Muddy Water in More Ways Than One
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Archive of Panfish
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I went out Saturday in the late morning. Did this for
two reasons. One is that it would be a little warmer.
Two was that we had 2.5 inches of rain on Thursday and
Friday. I knew the water would be discolored. With the
sun higher there would be a little more light penetration.
Got to the pond and put my canoe in. I had been fishing
for just a few minutes when two more boats showed up. A
few minutes later a few folks showed up to fish from
the bank. I decided that I would stay, mainly because
I could not get to some of the other ponds because of
the low places that were mud traps now.
This pond is on a game preserve and they had burned the
grass a few weeks ago. With the rain a lot of the soot
came into the pond and the water was fairly colored.
I decided to fish with unweighted flies and bring
them near the stickup in the pond. I hoped that
some of the crappie and gills might have moved into
a little shallower water in the prespawn staging.
I cast out and brought the fly in very slowly. Nothing
happened so I cast it again and let it settle a little
farther down in the water column. Brought in slowly
again and nothing happened. I decided on the next cast
to let the fly settle down a little farther and let
in drop again after every small strip. I had a hit
and landed a six inch bass. Not great size but told
me that I was on the right track, at least.
Cast to another stickup and did the same thing.
Watched a crappie come up and follow the fly but
not take it. Did this three times in a row. The
next time the crappie came up I started stripping
the line faster and the crappie showed a little
more interest but did not take it. Next cast when
the crappie came up I stripped it fairly fast and
the crappie chased it and smacked it.
I was fishing in about four feet of water so I figured
that there had been enough disturbance in catching that
fish that I would not get another. But, you know what,
I am a sucker and tried again with no luck. Moved about
fifteen feet and had three more stickups to cast to.
Did the same thing and got another crappie and one gill.
Also had a little bass take the fly just in front of a
I moved around the pond again not having much success
at other places. I would have fish hit he fly but not
take it. Finally had it happen close and I could see
that it was small bluegills hit the very end of the
I decided to try the tops of the trees that are in the
pond. Cast to the side of the trees and slowly retrieved
the fly with no luck. I decided to try casting into the
center of the area where the limbs stick up out of the
water. Did the slow retrieved until I saw a fish and
then went faster.
I hooked several more fish but many of them got
off because they could get into the wood and break
me off. I will have to go back with a heavier tippet.
Using a 5X tippet under those conditions was not the
best choice but I did not have any heaver material
I did end up with six bluegills that were about nine
inches long and four crappie that were each about 13
inches long. I lost seventeen flies to fish around
the big trees. But the thing is that you can't catch
them if you don't hook them. I have had to tie today
to replenish my boxes.
All of the other folks on the pond were not catching
anything with the bait or hardware they were using.
One of the boats got obnoxious and started coming
in right beside me. He would then cast to the same
places that I was.
I decided the best thing was to leave. A seventeen-foot
canoe is not a good match for a fourteen foot flat bottom
boat with a 10 horse motor on it. So I broke my rods down,
pulled up my anchor and headed for the shore.
The guy that was crowding me decided to go to the
launch area and back his trailer down. I guess he
thought that this would prevent me from getting out
of the pond. I ran the front of the canoe up on the
grass at the edge of the pond and then walked up to
the front of the canoe to get out of it. I used the
paddle like a wading staff to help balance me. I
then grabbed the canoe and started pulling it up
the grade to where my pickup was parked. The guy
backing down got to watching me and not paying
attention and dropped his rear wheels over a drop
off that is in the pond.
With the water lower, from the drought, this drop
off is a lot closer to the shore than it has been
before. It also drops off about three feet so he
was stuck. I loaded my canoe quickly and was just
ready to leave when he came up. He wanted me to pull
him out. I told him that he would need a heavier vehicle
than my little Ford Ranger to do it.
He told me to wait while he went and got the people
in the other boat and then they would make me help
them. When he got to the lake shore, I got in the
pickup and left. I did see a State Patrol officer
on the way home and stopped him. I told him they
were having trouble out at this pond and he might
want to check it out. He thanked me and headed that
He called me later to say that they had to get a
crane out to the pond to lift the back of the pickup
up to get it out. He also suggested that I not go
back there as the truck owner as very unhappy and
looking for trouble. I probably will not go back
there as I want my fishing to be relaxing and not
I hope that you don't run into any thing like this.
I do hope that you can get out on the water.
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