Rick Zieger - November 6, 2011

It is very hot out. The whole Midwest is being hit by this heat wave. As I write this it has hit the North East also. Seems that you can hook a fish and have it poached when you get into you hand or net. That means that it is early in the day fishing. Temperatures are in the high 70's as I head out, but that's better than being 95 or more.

It has been dry long enough that the canoe is on the truck. With the canoe I'm headed to one of my favorite ponds. It's the first time I will be into this pond this year. I like this pond so much that even if I don't catch a single fish it will still be a fun day. It is a special place to me, and I hope you have a few of those places in your life. Being there recharges me much more than many other places do.

I get in to the pond and unload the canoe, and I put the anchors and all the other stuff in the canoe. I have four rods with me. I have a Goldie Jr., black Furl tailed leech, a soft hackle experiment, and a popper-midge dropper setup.

When I get near the edge of the pond I make a cast. The fly has barely moved and I see a crappie roll on it. I hook the fish, but lose it. I try five more times and get one crappie landed. Not great odds, but a lot of fun.

I cut this short and get in the canoe. I wanted to fish from the canoe and not the shore. The canoe may spook fish, but sometimes things are done that don't make a lot of sense, but make the fisherman happier. I did see that many fish were spooked as the canoe got into the water.

The fish seemed to be shallow in the water column. Anything within about 20 feet of the canoe would swirl and be gone. I stayed near the shore and went to the center of the dam. I let the breeze blow me out from the shore and very gently let the anchor down the rest of the way. It was already in the water so the splash would not scare any fish.

The water is about 12 feet deep in the whole area that my casting ability will cover. I cast the fly out and let the fly drop a little and then started to retrieve it. It had not moved far when a fish took it. This fish was hooked solidly and got a nice crappie into the net. I did not take a chance and try to swing it into the canoe. I did notice a few other fish swim with this one as it came in. Cast out near the same place and stated another retrieve, and I had a fish hit the fly, but it was off quickly. The fly moved a couple of feet and I had another fish for a couple of seconds. This happen five times as the fly came in. When the fly was close I could see a crappie roll on the fly. I watched it tear out of the side of the mouth of the crappie. You can't catch what you don't hook.

I decided to try another fly and see if it would work better. The fish hit it the same, and got off most of the time the same way. I did see one fish come up behind the fly and get hooked well enough that I could get it into the net. If the fish rolled then it got off, if it came up behind the fly I landed the fish.

I tried a faster retrieve but this did not help my catch rate. I was hooking fish on any fly that I tried so it was not a good day to try experimental flies, as the fish were taking everything.

I ran out of water, and decided to head home before I got into any heat problems. Even with the fish still biting it is not wise to court health problems.

I got home and was surprised at the number of fish that I had; 34 gills and 43 crappie. I caught less than one of four fish that I hooked but it was a fun day. I checked the stomachs of the fish and there was not much in any of them. My guess is that there has been so much rain early in the year that the water was to muddy to get plant growth and insect activity. I did not hook weeds in this pond as I normally do, and I did not see any insect activity.

All and all I had a ball being on this pond and a big batch of fillets to share.

Hope you can get out on the water.



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