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Memorial Day Fishing


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

This is a bonus day to be out. We had violent storms go through the state the night before. None of the bad storms or really heavy rain hit us. There was some damage from wind, hail and lightning not too far from us. You have seen on the national news what happened farther north from us.

I checked the weather channel to make sure it would be safe to go out. With everything that had happened the night before it was time to be careful. I would be canoe-less again as there had been enough rain to keep me out of the fields.

At this rate I might not get the canoe into several of the ponds that I fish. I do have an old carrier for the canoe, but the wheels are only about six inches round. The canoe only sets about a foot off the ground when it is on this carrier. When I try to take it across the fields I am fighting it through the grass. Not a fun thing to do. I know there are carriers with larger wheels, but I usually don't have the need to use it very often. That means that I have not justified spending the money on a larger wheeled version, but the temptation is getting stronger.

I am headed to a pond that I don't get into often. There are usually cattle on this field, Brahmas to be exact. The disposition of this type of cow is worse than mine and that is where they start and go down hill fast. So I don't go to this pond when they are on the pasture.

But they are off and I can get into it. It is a hike to get to the pond. Up hill to the pond, but downhill coming back down from the pond I am sure the water is clear in this pond as it is pasture and woodland around the pond. Also there is a fence around the pond so the cows cannot get into the water.

This pond was formed to stop erosion in a field. There is a ditch that is about 16 feet deep that comes out from the base of the dam. This is also under the water of the pond. This was cutting between two hills. When the dam was built it covered most of this ravine up.

There is still a little dirt showing, but there is vegetation on most of it. The water around the ravine is about 6 to 8 feet deep over most of the pond.

I would prefer to fish this pond with the canoe, but beggars just can't be choosers. Bass, bluegill and crappie are the mainstays in this pond. I get to fish it, because the owner knows that I will leave the bass in the pond.

The south side of the pond is better to fish from the shore. The north side has some large trees about forty feet from the edge of the pond. The trees are big enough that many of the branches hang out past the fence. That means that I will lose flies on the north side.

I see that the water is crystal clear. I do stop back about 20 feet from the edge and look at the water. I notice that there is a little commotion right near the edge. There is no breeze, hard to believe after the storms the night before. I cast out and let a hare's ear type fly drop into the water about a foot from the edge. The fly is taken immediately. It is a nice crappie. I get this fish in and make another cast just a few feet from where the previous one went. I get another crappie. This one does not come in so easily and I can see the movement in the water as other fish vacate the premises. It is nice that the cattle cannot get into the pond, but the fish are very skittish also as they are not used to any movement along the bank.

I get closer to the edge and continue to make some casts. I am fan casting over the area; starting with short casts and adding about five feet each time I make a pass through the area. It does not take me long to figure out the most of the fish are farther out in the pond.

There are a few in along the shoreline, but most are farther out. Most strikes come on a cast of about 30 to35 feet and a very slow retrieve in. The fish are hitting closer to shore, but the cast has to be that long or they will not hit the fly. I wonder if they are following the fly in.

I try several flies just to see what would work. It seems that the flies have to be silver or white to elicit any interest. All the flies work on the fish near the shoreline, but those fish father out are very picky. My best success comes using a Silver Goldie Jr. This one is tied with a large white glass bead on it. It forms the dam for all the material at the front of the fly, but does not add near as much weight as a brass bead the same size does. Thus the fly can move slower than those with metal bead heads.

I have caught several fish, and remembering the hike back out, am having thoughts about heading home. I know there are several more fish that could be caught. I also know that they would make the fish basket heavier.

As I am getting ready to leave the landowner shows up on a 4-wheeler. He wanted to know if I got any fish. I showed him and he was impressed. Even more when he saw it was on fly equipment. I cast out again and had another fish hit. I handed him the rod and let him bring the fish in.

I go to his house tonight to help him go online and get a fly rod. Then he wants me to teach him to cast. Joe Hyde, anglerdave, Elmer, Kevin and a few others will be highly amused at this. They have seen me cast. He also wants to have some flies tied up.

I got the fish filleted and everything cleaned up. I put a few more things in the garden and decided to take the rest of the day off. Part of the reason for that was it was getting hot and muggy. Here is a picture of a few of the fish that came out of this pond.

I took fish around to several folks. One lady asked me if I would help her do something. There is a young family that lives next door to her, about 100 yards. She said they were having a rough time because of winter heating bills. She wondered if I would take them some fish and deliver a loaf of bread she had made. I did both and it was a neat thing to be able to do. Keep your ears open and you might have a chance to do the same sort of thing.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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