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> > Panfish, Yes, I Know

Feathers5June 25th, 2013, 10:52 am
Posts: 287I realize this is a site for trout, but I'm sure there are people that fish for other fish with a fly rod. I'd like to fish for some panfish, gills, rock bass, etc. with a fly rod. Can anyone guide me to a general area of the Juniata River to search for them?
Jmd123June 25th, 2013, 10:37 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2455
"Look at Jonathan he catches everything swimming." Mutual admiration club back at ya, Mack! ;oD

Bruce, panfish rock and you never need any excuse for enjoying them. In fact, I came up with a new term this spring: "comfort fishing". (Perhaps I am not the first, but who cares, it's all about having fun...) Comfort fishing is easy, relaxed fishing, where stress is low and success is high. For me, this is the way I like to kick off my fly fishing season every year, in a pond or lake environment with panfish and bass. I have two favorites these days: Sylvan Glen Lake in my hometown of Troy, which gets going a little earlier than we do around here; and, Clark's Marsh, within walking distance of my house here in Oscoda (a beautiful walk through several different types of forest and wetland environments, wildflowers and wildlife all along the way). Sylvan Glen threw me an 11"+ black crappie this year on Easter weekend, plus several other smaller ones, and Clark's Marsh threw 7 largemouth at me on a beautiful sunny April afternoon, from which I posted photos on here...

And then there's the perch I catch on flies in local lakes. Pardon the "codename" on this one, but I'm trying to keep the locals from pounding it...[REDACTED] Pond is known for great big brookies (up to 13" for me so far), but also has an apparently introduced perch population (supposedly from a bait-bucket introduction - live bait is now banned there), which of course compete with the brookies. So, how shall I say, "hook-and-cook" or "catch-and-kill" applies to Perca flavescens in that there pond. Which worked in my favor when my Mom and Dad were visiting - I got into a school of spawners in the 8-10" range that couldn't resist a #10 Woolly Bugger in brown & grizzly...also see photos posted on here! Threw nine in the kayak, had them for lunch the next day with the folks before they headed home...

And then there was the time I had a Hex hatch right over sunfish spawning beds... up they came, I had nothing closer to a Hex pattern than a #10 Female Adams and they tore into that like it was the perfect imitation...that was a particularly weird night of fishing: I catch a 10" black crappie on that dry fly and then I snap my rod! Don't remember what the sequence was, but I had both a 3-weight (7-foot) and a 5-weight (8 1/2-foot), and I switched rods, tied on the same fly (I think, it was all a blur at the time!), popped a 15" LARGEMOUTH, and then broke the other rod too!! Shut me right down and there were still fish and flies out there...a freaky night of warmwater fishing, right in my own backyard, just as intense and exciting as any trout fishing I've ever had...

Oh geez, then there's the San Marcos River in central Texas...10" redbreast sunfish that would pod up and take caddisflies at dusk...mixed in with largemouth up to 20"+ (broke off a lot in that range!), many other sunfish species, Rio Grande "perch" (actually a cichlid and kept as an aquarium fish - same family as Oscars, Angelfish, Discus, etc.), Mexican tetras (yes, another relative of aquarium fishes...), the occasional spotted gar (one of the most intense fights I've ever had from ANY fish!), etc...

OK, flies? Woolly buggers, KBFs, Elkhair caddis, Fireflies (wet fly size #12, all black except for bright butt, yellow, chartreuse, cherise, hot orange, etc...),...You know, just about ANYTHING, these fish are not that fussy, that's why it's "comfort fishing", not too complicated, just a lot of fun, and good hard fights on a nice light fly rod!

Sorry to wax so poetically on the humble panfish, but if fly fishing is meant to be FUN, panfish are certainly part of that. AND TASTY too!


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
LastchanceJune 26th, 2013, 7:18 pm
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Mack. Those are gorgeous and for what I'm looking. I got a lead on a place for some nice rock bass and smallmouths. I may not get out until after July 16 because of work, but I'll try to post some photos, too. I can taste those gills.

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