Monday, May 16, 2011

Panfish on the Fly-Fun or Not?

As the local rivers begin to enter runoff, our fishing options become much narrower.  Should we go fish lakes for the chance at a monster trout? Should we hit the ponds in search of hungry, pre-spawn bass?  While these are both viable options, I enjoy going to fish the little neighborhood ponds for bluegill and crappie.  Though many fly fishermen shun this idea, it is actually a great way to practice casting, and work on tricking a few fish.

Panfish are about as dumb as they come, making it rather easy to have an hour consisting of nonstop hookups. My personal favorite method to use while fishing for these guys is a dry dropper rig consisting of a size 14 rubber leg stimulator, and my own bluegill pattern "The Blue Magic" off the bend of the stimi.
My "Blue Magic" Pattern Fooled This Decent Panfish

The best times to target these guys is in the evenings or early morning, seeing as they feel comfortable under lower light conditions, and rise to just about anything that lands on the surface of the water.  This is when they begin to slam the stimulator (or dry fly of choice), making for an exceptionally fun night of fishing.
This little guy took a size 12 stimulator
Of course, there is the occasional chance at a nice sized bass that happens to swim by.  For those of you who don't know, these pre-spawn bass give your reel a run for its money as soon as they realize that they are hooked.  With heart stopping runs, breathtaking leaps, and last minute bolts from the net, these fish truly  do offer an exhilarating fight, right down to last few seconds.

Big Pink Streamers can sometimes be the Key to these Fish
Overall, fly fishing for panfish is a great way to not only practice your casting, but also to enjoy the great outdoors.  When you have nothing to do this saturday, head out to the local pond with your 1 weight fly rod, it could end up being a great saturday.

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