Tuesday, April 30, 2019

First Month of Open Water, 2019

Ice melted off the local ponds here in central Iowa on March 23rd 2019.
Fishing started off on fire almost immediately!
I'd just gotten back from a family Spring Break trip to Jamaica...and within an hour or so I was out flyfishing.
First pond I visited, I caught some bluegills, tried for bass with little success.  Spotted a large catfish in the shallows that I thought might be the Flathead Catfish I'd seen in the pond the previous year.  I want to catch a Flathead on a flyrod!   So, I dropped the bass fly around its head, hoping to induce a reaction strike by providing an easy meal....But it wasn't going for it.  Instead, I only ended up foul-hooking it.  Bummer.  It doesn't count, and of course it was released...but what a beautiful fish! 29" long...Weight estimate from an online table is 11.9 lbs.

Within the first few weeks after ice-out, I was catching some nice bass on a variety of GameChanger fly patterns.
 Here's some of the better bass:
This one measured 20.75":

This one measured 20":

This one measured 19.5":

These two measured 18" each:

Not bad for a guy chucking flies, right?  Also caught good numbers of bass in the 15"-17" range.

In addition to the bass, some good crappies were caught....not jumbos, but plenty in the 11"-13" range.

Also got a few Common Carp.  Two (28" and 21.5") hit microjigs under indicators while I was fishing for crappies:

And a beefy 26.5-incher on a Hybrid Carp Fly variant:

I've also caught some nice (naturally occurring) Hybrid Sunfish, Bluegills, and even a couple Pumpkinseed Sunfish and a Green Sunfish.
Pumpkinseed Sunfish


Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid Sunfish

Green Sunfish
I've had such good results flyfishing variants of Blane Chockletts GameChanger fly pattern, that I keep tying up more.
The feather ones have excellent action.  For mini versions down to 2.5", Palmer Chenille bodies have produced well.

I've tied up more Hybrid Carp Fly variants....I realized these look like birthday cake candles...

Hopefully the fishing will continue to improve throughout the Spring months here.  As of the last full week of April, crappies are already guarding nesting areas, and bass have started to guard nesting areas as well.
Oh...and I have caught a few bass on topwater already this year:


  1. What materials are you using in the gamechangers? I know how to link the extensions; are there materials that are cheaper that can be used? I have a ton of llama wool, and various acrylic yarns. It looks like Angelina fiber may be available inexpensively as an alternative to polarflash. Any other suggestions?

    1. My apologies for not seeing the comment sooner, McFish! I believe I've probably answered your question on Fly Anglers Online. Body materials I've used with the most success are hen saddle feathers, Chocklett's Gamechanger Chenille, Chocklett's Finesse Chenille, small Wapsi Palmer Chenille (on the smallest ones). Others have made their own brushes using craft fur and flash materials...and their results look great, with great fly movement in the water. I personally haven't tried using craft fur yet, but I'd like to. I've used the Chocklett's Body Wrap / CCT Body Fur. I've caught fish on those, too. I haven't tied any with it lately...I should try this material with more 10mm body shanks. The ones I used it one had like 4 or 5 progressively larger shanks.

    2. Thanks, Dave. I love the craft fur as streamer hair for small streamers, or in high tie configuration. Lots of movement. I'll look for a remnant yard or 2 of craft fur material at hobby shops, and get some angelina fiber to mix for flash. Going to have to build a brush maker stand .