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5 Specie, One Fly

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

We have had rain coming out of our ears for the past couple of weeks. I went out to the lake over my lunch hour and the water level was up. The lake had come up almost 18 inches in the past two weeks. I had lost several flies the previous week when I had hooked big fish but could not see them. They would take me down to the bottom and break off on the rocks or would take out so much line that the 6 X tippet could not take the strain.

I came prepared this time. I had a spool of 1X with me and had one pole rigged up with that for the leader. I thought this might give me a better chance to see what I was tangling with. I left the other pole with the 6X tippet on it.

There is a settling pond on the east side of the road in the area where I normally fish. I decided to fish the area where this was dumping into the lake. The area where it dumps into the lake has a large pile of rock that extends out about 20 feet and is about 20 feet wide also. This was put in so that any drainage water would not damage the roadbed (this is the story from the engineer).

The wind was coming from the north and the water coming out of the settling pond was being moved to the south along the bank. The dirty water plume started out about 8 feet wide and went to twenty feet by the time it hit the end of the little bay formed by the road and the one fishing jetty.

I decided to tie on a fly that I have been playing with. I tie it on a size 6 hook. Olive marabou for the tail. The body is olive chenille. Toward the front tie in three pieces of rubber hackle across the hook to form legs, about one inch long on each side. I let the chenille separate these legs as I tie them closely together. I do not use any hackle to palmer the body on this fly. I usually put a bead head on it also. (I have tied this fly in black on a size 10 hook and done well on gills.)

I set up about 20 feet down wind of the culvert and made my first cast. I put in fairly close to where the culvert dumps the water into the lake. The fly had barely started to drop when the line twitched and I sat the hook. The fish immediately took off for parts unknown. The first run did not stop until I was about 50 yards into the backing. I slowly managed to gain some line as the fish moved around out in the lake. I finally managed to get the fish within about 20 feet of the shore and that was close enough for the fish and she headed out again. This run was a little shorter. We did this three times before I thought that I might have some control over the fish.

By this time, I had gained an audience. One guy told me that he had a net. I finally got the fish up where I could see it, a good size carp. Now it came into a tug-of-war. I would pull the fish in and she would swim out a few feet. After a 15 to 20 minute battle I got her in close enough to be netted. She was 23 inches long. I am not sure how much she weighed. One of the people there wanted her to smoke, so I gave her up.

The one thing I had done was to move about 30 feet farther away from the culvert during this fight. I thought there might be another fish around the culvert. I moved back up to where I had been and made another cast. The fly had dropped about a foot or so and I was starting to retrieve it when another fish hit it hard. This fish came in faster. I was able to control it a little better. This was another carp, about 14" long. This one also headed to the smoke house.

I have a feeling that I was hooking carp before, but was not equipped to fight them. I moved back up the shore to cast again. My great casting ability came into play now and this cast landed about 10 feet out from the culvert. I decided that I would retrieve it very slowly and see if anything was out there. The fly had come to near the edge of the rock pile and there was a solid thunk. I had a crappie that was almost a foot long. This is a rarity in this lake.

One person told me that they would lend me a bucket if I wanted to keep this fish. I decided to do that. My next cast into the area resulted in a nice gill hitting the fly. I was fishing the fly down about 2 to 3 feet in the water and as it came near the edge of the rock pile the fish would hit it.

By casting out from the culvert I managed to land a couple of more nice crappie. I made a cast that fell short of where I wanted it to go and it was just barely off the shore,. This happens more than I will admit. I had not got the line straightened out before it was going side ways. I had a foot long bass that had inhaled the fly. I had to use forceps to get it out.

I decided to make one more cast before heading back into work. I let the fly drop a little deeper than I had before and was doing a very slow retrieve. I felt some weight on the line and set the hook. This fish went deep and twisted around. I managed to get it up from the bottom and let it swim around some to wear off some energy. When I could get it up I saw that I had a small channel cat. I got this fish into shore and put it into the bucket. I knew what I was having for supper.

Time had run out and I needed to head back to the office. I was going to keep the crappies and the cat in the bucket, with water, and take them home. The gentleman who I had given the carp told me that I wanted him to he would fillet them and bring the fillets to my office. I took him up on the offer.

I went home and had a nice mess of fish for supper. So I caught five species of fish from one small area using one fly. I had a good time doing this.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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