Rick Zieger - Apr 08, 2013

I got a phone call from a rancher in the area. He was having to water cattle out of one of his ponds. The pond was down and will go down a lot more. He asked me to come in and catch the fish. He stated that even if he does not drain the pond the fish would winter kill out. All he asked was that any large bass be put in another pond. He would put a stock tank near the shore of the pond I was fishing that the bass could be tossed into. It seemed like a good place to go. I fished this pond years ago and then the land changed hands.

I got to the pond and saw that it was way down. This pond is about 100 by 300 feet when full, and the deepest water is about 14 feet deep. However, now the pond was about 40 feet by 100 feet. There was so much mud around the edge that the only place I could launch the canoe was at the dam. The deepest water is about 7 feet deep now. Doing some very rough math in my head, the volume of water in the pond was about 1/3 of what it might normally be.

As the landowner was taking water out of the pond he had the end of the hose on a float in the pond. This way he was not picking up a lot of the mud off the bottom of the pond. It had taken a lot of the algae off the surface of the pond. The water was fairly clear and I could see a white boa yarn fly down about five feet. I had a white boa yarn fly and a black fur tailed leech on the two rods. Both of these flies caught fish. It was almost "shooting fish in a barrel".

Everywhere a fly landed a fish would take it. Curiosity drove me and I tried other flies, and I caught fish on everything I tried. Several times I saw fish trying to get to the fly that was in another fish's mouth. With this many fish in this cramped space the food completion had to be out of sight. I had taken a wire fish basket with me. I thought there would be a lot of fish in the pond. Five bass that were all around the four to five pound mark went in the stock tank.

Every once in a while there is a little voice in the back of my head that tells me to look at the fish basket. After leaving the pond the fish need to be filleted. When the basket was lifted, it was time to leave. The bell at the bottom was filled and fish are up the neck. The wire basket was full.

I got the rods broken down and placed in the front of the canoe. They were out of the way when I put the fish baskets in. The voice of experience tells me there is less chance of a rod being broken doing this.

It was some work to get each basket in the canoe. I headed for the dam end of the pond to get out of the pond. I find a place that I can get the canoe up onto the shore and then I got out and dragged the canoe up farther. Then I started hauling a few things at a time to the truck. I took the rods first so they don't get caught in weeds; the voice of experience again. I made a few trips before I was ready to pull the canoe. I did cheat and made a loop of rope from one of the anchor ropes in the front hand hold of the canoe. Then I could put this over my shoulder and it was easier to pull the canoe than grabbing the handle by hand.

I was tying the canoe down when the rancher showed up. He was amazed at the number of fish. He had a small tank in his pick-up and I netted the bass out of the tank for him. Then I followed him to his house and filleted some fish for him there.

I went home and it took a long time to fillet all the fish. I used salad bowls to hold the fillets. I shared fillets with many people.

The next weekend we got five inches of rain. The rancher wanted me to wait and see if he needed to pump more water out, but he will let me fish the pond in the future.

Hope you can get out on the water.

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