Sunday, March 22, 2009

Early Season Gills

After an excruciating defeat last weekend against the trout of Delaware County in Northeast Iowa, I was eager to hit one of my favorite ponds for some early season bluegill fly fishing. As I stepped out of my jeep in the gravel parking area, the temperature was in the mid 70' of the warmest days we've had so far this year. I've been to this pond only once within the last month. The water then was beginning to turn over. The slightest hint of debris was forming around the waters edge as a beginning symbol of Spring weather. I believe only one fish was taken during that outing. Yesterday, all sorts of debris had materialized on the surface of the water. Both turtles and frogs had emerged from their hibernation. All the pieces of the puzzle were there: the sights, the sounds, even the smells of Spring.
With a good friend visiting from Illinois, I took to the backside of the pond in hopes to snag into a few fish cruising for an early supper. With an hour or two of no luck, I decided to make my way to a commonly fished dock. It was now about 6:00pm, and the heat of the day was beginning to dwindle. When the bluegill fishing is at its peak for this pond, the spot is unbeatable. With no real hopes for catching fish, I tossed my hand-tied wet fly into the water. Almost instantly, I had a bite. Surprised by this sudden change in action, I tossed the fly in the exactly same spot. With a few pulls of the line, I managed to get my first bluegill of the day. I was extremely pleased by the performance of this fly.

TAIL: Moose Fur (just three or four hairs)
BODY: Steel wire (for weight) covered in thread
HACKLE: Brown Grizzly Hackle

Soon after a couple fish had been caught, my usual demise occurred...the fly was snagged on a high limb of a surrounding tree. I was unable to recover the fly, but I hope to make more in the future. The steel wire gave the fly fast sinking abilities, getting under the surface of the water quickly and efficiently.

Fish had started popping the surface of the water for the evening feed--something I have been waiting for months to see. I wanted to test out a new dry fly I had tied in the off-season.

TAIL: Yellow Bucktail
BODY: Brown Dubbing
WING: Yellow Bucktail
HACKLE: Brown Grizzly Hackle

On the first cast, I received one small bite on the top-water fly. The next cast, I had my first fish on a dry fly in 2009. I was overly amazed at the success of the evening. This fly found the same end as the previous, however, on a tall nearby tree. My excitement for the action made my attention to where I was casting wander.

The evening was a major success in my eyes. I even caught a bluegill off my homemade foam spider (more to come about that soon). While trout might hold prestige in the fishing world, I still say there is nothing better than fishing for bluegill in a small pond. Judging from the outcome of Saturday night, I am now officially pumped for the upcoming season.


  1. Came here by way of Jack's Long Ridge Deer Camp. You really have a nice blog Paul. I wish you the best of luck with your new blog, your fishing adventures, hunting and college. Great buck pics also! :)

  2. Those are some mighty fine looking fish you caught there. My first fish caught on flies were bluegills and sunnies. Great fighters and relatively easy to coax into biting.

    Albert A Rasch
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
    The Range Reviews: Tactical
    Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

  3. Marian sent me your way.. Great looking blog! I'll definitely be a reader! :)

  4. I encourage you to check out the outdoor bloggers summit. You would fit in nicely.

  5. Hi, I also found your blog from a post over on Marian's blog. Really like what I see here. Will check in often and will be adding your blog to my blog links over on my blog. By the way, fly fishing for Bluegill with foam rubber spiders is right up my alley. Great post!