Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Encounters with Nature, Update 9/16/2016

My original post on Encounters with Nature was fun to put together: .

Approximately 3 years later, I've got some additional encounter pics to share.  Many of these were included in blogged fishing reports here, but I wanted to compile them into their own blog entry.
Many great encounters involve wildlife, as in the original post....but some cool encounters might also involve plants, weather-related phenomenon, or sunrise/sunsets.  I've included some of those here as well.
I always figured snagging/catching a seagull was bound to happen at some point.  Seagulls will dive-bomb lures, or fly overhead when you are casting lures.  Well, one evening I was wading a shallow flat of a local reservoir, tossing a topwater lure for White Bass.  2 Seagulls had already tried to drop down on the lure and snatch it from the water.  The third one was quicker than I gave it credit for, and it managed to outwit my manuevers of "keep-away".  It caught the lure.  It really could have gone MUCH worse from that point.  But after a few wing flaps, it alighted on the water and calmly allowed me to pull it in, where I used needle-nosed pliers to grab the hook and free it from the gull's beak.  It was not in past the barb, and was not in any fleshy area.  After freeing it, it simply flew away.

Geese & Ducks:
Geese and ducks LOVE my local public ponds.  Some are so overrun by them, you can't take a step around the pond without stepping in their poo.  They muddy the pond waters horribly.  Their poo contributes an amazing amount of fertilizer to the ponds, causing algae blooms that last most of the open-water season.  Geese especially are sometimes extremely loud and obnoxious when all the angler wants is some peace and quiet.  I like 'em....and yet they are something of a nuisance in this situation.

I even hooked a duck this year that swam over my line.  It was horrible!  It was a female, and once hooked, a group of male ducks swarmed her and began doing what male ducks do to female I tried to use my line to pull her away from them.  It was several minutes of absolute mayhem....feathers flying & flapping wings everwhere!  The hook finally came loose.  I was mortified at what had just happened!

Redwing Blackbird:
These birds can be very protective if you get near their patch of cattails!  They will ruthlessly dive-bomb you, raise heck, and even hit you.  I ignored this one, but it finally got brave enough to tap my on top of my without looking up, I pointed my fly rod straight above me and made some slow circles in the air.  The rod gently bumped the bird still hovering over me, but that bump seemed to discourage it from bothering me further.  No need to be mean to the bird, right?

Cliff Swallow:
In keeping with the bird theme...I blindly "lassoed" a Cliff Swallow out of mid-air during a backcast while flyfishing.  Only the line was around the bird, the hook did not catch it.  It flew away just fine.

Other Birds:
I forget now what I determined this to be...Dowitcher?....but its the only time I've ever seen one in Iowa.  Must have been migrating through?


Deer are generally good about keeping their distance.  Its always nice to see them out and about when I'm fishing.

Of course there are the pesky, annoying bugs like mosquitos and biting flies that hang around near water.
Definitely a very personal "encounter with nature" each time.  But who wants to photograph those?
So here's some of the more interesting insects might see when enjoying the great outdoors.

Brood III of the 17-Year Cicadas:

Bald-Faced Hornets:

Cicada Killer:

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly:

Sunsets and Skies:
I'm rarely fishing before sunrise these days.  But I frequently fish beyond sunset.

I see these occasionally around the ponds.

Monday, September 12, 2016

33 Iowa Species on Fly Rod

When I began flyfishing the local public ponds near my home, it was rare to ever see another flyfisher.  Folks would walk by and ask if I was fishing for trout...knowing there were no trout in these ponds.  Now it is no longer uncommon to see other fly anglers.  More and more flyfishers are finding that flyfishing is an effective method of catching many species of fish.  I've read the phrase somewhere that, "If the fish eats, it can be caught on a fly."

One of the most interesting (to me) Iowa bulletin board fishing-related entries has been about one Iowa angler’s quest to catch all 33 non-endangered Iowa gamefish species in one year.  Its been a few years ago…I’m pretty sure he managed to do it!  Absolutely amazing and impressive!
I do not recall whether the angler posted his real name, but one of the follow-up threads is here:

I realized I have caught 33 species in Iowa on flyfishing gear, using artificial flies only.  They are NOT all the same species as the ones in the list in the link above.  I did NOT accomplish this in just a single year, although I have caught at least 25 species in a single year.  I’ve caught at least an additional 4 species on spinning gear in Iowa (Musky, Tiger Musky, Flathead Catfish, and Orangespotted Sunfish), plus Warmouth and Sauger in other states.  I’ve also caught 3 saltwater species (Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Hardhead Catfish) and 4 exotic freshwater species (Peacock Bass, Oscar, Spotted Tilapia, Mayan Cichlid) on flyfishing gear.

So, apples-to-apples, I can’t compare to my fellow angler’s single-year accomplishment.  That was and is outstanding!   But my accomplishment taken for what it is…flyfishing with artificials only… I think it’s pretty cool.  And I’m always hoping to add more species to this flyrod list (like Longnose Gar, Orangspotted Sunfish, Flathead Catfish, etc).

Here’s pictures of each of my IOWA flyrod-caught species.
Largemouth Bass:

Smallmouth Bass:

White Bass:

Hybrid Striped Bass (“Wiper”):

Yellow Bass:

Black Crappie:

White Crappie:


Redear Sunfish:

Green Sunfish:

Rock Bass:

Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

Hybrid Sunfish (I catch these fairly frequently, naturally occurring, and from nearly every body of water I fish. I treat them as a separate species because they behave and fight very different from the purestrain fish.):

Northern Pike:

Walleye (This one I caught in Canada.  I haven’t photographed any of the ones I’ve caught in Iowa yet):

Yellow Perch:

Brook Trout:

Brown Trout:

Rainbow Trout:

Creek Chub:

Striped Shiner:

Channel Catfish:

Yellow Bullhead:

Shortnose Gar:

Freshwater Drum:

Gizzard Shad:

Bigmouth Buffalo:

Smallmouth Buffalo:

Golden Redhorse Sucker:

White Sucker:

Grass Carp:

Common Carp: