Monday, December 21, 2015

Fishing Report- November 14, 2015

This is a late report...this outing occurred over a month ago.  It turned out good enough that I wanted to include it here in the blog.

Daytime high temperatures had been in the low 50's (F).  Wind was @ 11 mph from the SSE.  I flyfished for 4.75 hours.

Hoping fish might be in the north end of the pond (which should have been the warmest area based on sunlight hitting that shoreline), and the fact that geese had taken over the shoreline around the rest of the pond, I spent my time working and reworking this portion of the pond.

I'm not going to lie.  I struggled for the first several hours.  I used a microjig under an indicator, and could hardly get any strikes.  In the NE corner of this pond, at least 3 culverts direct water into the pond, and at least one of these culverts was flowing pretty good.  I had fished here earlier in the trip with very little success, but on the second try here, I finally found some fish.  Crappies seemed stacked just out from where the one culvert was dumping water in.  They were shallow, I had to adjust my indicator to about 12"-14" above the microjig to keep it from dragging bottom.

I ended up catching 15 Crappies, which is really good for this pond.  I also caught 47 Bluegills!
I flyfished for bass for awhile, but didn't catch any.  A BIG bass did try to grab a nice bluegill I was fighting, but she missed it and didn't reappear.

Despite the really slow start to the day, the 62 fish turned into one of the top 10 best outings of the year!

Also watched a mink foraging around the shoreline and in the water.  At one point it was swimming right towards me and was maybe a dozen feet away, but it dove underwater and swam away when it noticed me digging my cell phone out of my pocket to take its picture.  I snapped a picture of it crawling back onto shore, though.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10 Year Fishing Log Data Summary

I've kept an electronic Fishing Log for 10 consecutive years now.  I've run the numbers to get 10-year totals and averages, so see what an "average year" of fishing looks like for me.

Disclaimer:  I have an 8-to-5 office job 5 days/week.  I have a wife and 2 kids(that are 18 and 15 at the time of this writing) that I spend time with.  I help around the house, I go grocery shopping with my wife.  I drive my kids to most of their extracurricular activities (which occur on nearly every night of the week).  I'm not a guide...I don't fish for a living.  I owned a fishing boat for only the first year of this span, so nearly all of my fishing is done on foot (from shore or wading).  I just love fishing, and do it as often as I reasonably can.  Everybody has their "thing"....Fishing is mine.

Here's the analysis:

Over the course of the past 10 years:
-I fished 1,409 days, and made 1,727 fishing trips.  So, on average, I fish approximately 141 days/year.
-Fished 3,113 hours.  (311 hours/year)
-Caught 23,342 fish (2,334/year)
-Averaged 16.8 fish/day fished
-Averaged 1 fish for every 7.5 minutes of fishing.

-Least fish caught in a year = 1,846 (in 2009)
-Most fish caught in a year = 3,112 (in 2012)

Every year is different as fas as what months were most productive...but the fish totals & 10-year averages for each month look like this:

So, May has been the best month, followed by June and April.  And then the Fall fishing picks up again in October and September.

Although I had flyfished before this 10 years....I would say I started SERIOUSLY flyfishing near the beginning of this 10-year span.  During this 10 years, I caught 41 different fish species while flyfishing...34 in Iowa, and 7 others in Florida.

At the beginning, I started a yearly "Fish Species Breakdown" many of each species I caught, and what percentage of my total catch each was.  I didn't keep updating it when new species were added....typically their numbers were low, so I just threw them into the catch-all "Others" category.
The 10-year species numbers look like this:

I enjoy catching a variety of species, obviously.  Some fun highlights:
-Most trout in one year= 318 (in 2012)
-Most Crappies in one year= 808 (in 2010)
-Most Walleyes in one year= 253 (in 2009)
-Most White Bass/Wipers in one year= 466 (in 2006)
-Most Largemouth Bass in one year= 366 (in 2014)
-Most Bluegills in one year= 1,111 (in 2015)
-Most Smallmouth Bass in one year= 80 (in 2015)

Some not-so-fun observations:
-I haven't caught any Flathead Catfish since 2006.
-I didn't catch any walleyes in 2015...although I admit I never tried.
-In 2015, I only caught 2 catfish on flies, and only 1 carp on a fly.
-I caught only 22 White Bass and only 2 Wipers in 2015.

I fish local public ponds a lot, because of their proximity to my house, so catching a lot of Bluegills, Crappies, Largemouth Bass, and other sunfish is typical for me.  Perhaps a bit more unusual for a flyfisherman in Central Iowa is the trout.

Another seeming anomaly is the number of Largemouth Bass.  Most I catch as by-catch while fishing for Bluegills and Crappies.  Its only been the last couple of years that I actually started to target them with flies specifically.  Most folks would agree Bluegills are pretty easy to catch practically year-round.  Crappies are best in the Spring and Fall and Winter and seem to disappear to deeper water during the summer months.  The numbers indicate that on average over 10 years, I catch 1 Largemouth Bass for every 3.4 Bluegills.  That seems like a crazy high ratio of bass!  Another suprising ratio is the 1 Crappie for every 1.35 Bluegills.  Combined...I catch 1 Bass or Crappie for every Bluegill I catch.  I would not have guessed that to be true! about 1 Trout for every 5.6 Bluegills....what???? In Iowa????  Who'd have believed it?

I didn't separate my flyfishing data from my other fishing results for the first part of this Fishing Log process.  I did a better job of that during the past 5 years.

What I do know, is that in the past 9 years, I made 1.203 Fly-fishing trips (135/year average).
In just the past 5 years, I've caught 10,803 fish while flyfishing (2,161 fish/year)....averaged 15 fish/trip on flies, and caught an average of 18.5 different species/year on flies.

I have also kept track of my largest fish of each species caught on a flyrod since 2006.  Here's the current list of Fly Rod Personal Bests for some of the species ( I didn't include them all here):
Largemouth Bass - 21.75"
Smallmouth Bass - 17"
Bluegill - 10"
Hybrid Sunfish - 10"
Green Sunfish - 9.5"
Pumpkinseed Sunfish - 9"
Redear Sunfish - 9.5"
Crappie - 14.5"
White Bass - 16"
Wiper - 18.5"
Grass Carp - 41.5"
Common Carp - 32"
Bigmouth Buffalo - 28"
Smallmouth Buffalo - 24.5"
Shortnose Gar - 26"
Channel Catfish - 31"
Yellow Bullhead - 13"
Walleye - 19"
Yellow Perch - 10.75"
Gizzard Shad - 11"
Brown Trout - 17.25"

Its been a great 10 Years!  I don't need a Fishing Log to tell me that, but its nice to have the data to back up my thoughts.  The Fishing Log doesn't capture the essence of the fishing experience.  The wildlife, clouds, trees, flowers, rain, sunshine, sunsets...are all part of it, every bit as much as the feel of the tug on the other end of the line.  Of course, some of that can be captured in a photo and inserted into the Fishing Log too!  :)

Good fishing to all!