|Posted on August 6, 2017 at 1:50 AM|
Put in at D14 access just north of Fort Dodge. Very rocky - along both banks and the entire river bottom - generally shallow with many riffles. Right away I caught smallmouth, further down an off-current flat below a gravel bar showed silt trails of feeding carp, but not the actual carp. Recent rains reduced visibility to 14" in spite of a stable level just below the recommended range.
A little further down, by the Becker area the river slowed and deepened, things looked a bit pikish, but gave up another decent smallmouth instead. I figured I was within the impounding effect of the dam a few bends downstream, but no, it was another large riffle. Turning upstream, the kayak surprised me, ascending most of the riffles. If I found a tongue deep enough for the whole paddle, the dihedral hull kayak ascended it. On the way up I passed 2 empty, plastic bottles moving against the current. Jug lining is popular between Frank Gotch park and Fort Dodge. One held a nice channel cat, the other a carp. With so much rock, the fish find food anywhere, even midriver. While still casting parrallel to the bank much of the time, there were perpendicular situations. A second rod with a microskagit outfit helped, a switch rod might have been even better. Ground water from recent rain gurgled down the bank in many places.
Spooked a few carp, snagged a buffalo, but finally spotted a tailing carp, hauled out, stalked the bank, got the fly right in front of it. A furtive movement from the side and a smallmouth stole the fly.
A #14 tan caddis flitting about in dense numbers. Along the back of this foam covered eddy carp fed at the surface and I tied on a bushy caddis dry built on a #10 forged baitholder. Would've been perfect for Chad's nymph and indicator rig, but I left the indicators at home. No carp found the dry fly in the foam until I put it right in front of one, it gulped, the line twitched and I set the hook. Big fish! and it shot for the strong current, wrapping the line around something on the way. Splashing in thigh deep I poked around with the rod tip and freed the line as the backing knot zipped through the guides. Stumbling out past the chute on the left of the image above, I found good footing and made a stand, the fish bulldogging broadside in the current, the rod bent to the very cork. The fight went on and on, when it finally came to hand, I found the fly snagged under a pectoral fin - disappointment, but still an awesome fight.
I hoped to reach Deer Creek access, but was nowhere near it as the light faded. So many good spots - a few more smallmouth landed, one jumping 5 or 6 times.
Then a tailing carp - a cautious stalk along the slippery bank, the carp always moving a step ahead just as I came within range. Oh wait, here's another one idling in a shallow pocket, will it eat? Yes!
It does get local pressure (even saw another fly angler), but the smallmouth are doing ok. Waders and a good pair of wading boots would be a big improvement over the slippery old Crocs I wore.