Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred twenty-three

Double Hatches

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Went out to a pond this morning to go fishing. Had rises all over the pond and I could not get a single thing to hit. I tried dry flies, wet, fly streamers and all the foam flies I have. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at them. Would have thrown that if I had one with me.

I then remembered reading in Ray Bergmans's book Trout, that when something like this happened to him he would stop and watch for a long time. He states that he might do this for two or three hours. He is much more patient that I will probably ever be. I did put the rod down and decided to watch to see if I could figure out what might be going on.

When I first got onto the pond there was a mayfly hatch going on. They were about 3/16" long and a pale tan color. I had a couple of mayfly patterns so I used them first. Not a thing happened. I then tried the nymphs, etc.

It took about five minutes but then I started to see some rises near me. Still could not tell what was going on. I continued to watch and then had a couple of fish come up by a tree top that was near me. They were coming up and hitting something just under the surface but would still cause the ring. I got down on my knees in the canoe and looked over the side trying to find what they might be hitting. Could not see anything. I even dipped some water out in my hand and did not see anything.

I did remember that my daughter had brought me some size 22 and 24 hooks as a gift. She was in a store someplace where they were selling them and decided that I needed to tie on that size rather than the normal 6 to 12. I had tied some midge patterns on these and had a few that I had just wrapped a little dubbing around the hook.

Had to go to 6X tippet to be able to tie the hook on. Cast the fly near a tree limb and let it set. In a few seconds it began to drop. I assume it was dropping because a fish rolled up and hit the fly underwater. I had a 6" crappie when I landed this fish. I cast on the other side of the limb and nothing happened. I cast near another limb and had a bluegill hit the fly. I would get from 3 to 5 fish out of each tree top that I fished. Did take some time to get the hook out of the fish as they all had taken it fairly deeply. I was smart enough to retie after about every three fish as I was afraid of abrading the tippet.

There were two other boats on the pond but they were not catching anything. I did continue to try other flies off and on but they never worked. I could not get fish to bite if I was more than about one foot from the limbs of the trees. They just would not hit anything that was away from the wood.

After I fished the tree tops and was not having any more success I decided to head home. As I was filleting the fish I decided to check the stomach contents. There was not anything very big in the stomachs of any of the fish. I am guessing that they may have been on the midge-type bite for a few days. This may explain why when the water starts to get a scum of algae in places that the fishing has slowed down for me. The water is warm and we have had some rain in the past two weeks.

I am going to have to get some smaller hooks and tie flies in small sizes to see if they will continue to catch fish during this time period. Also I am going to have to remember to look a little closer at things to make sure I am not missing something. This is the first time that I have been aware of two hatches happening at the same time. It probably is not the first time it has happened but the first time I recognized it.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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