I really thought by this point in the year I would have accepted it’s cold out and focused on other things besides fishing. I suppose in some ways I have; I just finished this year’s holiday album, I’ve been cooking lots of food, and have been working on an online fishing encyclopedia (I’ll post more about that soon).
My fishing trips have been less frequent, although still fairly regular. Instead of fishing everyday, I’ve been going out every few days. Last week I caught 22 fish one day at lunch; most of the other trips have been successful. One of the many reasons I like fly fishing: it sure seems like I get skunked less. Of course I’m happy with catching small fish, so there’s that.
Today I spent a couple hours in a local creek. Nearby, many guys were standing on the shore of a big pool probably trying to catch big musky or walleye. When I entered the water, I noticed tons of little fish swimming around in the surprisingly clear water, so of course I targeted them.
Almost immediately I got a little creek bluegill on my favorite wet fly. I watched them swarm my fly, and ended up catching a few in quick succession.
I thought I saw some larger fish swimming in the shadows, a few inches closer to the bottom. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a big bluegill or greenie and cast my fly upstream so it would drift down to the fish. I watched in giddy ecstasy as a nice largemouth bass came up, took my fly, and kept swimming.
The fish kept going, not realizing it was hooked!
My diminutive 4-pound line was apparently invisible. Only when I set the hook did the bass react. My rod bent over and the fight was on! It was a short fight, but I’m pretty sure some giggles leaked out during the excitement. I wonder what the guys on the bank thought of all that.

Nice sized bass for that little creek

As I always am when a larger fish takes a tiny fly, I was shocked. The internet tells me bass like small food items during the winter; now my experience tells me you can catch a good sized bass on a tiny #10 wet fly in December.
I fished the head of a pool and pulled out at least 5 more bluegills, mostly doing my best imitation of the “wet fly swing.” It’s so amazingly fun to watch the fish come investigate my flies. They were, in general, a lot more cautious than they seem to be in the summer. Most of my fish were caught when many fish swarmed my fly; the fish-peer-pressure made them take it.
At one point I saw a bass that looked twice the size of the one I caught, but no matter my fly or presentation, the big one didn’t go for it. I’ll have to come back later for that one.
The pool, which was underneath a bridge, was too deep to wade. I hopped on land, crossed the street, and made my way back down to the water. I pulled another 4 or 5 bluegills out of the tail of the pool, and even switched flies a few times. Today they definitely seemed to prefer darker colored flies, even though I thought they would rather see something bright. Maybe that’s why the my orange/black/white flies work so well- it’s got good contrast, and it’s both light and dark.
I was surprised I didn’t catch any green sunfish; most stretches of this creek that I’ve explored are full of them. Perhaps it was the wrong habitat.
I had planned to fish until sunset, but was cold before then.. I hopped out of the creek and headed to my car. Real good fishing for the middle of December.
When I went to write this post, I realized I don’t have a single picture of my orange and guinea feather fly by itself- almost all the pictures of it are in fish mouths. I think that’s probably a good thing.

 


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