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Muddy Water in More Ways Than One

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

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I went out Saturday in the late morning. Did this for two reasons. One is that it would be a little warmer. Two was that we had 2.5 inches of rain on Thursday and Friday. I knew the water would be discolored. With the sun higher there would be a little more light penetration.

Got to the pond and put my canoe in. I had been fishing for just a few minutes when two more boats showed up. A few minutes later a few folks showed up to fish from the bank. I decided that I would stay, mainly because I could not get to some of the other ponds because of the low places that were mud traps now.

This pond is on a game preserve and they had burned the grass a few weeks ago. With the rain a lot of the soot came into the pond and the water was fairly colored. I decided to fish with unweighted flies and bring them near the stickup in the pond. I hoped that some of the crappie and gills might have moved into a little shallower water in the prespawn staging.

I cast out and brought the fly in very slowly. Nothing happened so I cast it again and let it settle a little farther down in the water column. Brought in slowly again and nothing happened. I decided on the next cast to let the fly settle down a little farther and let in drop again after every small strip. I had a hit and landed a six inch bass. Not great size but told me that I was on the right track, at least.

Cast to another stickup and did the same thing. Watched a crappie come up and follow the fly but not take it. Did this three times in a row. The next time the crappie came up I started stripping the line faster and the crappie showed a little more interest but did not take it. Next cast when the crappie came up I stripped it fairly fast and the crappie chased it and smacked it.

I was fishing in about four feet of water so I figured that there had been enough disturbance in catching that fish that I would not get another. But, you know what, I am a sucker and tried again with no luck. Moved about fifteen feet and had three more stickups to cast to. Did the same thing and got another crappie and one gill. Also had a little bass take the fly just in front of a crappie.

I moved around the pond again not having much success at other places. I would have fish hit he fly but not take it. Finally had it happen close and I could see that it was small bluegills hit the very end of the fly.

I decided to try the tops of the trees that are in the pond. Cast to the side of the trees and slowly retrieved the fly with no luck. I decided to try casting into the center of the area where the limbs stick up out of the water. Did the slow retrieved until I saw a fish and then went faster.

I hooked several more fish but many of them got off because they could get into the wood and break me off. I will have to go back with a heavier tippet. Using a 5X tippet under those conditions was not the best choice but I did not have any heaver material with me.

I did end up with six bluegills that were about nine inches long and four crappie that were each about 13 inches long. I lost seventeen flies to fish around the big trees. But the thing is that you can't catch them if you don't hook them. I have had to tie today to replenish my boxes.

All of the other folks on the pond were not catching anything with the bait or hardware they were using. One of the boats got obnoxious and started coming in right beside me. He would then cast to the same places that I was.

I decided the best thing was to leave. A seventeen-foot canoe is not a good match for a fourteen foot flat bottom boat with a 10 horse motor on it. So I broke my rods down, pulled up my anchor and headed for the shore.

The guy that was crowding me decided to go to the launch area and back his trailer down. I guess he thought that this would prevent me from getting out of the pond. I ran the front of the canoe up on the grass at the edge of the pond and then walked up to the front of the canoe to get out of it. I used the paddle like a wading staff to help balance me. I then grabbed the canoe and started pulling it up the grade to where my pickup was parked. The guy backing down got to watching me and not paying attention and dropped his rear wheels over a drop off that is in the pond.

With the water lower, from the drought, this drop off is a lot closer to the shore than it has been before. It also drops off about three feet so he was stuck. I loaded my canoe quickly and was just ready to leave when he came up. He wanted me to pull him out. I told him that he would need a heavier vehicle than my little Ford Ranger to do it.

He told me to wait while he went and got the people in the other boat and then they would make me help them. When he got to the lake shore, I got in the pickup and left. I did see a State Patrol officer on the way home and stopped him. I told him they were having trouble out at this pond and he might want to check it out. He thanked me and headed that way.

He called me later to say that they had to get a crane out to the pond to lift the back of the pickup up to get it out. He also suggested that I not go back there as the truck owner as very unhappy and looking for trouble. I probably will not go back there as I want my fishing to be relaxing and not confrontational.

I hope that you don't run into any thing like this. I do hope that you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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