Thursday, June 26, 2014

Carp & Bass, 6-25-2014

Flyfished a local city pond yesterday evening.  Caught some bluegills and a nice 24.5" Carp before switching to a popper for the dusk Bass bite.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Fly Rod Personal Best White Bass

My buddy Jay called me before noon today to tell me the fish were biting.  I met up with him during my lunch hour.
Fish were picking the 17-Year Cicadas off the surface of the water, but they hit so fast, we never actually figured out WHAT was eating them!  There was also an abundance of sub-fingerling size young-of-the-year fish schooling around near the surface, and fish would crash them as well.  Pretty exciting to watch all the action!

I used my 12' 5wt Allen Olympic Switch Rod again.  I started out with the beat-up shad-imitating streamer I'd caught those catfish on last week, with no hits.  I switched to a Chartreuse-Over-White Clouser Deep Minnow, with no hits.  I switched to a variant (90-degree jig hook and lead eyes) of the F-C Pearl Shiner, and started catching fish by letting it free-fall into the water, then giving some short quick strips and letting it fall again.

I caught 3 small 10" Wipers, and one 16" White Bass, which was a new flyrod personal best for me.
I wish I could have fished longer!  :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Carp & Cats!

Flyfished last night for a couple hours at Saylorville Lake.  Northern Iowa has gotten a BUNCH of rain in the past few days, and the reservoir is expected to rise as much as 30 feet!  It was supposed to rise just 4' yesterday!

My buddy Jay and I headed out, and the water is moving up into vegetation that has grown up along the normal pool shoreline this year, but we could still walk along the shoreline easily.

We started out searching for carp to target with flies.  We didn't see any in the shallows, but we decided to fish an area where the wind was blowing into shore, and there were some rocks and gravel in the water.

Jay alternated fishing with a fly rod for carp (he caught a couple carp on flies earlier in the week!) & spinning rod for anything.  He caught the first fish (and the biggest of the night) on an inline spinner...a 26" Channel Catfish!

The wave action from wind and boats was substantial, and I was blind casting, there are a lot of small fish fry/fingerlings in the water right I decided to use a beadhead woolly bugger under an indicator.  The indicator would give the fly plenty of action and keep the fly off the bottom, plus make strike detection easier.  I caught 2 Largemouth Bass while trying for carp, but finally got my target species.  I was happy!

Not a huge carp, but it was a good fight.  I imagined it probably spooked other carp in the area.  I decided to put on a shad-imitating fly pattern and practice casting it with my 12' 5wt Allen Olympic switch rod.  I wanted to determine whether this would be a viable option for the White Bass blitz later this Summer/Fall.  I think it will be.
Here's the fly pattern I was using (I think it was the top one below):

I got 3 nice surprises while doing my testing.  I caught 3 Channel Catfish...23", 24", and 25".  (Corresponding weights according to a conversion table for catfish suggests these would be @ 5.5lbs, 6.3lbs, and 7.3 lbs.)  GREAT FIGHTS!

I was worn out after that, so we left.

As we were walking out, we saw a lot of these big caterpillars...Hawk Moth/Sphinx Moth caterpillars, I think?  I was sad to think that they will be drowned within the next day or so.

Edit: Turns out both caterpillars above are likely color morphs of the White Lined Sphinx Moth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

17-Year Cicadas!

Cicadas come in 17-year cycle species, and 13-year cycle species.  Maybe there are others, but lets start here.  In 2014, Brood III ("The Iowan Brood") is hatching, and it truly is something to behold!  So COOL!

I don't know how I've missed these in the past.  I've been around for at least 2 previous hatchings and I don't recall having ever seen this species before.  Usually, we see a few greenish-colored cicadas each summer.  But the ones this year are a bit smaller, black bodied with red/orange eyes, and amber wings.  And the NUMBERS!  THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS!

The funny part is how you can drive by patches of forests, all the same age...and some are just THICK with cicadas and their loud sounds...while others are silent and empty.

My friend & co-worker Julie and I visited a campground during our lunch hour one day this week in mid-June, 2014.  There were cicadas everywhere!  Some Ash trees in the campground were marked with plastic bands with information on the invading Emerald Ash Borer.  The Cicadas were having a hard time climbing up the tree past the slippery plastic, and so it was a good spot to snap pictures of groups of cicadas.

The sound was deafening.  We had to raise our voices just to converse.  When we left, our ears continued ringing for awhile.  We asked a fellow who was camping in the park if they were able to sleep with all that noise.  He said they get quiet around 5-6pm....and then don't start making noise again until after 8am in the morning.  Such conscientious little critters!
Here's a short video, so you can hear the sound:

Friday, June 13, 2014

First Fly Rod Carp(s) of the Year!

I've been complaining just a bit that I haven't caught any Carp on flies yet this year.

