I started off today hunting mushrooms. After 20 minutes my mushroom bag was still empty.
It was time for plan B. Rain was predicted for 3 pm and it was already noon. As a backup plan this morning I threw my fly rod in the truck. If I hurried I could be at any one of three of my favorite southeast Indiana smallmouth streams in half an hour.
From my experience a rapid change in weather doesn’t usually help the fishing. It was clouding up as I was putting on my waders. The river was in exceptional condition, not too low and clear. I started off with a crawfish pattern and caught one average smallie.
I switched to a black wooly bugger and caught another. Since there was no other action on the black wooly bugger I switched to a white one and caught one more fish. This was getting tedious.
I searched through my fly box and selected a chartreuse and white Clouser. This might very well be my favorite all around fly. Today the smallmouth preferred it as well.
For the next hour and a half I had steady fishing. The day’s best was a fat 17-incher taken on the Clouser. Also in the mix was a half dozen redeyes all decked out in their spawning colors.
It is important to note along with the redeyes the smallmouth were on the beds as well. I saw several nests today. One with a pair of smallies actively spawning.
I’m sure I’ve taken a few smallies off their nests but I never target them. If I see the nest in time I do my best to avoid it and leave the proud mommie alone.
If I’m guessing correctly the smallmouth fishing will be pretty decent until the water warms considerably. This time of year it’s not necessary to get up at the crack of dawn or stay until dark. Smallmouth prefer the cooler water and can be active all day.
As I was taking my fly rod apart I could hear distant thunder and feel the temperature fall. I lowered the window as I was leaving and I could smell the rain. Shortly, the first big drop splattered on my windshield and I said to myself, “good timing.”
Shadley’s interest in hunting, fishing and a ton of other outdoor activities started at a very young age. He was hunting and fly-fishing on his own when he was eleven; it’s always been his passion.
He was employed by the Indiana DNR as a conservation officer for 34 years. For the first 17 years, Shadley worked southeastern Indiana as a field officer. For the last 17 years he was in charge of Indiana’s Turn In a Poacher program (TIP) and was the chief public relations officer for the law enforcement division.
Since his retirement he’s spent most of his time fly-fishing, shooting sporting clays, hunting and photographing wildlife.
Shadley is Fishing Editor of the Sporting Report.