Thursday, November 15, 2007

wipers don't rise. they bust.

Well, I think I've finally become a true Midwestern fly fisher. I've gone after wiper four out of the last five days. Although it's hard not to. Lake Monroe has a very healthy population of these fish and you can catch them on the fly in the shallows off the dam. Fifteen minutes from my house. Fly fishing on a big lake is a strange thing for me. You feel terribly impotent, standing there, waving the silly little fly rod around in front of this 10,000 acre impoundment. But it's pretty cool. Kind of what salt water fly fishing is like I imagine. Kind of.

Wiper are a hybrid species bred exclusively for sport fishing (and food?) mainly in the Southeast and Midwest. They're a cross between the salt water striped bass and the freshwater white bass (hence the cute name). They are extremely aggressive and fight like a bull on cocaine. They are probably the most fightenist fish I ever done caught. I fish for them with my fast 8wt rod mainly because it helps to be able to cast 70 feet into the wind, but even the little ones put a bend in that big rod.

I've been meaning to go out after these fish and even made one half hearted attempt back in September when all I caught was this crappie on a dry fly in the spillway. Oddly enough. They were rising, what was I supposed to do?

But on Saturday, Zack of JL Water's Fly Fishing Department fame took me out to the dam and I caught three little ones (~12") in a row in about 30 minutes (unfortunately my camera batteries were dead so I didn't get any pics). Then we went up across from Fourwinds where I caught another little one.

I was pretty much hooked after that. Went back out on Sunday by myself. Nothing. Monday by myself. Nothing. (last night was Upland night). Tonight by myself: caught a few, and even a decent sized one. But they get much, much bigger. 30" long, 20lbs fat. How great would that be on a fly rod?

It apparently helps when the wind is blowing in towards the dam pretty strongly because it pushes the bait fish into the shallows and the wipers come in to feed. Every once in a while you'll see a flurry of shad skippin' across the surface of the lake fleeing for their life until WHOMPSHHH! A big old wiper comes up and busts on their aces. So you look for the fish busting and cast at 'em. But tonight it was so windy the baitfish weren't very obvious and I didn't see a single bust. But no matter. The wiper were in 3-4 feet of water and I must have stumbled onto a school of them because I caught five in a row on maybe ten casts. Just one after another. It was pretty awesome. Caught them all on Clousers. #4 orange over white was all I used on Saturday. Tonight I caught them on all white #4 and black over white unique hair with blue flash #8 (the others were all bucktail with silver flash).

Check out how much the leaves changed in just four days (maybe it's just the light). Click all for bigger.

Littlest buddy.

Bigger buddy. Click to enlarge.

And fattiest McGee. Click for bigger.


D Hanks said...

Nice Dude. I don't reckon I've ever heard these guys called wipers. Must be a midwestern thing. Down here in the south we just call 'em hybrids. Mostly around here though folks fish for the later of the two parents you described (the striped bass). The lakes around here are full of them suckers (not that they're sucker fish b/c they're not). Turns out some of their favorite vittles are my fish of choice to put PIT tags in and see how they fare. The blueback herring numbers are in decline and since they migrate upstream and benefit (supposedly...hopefully) from fishways we're interested to see if they actually do benefit and from which type of fishway they benefit from best. Cool stuff but I digress. Catch some more o' dem wipers and check out what I caught this past weekend over on my blog.


Jason said...

hey i really like ur blogs, they are really interesting. Im a freshman at the university of indianapolis and i dont really know of any good rivers around southern indiana to fly fish. Im from northern Indiana so im not to familiar with the area. If its not too much of a hassle, could you maybe fill me in on some good creeks/rivers to fish. Id really appreciate it. Thanks.

Matthew D Dunn said...

Jason: thanks. The White River would be the closest thing to Indy I think, although it's rather difficult to wade in most places. There is some good wading around Martinsville, Gosport, and probably Spencer too, though I've never tried Spencer myself. Lots of nice smallmouth in the White River. But again, it's big water.

I fish in Clear Creek a lot, but it's 15 minutes south of Bloomington so it would be a haul for you.

While I have yet to fish Sugar Creek, from everything I've heard it is probably the best creek smallmouth fishing in the state. Big fish, small, wadable creek, pretty surroundings etc. And it's fairly close to Indianapolis. I've heard the section between Crawfordsville and Turkey Run State Park is quite nice. Although again, I've never fished it myself. Come spring I'm going to make a trip up there.

And if you like fly fishing for trout (and who doesn't?), the Brookville Tailwater is awesome. And less than two hours from Indy. Probably less than 1.5 hours from Indy actually. Lots of nice sized browns.

Jason said...

Thanks, ive been looking into brookville a lot and it looks like it would be a pretty nice place to go. Ive heard that sugar creek is pretty nice to so ill probably give that a try sometime.

I was reading about your steelhead fishing and that you wanted to go back. From everything ive heard and seen they really like hitting egg sucking leeches and the like orange and pink colors so a grapefruit works pretty good. They are fun to catch but they dont call them the fish of 1,000 casts for nothing.

Thanks Again