Tuesday, June 27, 2023

June 24, 2023

 I've wanted to catch a Bowfin on a topwater fly.  Finally made that happen.  I saw a bowfin gulp air, then instead of diving back down like they usually do, this one started swimming just under the surface.  Fortunately, I'd already put a surface fly on, and was ready to make the casts to it.  It ate the Tuscan Bunny fly!

I caught 7 more Bowfin on subsurface fly patterns, including several on a smaller fly I put on to try for carp.

Speaking of carp... I got one! :) 

I even managed to get 2 Freshwater Drum.
...And two Yellow Bullhead from a ditch that was drying up.

That ditch is one I walk by buy almost never fish.  Never looks like much is in it.  But now that it is drying up, there are dead fish in it, some are good-sized.  In one small area, I noticed a commotion in the water.  Turned out it was a bunch (over 100!) of Bowfin that were swimming out of a small slightly deeper spot into the shallows near shore and beaching themselves, stacked tightly like cordwood!  There were also a few gar, and a couple bullheads and small carp.

It was a hot day... 95 degrees...and with the stagnant, hot water, I can only assume they were trying to reach what little shade there was near shore?  I rescued a bullhead and three bowfin...putting them in an adjacent ditch that had more water...but I wasn't prepared to do a full-scale rescue operation.  The ones I did rescue where REALLY WARM to the touch.  I'd read that bowfin will bury themselves in the mud when their water dries up, and will re-emerge when the water returns.  There are stories of rivers flooding into fields, then the following year when the field is plowed for crops, the farmers will find the bowfin still alive in the dirt.  I hope these survive!

Also caught Largemouth Bass and some Green Sunfish.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

June 17, 2023

 Hadn't pestered the Bowfin in nearly a month, so I gave that a try.

Caught 8, no scent added to the flies.  

Also caught a 30.5" Gar, that could be either a Spotted Gar or possibly a hybrid gar (shortnose x spotted).

Caught several shortnose gar, I measured one at 26.5".

I caught a Black Crappie, several Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Green Sunfish, a Black Bullhead, and at least 3 Warmouth (9 species for the day!).

I saw a pair of Indigo Buntings today... the male was a beautiful blue!

I was fishing around a culvert for Bowfin, when the fly got CHOMPED!  The the fly didn't move at all when I set the hook.  It finally did start to move as I put more pressure on the rod.  Snapping turtle!  I got it to shore and tried using forceps to reach/remove the hook from its open mouth. Every time I got the forceps near it, it lunged and bit at the forceps.  It kept clawing at the line and finally broke the line and returned to the depths.  Bummer.  

Saw fewer snakes today, but also saw several shed skins, so I bet they are fresh and shiny now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

June 12, 2023

 Exhausted from the 2-day flyfishing tournament, I took the afternoon off  to rest and relax, checked into a hotel, and took it easy. 

But the next day I hit a few spots on the way home from Arkansas to Saint Louis, MO.

I hit one of the spots we tried for Grass Pickerel during the tournament (...and we didn't manage to get any), and caught 3!  Darn fish.

I also caught Redspotted Sunfish, Green Sunfish (not shown), Creek Chub, and Hornyhead Chub.

Also some small Longear Sunfish:

And a Knobfin Sculpin:

The fish from this trip brought me up to 66 fish species on flyrod in 2023, and up to 108 Lifetime Flyrod Species.

Here's a few other things seen:

June 10- 11, Dally's All-Species Odyssey Flyfishing Tournament


My buddy Hamilton and I fished tournament this for the first time last year.

In Cotter, AR, is a fly shop called Dally's Ozark Fly Fisher.  They run an annual flyfishing contest called Dally's All-Species Odyssey.  It's a 2 -day event with 2-person teams of fly anglers.  There's a list of 34 species of fish that reside in Arkansas (there's more species than that in Arkansas, of course), and the goal is to catch as many species from the list as you can.  Most species caught wins.  Each species is assigned points based on the perceived rareness or difficulty to catch on fly.  Points come into play as tie-breakers for teams that finish with the same number of species as another team.  Team members must fish together, but don't need to stand next to each other.  Size of the fish doesn't matter.  Fish must be photographed with the team's special identifying item in the picture, and the picture submitted via an app.  You can fish anywhere in Arkansas.  You fish 12-ish (shotgun start from the fly shop) to 8pm on Day 1, and 6am to Noon on Day 2, and you have to be back at the fly shop before @ 12:30 pm.

Anyway... LAST YEAR, we finished tied for 2nd place, but lost the tie-breaker by the smallest possible amount of 5 pts.  So we got 3rd Place last year with 12 species.

On to THIS year...  Just like like last year, we ended Day 1 tied for 1st Place with 9 species.

And just to be clear...Hamilton did all the planning, researching, and pre-fishing for this tournament.  Our success is a testament to his skill, knowledge, and hard work in putting together our game plan.

We caught Ozark Bass, Longear Sunfish, Green Sunfish, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, Freshwater Drum, Yellow Bass, and Channel Catfish.

Below is just some of the fish caught:

Longear Sunfish:

Ozark Bass (a new species for me!):
Channel Catfish:
Freshwater Drum:
Yellow Bass (caught by Hamilton):
Smallmouth Bass (caught by Hamilton):

We also caught 3 species that didn't count.... Creek Chub, Hornyhead Chub, and Striped Shiner.

After the 8pm cut-off for Day 1, we had a 4 hour drive to our hotel for the night!  So, we only got about 4.5 hours of sleep that night.  Grueling!  But its our choice.


Riding on our 4.5 hours of sleep, we were up and ready to get back to fishing by 6 am.  We fished 3 different places, and then had to cut the day short (before the Noon cut-off for the tournament), so we could drive the 2.5 hours back to the fly shop.  We made it with only 3 minutes to spare!

We had to reasonably reliable spots to get Grass Pickerel.  Neither gave up the goods.  We both had gar on, but neither of us managed to land them.

To add to the 9 species from the previous day, we managed to catch Rainbow Trout, Bowfin, Largemouth Bass, and Black Crappie.  We caught some of the same species as the day before as well, like Bluegill and Green Sunfish.  We also caught 4 species that didn't count....Redspotted Sunfish, Flier, Warmouth, and Creek Chub.

So, we ended up with 13 species that counted for the tournament, and 6 species that didn't count.

There were 18 Teams entered in the tournament.  The winning team had 14 species.

We got 2nd Place with our 13 species.

The 3rd Place Team had 9 species.   I think prizes went down to 5th place.

Very fun tournament, and very well run!  It lives up to its name!  It can be grueling!  But its fun, and its flyfishing!

I caught 2 new-to-me species during the tournament, Flier and Ozark Bass!

Here's some pics:

Bowfin (caught by Hamilton.  This fish was chasing a Flier I had hooked, and hit it several times.  Hamilton had a Bowfin fly on, and dropped it in front of the fish a couple times.  The Bowfin was fired up about the Flier, and ate the fly!  Teamwork!):

Rainbow Trout (caught by Hamilton):
Black Crappie:

Redspotted Sunfish:

Fliers (these are the first ones I've ever caught...and I caught at least 14 of them!):

And Warmouth: