Best Day of the Year

Rick Zieger, Iowa - June 15, 2009

It had rained again. We have small puddles of water in the low spots in our lawn. That means that I will not be driving into any of the ponds that I normally fish. This also means that the ponds are going to be full of muddy water. I am going to have to become a muddy water fly fisherman it appears.

I head out to a pond that I know is about a quarter of a mile off the road and surrounded by pasture land. This is my best chance to hit water that might let fish see the fly. I also assume that is the place that I can hike into without getting a ton of mud on my shoes.

I grab two fly rods, my vest and fish basket (hope springs eternal) and head out. I am able to pull of the road and park on the drive that goes into the field. It slopes back to the road so I will have some help from the pull of gravity to get out. The best thing is that I am off the road for anyone who comes over the hill, being unaware that a vehicle is parked on the road.

I hike into the pond. The water is discolored, but I can see down about six inches in it. That is much, much better than I anticipated. I had a silver Goldie Jr and another panfish fish on the two rods. I started by casting about 10 feet to my right side and bringing the fly back in about four inches under the surface of the water.

The reason for the 10-foot cast was to cover the water close to me if any fish were there. A longer cast might hook a fish, but spook those that are closer. I was not sure how many fish might see the fly, but wanted to increase my odds of catching any that were there. I also start retrieving flies shallow in the water column and then let them drop deeper.

The fly was about five feet from me when a feisty bluegill rolled up on the fly and hooked himself. This fish did not want to come in. Twists, turns and trying to head for China was the ensuing fight. It was great fun to bring this fish in.

The next cast was about 10 feet to my left. Let the water to my right rest for a few minutes. The fly had not moved very far when the parent of the first gill decided to murder this fly. This fish hit the fly on the way up and came out of the water. It was another good tugging on the rod before I got this fish in.

I went back to the right on the next cast, about 15 feet, and brought the fly back. It had not moved very far when another bluegill attacked it. There was no need to set the hook as the fish took care of that. For the third time in three casts the rod tip was bouncing around with a fish on the end of the line.

The next few casts did not get any fish. I moved a few feet and made another cast. I had another bluegill attack the fly. But this time I am paying a little more attention to what is going on. This fish hit when the fly was going by a little depression in the weeds growing on the edge of the pond. Looking back at where the other fish hit that seemed to be where they were.

It was time to try this. I dropped the fly just past the next depression and started to retrieve it. I had a fish on the line. Another bluegill that did not like the idea of being hooked. I got a strike on almost every cast hat I made that was just past any depression in the weed edge. At one place there were four depressions in about a 16-inch area. I caught four fish in that space, one at each depression.

I did see several dragonflies around the edge of the pond. My thinking is that the fish were up near the edge of the pond looking for the nymphs to come up. The fish might not be able to see the nymphs in the deeper water as it was so muddy. By keeping the fly up in the water column they could see it.

The skies began to darken again. I decided to leave before a storm might come up. It is easier to clean fish when it is not raining. In this one day I had over doubled the number of fish I have caught for the year.

Hope you can get out on the water.

Muddy Water (part 1)

Muddy Water (part 2)

Muddy Water (part 3)

Muddy Water (part 4)

Archive of Panfish

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