Thursday, March 29, 2018

Iowa Flyfishing - March 2018

Wow, what a month!  Weather ups-and-downs...mostly downs.  I've been flyfishing when time/family/work/weather allows.
Bass fishing has been very hot and cold.  Mostly cold.
But when its good, its good!
Biggest ones have been this 18.25-incher:
..and this 17.25-incher that hit on the very next cast:

Bluegills have sometimes hit well, other times not at all.

Crappies have been good in some ponds, especially on the windier days when they seem to congregate on the downwind side of ponds.

Never catch enough of these beautiful Pumpkinseed Sunfish!

My buddy Jay and I flyfished a couple ponds yesterday (3/28).  We caught bluegills and crappies at both, and I also caught 2 or 3 bass at the first one.
Biggest crappie I measured was 11.5".

Jay went home, I tried another SKUNKED.
Went by 2 other ponds that already had anglers fishing, so I kept driving.  Tried one more pond (did I mention the town I live in has over 20 public ponds?).  Fished for crappies/bluegills, but was blocked by this:
(I couldn't decide which pic I liked better...dorsal fin up or back a bit... so I put them together in one photo's the same fish, obviously.)
Carp on Fly
33"... I just achieved one of my goals for the year by catching a 10th Iowa Master Angler species on the fly rod. Gold Award! The current DNR Master Angler program was started in 2011. You achieve the Silver Award once you catch Master Angler-sized fish of 5 different species, and the Gold Award once you catch Master Angler-sized fish of 10 different species. So far there are only 20 people in Iowa that have achieved the Gold Award distinction...I'll be #21. I suspect I may be the first one who has done it entirely with a fly rod!  How cool is that?

Based on length and approximate girth measurements and plugging those into a formula....I calculated the weight of this carp to be @ 18.5 lbs. For the first several minutes it was sluggish like it didn't know it was hooked. Then it took off! Long battle, probably around 20 minutes or so. Was so happy (and worn out) to finally land it! Beautiful fish!

Monday, March 5, 2018

First Open Water Fish for 2018

Much anticipated.  My last open water fish were caught on December 1, 2017.  Then the local waters became covered with ice, and so the icefishing season progressed.  About 3 months from the last open water fish, my first open water fish for 2018 were caught on March 3.

The ice disappeared VERY fast this past week.  We had high temps in the upper 40s (F) and into the 50's this week.  Couple that with the warmer-than-ice water under the ice, the ice eroded from both sides.  I was fishing on 6.5" of decent ice last the previous Sunday. 6 days later, these same waters (local public ponds) are wide open.  CRAZY!  Usually a warm rain will help the ice disappear faster, but we didn't even need that help this year.  Hopefully the weather and ponds don't experience a relapse and freeze over again.

So, I flyfished 2 local ponds, from @ 11am-3pm.  At the first pond, I caught bluegills and small crappies.  I used a microjig under a strike indicator.  I was fun to watch that indicator go down and feel a fish on the fly rod again!  I tried a larger jig under a bigger indicator...the same setup that worked for bass at the end of last season...but did not get any fish....I did have a couple strikes, but they were feeble, so I assume they were bluegills or crappies messing with it.

I try to take a picture of the first open water fish of the year, but it flipped out of my hand and back into the water while I was trying to get my phone out of my pocket.'s bluegill #2.

And the first small crappie of the day:

At pond #2, I continued trying for bass for awhile with the larger jig & indicator.  Caught totally inhaled the jig!  I didn't measure it, but it was probably a 14"-15" range bass:
I had no more strikes on that, so I switched back to the smaller microjig and indicator to try for bluegills.  Actually ended up catching at least 5 more (smaller) bass on that, along with a mixture of sizes of bluegills.  This was a really nice one:

A very successful start for the season!  The fish were reasonably aggressive, considering the water temperature is still very cold.