Sorry for the length of this one.
Decided to spend yesterday on the Apple on DNR property south of the state park to try for some smallies. I was in the river by 9:30 with my M setup throwing a white twin-tail twister on a red jig. Got a bunch of hits and finally hooked a small one.
This is an amazingly beautiful spot. Rock walls line the opposite side of the river and the flood plain is a showplace of native wildflowers. Green-headed conflower, Prairie coneflower (AKA Mexican Hat), sneezeweed (got its name because in the old days they used its dried leaves for snuff), heliopsis (AKA false sunflower) and most abundant, Jewelweed (AKA spotted touch-me-not). I was surprised I didn't see any hummingbirds - they love touch-me-nots.
Just before lunch I heard thunder rolling in the distance. I debated whether to stay or go. Stay won. The storm slid off to the southwest. Put me in mind of Robert Pirsig's observation in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when he was riding across the Great Plains how in the summer in this part of the country storms tend to blow in from the southwest. Why when we're occupied in such a zen experience as fishing do other zen-like things come to mind? Must be that fishing is a mind-clearing exercise that frees your thought processes from the day-to-day nonsense of living in the 21st century and opens you up to other considerations.
At lunch time I headed back to my car for a sandwich and to switch from my M setup to a UL setup. All the fish that had hit my lure that morning were pretty small.
Tied on a 1/16 oz yellow & red skirted Panter Martin spinner and walked back to the river. Caught a 6-7 inch smallie on the 1st cast. And I continued catching them. I lost count at 12. Nothing big but lots of action. Some of them put up good fights. At one point I was standing in the river opposite a small overhang in the rock wall. I tossed the lure under the overhang and got a hit from something bigger than what I'd been catching. I saw it flash in the water - but it got off.
Kept fishing my way downstream & under a bridge catching more dinks. At the bridge there was a 14" rainbow lying dead in the water. A non-survivor of the DNR's stocking program. Too bad - really beautiful fish, not one of those pink ones they stock sometimes.
After a bit I decided to go back to the overhang and try again for the 'big' one. Sat down on a log to think about my approach and decided to try something a bit more aggressive than the spinner. A pink 1/8 oz jighead, pale yellow twister tail and safety pin spinner was the ticket. Tied it on and went back to the overhang. On the 3rd or 4th cast the fish nailed it. Put up a great fight but soon enough came to hand. Not big as smallies go but the biggest of the day. Have to say I was pretty pleased with myself. And I decided to make it the last of the day. But boy, was it great to stand in a clear running, gravel bottom river in such a beautiful spot.
On the way home I couldn't resist stopping at Lake Le-Aqua-Na for some LMB fishing. Spent the early evening throwing buzzbaits from a rickety, old dock. I went 0-for-4. I hooked a big one by a log but it got off just as I was about to pull it out of the water. Promised myself to go back there with my canoe before too long - that lake is loaded with bass.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Keep calm and fish on...
There's a fine line between fishing and just sitting there looking stupid