Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The concession

With this last warm water photo of the year, I hereby acknowledge Johnny Rotten as the champion of the warmwater fly provocation. John caught more species on the fly rod this year than I did. John led for the entire summer by at least 1 or 2 species. I learned that although the Mississippi River has a ton of species that could potentially be caught on the fly. It is difficult to get them to bite anything but bait. Also, you have to spend time on the water in search of some of these species, and I just didn't put the time in that I should have. All excuses aside, John put up one heck of a fly-fishing year. He not only caught more species, but he caught a ton of really nice smallmouth from some unknown streams. That's what it is all about-figuring out something new. I will be purchasing John a Pizza Ranch pizza and some beer for his efforts.

I consider the highlight of my warmwater fishing year to be catching two really large largemouth bass from the Mississippi River backwaters and then getting a nice smallmouth from the crow wing river up near Brainard, MN. From this season I have concluded that I like catching bass, I like the active nature of the fish and the methods that will take them.

I think the John's quillback might be the overall fish of the year. It was a species I didn't catch, and it looked really nice.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oct 23rd - Fall Trout Fishing

Posting our cold-water fishing trip. I'm thinking I'm the WWFP winner with 9 specs this year. We're both likely to target trout the rest of this year. I suppose I'll make it out to the river once more this fall, maybe catch a Northern or Walleye.

The pics are from S.Bear and French Creek in NE Iowa. The Browns were spawning, it was neat seeing them in the shallows on French Creek. On French they were not interested in feeding on our flies. S. Bear produced some fish. The fall scenery was awesome as expected.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Walleye = 9 specs

John-9, LM, SM, Bluegill, Quillback, Bullhead, Crappie, Spotted (Kentucky) Bass, Green Sunfish, Walleye.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Green Sunfish & Scraper

Fished the Skunk River in Ames, IA with couple of buddies. Smallies were targeted and we did pretty good. I'm adding Green Sunfish to the species list and retracting Orange Spotted. Showing a couple specs within the Sunfish family.

Check out the scraper I found on one of my home creeks (wasn't found on the Skunk). I keep an eye out for this kind of stuff when I'm on the sandbars. This is my first artifact and a dandy at that.

Green Sunfish (top left) Hybrid Sunfish (top right)
Characteristics - bluish green back and sides with white to light yellow belly; sides of the head mottled with emerald and yellow streaks; black ear flap has a whitish or yellowish margin; leading edges of the dorsal, anal and caudal fins typically whitish or yellow-orange. (IDNR)

**From looking at pics online I'm pretty sure the top right sunny is a hybrid. The mouth is smaller than the Green Sunfish and his colors are a little different. A hybrid is a cross between a male bluegill and a female green sunfish. This spec top right has the deeper slab body and smaller mouth like his bluegill dad with the coloration of a green sunny.

Bluegill (bottom 2)
There's variation in the shades of bluegill. Coloration can vary greatly with age, season, and sex.

John-8, LM, SM, Bluegill, Quillback, Bullhead, Crappie, Spotted (Kentucky) Bass, Green Sunfish.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spotted (Kentucky) Bass

**for reference, largemouth bass pictured with spotted bass.

Spotted bass are common in the southern latitudes of this continent, and are not a native species in Iowa. This species was introduced into the Middle Raccoon River and Whitebreast Creek in 1963 from fingerling produced at the Lake Wapello hatchery. It is possible they still exist in these two streams, but there have been no recent identifications. In 1969 and 1970 spotted bass fingerlings were stocked into Lake Macbride where they have established populations that are reproducing. Spotted bass have been recently collected in Coralville Reservoir, and they probably exist in the Iowa River near the reservoir.

