8-29…Big Gills on Poppers- A Weekend at the Lake

Headed up to our cabin last weekend and had a great time fishing with Grandpa. On the first night the evening topwater fishing was excellent. Noah and I caught lots of crappie and bluegill, some of them pushing nine inches, on little cork poppers.

The quarry was the destination of choice on Friday. Unfortunately, the fishing was pretty slow. The bass were lethargic, and very hesitant to even look at our flies. All of us ended up catching some bass, but nothing like past days. The biggest was a 12 incher, but I lost one (as usual) that was much bigger, maybe 15 inches. The sunfish were a bit more cooperative. Grandpa hammered them, and the rest of us caught our fair share as well.

Saturday brought more bluegill and crappies. Noah and I took the canoe out and found schools of fat crappies feeding on minnows that were rising to a minuscule hatch. Many crappie were to be had, and we even had the chance at catching the elusive tailing carp, but I couldn’t get a long enough cast in before he stopped tailing. Braden was pounding the perch on shore with a little streamer, with some bass mixed in as well.

Once in a while, we put down the fly rods and head to a nearby river to chase some catfish. I know, it isn’t fly fishing, but it is fun in a ridiculous sort of way. Memories of sitting on the bank being baked by the sun on a ninety degree day and catching catfish after catfish come into my mind. Usually, the catfish are really biting this time of year, but today we only picked up a couple. A recent flood had changed the structure of the river, and our favorite hole, which probably doesn’t exist anymore, did not produce like it used to. While everyone caught a fish, Grandpa got the prize for the most fish, with two. That should tell you something about the action. Next we are off to a blue ribbon trout stream and some camping. Stay tuned.


The Chili Lime

Chili Lime

Top view

This fly has been my go to fly for panfish. I created it after taking a sample of the bugs in the lake I do most of my fishing in. When I started experimenting, I wanted a fly that was somewhat realistic, easy to tie, and had lots of movement in the water. This is what I came up with, and it has been killer on bluegills, perch, and crappie. It is accountable for one of my biggest bluegills this season. It even catches some bass. A good little damsel fly nymph for low, clear water and picky fish.

Hook: Wet #12

Thread: Black or tan6/0

Tail: Olive marabou, one and a quarter the length of the hook shank

Abdomen: Chartreuse Ultra Wire

Wingcase: Olive marabou

Thorax: Olive marabou

Legs: Olive marabou from legs

Here is how to tie it:

1. Start your thread a third of the way from the eye and work it back to the bend. This will be your reference point for the thorax.

2. Tie in an olive marabou feather at the reference point. Wrap the thread over the marabou back to the bend, and make the tail a little over the length of the hook shank. Clip the excess and save the rest of the feather for the thorax.

3. Tie in the wire at the reference point. Again, wrap back over it to the bend. This gives the fly a nice, even body with no lumps at the back. Wrap the wire to the reference piont.

4. Strip half the fibers off the marabou feather and tie them in for the wingcase.

5. Tie in the other half of the marabou and wrap it for the thorax.

6.Pull the wingcase forward and tie off.

7. Split the remaining wingcase fibers and double them back to form the legs. Trim them so they extend slightly past the thorax.

The finished fly is around an inch and a half, the perfect size for big gills and crappies. I like to fish it with three short strips and a pause. The bluegills like it too.

Also, check out the “Fly Box”, where you will find lots of patterns that we tie and fish.

Tight Lines,                                                                                                                                      Conner


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