Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred thirty

Shallow Fish

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Went out with a friend on Saturday morning to go fishing. He wanted to try fly fishing and I told him that this was a good opportunity. Rigged up a couple of rods and we went out in the canoe.

We ended up trying about 10 different flies without have a nibble on anything. Tried all my standards and was getting no response from the fish. Then I made one of my wonderful casts; I dropped my flyline.

It splashed down about 40 feet behind me over about two feet of water. I was trying to get turned around to retrieve the line and noticed that the fly was gone and the line was moving sideways. Reactions took over and I set the hook. I ended up with 10 inch bluegill.

Being a creature of habit I decided to cast back near the same place and see if something would happen again. The cast landed about three feet from where the first one did and another bluegill inhaled the fly. I told my friend to cast around the same area.

You must understand he has to be a great caster as I spent about 10 minutes giving him the rudiments of casting. He was more interested in finding out if he could catch a fish with a fly rod. He got a cast near where I had been casting and hooked into a 13 inch bass. We continued to cast up on this shallow flat as the wind slowly moved us along.

After we got past the flat we paddled back up so we could go past it again. We only got a few half hearted swipes at the flies. We decided to head toward the other end of the pond to see if the fish were all in shallow water.

We got to where the water was about 3 feet deep and started casting around the canoe. We hooked a lot of fish but they were biting very lightly and had the hooks pull out of the mouths of several of them. We lost numerous crappie because they would have the hook in the side of their mouth. We also landed several fish and had a ball.

My friend used a wooly worm variation and I used a Cyperts Minnow, Miss Marabou, and a Streamer nymph. All the flies seemed to be catching fish in the shallow water. We could not get a strike when we were in more than four feet of water no matter what depth we fished at.

I was interested in what the fish had been eating so I checked the stomachs of several of the fish while I was cleaning the ones we kept. Found a great assortment of nymphs and I am guessing midges. Did not find any minnows or terrestrial insects.

The water temperature was 75 degrees. We were fishing from 6 to 9 am. I am still surprised to find fish this shallow in ponds. I still think it is due to the competition for food.

End result was a lot of fun. Also I think there is a convert to fly fishing. I loaned him a rod to use for a couple of days while he was off work to see if he could catch any more fish. ~ Rick

Note: This article was written back in July.. the fish probably have moved since then. dlb

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