Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tailing Cats

"It's raining hard". This was my wife's proclamation last night ~ 2AMish. The proclamation woke me and all I could think was -- I bet the fish will be in the flats. This is one of the effects of having this addiction to fly fishing. It creeps into your mind at any moment. I can't look at a weather forecast without thinking of how it will affect my fishing, even if no fishing is planned. So I got out early thinking I would find tailing carp and found tailing cats.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Evening on the Black

This weekend we had some family up to visit. Uncle Johnny spent a couple of hours with me on the Black. It was great to have a fresh set of eyes on the water, especially the eyes of a warmwater angler. The river is currently up pretty high, so we floated into the backwater/side channel area. After only a few minutes we saw a few gar surface. John had a number of fish follow his fly all the way to the boat, only to turn away at the last minute. He hooked one and played it well through three leaps. After the last leap, it spit the fly. That was all she wrote. Frustrating as ever.

I've spent a lot of time on the Black by myself. Over the weekend it was great to share it with someone who appreciates warmwater fly fishing. It renewed my own appreciation for the river.

Tonight I went back into the backwater and did not see a single rise for the hour I was there. I worked my way over to the back-eddy off the main channel, saw one fish rise, casted to it, and caught it. Go figure.

At John's advice, I decked the Native 9.5 out in floats. It made for a nice fishing platform indeed.
Working the fly slooooowwww.
The fish of the night. I hooked him pretty good with a big bushy rope fly.

An evening well-spent.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Iowa River and Lake MacBride

image credit: google maps

Close to home. The Iowa River Reservoir/Coralville Lake and Lake MacBride. Enough warmwater fishing to scratch the itch. I've come to really appreciate my proximity to these fisheries. On the weekends I've been hitting the water when my son takes his afternoon nap. The temps have been upper 90s this week. Sweating it out in the summer heat reminds me of playing summer baseball, back in the day. I think I played some of my best ball when I was in full drip mode.
The walk from the road to Sugarbottom flat for some gold fish.
The finger on the left is a fair carpin' backwater. Image of Coralville Res. Image Credit Google Maps.
Finger on the right - sugarbottom flat on Coralville Res. Image Credit Google Maps.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Fishing

Fishing my local warmwater lakes and rivers. 
carp on SJW. from Lake MacBride flats.
not a pike. from Wapsi River, on 6" streamer
Met up with James II and Ray for some Pike fishing. I managed a small pike and this cat.  James' blog -- . James has been getting into the Pike lately. Thanks for the tips James.
the Wapsi

Coralville Reservoir
I watched a group of carp slurping cottonwood seeds in this backwater. Took this guy from the group. Not on the surface -- although taking a carp on an imitation cottonwood seed would be pretty sweet.

eye contact is one tip to catching more carp

Direct Gar Print

I am married to a wonderfully talented artist. Last night she printed a gar that I caught on a rope fly. The method is called 'direct fish printing'.

From the river...
To the studio...

Friday, July 8, 2011


My local mud flats.
Still learning the ways of the carp. It can seem futile at times. 

The mud flats are nice and shallow. See the fin out there. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Black Hills

We recently took a week-long trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. It was awesome.
Most of you know that I'm somewhat obsessed with bison. I still consider Alan Knapp's work to be one of the main reason I got into ecology. I remember having to write a literature review paper for my ecology class as an undergrad. Somehow I came across Knapp et al's Bioscience paper. I was seriously floored and forever hooked on plant-herbivore interactions. Bison are the essence of renewable energy. Someday I'll own some land with a small herd. In Custer State Park, bison are common and most people don't think it is too impressive to see one or a dozen. I thought it was great. It is simply the most impressive mammal in North America.

I fished French Creek in Custer State Park. It was full of rainbows. On my way there at 4:30 am, I saw a mountain lion. I was in my car, it was in the ditch, it looked at me, walked around the car, and then ran off. It was awesome-from my car.
I never got what I would call a 'big' fish, but I had a blast.
More bison on the edge of the badlands. Doesn't this photo just emanate ecosystems ecology?


I was recently asked to provide some evidence of my work around the house. Here you go, some scenes from around the Black River Compound....
I did a little branch trimming and dropped a couple of trees behind the house. I didn't feel real great about it, but it does allow me to see the gar roll from the deck. Now if I could just catch one, I suck...

The wood already under the shed should get me through the next two years. The wood piled up could get me through another two years. Seeing this reminds me of something I read the other day. "A lady asked me if heating with wood really saved that much money on my heating bill. I replied, I don't have a heating bill."
The retaining wall is leveling off an area where we will eventually have a fire pit.
The fence keeps the rug rats in.
Potatoes on the left, strawberries on the right. The strawberries did great this year. Next year this entire bed will be strawberries.
The garden is growing well. That is a newly constructed compost bin in the background.

Ok, that's it. I'll work on getting some fish pics up soon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July carp

Was a hot 4th of July in Iowa. I spent a couple hours this afternoon tramping a skinny warmwater stream. We've gone 7 days without rain so I decided to fish a local creek that is more dirt and sand than some of my other options. Was happy to find a couple hungry carp that would move for a Clouser swimming nyph. Feels like summer fishing when you're dripping with sweat and deet.

chopped head and blurred fish. shooting with a timer... almost the money shot

Friday, July 1, 2011

tactics for small stream warmwater fish

Swinging streamers for smallies. Dead drifting nymphs and buggers for quillback. On my local warmwater streams the same trout tactics I would apply to driftless area trout streams apply to warm water specs. On this outing I observed quillback taking insect larvae in the lower sections of riffles. Neat to see flashes of silver as the sucker would twist into position to grab a bite.With the water being very clear the smallies would spot me from long distances. The fish on this stream haven't been too easy to catch. Just enough of a challenge to make it interesting.

The silver of a quillback

good looking warmwater stream in Iowa