Posts Tagged ‘Bowling Lake’

And who better to spend it with then Little E…

Now that graduate school is over, and some family visits are taken care of, I was able to hit the water and fish. With graduate school being over now, this was really my first guilt free fishing trip. I can’t think of the last time I had been fishing when I had something school related I probably should have been working on.

Little E got a Spiderman life jacket to wear at the beach, so we rocked this new look at the lake tonight. Armed with a new sense of fearlessness, she waded right into the water with daddy, and stood by my side as a pulled to hand a few bluegills and one tiny largemouth bass…

Definitely the best little fishing buddy… until about 45 minutes later and she demanded that I take her to the grocery store for the fudge ice cream bars I bribed her with to get her to come out with me…

So my first trip out was cut a little short. But still fun. And definitely cute.

And I have a TON of vacation time that I need to burn, so my fishing time is only just starting to heat up!

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My last post referred to the fact that I am busy fishing; not blogging. The top water bass bite has been awesome. I don’t really have anything profound to say. Just a lot of pictures to share.

Nothing beats slowing pulling a frog fly across the surface of the water, watching it suddenly disappear in a splashy explosion, feeling the rod double over as the fly strikes home, and watching the bass dance above the water.

Except knowing that you made that foam frog fly by hand. From scratch.

Fly fishing is mesmerizing…

See you double hauling a frog over the water.

E

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This Memorial Day was spent trying to fish while dodging thunderstorms. One of the hooks about living on the Great Plains is our manic weather. It can sure turn on a dime. And we Nebraskans enjoy complaining about it…

Contrary to the picture on the last post, this fishing this weekend wasn’t all bad; even around the thunderstorms. I normally enjoy fishing right before storms come in as it seems to drive the fish into a feeding frenzy. I had good luck on Saturday and Sunday; but Sunday night’s storms were pretty bad. And when I got to Bowling Lake on Monday afternoon, the water had turned a murky brown stained color. Water clarity had dropped to almost nothing…

Which isn’t good for fly fishing…

I going fishing every chance I get, even if I don’t believe it will be a good day to go. I don’t get many weekdays off from work during the school year, and I take advantage of time off in the summer every time I can. Not to mention that I appreciate all the people who fought and died for my country to give me the opportunity to go fishing leisurely whenever I want. As such, I headed out to the water.

I fished all around the lake, casting to all the spots I normally catch fish… Not a bite. I have been spoiled lately by some good bass fishing near my house, and hooking into a largemouth on almost every trip has spoiled me. I did manage to catch one bluegill over a spawning bed that I had found earlier. I moved on hoping for bigger fish, but I went almost an hour with no other bites…

So I headed back to the spawning bed. Even though the bluegills there were not real big, sometimes you have to take what you can get…

I decided to have a little fun, and tie on a dry fly for the first time this year. As soon as it hit the water, SPLAT, a bluegill nabbed it from the surface…

After a few fish on my Elk Hair Caddis fly, I decided I would see what else they would hit…

Another hour later, and my only regret was not bringing more dry flies to the lake…

In the end, I caught fish on 5 different flies (Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Green Panfish Popper, Foam Ant, Foam Panfish Bug). Some I had to work really hard to get a strike (Foam Ant). Others were destroyed the second they touched the water (Elk Hair Caddis, Panfish Popper). One fly I never even got a strike on (Royal Wulff)…

But in the end, it was more fun then I could have imagined.

Sometime you just need to take what you can get; and enjoy every moment of it.

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For the record, I am pretty good at catching fish too…

I can’t think of a better way to introduce my new readers to Flies Over Nebraska then a story about Little E. I generally fly fish alone. I enjoy the solitude and the serenity. But if I ever do go with a partner, it’s my 2 1/2 year old…

Lately Little E has been mommy’s girl. She hasn’t wanted anything to do with her daddy. To give my wife some time to work on her projects, I decided Little E and I should head to the lake for some daddy-daughter fishing.

She screamed the whole way to the lake for her mommy… But we she got to the water and saw all the dandy lions to pick, she turned around.

And after daddy caught his first fish…

Little E was right by my side to hold and pet the fish. She is getting pretty good at identifying fish too; and correctly identified this fish as a bass.

My first one on my Tenkara rod for the record.

It’s sometimes difficult to keep young children entertained between fish bites, but Little E always finds a way. Finding sticks, collecting snail shells, picking dandy lions… and filling daddy’s pockets full of all of these “treasures” to take home to mommy.

Lately we have enjoyed touching the water…

And of course picking up the mud while mocking daddy with the mess. Not to mention the trouble he will be in with mommy when we get home.

But when that next fish comes to hand, Little E is always right there with daddy; with a world’s worth of wonder in her eyes.

