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Fantastic Day

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I headed back up to Little River Lake on Saturday morning. I know the crappie are in near the shore and spawning. I wanted to get a bunch of fish and this is a place to take huge number of fish out of. My wife had a daylong meeting to go to so I did not leave the house until about 7:00am. She said she wanted some time in the morning with me and then I could have the rest of the day to fish or do what I wanted.

I got to the lake and got the two fly rods out. I decided to try a Joe Hyde thing and tied two flies on each rod. The 8 ft 3 wt had the Streamer Nymph and Perch-a-bou on it. The 8 ft 5 wt had a Marabou Miss and Thief on it. I took a 5-gallon bucket and a fish basket with me as I went out on the one jetty. There were not any other folks around the shore at this time. I put some water in the bucket, to hold the fish when I first catch them. After I have caught a few fish, I then put them in the fish basket and let that set in the lake. This helps keep the fish alive for a longer time.

I decided that I would make 10 casts with each rod before I changed. I would also keep track of how many fish I caught on each fly. I knew the fish would bite as I had been catching them all week on my lunch hour. The water was absolutely flat. No wind at all, for a change.

I started with the 5 wt and cast it out about 20 feet and let the flies drop about 2 feet under the surface before I started a very slow retrieve. I saw several fish come up and look at the flies, but not take them. I changed the retrieve speeds, depth, and other variable but I had 3 fish on the ten casts. I changed to the 3 wt and cast out. The flies had dropped about 6 inches when a crappie came up and smacked the Streamer Nymph and headed back down.

This was one of the typical 8 to 9 inch crappie in this lake. The size is partly due to no minnow forage for them and the huge numbers of fish. I cast out again and had the same thing happen.

On ten casts I had 11 crappie, 10 on the streamer nymph.

I have been accused of not being the brightest bulb in the pack, but I know that when the fish are hitting a fly like that, it is the one to use. I changed the Perch-a-bou to another streamer nymph. It was two fish on every cast. I could see them coming up to hit the fly. It was a race to see who could get here first.

I had caught several fish when one of the old geezers showed up. He said he was out to catch some fish for a fish fry. He started fish, but was not catching fish at near the rate I was. He finally came up with an idea. He would take the fish off the hooks if I would catch them. I changed the other pole to two streamer nymphs and we went to it.

I would cast out and get two fish most of the time. When I had them, up I would hand the rod to him and then cast the other rod. We just kept doing this until he had his bucket full and my fish basket was getting full. I told him that I was sure I had all I wanted and that I would catch more for him if he wanted them.

By this time a couple of other folks showed up on this jetty. I guess they figured it was a great place to fish. The trouble was they were using huge jig heads and retrieving the jigs fast enough to part the water. They did inform me that I did not "Really" know how to fish for crappie. Fly rods were for trout and saltwater.

I had another older gentle man come out on the jetty asking if we could get him some fish for a fish supper. We said sure, and started filling his bucket. The fish were still hitting the flies with intent. I would let them turn down in the water column and they would hook themselves. We kept on catching fish until his bucket was nearly full.

He said he had enough and it was time to head home so I could get my garden planted. I hauled my stuff to the truck and then went back and got the two buckets of fish and carried them to their cars. The other folks moved to the spot where I had been fish and were catching a fish now and then.

I headed home and cleaned the fish I had and then planted my garden. Nice to get the garden in.

I had brought home 113 fish. Both of the old geezers called me up and said they had right at 150 fish each. I was amazed that I had caught that many. Even more amazed that they came out of an area that was may 150 square feet in size. We never moved from the first place I started. That means there area a scary number of fish in the lake, as they spawn in many places.

I am not sure that I will ever repeat a day like that. This all happened in about 2.5 hours. I had a few friends tell me that I did not deserve a day like that.

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

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