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A Slow Week at Lunch Time


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

This has been a very strange year at the lake. We have had heavy rains and more wind than we want to think about. I have not seen clear water in the lake for a long time. The crappie have not come in and spawned like they normally have. Most of the time you can see fish stacked up along the fishing jetting or the rip rap, but not this year.

Tuesday was a fairly nice day. A gentle breeze was blowing as I got to the lake. There were a few folks at each of the jetties. I decided to fish along the rip rap and see what might be happening. If there are more than two f people on a jetty I tend to stay away from it. I don't have to worry about folks walking into my back cast that way.

I had tied on a white boa yarn leech, with white rubber hackle legs, to see how this might work. I had a Thief on the other rod. The Thief is a muddler, but has a chenille head instead of a flared hair head. If you saw how I flare hair you would know why I tie it this way. I started with the boa fly first. I cast it about three feet out from shore, let it drop for a few seconds and then started a slow retrieve. The fly had not moved far when I felt some resistance on the line. I set the hook and had a crappie on the line. This looked promising, maybe the crappie were in. Six more casts in the area produced nothing more.

I moved about 10 feet and cast again. Again the fly had barely moved and a fish slammed it. This was another crappie, a carbon copy of the first one. That was the only fish at this spot. I even tried the Thief here and it did not work.

I moved again and caught a fish on the first cast with the Thief. Again it was the only fish I got in the area. I think I am beginning to see a pattern here. I decided to try moving a little more and not casting again in that area after I caught a fish. I put one rod back in the truck. This would make it easier to move, not having to pick the other rod up.

It worked! About every 10 feet I would pick up a fish. There was only one fish to the area.. I wish the water had been clearer so I could tell if there were other fish there and they got turned off when I caught the first one, or if that was the only fish there. My ego wants to think that there was only one fish there. I picked up twenty fish over the lunch hour.

Thursday was another ball of wax. There was a Tornado Warning that was about 15 miles north of us. I looked at the radar and saw a line of storms coming. I was not sure how fast it would get here, but I could have some time at the lake. I am not addicted to fishing. I could quit anytime I wanted to, but I have never wanted to.

When I got to the lake there were whitecaps all over it. The sky was dark and I could see the line of storms coming. I knew there would not be a lot of time. I grabbed a rod and headed for the water. I was on the jetty so I could cast with the wind.

I made the first cast and had a crappie try to take the fly to the middle of Indiana. She really slammed the fly and hooked herself. When I brought her out of the water she was spewing eggs. I got her back in and made another cast. I had a fish hit the fly, not as hard as the crappie had, but enough to know that something was there. This fish went down and put a deep bend in the rod. I thought I had hooked a bass. I have 6 X tippet on the rod, so it is not time to horse anything. When I finally got the fish up to the shore it has a huge bluegill. This fish was so big that I did not try to swing it up, but I lipped it.

I could not put my hand around the fish like I normally do. I usually put my thumb over the fins and the rest of my fingers under the belly. This was the largest bluegill I have caught in this lake and one of the largest gills that I have caught anywhere. My forefinger went in this gills mouth with some room to spare. I have got to start carrying my camera with me.

I put this fish back in the water. I turned to look and see where the storms might be. I had the first few raindrops hit me just as I reached the truck. I drove out of it on the way back to the office. I had just got into the office when the rain hit in town. I poured hard, but not for very long.

Friday was another trip to the lake. A cold front had come through. That is what had spawned the storms Thursday. I had the jetties and the rip rap to myself.

The fishing was very slow. Not very many fish and widely scattered. I fished both jetties and the rip rap and caught fifteen fish. I would make a cast or two in a place and then move. I had taken a lesson from Tuesday. It worked about the same way as Tuesday. There would be one fish to a spot and then nothing more.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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