Monday, July 31, 2023

July 30, 2023

 We got some rain locally the previous afternoon.  I visited an urban creek.  I hoped for a Longnose Gar.  I saw just one, and was able to get close enough to cast to it without spooking it.  It followed and ate the fly.  I set the hook, and it was FISH ON.  I had to manuever down closer to the waters edge in order to net the fish, and in doing so, I slipped on the muddy slope at one point.  But I made it down, and the fish was still on.  And then it wasn't.  <sigh>

Not a great day of fishing, but also not a terrible one.  I managed to catch 9 species:

Green Sunfish, Hybrid Sunfish, Bluegill, Longear Sunfish, Shortnose Gar, Channel Catfish, White Bass, Common Carp, and Grass Carp.  The Grass Carp was a fighter!  It measured a healthy 30". Not huge, but good enough... probably weighed around 11 pounds.

Monday, July 24, 2023

July 22, 2023

 Really nice weather on this day.  As usual, I saw plenty of bowfin.  Couldn't buy strikes from most of them.  I landed one, and had another 9 or so that shook free.  Dang.

Also caught some good Shortnose Gar to 28".  One was a dark gray.  Also saw 2 beautifully marked Spotted Gar.  I got BOTH of them to hit flies, and fought both briefly but didn't land either one.

I think I had a Grass Carp strike, but missed it on the hookset.

So...a lot of failures on this trip.  I did catch a couple Largemouth Bass, some Green Sunfish, and at least one Bluegill as well.

Monday, July 17, 2023

July 16, 2023

 I visited 2 new-to-me places, and one of my usual fishing spots.

The first new spot was Bellefontaine Conservation Area.  There's 3 ponds that aren't open to the public, and one that is.  I caught some Largemouth Bass....on a GameChanger fly, a Double-Barrel Popper fly, and a black unweighted Woolly Bugger.  I also caught some nice 8"-9" Bluegills.

The 2nd new place was Coldwater Creek that flows alongside Fort Belle Fontaine.  According to aerial images, the creek is usually relatively clear...but recent rains had it muddied up and I assume higher than normal.  It was a long walk from the parking area to get to the water.  I fished some good-looking spots, but caught nothing.  I think it might be worthwhile to hit it again when the water is more clear.

The 3rd places was the swamp I fish for Bowfin.  I was unable to catch any bowfin on my last trip here, although I saw plenty.  Not sure what's up with the finicky buggers....maybe I've caught so many of  them, they've learned to avoid me, my flies, and my tricks and techniques.  Once again, I saw plenty of bowfin.  I had something large on that I never saw, then had a nice female bowfin one that eventually shook free, and finally caught a decent male Bowfin.  A thunderstorm was rolling in, so I had to cut my day short and head out.

Sun-bleached turtle shell:

2nd Snowberry Clearwing sighting of the year:

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Lepomis Species on Fly Rod

 A quick online search will reveal that there are (were) originally 13 species in the Lepomis (sunfish) genera.  Longear Sunfish have recently been broken into some additional species/subspecies.  But for now, I'm sticking with the "original" 13, which are (in no particular order):

1. Bluegill

2. Redear Sunfish

3. Redbreast Sunfish

4. Green Sunfish

5. Warmouth

6. Longear Sunfish

7. Pumpkinseed Sunfish

8. Dollar Sunfish

9. Orange-spotted Sunfish

10. Redspotted Sunfish

11. Spotted Sunfish

12. Bantam Sunfish

13. Northern Sunfish

I've so far caught all of these on the fly rod....EXCEPT Northern Sunfish.  Anybody got really good spots for them? :)

I'm posting a picture of each of the species I've caught so far... my fish pictures.  So... here we go! 

1. Bluegill:

(and here's a Coppernose Bluegill from Florida):

2. Redear Sunfish:

3. Redbreast Sunfish:

4. Green Sunfish:

5. Warmouth:

6. Longear Sunfish:

7. Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

8. Dollar Sunfish:

9. Orange-spotted Sunfish:

10. Redspotted Sunfish:

11. Spotted Sunfish: 

12. Bantam Sunfish:

13. Northern Sunfish

(I haven't caught this one on the fly rod yet)

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

July 9, 2023

First stop on Sunday was a spot where I had caught White Bass and Kentucky Spotted Bass in the past.  I hoped to add those 2 species to my 2023 Fly Rod List.  Its a place I visit maybe once/year.  It was fairly crowded with anglers on this day.  I didn't catch either of those species....just Green Sunfish and Longear Sunfish.

Next, I went back to the urban creek I often fish.  I have caught White Bass and Kentucky Spotted Bass in this creek in past years, but they aren't very common.  I've tried for them here several times this year already, without success.

Well, I did finally manage to get a Kentucky Spotted Bass!  Flyrod Species #68 for 2023.

Also caught Longear Sunfish.  This one was the most colorful, in my opinion:

Also caught Hybrid Sunfish:

Finally saw a number of Grass Carp.  They were interested in my offering, but after inspecting it, would aggressively spook!  Except for this one:

I saw a Longnose Gar.  It was amongst sticks near the far side of the creek.  I tossed a topwater fly to it.  It grabbed the fly, but I could see it wasn't completely in its mouth, so I didn't set the hook right away.  It eventually spit the fly and then spooked when I tried casting back to it.

I caught a few Shortnose Gar, including this new Personal Best 29.5" specimen:
At the final pool of the day, I was stripping in a microjig under an indicator after casting to some Grass Carp.  I saw fish chasing the fly!  And caught a White Bass!  I removed the indicator and made more casts through the area, and caught 2 more!  Flyrod Species #69 for 2023!

I also caught Green Sunfish and Bluegills.  I released the largest bluegill of the day into a shallow pool that had access to deeper water.  About 15 minutes later, there was a commotion, and I saw that a Northern Watersnake had caught the bluegill and was dragging it onto shore to eat it.
Imagine being the snake... and trying to catch a fish in the water with just your mouth, and then dragging it onto shore with no arms or legs!  Much respect to the snakes!!

July 8, 2023

 Saturday, I flyfished "the swamp".  Hoped for Bowfin.  Saw many, but couldn't catch any.  Frustrating and perplexing!

Caught some other stuff, though.


While fishing to a (barely) visible Silver Carp, the fly sunk out of sight.  The line twitched.  I set the hook...and accidentally foul-hooked one I hadn't seen.  Peeled lots of line, though...very fast fish!  As these are considered an undesirable invasive species, I did not return it to the water.

Grass Carp:

Black Crappie
Spotted or Shortnose or Hybrid Gar

Shortnose Gar

Saw lots of snakes, including:
Diamondback Watersnake:

Plain-bellied Watersnake:

I think this is a Northern Watersnake:

A Plain-bellied Watersnake and a Northern Watersnake hanging out together:

Also saw a deer, several large Great Blue Herons, and a Belted Kinfisher nearly landed on my fly rod I was holding.