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Fun With Yellow
By Rick Zieger, Iowa

I went out on Saturday morning at the end of October. It was the start of pheasant season, so I went later in the morning when folks might not be out in the fields as much. I feel safer not being on the pond with hunters in the fields around me.

It was a nice sunny day with just a slight breeze when I left home. Headed off to a pond that I have fished one time, several years ago. The land has changed hands and the person who owns it said that I could go in and fish the pond again. This is another one of those rectangular ponds that are abundant in this part of the country. This one is about 220 feet long and 70 feet wide. It sets in an east west orientation, with the dam at the east end. Most of the north side has trees lining the shore. The water near the dam is about 12 feet deep and then slowly decreased in depth toward the west. The last 30 feet of the pond is only about 2 feet deep. Great in the spring for spawning gills.

Most of the water around the edge is about 3 feet deep, out for about 8 feet. It then drops off to the deeper water. There are a few weeds along the edge, but not very many. The water is fairly clear. The pond has a fence around it to keep the cattle out, but cattle are watered out of it.

I put the canoe over the fence and then put all my important fishing equipment over the fence. I never take more than I need when I go out in the canoe. This meant that the two anchors, the paddle, the fish basket, net and the four fly rods that I was taking all were over the fence. I had four fly rods so I could use a weighted fly on one and I had my rod with the sinking line out also.

Before I got to the edge of the pond I stopped and took my 3 wt out of the canoe. The fence is about 40 feet from the pond. I walked to near the edge and cast out. This rod had the black boa yarn leech on it. On the third cast I had a gill smash the fly. Great fun to try to keep a gill out of the scattered weeds along the edge, but I managed it. With no more strikes I launched the canoe and got out in the water.

I started to fish down the south side of the pond. My thought was that the sun had been on the water longer and the fish might be more active there. It was a good theory as I did get several light hits on the flies that I was using. The only trouble was that I was not hooking any of the fish.

I decided to switch to smaller flies and see what would happen, hoping that they would take the smaller fly in deeper and could be hooked. I got hits, but no hook ups. I would get a few hits in each place I stopped, but that would be it. It would be time to move and see what might happen.

By this time I have gone through several flies and none of the normal flies are doing much for me. Time to look in the boxes, 6 with gill flies and two with crappie flies, to see what is different. It is time to try those things that I don't normally use.

The first fly that I notice is a fly that I tied like a leech pattern with some Sapps Body Yarn in yellow. This is a very bright yellow and a very thick material. On a size 10 Mustad 3366 hook I made three wraps of the material on the hook. When I tie the material on, I attach it so that three of the fibers are sticking back as a tail. I then palmer the material up the body, so it does not become too bulky. At the head I do take one more turn so there is material at the front of the body. This is how I tie the black and white boa yarn leeches that I use also. This one is unweighted.

By this time I am about 2/3 of the way back up the north side of the pond, headed for the dam. I have had fish hit the flies, but my grand total for two hours of fishing is three gills. After all those pesky bass last Saturday, I want to get some crappie to eat. The other thing going on is it is starting to cloud up and look like rain. If that happens, I will have to leave as getting into the pond is a mostly downhill affair. Going uphill on wet mud is not a good idea. The pressure is on.

I cast this yellow fly out about 10 feet from shore and let it drop. It has dropped for about 4 seconds when I see the line twitch. I set the hook and think that I have a bass on the line. The fish shakes it head and tried to go for the bottom. I play this fish and get a big surprise when I get it up to find that it is a nice crappie. Big enough to net, 14 inches, and not try to swing it into the canoe. Now if it works once then it is time to try it again, so I cast to the same general area.

This time the fly barely hits the water when I see a swirl. The line tightens and I am into a nice, fat gill. The fly goes out again and after dropping for 3 seconds I see the line twitch again. This is another nice crappie that acts more like a bass. Things are looking up.

I cast out again and the fly is smashed as soon as it hits the water. This is a huge gill that does not want to come near the canoe. This fish ends up about 35 feet out into the center of the pond before I get it turned and gain some semblance of control over it. This is a gill that is just over 12 inches long. This one goes back into the pond. I just like the big genetics going back in.

I caught a fish on almost every cast. Gills hitting the fly on or near the surface and the crappie hitting it if it was lower. I caught several fish in this area, all of them as the fly dropped. After that I would get a fish on about every other cast as I did a slow, short strip and pause. I think the fly was about 4 feet deep as I did this. I did get several more gills that were very close to or just over 12 inches in length. All of them went back into the pond.

I did try some other flies here, but the yellow was the only color that they really keyed in on. I tried some other flies with yellow in them, but they did not works as well as the all yellow fly.

The last fish that I was caught was a crappie that was 16 inches long and fat as a football. That seemed to be a good time to stop as I had other things that I wanted (needed) go get done. I got out of the field just as a few hunters headed into it.

I ended up with 18 gills and a dozen crappie. Made some good eating as the water is cooling off.

Hope you can get out on the water. Richard Zieger

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