The spotted bass is a slender, streamlined-shaped sunfish with a large mouth, and the upper jaw extends slightly past the rear margin of the eye when the mouth is closed. The sides are greenish in color with darker mottlings and golden-shaded reflections. There is a broad dark continuous stripe along the side, but the margins of this stripe are noticeably more broken and uneven than in largemouth bass. This stripe may become indistinct in large fish or in fish from turbid water. The lower sides have spots arranged in distinct rows that form a series of horizontal stripes. The tail fin in young bass has a black vertical bar that separates the yellowish-orange fin base from a whitish fringe along the rear margin of the fin. The dark bar usually forms a black spot in the middle of the tail fin. The pyloric caeca of spotted bass are not forked, like those of smallmouth bass.

Spotted bass fry consume copepods and cladocerans, graduating to insects and eventually to fish and crayfish. Their habits are nearly between those of smallmouth and largemouth bass. Fish comprised 56 percent of the diet of spotted bass in some food habits studies. Other studies indicate spotted bass are not as predatory as largemouth, consuming about one-half as much fish.

Habits of the spotted bass are similar to those of smallmouth bass, except more secretive. Spotted bass spawn mainly in river tributaries and along rocky edges in lakes. They prefer rocky habitat for nest building, which are quite small in size, less than one-third the size of other black bass nests. Deposition and the development of eggs is comparable to that of smallmouth at about the same temperature. Sac fry schools leave the nest in 8-9 days and the male is quiet, attentive and protective.

Growth of spotted bass is nearly equal that of largemouth bass, but after the first year of life, growth rate becomes slightly less than largemouth bass in Iowa. Spotted bass in Lake Macbride reach about 3 3/4 inches in the first year, 7 inches by the end of the second year, 10 inches in the third year and 12 inches in the fourth year. Maximum weight of this species in Iowa is about 3 pounds. – IDNR Fisheries Dept


I catch more Kentucky bass on Lake Macbride than regular largemouth bass. Spotted bass can tolerate warmer water which is likely why I catch em throwing poppers at the bank (anytime of day). This one is the largest I've caught - my guess is 14" as I didn't get a tape on it. The most obvious trait is the smaller mouth. I've noticed many have orange eyes, however, this one last night didn't.

I'm showing the early spring picture illustrating how my scouting paid off. The water level was down 8 ft for lake maintenence this past fall/spring. I caught this KY bass over this rock pile, oh yeah!

John-8, LM, SM, Bluegill, Quillback, Bullhead, Orange Spotted Sunfish, Crappie, Spotted (Kentucky) Bass.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here's a quick post of the recent action on my fishing trip to northern MN. I got a big smallmouth on a popper on the Crow wing river fishing with my friend John S. near Baxter, MN. I also caught a sunfish (I think), a walleye, and a crappie. The other pics are of me and my dad with some largemouths (fly caught) and my nephew Tyler with a Bowfin (not fly caught). We got into a bunch of pike, but I never caught one on a fly, some walleye (two on flies), and some crappie (one of a fly). I also had a perch to the boat but it got off just before I could grab it. 

One thing this summer has taught me is that I'm good at fly fishing for bass but not at fly fishing for other species. I think this is true of other people as well and might be why fly rodding for bass is so popular while other species go over looked. It isn't that you can't catch these other species, it just seems like you only get small ones on flies, whereas the bait and hardware slingers boat the biguns. 

I now have LM, SM, freshwater drum, gill, sunny, walleye, crappie-7
I think this makes us tied and I was inches away from a perch lead. 

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Creek Pig - oh yeah!

Caught this pig last night on a small feeder creek. My forearm was tired when I finally brought her to hand. I'm digging the 9ft 4wt I bought this year. Smallies rock. They pack so much fight compared to their bucketmouth brothers.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seven Specs

I thought I'd put some specs on the board. In part, to give Nate a feeling of urgency as he heads to MN for his family vacation. I had the crappie and Green Sunfish in my back pocket as I knew I could catch these guys at will. Just needed to trail a nymph under my popper. I likely caught 40 bluegill last night before I took the Green Sunny that I was looking for. Trailing a nymph under a popper is very effective -- if you want to catch a ton of small fish. The commotion of the popper attracts fish and the nymph is too much to resist for any panfish.

