Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

New Water
By Rick Zieger, Iowa

I received a call early on a Sunday afternoon. I had a gentleman ask me if I had time to go fish in a pond. He had just started to manage the land the pond was on. He wanted to know if the ponds were stocked to help in the management of the land. My wife told me that she thought it was a good idea for me to do this.

He told me to meet him at a certain place and he would have his boat there to go out in.

He wanted to check five ponds and see what was going on. I grabbed a 3 wt and a 5 wt and headed off to meet him.

I meet him at the barn on the property and moved my gear into the boat. He had 4 five-gallon buckets in the boat also. If a few of the ponds did not have fish in them we might move some. We headed behind the barn and through a couple of gates to get to the first pond. I will admit that I did not know that this pond existed.

He backed up to the edge of the pond to launch the boat. He then loosened a clamp at the front of the trailer bed and part of the bed raised up and the boat slide into the water.

With all of the gear in the boat it was just a matter of getting in and starting fishing.

We moved down the bank, toward the dam. He was fishing with tube jigs and I was using a popper and a leech pattern. I cast with the leech first. I dropped it into a depression in the weeds along the edge of the pond. The fly had barely hit the water when I saw the swirl and set the hook. I was very surprised to have a crappie on the line. When I landed this fish, Jim told me to put it in a bucket. He felt that we should keep a few nice fish to eat.

We continued around the pond catching several gills and a few bass. Most of them were near the edge of the vegetation. I did not do very well with the popper, so I changed it to a streamer nymph, looking for more crappie. We made the circuit of the pond and then Jim wanted to head to another pond.

We pulled up to the shore. I lifted up the trailed so the bed was down and he eased up on the bed with the trolling motor on the boat. As he came up the bed stated to come down and I let it. I attached a rope to a ring on the front of the boat and then cranked the pulley to bring the boat the rest of the way onto the trailer. Jim attached the clamp again, and we tied it off at a couple of places and went to the next pond.

The second pond is where we had most of the fun. As we started around the pond I had a notion to cast toward the center of the pond. I let the streamer nymph drop for about 5 seconds and then just twitched it. A fish hit it like a run away locomotive. I did not have to set the hook, just hold on and let the fish run around. This was a big crappie. This fish went just under 16 inches long.

I figured if it works once then try it again. I cast out in the same general area and had a repeat with a slightly smaller crappie. Jim had been casting towards the same area but was not catching anything. I asked him If he would like to try a fly rod. He said yes, and I gave him a few minutes of instruction. He could get about 30 feet of line out and that was enough to catch some fish.

I changed the fly on the other rod to a streamer nymph and we both caught fish on almost every cast. In fact we spent so much time doing this that we almost ran out of time to check the other ponds. We had put crappie in all four buckets, so we had a nice mess.

We finally saw the time and loaded the boat onto the trailer again. We did stop at the other three ponds and fished from the shore. All of them seem to have nice fish in them.

We did not spend very much time at any of the other ponds, but caught enough fish to know that they are well stocked.

When we got back to the barn, Jim asked me if I knew how to fillet fish. When I said yes he asked me if I would go to his house and show him how. We went there and got everything put away before we started on the fish.

Jim has a piece of Formica covered plywood, about 4 feet by 4 feet to clean the fish on.

He had two knives so I showed him on a couple and then he started in doing fish also. We spent about 30 minutes cleaning fish. We had 4 dozen nice crappies.

Jim got a bag and split these with me. He also said that he was going to get his own fly rod and that I would have to give him more lessons on the ponds. He said that he was hooked on this type of fishing. I also got permission to fish in the ponds on my own.

It was a fun afternoon of fishing. It was great fun to watch Jim as he caught his first fish on the fly rod. It was nice to make a new friend and have someone think that I was an expert.

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

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