She loves to pet the “shishes”, and see them splash. And lately, we have enjoyed letting them go. She likes to see them scurry away, and splash her as they slip back into the water…

Isn’t that last one the cutest catch and release picture you have ever seen?

As an angler, there is nothing that makes me happier than Little E taking the greatest pleasure in watching her trophy swim away…

And then asking daddy to catch another one. She’s got the angling bug already.

A few weeks ago, Little E was with me when I hooked into a fish and my line broke off. For weeks she has been taking about “That big shishy that took daddy’s fly”. I told her that we would catch that fish and get our fly back.

Right at the end of our trip, we hooked into a nice little bass.

Little E immediately deemed it the fish that stole daddy’s fly. Redemption was completed; even though there was no fly to reclaim… other then the one I caught him with. Who cares that I had no idea what kind of fish even took that fly weeks ago…

Little E was not mad at our menacing, “fly-stealing”, large fish. We caught it, and that was enough. The only thing left to do was let it go.

I couldn’t ask for a better fishing buddy.

That is until our short attention span get distracted by an endless field of dandy lions; far as our little eyes can see…

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Par for the course right now… Slow fishing. At least I am catching something!

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After I got home today, I peaked out at the flag pole my neighbor has in his yard. I have developed this ritual since we bought our house, and the final decision to go fishing after work cannot be made without first checking the to see if the flag on the top of the pole is still, fluttering, or standing so straight in the wind that fly fishing would be impossible.

Today the flag was fluttering. Oh, how deceiving looks can be.

Even though the wind was light, two miles away at Bowling Lake the wind was miserably strong. After I got onto the water, the realization had set in that I had vastly underdressed for that strong, cold Nebraska wind blowing from the north. I had only brought a sweatshirt with me, and with in minutes my hands were numbing. I even resorted holding my tenkara rod handle inside my sweatshirt sleeve to keep my hands warm.

But within a few casts I pulled a bluegill to hand. And the cold faded away.

Don’t get me wrong, I still was cold. I just didn’t notice it after that fish came to hand.

I was the only angler on the lake; which either makes me a genius or an idiot. By this story, it could definitely go either way. I spent the next hour roaming up and down the bank; walking backward into the wind to keep warm, but not noticing it’s sting.

I didn’t catch another fish the rest of the evening. But catching at least one fish will do that to an angler, and a new frame of mind sets in…

“One fish took the fly, why wouldn’t another one?”; maybe the next one will be the big one… the one I will talk about for years to come; whose photo will be framed in my office, pointed to, and constantly bragged about when others walk in my door and say “I’ve never caught one that big…”; to which I would always reply “You should have been there” with a smug smile on my face knowing that they can’t; that they didn’t stay up late at night tying the perfect fly pattern, they didn’t preserve through the cold and the wind on an evening when all others abandoned hope; knowing that moment in time alone on the lake, in miserable weather and armed only with my faith, nature rewarded me with a magical fight; a moment that no one else will ever know; a secret between me and nature; because while others may see that picture, they will never feel the racing heartbeat, the rush of adrenaline, or the grace of the fight from the moment the rod first vibrates with the strike of a once in a lifetime fish, to the last touch as it swims from your hand…

…the eternal optimism that separates a fly angler from the rest of mankind.

No, I did not catch another fish. I didn’t need to. I guess that either makes me look like a genius or an idiot.

Sometimes, looks can be deceiving…

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No one wants to see a picture of me anyways…

So Friday night was a bust; but I did manage to get out on the water Saturday night and get into some bluegill on my new Tenkara rod. What a riot that was… Fly fisherman, if you have not tried out Tenkara fly fishing yet, you are missing out. It is not going to replace “western” fly fishing for me by any means, but it is an awesome way to target bluegills!

I couldn’t get bits from any other fish, but the bluegill have definitely moved into the shallow water…

Almost all of my hits came off my green bead head reapers… see my fly tying page for more info. I also got a few hits on some of my deep diving flies on my new St. Croix Imperial Rod I bought for bass fishing…

Admittedly… not the best picture of me…

The best part of the Saturday fishing was finding the fish though… so I could take Little E out on Sunday.

It was her second official fishing trip of the year; but the first where I landed a fish. And boy was she excited!

Little E is a bit too small to fish herself… That doesn’t stop us from occasionally trying though. But normally when little E comes with me, she is my “net girl”. She will follow me up and down the bank looking for “treasures”; like sticks, rocks, and this weekend’s surprise… snail shells.

But as soon as she hears the fish splashing in the water, she is right on point with her trusty net!

Mostly because that means she gets to pet the “shishies”…

What a fishing buddy! No better way to break back into spring fishing!

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