Rick Zieger - Apr 22, 2013

I had a day off and it was time to hit a pond. I had some other things to do early in the morning so it was late morning before I got to the pond.

We were experiencing the drought in this area, as many in the Midwest, and the pond was down about four feet. The break line where I catch many fish was now the new shoreline. The edge of the water was about seven feet farther out than it had been before, and there was a heavy bloom of algae on the surface. It was not the best of conditions, but I met the main condition, I had time to be on the pond. I had three rods in the canoe; a popper-dropper rig, a black fur tailed leech and a silver Goldie Jr. The popper dropper went out first and then the Goldie Jr. went into the water.

Experience told me that the water at the edge of the pond was now about 6 feet deep. The fly dropped near there and got a chance to drop. I slowly retrieved the fly in and had nothing. On about the fifth cast a crappie took the fly. The fish was just under the surface and right against the bank. Would the fly have to be right on the bank when cast to get the fish to take it? The way to find out was to make another cast. I made several more casts that got right up to the bank, and at about every 8 to 10 feet a fish would be resident.

I decided it was time to try the center of the pond to see if the fish might also be there. I sent several casts out that way but I did not have much success until a cast landed near a heavy mat of algae. Then a fish smashed the fly and it turned out to be a very nice crappie.

A light bulb went off in my head which is a rare circumstance when I'm fishing. Could it be that fish are under the heavy mats of algae, using them for cover? I made another cast to nearby mat and it resulted in another nice crappie. The next cast missed the mat by a long way, which is normal for me, but a nice gill took the fly.

Then I made several more casts with no fish. The popper-dropper had done nothing so I put that rod away. I head back to the dam end of the pond.

There was a slight breeze that would push me down the pond. Hopefully someplace along the way a fish will be found. Here and there I pick up a fish, and I changed the popper-dropper to a hares ear type fly. A few fish took this, but there was no pattern as to where the fish were.

I was out of water and it was getting hotter. I thought it was probably best to leave and let the fish grow bigger. This was one of those days that might make me a better fly fisher. This was a day that the pattern to get fish was not found. This pond has a healthy population of fish. Triple digits of fish have come out of this pond, but not on this day.

We had fish to eat and some filets to share. The biggest thing might have been a good day on the water. Because of all of the algae in the pond I washed all three fly lines when I got home. One of the less fun things in fly fishing, but the lines will be clean when they hit the water next time. If I had not done it this day it probably would not have happened.

Hope you can get out on the water.

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