This upcoming weekend may be the only weekend I don’t get on the water at all. The “Kids” are doing a show and I’ve been strong-armed into helping. Although, part of the duties are watching the grandkids, so Alexandria and I may just have to slip out to a neighborhood pond for a couple hours. Not wishing to suffer fishing withdrawal pains I’m making sure that I get in a few hours on the water after work this week.
Monday night was one of those evenings. I’d decided to fish a local reservoir well known for its heavy vegetation and large population of bluegills. I’d heard an ugly rumor Sunday that it was weed free. Vegetation die-back this time of year isn’t a good thing, so I’d considered fishing elsewhere. I would have, but the source indicated he’d caught a number of bluegill. Plus, sometimes stories are just that, stories.
Unfortunately this rumor turned out to be true; the reservoir was indeed relatively free of aquatic vegetation and had a muddy look to it with visibility less than a foot. But it wasn’t rancid smelling like you’d expect from a die back. Rather it gave me the impression someone “harvested” the vegetation. Needless to say, my expectation of catching anything was way down, far enough that I considered fishing elsewhere. But I didn’t.
I opted to fish it just to see what damage had been done to the fishery. That turned out to be a good choice on my part. While the water was ugly and surface action was nil, unusual this time of year for a water heavy with bluegill, the fish actually were quite active and willing to bite despite the low water clarity.
While there were a few scattered rises, all my fish came using a sinking line, large nymphs and small streamers in dark or chartreuse (high contrast) colors. The fish were primarily near shore and relatively shallow water, less than four feet or so. Over the course of the evening I managed six species, channel cat, largemouth, golden shiner, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappie, with the majority of them being bass and gills.
When fishing heavily stained waters, as in downright muddy, I use lures/flies that have some or all of the following characteristics, dark, high contrast, florescent colored, and slightly larger than you’d normally use. Two reasons, one, most predators are sight feeders, so chose flies/lures are most visible under muddy conditions. Second, bigger lures/flies push more water bringing the lateral line into play for some species.
When conditions change dramatically between trips to any given water, and seem a bit ugly, as they were Monday for me, if the pond/lake is known to be a good fishery, ignore your instincts to find a lake with better conditions and give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was, and enjoy a great evening of catching.