Connecticut Crappie

For the past few weeks I’ve been eyeing the narrow pond that lies behind a nearby industrial park. Sandwiched between an office complex and the state highway, it is heavily shaded on one side by pine trees rising above the steep landscape and relatively open on the other side due to clearing from residential development. Well worn paths weave among the trees, yet I had never seen anyone in the general area.

Having a couple of hours to spare, I decided to wander down with a 9′ 5 wt and some poppers to see what I might find. Tying on an orange popper that resembled a small safety cone, the first casts yielded a few bumps but no takers.

I relocated to an area where fallen trees partitioned a 20′ section of the pond and changed to a black popper with white rubber legs. From the shore, I methodically delivered a series of casts, each a few feet farther than the last, moving back and forth until I had covered the entire area. After the popper landed, I would allow it to rest for a few seconds until employing short twitches in no particular pattern.

After tossing it between two branches that were jutting about a foot out of the water, I felt a strong tug followed by a series of short splashy resistant jumps. Initially I thought it was a small bass, but the distinct black and silver-green coloring, along with markings that resemble digital camo, told me I had landed something equally desirable – a black crappie.

crappie, flyfishing, pond, popper

I have not seen a crappie since leaving New Jersey, and could not remember ever catching one in Connecticut. Compared to others I had landed in the past, this was rather large, somewhere between 10″ and 12″. It was also the biggest fish of the day. The pre-dusk sun showcased its spectrum of colors. Unfortunately my phone camera could not recreate its beauty.

log on pond, flyfishing, popper, crappieMoving along the bank I found a fallen tree that would act as my casting platform for the remainder of the day. It was also the most productive area for this trip.

This had been a sizeable tree, measuring 2 feet in diameter at the base, and undoubtedly kept a beaver busy for quite some time before making what I am sure was a giant splash.

A portion of the stump remained attached, providing much-needed stability. Almost 40 feet of the trunk lay partially submerged in the water. Based on the substantial wear and decay, many others have cast a line from this same spot.

I tied on a small red popper and walked out slowly to the middle of the log, stopping only when my balance became questionable. It was at this point I remembered that  the phone was not in its waterproof case. The prospect of  losing my balance and the resulting dunking could be both expensive and inconvenient, not to mention embarrassing. With the sun setting, I decided to take a couple of steps back towards shore as an added precaution.

Sending out the first cast, the search began. Although I had seen fish on the right side of the log, they quickly disappeared and I had no luck, despite repeated attempts.

The left side was another story. Well shaded and somewhat murky, it held a pod of crappie. Several casts drawn along side the trunk were met with strikes, and a few fish were brought to hand.

crappie, flyfishing, pond, popperSensing that sunset was close at hand, I backed down the trunk to the relative safety of the steep bank and began my trek to the car. Passing two teen-aged boys with spinning gear, we briefly traded tips. They informed me that this is primarily a bass lake, which only fuels my desire to return. Enjoy!


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