The fishing gods were listening.

Last night I visited a new (to me) pond in town. The bass and bluegills weren't very big. I saw some big fish, figured they were either Carp, Grass Carp, or both.

Didn't expect to catch one, so I started out fishing for bass & bluegills. I was using a microjig under an indicator...cast out along the shoreline, twitched it once or twice, and the indicator disappeared. I hadn't spotted the fish before it hit, so I wasn't sure what it was going to be. Based on the head shakes and awesome bulldogging fight, I was going to guess it was a Channel Catfish. But it was a small-ish carp!

I moved down along the shoreline a bit, and spotted a carp rooting in the mud. I dropped a fly near it a few times, and got a few takes, but missed the hookset each time, and eventually spooked it. I continued down along the pond, past some fenced-in dogs that were really giving me the business! I switched to a small Woolly Worm with a small glass beadhead, and fished that over some bluegill beds, catching a few. I made a longer cast down along the shoreline, got a good strike and had Carp #2 of the evening on the line! Another small-ish fish, but again a really good battle!

It got dark and I only caught a few more bluegills after that.  And then I managed to wade through a large patch of poison ivy on my way back to the car in the (almost) dark...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good Day of Fishing, 6-5-2014

I took Thursday off.
I decided to flyfish for Smallmouth Bass.  I tried a Chartreuse & Yellow Clouser first, with no takers.  I switched to a #6 F-C Pearl Shiner, and started catching fish.  The first two fish were nice 17" Smallies.  17" marked a new fly rod personal best of Smallmouth Bass for me.  My biggest ever is a 20-incher.

Then I caught a smaller bass @ 12", then had another big bass on.  That one shook free while I was focusing on reeling my slack line back on the reel.
The big Smallies seemed to stop hitting after that...I caught 11 more smaller ones.

I also caught my first IOWA fly rod Northern Pike.  It was only @ 18"-19", but it was still fun, and it was nice that it didn't cut my line before I could land it!  It hit a Clouser.

I caught a 9" Crappie on the Pearl Shiner as well.
I thought this empty Dragonfly Nymph case I found in the water was pretty cool:

After leaving there, I went to a public pond.  I caught at LEAST 40 Crappies (all 10" or less), 8 Bluegills, 1 Largemouth Bass, 2 decent Hybrid Sunfish, and 1 very beefy 8.5" Green Sunfish.  Most were caught on a Chartreuse microjig under an indicator.  There was another guy fishing the pond...he may have caught one or more fish.  At one point, I was pulling small crappies in every few seconds for about 20 minutes

And then later in the evening after dinner, I went out again, even though I was pretty exhausted.  I caught at least 30 Bluegills, and one 13" Largemouth Bass.  Some of the Bluegills were really nice fish.
The females appeared to still have at least some eggs.  Some of the males had such incredibly DEEP bodies, that their throat/chest areas began abruptly much lower than the rest of the head.  Kind of hard to describe.  Hopefully you can see it in the 2nd picture below.

It was quite a day of fishing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Saylorville Doldrums

I took the day off on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, to fish.

Winds were supposed to be quite mild (and they were), and there was a huge storm that was on its way, but wasn't supposed to arrive until nearly midnight.  It showed up much sooner, but the worst of the storm missed us.  The "up to 5" of rain" and "100 mph straight line winds" passed south of us.  We didn't get much wind at all, and only 1/2" from a gently rain overnight.

I digress.  My buddy Jay and I decided to fish together at Saylorville Lake.  The first spot was supposed to have current, but the pumps creating the current were shut off maybe 45 minutes before we got there.  If the fish had been attracted to the current like usual, they seemed to be long gone by the time we arrived.  Jay caught a medium-sized crappie, I didn't catch anything.

We went to spot #2.  There was current in this area, but apparently no hungry fish.  There were several boats here, and other shore anglers, and NOBODY caught anything.  I had 3 fish on, but didn't land any of them.  Jay might have caught a small bass here...I can't remember for sure.

We hit up a Subway for lunch, then went to spot #3, where we had never fished together before.  We walked a long stretch of shoreline, Jay fishing, me fishing occasionally but actually more interested in trying to find some native American Indian artifacts.  I found none.
We made our way down to a bay that was connected to the lake by a very shallow sandy entrance.  The bay itself was only 3'-4' deep, and had a few dead trees standing in it.  Here I finally caught some fish.  I only brought one rod (a spinning rod), and soon wished I'd brought my fly rod instead when I saw some hungry carp.
Using an inline spinner, I caught 3 Largemouth Bass (biggest measured 17"), and 2 White Crappies (the biggest measured 13").  The crappies and the biggest bass were caught in the meager shade cast from the few trees standing in the water.

I also caught a bit much sun on the back of my calves and neck.
Jay caught a couple bass in the bay, and one smaller one out in the main lake.