so I could hear when they caught a fish.  The other solo angler did catch a few fish, and maybe even more but I wasn't watching him too closely.
I didn't take any pictures.

After spending the day on Thursday on the White Bass Quest, I felt the need to grab the fly rod and catch more fish.  I visited a local public pond.  It was much slower fishing than my previous 2 trips to the pond earlier in the week.  Somebody else here on CIA also mentioned the slow fishing on it wasn't just me!  :)
I ended up catching 2 Crappies (one I recognized from my last trip here), 2 Largemouth Bass, and 8 Bluegills.

And then I got drenched by the downpour before I could run back to my car.  Once I finally got there, soaking wet, the rain stopped and the sun came back out.  I went home anyway.
Before the storm:

After the storm:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Follow-up to yesterday's entry...I flyfished last night (5-6-2014) at the same pond I fished on 5-5-2014 for 1.25 hours.  I began at the same starting point, then I moved along the shoreline in the opposite direction from yesterday, so that I would fish a different stretch of water.  Another angler had just fished this stretch moving towards me, leapfrogged me, and continued on around the pond.  Nothing unusual about this...these ponds get fished multiple times every day.  He worked his way around to the shoreline opposite me, and got to watch me fish where he had already been.  I caught 12 decent Crappies to 12", 1 tiny Largemouth Bass, and 7 Bluegills.
same fish below as above

I caught 3 females, all had fat bellies.  The one below was the largest at 12":

This one appeared to have been caught before and released: