Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week Tips for fishing Local, Municipal or City Ponds

Lots of Water, Lots of Company, Lots of Fish

This week we step away from our normal all fly fishing column to talk about all around fishing. Especially for families and young children. It is important to introduce the entire family to the sport of fishing and to be honest the local municipal ponds are a great point of entry. Yes, you can fly fish on these ponds, but be prepared for some strong competition.

Utah Channel Cats, Trout, Blue Gill, Large Mouth Bass, Carp and More

Photo Utah Channel Catfish At Willow Pond

Fishing local, municipal or city ponds has become a part of fishing life for many urban Americans. With the increased cost of travel, less time for fishing and a larger population who fish, for many, the local pond has become the main attraction for avid anglers. And so it should be. "Put and take" fisheries provide recreation, can be quite pretty and are a great place for youngsters. In addition, municipal ponds are great for people who have a challenge getting around and are also a great place to practice your fly fishing techniques. What they do not offer is solitude and a high quality fishing experience. These are public ponds and any angler with a license can fish there. There are several other problems which I will discuss below.

In general, a variety of fish are planted in public ponds: Trout, Catfish, Bass, Bluegill and various minnows to provide a food base. Depending on the water quality and temperature, some natural reproduction may occur.

What Do I Need To Know To Catch My Own Mess Of Fish?

So, how do you fish these ponds? First, lets talk about some basics and then we can get into more technical details.

Photo Channel Catfish Utah Willow Pond

The first step on any pond is to know the rules and regulations. Most often, they will be posted, but if not, check your local regulations so you do not inadvertently harm the fishery.

Second: Observe. Note the water quality and clarity. Find out where the inlets and outlets are, what the source of the water is (spring fed or creek fed). Try to figure out what the topography of the lake is: how deep is it, are there any old river channels and underwater structure.

Next: Research. Whatever research you can do on the front end, will help you greatly. Find the local Wildlife Official and ask questions. Be sure to ask the most important question: what fishing technique is working and what is the stocking schedule! If you cannot find the local wildlife person, ask those fishing the water. You would be surprised how friendly and helpful they can be. I am on a first name basis with many of the fishers at my local pond and I freely give and receive advice. If you are lacking the latest hot bait, sometimes someone will generously give you some. And if you are toting a youngster, which I usually am, other fishermen often will let your youngster land their fish. In reality the social side of the local pond is one of the nice benefits and so, while you are fishing be sure to make some new friends and acquaintances while doing so. Of course, the best way to make a friend is to be a friend so be sure to be helpful with advice and generous if you are so inclined.

Photo Large mouth Bass Utah Bountiful Pond

Also check the pond vegetation as this has a great impact on what the fish will eat and what techniques will work.


Most anglers will be using bait. Power bait and its variants are quite popular here in Utah but they have given rise to "Fleigenbinders Power Bait Rule: Fish will bite on whatever color or flavor you do not have in your arsenal." But, do not overlook the standards: worms seem to work quite regularly and salmon eggs are usually very productive in the spring.

For kids, I highly recommend a small chunk of night crawler on a small hook with no weight at all. That will usually bring in the Bluegill and Sunfish. And, kids want action. A spinning rod with a de-hooked spinner is just the ticket for a youngster to learn to cast and not endangering himself or others around!


When using bait, the best all around rigging is to thread either a clear plastic bubble filled with water or a lead egg sinker above a swivel. Then add 12" to 36" of leader onto the down line end of the swivel where you attach your hook. I often attach two hooks (Double Trouble) either with similar bait fished at two different depths or two different types of bait until I find out what is working. Be sure to check your regulations to make sure that Double Trouble is legal on your water.
Using this setup, you should have enough weight to cast quite a long distance and often this is the trick for municipal fisheries, however don't forget that in many cases, fish will be close to the shore and you might be casting over them.

A common mistake is using too much weight hooked directly to your line. You might be able to cast a good distance but you are simply inviting snags. Don't use too much weight.

The secret to casting long distances is not your weight but your line, reel and rod. I am always amazed at how some individuals can't seem to cast more than about 20'! Make sure you have fresh and not too heavy line - 4-6 lb line is fine for trout and a bit bigger for larger species. Make sure your line is filled to just below the rim of the spool. If you are having trouble casting any distance, take it to someone more experienced and have them check it.

Make sure you can cast appropriate distances, if you cant, you are probably wasting your time!

I'll post more about fishing municipal ponds soon, in the mean time. Happy Fishing!


PS Enjoy The Rest Of The Photo's (How About Some Fly Fishing For Utah Carp)?

Photo Utah Carp Bountiful Lake

Photo Bountiful Lake Carp Utah

Photo Carp Bountiful Lake Utah

Photo Utah Carp

Photo Utah Carp

Photo Municipal Pond Murray Utah

Photo Municipal Pond Murray Utah

Photo Willow Pond Murray Utah

Photo Tiger Trout Utah

Photo Spring Bluegill Utah

Photo Arm to Arm Fishermen

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Fly Fishing Secrets Leeches And Woolly Buggers

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Spring Fly Fishing Brings Out Some Of The Weirdest Looking Insects And Most Colorful Attractors
Photo Mohair Leech
April fly fishing secrets is about to be announced. So get ready to learn about leeches and woolly buggers.

Long, lean and brilliant in color this eggplant color mohair leech is not only bright but the feathers undulate and create a fantastic swimming action in the cold spring water imitating natural aquatic life. Never underestimate the power of illusion created by quality feathers as they flow in the water. In the experienced hands this fly comes to life with movement and poise. Just like a puppet on a string. Skill comes fast to every angler with a little practice combined with trial and error in the presentation. Secrets of leeches and woolly buggers is now revealed for all fishermen to read and enjoy!
Red Hot Fishing Colors Can Create Life.
Brilliant colors attract the fish from all over the water and in all manner of cover. Your best secret for fishing with an attractor pattern is movement with color. Remember the the fly must "dance" to bring out the aggressiveness in the fish and to appear to be alive and desirable. Cold water means a slow retrieve. So use the rod tip to create a "bounce" up and down during the line "strip". Start the line strip as soon as the fly is near the bottom and begin with about a 3-4 inch "jerk".
Rod Tip Must Be Kept Low To The Surface

Keep the rod tip close to the water surface as the fly drifts near the bottom, then "pop it" (rod tip) up quickly about 4-6 inches just before you begin the retrieve. This action creates a swimming affect as well as one of the prey trying to escape ! The position of the rod down low keeps consistent tension on the line. Tight lines is the desired affect.
Hooking Secrets That Keep The Fish On

So when you set the hook, pull the rod along the surface of the water, not "up" in the air. Test this concept before you lose a fish. The "up" direction lifts the line off the water and there is no hooking action. Pulling the rod back and parallel to the water surface keeps the tension in place and the hook in the fish.
Repeat The Action For Success

After the retrieve is complete, lower the rod down near the surface to allow the fly to return to the lowest point near the bottom. Watch your line to make sure the fly is down, and "pop" the rod tip again and start the retrieve process all over again. The fish will usually strike as the fly is falling. This early in the Spring a cruising fish in a large pool, pond or lake will likely "pull" the fly sideways as it feeds on anything in the area. So be prepared for some "light" strikes and pay close attention to the line moving from one side to the other.
Adjust Your Weight To Water Speed and Depth

Note there is no "bead head" for weight so this fly can have a small snail sinker placed anywhere from just above the eye of the hook to 6-8 inches up the line from the eye. This style of no bead also allows the angler to adjust the weight used with various size sinkers depending on water current and the desired speed of decent to carry the fly down. Another example of a secret to fly presentation is proper line weighting. Multiple small sinkers several feet apart creates a different presentation of a fly with an equal amount of weight but only used in a single sinker located closer to the fly.
Blazing Red Belly With An Orange Tail Just For Spring!!!
Photo Spring Tiger Trout Utah
Tiger trout are taking on that bright red and orange belly for the Spring spawn. The tips of their fins are tinted red too, just like the Spring colors of the brook trout (the Tigers mother). I love the black lines that flow like the cut out lines in a jigsaw puzzle across the Tigers body highlighted with an alternating white and green background. Notice the perfect tail of a wild trout. It hasn't been worn round like fish from a hatchery.

Photo Spring Spawning Tiger Trout

Photo Bead Head Leech

As Blue As The Cold Water It may be light blue now but once it is introduced into the water the leech will darken up and be easily seen over a long distance. Moving in a jerky pattern over a weed bed, off of a concealment by the bank or just through a deep hole or pool this attractor pattern says it loud and clear "come and get me".
Why Bright Fly Colors Are Effective !

The pioneers used to call early spring the "lean times". Meaning is was a time to plant and not harvest plus most if not nearly all the winter supply was used up by now. Not only for man but for the animal world too. Spring trout were fattening up nicely because "love was in the air". It was time to spawn and they had to put on some extra weight to be ready. That meant eat everything available. So they do. Bright colors are used to attract fish throughout a large area, the area the fish can see. So you want to work the patterns slow, remember the fish are slow too, so they need some time after they see your fly to attack the target. If it moves too fast, they are not interested, fast moving food requires too much work for very little reward.
Photo Gold Bead Head Red Leech
Marabou is a perfect material for imitating a swimming insect or fish. As the leech is moving toward the fisherman the feather lays down in a streamline pattern creating a very sleek looking body. As the rod tip "jigs" and the fly slows down it's forward motion the feathers flow away from the body like a wing opening in all directions. This affect looks like the fly is slowing down while presenting a much bigger prize to any predators in the area. The marabou actually undulates creating the appearance of gills and external fins. What a fantastic illusionist. The perfect puppet in the hands of even the most inexperienced fisherman.

Site, Smell And Laterals
Site is the trouts ability to see the fly from the area it is hiding or crusing aroung in. Heavy weed cover limits the fishes ability to see too far except in the feeding lane. So make your presentation bright and in the lane for the best chances of getting a hit.

Smell means keep your hands smelling like the surroundings. Rub mud on your hands when you enter the water and tie on your first fly. Place mud on the leader, tippet and the fly. Get the plastic smell watered down, and don't worry the mud will wash off and leave the fly looking fine. Your fly must smell like the surroundings the fish are in.

Laterals, the side areas of the fish that sense food in the water. It works like radar and the fish can identify your fly by it's movement. The fish have a this keensense that picks up motion in the water to assist in their hunting ability. Large flies set off a larger target than do small flies. Take advantage of this sense and let the fish know you have something worthwhile for them to feed on.

Next week we will have some more tips and secrets for April fly fishing.