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Flood Time

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I got the garden in Saturday, minus a few things. The weather radio went off at 3:30 am telling of a strong line of storms to our south and west. At 4:15 the radios goes off again to tell us that the storms are closer. Since I am awake, I go down to look at the weather channel. There are all sorts of red things coming towards us. That means heavy rains and high winds. There is also the potential for tornado formation. Now I am really awake.

I go upstairs and put some clothes on. This is in case we need to leave the house and go to the church. We don't have a basement. So if there is a tornado around we head for the church, which is a much stronger building.

We are lucky, we get a frog-strangler rain and some high winds, but that is the extent of it. It rained so hard that I could not see the lights in town. There was water everywhere.

It continued to rain softly after that for most of the rest of the day. We had water in places in the yard where we had not had water for years. After a day or so it soaked into the ground, but it took the day to do it. All the ditches were running over their banks.

Tuesday I went out to the lake. I wonder how high the water was. The fishing jetties were under water. The culvert under the road had water that was halfway up the diameter of the pipe. The settling pond looked like it was creamed coffee. The water was up about four feet.

I was afraid to try to cast for any fish, as there was too much stuff for them to get into and break the leader. I loose some hooks to fish, but try to avoid the very obvious times when it will happen.

Thursday was a little better. The river I drive over on the way to work was back in its banks. There are still "lakes" in the fields around the river that are too low for the water to run out of. The lake was down about two feet. There were several other folks out at the lake. All of us are ready for the crappie to be in.

The only place I could fish the rip-rap was near the culvert. I did not consider that a bad place. There was some muddy water coming from the settling pond and there is a rock pile, out for about 20 feet from the culvert, to break the force of the water coming out of the culvert. The other thing that I saw were some minnows about two-inches long swimming near the edge. All in all, not a bad place to put a fly in the water.

I cast out a Marabou Miss and brought it along the side of the rock pile. About half way in the rock pile I felt some resistance. Time to set the hook and see what is on the line.

It was a bass that was about a foot long. I landed this fish and released him back into the lake. I continued to cast in this area. Very slow retrieves, all over the rock pile. I managed to pick up seven crappie, all about 7 inches long, doing this. That is more than anyone else caught while I as at the lake.

I went out again today, on Friday. The lake has not gone down any. It is still about two feet high. The wind was blowing again. The settling pond is still very muddy.

I decided that the culvert still might be the best place to try. There is a bigger area of muddy water out from the culvert. The mud line extended north about 20 feet along the shore. It is out about 30 feet from the shore into the main lake body. The muddy water is about fifteen feet from shore and about 80 feet south of the culvert. The wind has been out of the north.

get to the south end of this and begin casting a fly. I cast out beyond the mud line and bring the fly back in very slowly almost parallel to the shore. I want the fly to stay near the edge of the mud line as long as it can.

I pick up a fish about every 12 to 15 feet along the shore as I do this. I don't think that most of the crappie have moved in to spawn, but I think some of them are up feeding on the minnows.

I ended up getting 16 crappie over the lunch hour. One was 15 inches long, which is the best crappie that I have caught in this lake. Then it was time to get back to the necessity of making a living.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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