John-7, LM, SM, Bluegill, Quillback, Bullhead, Green Sunfish, Crappie.

A couple species I'm looking forward to - Carp, Wiper, White bass. It's gonna take double digits to win the warmwater fly provocation.


Monday, July 13, 2009

July 4th Trout Weekend

We fished a couple days over the holiday weekend. New water for us -- The Turkey, Sny Magill, and The Paint (in NE Iowa). Nate hit some waters in WI after I headed back home on Saturday morning. Some nice browns and a good time.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Backyard Pond

We bought a house on a pond! I didn't know it was stocked with good sized fish. Found out there's a nice population of bass, bluegill, and a few crappie. 2 pics taken on my phone - the bass is 17". I'm digging my backyard. Likely won't help my species count. I busted out my charcoal grill (wedding gift '05). Oh my, I'd forgotten the taste of steaks on a charcoal grill. mmmm


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bullhead takes fly, Cat takes bullhead

Every summer for the past 11 years my brothers, dad, and a few friends go catfishing on the Elkhorn river. The past 3-4 years we've been fishing with bullheads as bait. 5-7" bullheads are great for catching big cats. They stay on the hook and lively until they get hammered. I brought the fly rod this year knowing I could get an easy species on the board. Once I got my 1-bullhead on a SanJuan worm I added crawler to my hook, much faster. This is a lame way to add a species in this contest, but I'm taking it.

We forgot to weigh these 4 cats in the picture. I'd guess 5lb average. This was the 1st night's catch. The 2nd night a couple of the boys pulled in a 10lber and 15lber.

John-5, LM, SM, Bluegill, Quillback, Bullhead.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More bass

I've been out 3 times now and have only increased my species count by 1 =( But I've been having some fun. Last week I got into a bunch of largemouth bass, which is the norm around here. I saw a bunch of carp spawning, but they were having nothing to do with my flies. Then last Sunday I got out Catfishing with a guy I work with. He put me on to one very large Cat-which broke my line. It was nice to feel a fish on the line that I couldn't control. Even big bass are controllable, but the catfish was all over the place, and heavy. Finally, I got a bluegill the other day, to increase my species total to a meager 3. But the backwaters are starting to fill up with species that John almost certainly won't catch-bowfin and gar. Oh yeah! A couple of pics posted above are from the other night, the gill and a honkin bass (19 inch, 4+ pounds). Since I started fishing warmwater this year, I have yet to take the popper that John tied for me off my 6 wt. -Its looking pretty ratty.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Went down to southern Iowa for a company picnic at the Doc's farm. Caught many large bluegill on poppers and woolly buggers. I don't think I've ever caught bluegill larger than my hand. Gotta love farm ponds. Many bass caught, but nothing huge.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

size 10 smallie

You'll have to look close to see why I've called this post size 10 smallie. The last pic is of a snake swallowing a bull frog.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm on the board!

I finally got out warmwater fishing and am officially on the board with one very large largemouth bass and a freshwater drum. I estimate the bass at about 19 inches. For scale, the cork handle on my rod is 6.5 inches. The bass hit a popper that John tied up for me over the winter.  It was great to feel that familiar grab of a slob bass. The drum I saw under the dock and dropped a nymph on it-pretty lucky. I’ve got two now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bronzies, B-days, & Bach Bash

Started my 26th b-day off with some smallies! Hit the creek at 6:45 and caught plenty before I caught up with Leusink at 7:45. Then it was time to head to Ames for Lubber's bach bash. 4 bachelors getting hitched in May = 23 guys celebrating. We caught the ISU spring scrimmage and then it was crazy time out at the cabin. When I say crazy I mean weird crazy, like bachelor olympics where the 4 bachs compete for the chance to graduate to the next banana hammock. I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time.

This was a big smallie.