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Surprise Week

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

The weather has started to warm up a little in the middle of May. Also the rain has slowed down. That means the fields are starting to dry out some and the farmers are beginning to plant some corn in this area.

The ponds are beginning to clear a little. You can now see about 5 to 6 inches down in the water. It is not clear, but it is better than it was.

I am back out trying to find where the fish may be coming in. On Tuesday I talked to a guy who had been fishing on the main lake. He told me the surface water temperature was 56 degrees. A foot down is was 47 degrees and eight feet down is was 38 degrees.

That means we are still in a cold-water period. The sunlight is not being able to penetrate very deep into the water to warm it up. The wind blowing across the surface at night is taking some of the warmth out of the water also.

I decided to try the main lake, as there were a few people on the settling pond. I went to the flat to try my luck. The water is about six feet deep where it hits the breakline. I was using a fairly bright fly, so I thought the fish might be able to see what was in the water.

I had made a few casts when I felt some weight on the line. I set the hook and brought in a surprise. I had a walleye that was about 7 inches long on the line. That demonstrated how cloudy the water is for even a small walleye to be that shallow during the middle of the day.

I kept on casting around the area and managed to catch a few bluegills. It was time to change flies and see what might happen with another fly. I went with a dark brown Hares ear type fly with a red flashback strip on it. It also had a small beadhead to help get it down. The first two fish I caught on this fly were walleyes just like the first one. I know the water is only about four feet deep where I hooked these fish.

I ran out of time and had to head back to try to make a living.

Thursday was a windy day. I could make great casts with the wind, but not do much in casting against it. I might have had more fish hit the fly, but it was very hard to see anything with the fly line. I did manage to catch five more walleye in the shallow water.

Friday was a beautiful day. It was about 72 degrees when I got out to the lake. There was a little air moving, but it did not disturb the water. There were folks at the settling pond and on the flat when I got to the lake. I headed off to the far jetty to see what might happen.

There is some shallow water in that area and I wondered if the crappie might be coming in yet. I made several casts in the area before anything began to happen. It seems that when I got the fly near the breakline then the fish would be interested in eating.

About every other cast I would have a fish hit the fly. I did not get all of them landed, but it was fun getting them to hit. I did get a few nice crappie in hand. I also got another four walleye. That is more walleye in one week than I have caught in the whole time I have been fishing the lake.

That dreaded time showed up again and it was back to the salt mines. But it was a better week. I caught walleye, bluegill, crappie, bass and carp on the fly during the week. None of them were huge, but they put a bend in the fly rod and tugged on the line. Definitely more fun than being inside the office.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (written 05/28/08)

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