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Skunked


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was a day that I could get out to go fishing. I had the pickup back and I was not scheduled to have to do anything. I looked at the weather channel and there was rain coming. It seemed like a good idea to get out before the rain came.

I headed to a pond that I have not visited this year. We have had too much rain for me to be able to get to the pond before this. I wanted to be sure to be able to get back out also if it started to rain.

When I got to the pond I could see that it was about five feet higher than it had been before. I did notice a few trees gone and saw where a beaver was working. I did look at the water and it appeared clear.

So I got all the stuff in the canoe. There was just a light mist going on, but enough for me to leave the camera (which I finally remembered) in the truck. I made a few casts from shore but did not attract any attention with that. I could see that the water was about 25 to 30 feet behind the trees that usually were on the edge of the pond.

I wondered if any fish might be up in those areas looking for food. I made several casts with different flies and came up empty handed. It was time to move a little farther out in the pond and fish along some of the breaklines. Hopefully some fish would be there.

I went through several casts along these areas with several different flies. I used several of my favorite flies and even put a pheasant tail nymph on and tried that. I even tried "old reliable," a Hares Ear nymph and it did not work for me like it does for Joe.

I was wondering about my ability to catch a fish. I had tried several flies and had fished them at all depths. I even had my rod with the sinking line on it and had dredged the bottom with it and all the points in between.

I happened to look a little closer at one of the trees near the dam end of the pond. This is a maple tree. The branches hang down on it and were in the water. I also noticed that here were several webs of tent caterpillars in this tree. Not much of the foliage was gone, but it would soon be gone with this many webs around.

The wind was starting to blow some now, which meant the rain could not be far behind.

I did notice that there were a few swirls under the limbs of the tree. I guessed one of the caterpillars had fallen in the water and had become lunch for a fish.

This I was ready for. I had several San Juan type flies tied in various shades of greens and yellows into the browns also. All I had to do to be successful was to cast them to the fish and the fish would respond.

Several casts of these flies near the edges of the branches were not successful. I then really looked at the webs and they were all on higher branches on the tree. This means that the branches were shorter and any worms were falling inside the edges of the branches in the waters.

I will tell you that this is not the time where a cast that is with a foot is good enough. I tired to make on the exact spot casts and managed to catch the limbs very well, as the limbs were near the spots I was trying to cast to. I broke five flies off while trying to get a cast in one of the narrow openings in the limbs.

I had been watching the clouds and saw the rain coming. I went up to the tree and recovered four of the five flies I had broken off. I then headed for the truck. I got all of the stuff in the truck and was almost out of the field when the rain came.

I did let the land owner know that the pond was up and a beaver was in it. There is only about three feet of dam left and that is not good if we got a lot of rain. He might lose the dam.

I got home before the rain came and got everything put away. The rain did come after I was inside. But for almost three hours of fishing I came home empty handed. That is unusual for me, but not unknown. It is also a humbling experience.

I need to get out and do some lawn casting to hit the "spot on the spot" for the next time this happens. Being in the canoe, I have gotten lazy in my casting. Within a foot is good, but not for today. Humble pie is not the best tasting thing I have ever eaten. I would rather go with a few of Joe V's recipes.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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