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A Little More Success

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I have been fishing the main lake the last two days over my lunch hour. The settling pond is almost totally covered with a skim of ice. There are a few spots around the end open for maybe three feet. I expect those to disappear over the weekend with the temperatures that are expected.

The main lake is open. It has so much water that it takes longer to cool. Also the wind is blowing today. A twenty to thirty mile per hour wind keeps the water from freezing. It also makes it very hard to cast. The water is also very dirty. I see a white fly about eight inches down. A fly is going to have to be on the nose of a fish that is fairly shallow, for me to catch anything.

The thing the amazes me is the number of people I had stop and tell me that I would not catch any fish. I always asked them why that was? The reply is almost always that the water is too cold.

Let me digress for a moment. Have you noticed that in the spring when the temperature hits 60 degrees that people are running around in shorts and tee shirts? Have you also noticed that in the fall when the temperatures hit 60 degrees that people are wearing sweatshirts and jackets? It seems that we adapt to what the ambient temperatures are and dress accordingly. Sixty degrees in the spring is warm and that same sixty degrees is cool in the fall.

I start haunting the ponds as soon as the weather starts to warm up. I will be casting a fly when the ice is 20 feet offshore looking for fish. The fish might not eat very much, but they still eat. I may not catch very many, but that is not always the point. I seem to have the need to put a line in the water.

I see no reason not to keep a line in the water, in the fall, as long as there is open water. The fish are still eating, either to stock up for the winter when there is not as much food or to get ready to spawn in the spring. In the fall the fish seem to school less in small ponds. They can be anywhere in the water column and anywhere in the pond.

Even in the main lake there will be a few fish that are swimming along any break lines.

I think they are looking for food. If you can have your fly in the area at the time they are coming by you can have some success. It will not be fast fishing, but who among us does not always look for one more fish?

So, I don't understand the idea that fish will not bite in the fall. I do know several people in this area that quit fishing in the fall. Some of them are hunters and some are not, but they all tell me that the fishing is not good. My stand is that the fishing is always good, but the catching may not match it.

So, I will keep a line in the water as long as I can. I will also try not to look at folks like they are stupid when they stop to tell me that the fishing is over. It may be after Thanksgiving, but that is no reason to stop.

I did catch one bass about 10 inches long today. By the time I held it to take the hook out and return it to the water, my hand was cold. I had a disposable rubber glove on, but the water evaporating off of the glove it took the heat out of my hand. I was not out very much longer.

I hope you can get out on the water. Extend your season as much as you can. ~ Rick (Written November 29th, 2007)

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