If you were to step outside at anytime this past week, you'd likely question what month it is. Is it March? June? January? Truth be told, I don't know either. Just this last week, we swung from the low 40s to the mid 60s to the mid 30s to the upper 50s and now back down to the 30s. Another thing about all the cold frotns swinging through at rapid-fire is the rain they bring. The river is cold and blown-out. Good thing the fish aren't going anywhere.
Sicne the water was so high and muddy, I had to concentrate my search on the lower sections of tributaries where the fish would be gathering. The first one in my sights was one of my favorite micro-fishing holes, where I usually see dozens of chubs and green sunfish. I wasn't too surprised by what I caught.
At least this one was pretty.
After catching a lifetime supply of creek chubs and green sunfish, I figured I had overstayed my welcome and decided to move onto larger waters. This next spot holds a special place in my fishy heart as it's where I caught both my lifer quillback and my highfin. I would fish this spot so much more except for the fact that every baby drum in the Des Moines River seems to hang out here. I was reassured of that fact just a few minutes after I had arrived.
Even in 40 degree water, they still seem to be here. (Goldy owes me a dollar!!)
Thankfully, the drum weren't the only ones who wanted to play this day.
Baby Catfish wanting to play. I love these little fish, they just look so cool.
Big healthy bluegill. Always nice to see a bobber get pulled under.
White AND Black Crappie within minutes of each other.
After a good multispecies day, my confidence for the spring was building pretty quickly. Not surprisingly, the forecasted temperatures dropped 30 degrees and I soon found myself fishing in an ice storm. Thankfully, the bad weather treated me to a great fish!
Quillback!! Came at a cost, thought. Those dark clouds behind me were an oncoming ice/rain squall that promptly drenched me. I was texting Goldy a play-by-play of me standing on the bank being pelted with little ice pellets. So fun.
I decided to walk down the shoreline and look for other promising eddies but I didn't find any. What I did find was a giant dead gizzard shad on the rocks.
I wear size 11s. Wish I could've hooked this fish while it was alive.
The cold weather settled in after the ice storm, so I took a brief hiatus and waited for the snow to melt. After it melted, we remained 10-20 degrees below average, but I had to fish. Finally, we had a day where the temperatures reached the upper 40s (average high is around 56) but I had to go out. I walked little farther up a tributary to where there was some clear water coming to meet the chocolate milk of the river. After fishing a little piece of crawler for about a half hour, I noticed my line start to wander downstream away from me. I got curious and reeled into a hookset. Fish on.
The Carpsucker Ninja is still here! This one was a River Carpsucker, and likely my personal best carpsucker, too!
That carpsucker was the only fish I caught that day, and I did not make it out for another week due to inclement weather. Finally, after a week, temperatures eclipsed 60 degrees! I had to get out and spend the afternoon staring at my rod not moving! Thankfully, I got a bite very quickly.
Nice little channel cat! Almost pulled my rod in if I'm being honest.
After another couple minutes, I got a bite on the same rod. I pulled it up and it might have been the most photogenic catfish I've EVER caught.
He's so cute!
I went through about an hour and a half of no bites until I noticed my line starting to slowly meander away from where it had been resting on the surface. I walked over to it without freaking out because I thought it was a little channel cat. I picked up the rod and reeled into another set. I was surprised (just a little) to have something burn my drag for about 10 seconds and I quickly realized it was no baby channel cat. After a long, spirited fight, a double digit common carp struggled in my incredibly undersized net.
It works, ok?
Estimated around 11 pounds?
This big boy was subdued on 8 pound test with a size 12 hook.
What a Happy Face!!
That fish brings us to this week. It's cold again. Oh well.
2017 Undisputed Iowa Small Drum and Creek Chub Champion