I'm looking for ideas on fishing a local pond in a public city park. This pond has been open for several years now, but just this winter it joined the ranks of stocked trout water. As you might expect, this has at least tripled the number of people fishing the pond. The water is generally clear, the pond is about 2 acres, there is aquatic vegetation around the perimeter, and algae growing in clumps in many areas. There are abundant sunfish and largemouth bass, easily visible most of the time. Three-quarters of the shoreline is wooded and not suitable for flyfishing, while the dam and a short section of bank on one side of the dam is fairly open. The bank next to the dam is very shallow, while the dam itself drops off into deeper water fairly quickly. The shallow water warms very quickly, and I measured it at 84F today, even though most local streams are closer to 70F this week.

Today I took a trip to the pond at my lunch break, and I immediately saw numerous sunfish, plus a few smaller bass along the shoreline. Occasionally, I saw a larger bass swim by 20 or 30 feet from shore in about 2 feet of water. One looked like it had to be 2 or 3 pounds. I started off with a size 10 nymph, which I retrieved in different ways, including letting it sit until it sank to the bottom. I saw numerous sunfish nibble the nymph, but never felt a hit. Had I not seen the fish, I'd never have known they were there. I switched to a streamer, which I retrieved rapidly. This brought clusters of fish following it in, and even a few bass, but again, never a hit. Then I tied on a size 8 comparadun, hoping this would be the fly that they had never seen before. I let it sit in several places for upwards of a minute, but never got a hit. Finally, I tied on a SHWAPF in neutral colors. I managed to hook a sunfish with that, but only one before I had to leave. The take came on a very rapid strip retrieve.

Clearly, the fish are very skittish. There were at least 4 other people fishing the pond at the same time as I was, although none of them were near me. Every fly was examined very carefully, and in the bright sun and clear water, the fish seemed to be able to tell real from fake. So what do you do in situations like this, where there are plenty of fish, and they are interested, but refuse to commit? Is it a different fly? A different retrieve? Do you just pack up and go somewhere else?