Oct 30, 2010

Hero Of The Day

I have been waiting and waiting to introduce someone. The photo above is of my 5 year old niece Caley, and my Hero of the day. She has shown me an interest in fishing that I have never seen out of a human so young, she is infatuated with tackle of all types, lures, bobbers rubber worms, bare hooks and of course the fly. Talking with her, after only going fishing maybe 25 times in her life, she speaks from experience when she says, "I hate those spikes".

The girl was born right near the 4Th of July and has all the fireworks to go along with it. Last year on her birthday I presented her with her very first, very own, fishing rod. A spinning rod for her to fish the local blue gill pond. I included a lifetime warranty and I am very serious about honoring that warranty. I set it up left handed only because I saw it coming. With new 4 lb Trilene XL smooth cast line.

Each time she is at my house, she is digging through my tackle asking if she can have this or that, and she is looking at them in the way that a fisherman does. She wants the piece, because she believes that she can catch a fish with it. I give here what ever she asks for, and will continue to do so, as long as she shows me that interest. I'll find her in my tying den, carefully going through the tiny flies in boxes and cups. When I show up in there to explain to her what she is looking at, she looks up at me with those beautiful little eyes and listens to every word. She often asks if she can watch me make a bug. "You betcha cutie". then she sits and watches every little step.

Yesterday morning I was asked to watch the little one while the mom's ran some arons. After they left, Caley looks up at me with that sneaky (there gone!) fishy look. She wanted to see me make a bug. So we went through the materials and found all the weird stuff that a kid would want to see on a hook, and we were able to get it all on there and she put it with her things to go home and "put her hooks away", as she says.

I look at the temperature out and its reading near 50. Now, who has the sneaky look on their face? In a flash I made the decision to throw the 4wt in the truck and take this girl out and see how she reacts to a fish on the end of a long rod. Granted I had to help with the short cast a bit but the little girl could hold the tip up and follow the orange ball as well as any one. We called it "when the indicator drowns" pull it back up.. She would stare at the indicator with anticipation and when I would look over at her face and see the glare in here eye, the force would drown the bobber on its own and the fish would be there. She landed a total of 3 fish with help only on the cast. There was my Hero for the day!

Oct 24, 2010

Going Nuts

I'm not sure what else to say other than, I'm going nuts! There isn't a fly shop around here withing 100 miles and that one is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. It is the biggest bunch of crap.
Wouldn't you usually either hit the fly shop on the way to the water and grab what you need, or stop when your done to get what you now need? How convenient..

We not only don't have a local fly shop any more the closest one is only open 2 days a week.

I know, I know, you can grab what ever you need on the web, but here's the thing... I have made my living from the money of people who live in my home town. Or from people who just became residents of the area and plan on living here, spending there retirement in this place. After a few years of seeing the same dollar get thrown around in a 15 mile radius over and over, I became partial to spending my money locally if possible. I also don't do well with problems, as in, I need to at least dig a little and educate myself, and move from there.

So I began to dig. I'm determined to find out why an area like this with honestly a lot of fly fishing potential, cant warrant a fly shop. Economy, I know comes to your mind but Bad business comes to mine. I'm out there folks and I'm not the only one. I wont bash too much on the local fly shop that closed down after 20 great years but I will say that there has to be a whole lot more money to be made here now than 20 years ago or Even 10 for that matter.

That leads me to the one that is only open two days a week. as all the unemployed citizens look for a prince nymph with fresh wings. I have to laugh a little at them for they are in the in one of the most ritzy clicky little mountain areas in the state, where people buy fly rods for pride of ownership and the air smells like change. I got an email from someone who works there telling me to hurry down and check out all the fly tying stuff they just got in a big ol shipment of things that are impossible to find, and lots of it. OK wait, If I don't hurry down there and buy something then who are they going to sell it to two days a week, with no costumers apparently that's the reason for the change in schedule. So I flat out ask... Whats up with the shop only open on Friday and Saturday? the answer was, too many people can just go buy stuff off the Internet. That leads me to my final paragraph.

I know with out a doubt that I get as much time as anyone on the water around here and I do see quite a bit of people. I am going to go out on a limb for a second and call all those people that I run in to and my self "us" for a moment. So if "us" guys are all buying our supplies from the Internet, and not enough business to keep the doors open even four days. Then I must turn to the pro's for this question and ask what the hell do you want us to do? Line up at the door and wait for five days to prove that we don't want to spend money on the web. Or continue to laugh at self induced failure? Basically "us" are getting pushed, forced and refereed to the Internet for fly fishing and fly tying material... Google it! I'm going nuts! I just need some more 5x for goodness sakes!
Let me add that the RossReels and The Scott fly rods that you all see in your shops are made right here in my home town, less than five minutes from my house... Thats right, Ross only has one factory in the U.S. and its here same with Scott's.
yet I cant get a leader to save my life, and theres no way Im using fairplay walmart tippets and leaders...

Oct 18, 2010

Warning The wrong Kind of bugs

The wrong kind of bugs are attacking us bloggers, we are at the mercy of google and GMail.

That's right I'm talking computer bug's, something we all fear,, So here is the heads up!
Watch for fake alerts telling you to update your google account or (GMail) things like changing your password or updating your personal information, this will serve as a portal for them to high jack your contacts and then go after them. We are all in each others contacts so this could be bad!

Let's stick together fishing bloggers and don't let them get the better of us!! Remember we're the hunters not the hunted. Leave the bug flinging to us!
Just be aware!!

Oct 15, 2010

Limited Props

What to do with an 8 foot 2x, mangled leader, No tippet, and a streamer box? Wearing jeans, boots (not for wading) and a bright white long leave shirt?

Well on the leader, careful not to leave much of a tag end I guess, fishing a streamer is a gimme, Try not to get my feet wet and hide my shirt well behind the fish is the game plan for one hour, that's all I have to fish. That's all I need to rip anything in there, out with the big junk.

Normally, I would nymph the run first, fishing from the bottom up towards the heart, adding an indicator as needed. Quietly pull each fish down stream out of the way of any others lying above it.

Standing in the grass about 8 feet from the waters edge I begin to fish a streamer that I and only one other person have ever seen before, that other person Is Joel from AYearOnTheFly. I like to keep my fly line out of the water as much as possible. Working my way upstream and across I found a couple of dinks that had no business sticking themselves with a hook like that.

Well My feet are still dry 30 minutes in to the deal and I'm getting a bit tired of reaching way the hell out there over a shallow shelf, with no room to back cast either. I say screw it and jump in with my street clothes on. A few more feisty little trout as the water soaks into my boots. As I reach the heart, mine begins to pound, not because I can't control myself but because there is a force emitting a certain energy that I feel in my chest. I cast way ahead of the heart, out in the fast chop, I mend the line up stream followed by an instant mend back down, become tight with the fly and begin the "wiggle wiggle", watching the end of my fly line, A make sure that it does not come into view of a fish laying in there, that way, I may have another cast at it. Then I see that ever welcoming, little j in the end of the fly line, I gave it a girly set, then realized the sob was a monster, and set it again! Oh boy! this fish could boss around my 2x and take me for a ride.

While my feet are wet I still manage to keep my pants dry. My rod is curled over and the fish is actually working with me. With no net, I plan on getting the fish to swim its self onto the bank. OK looks like she's ready, I add a little pressure and the fish sees me, and bolts!

Now this is not good, Not good at all. The river really picks up right here and then makes a sharp curve twards me, after that the river just takes off. The brush is too thick to run in, and the water is too deep on the edge to get in it and run. A decision to go ahead and walk er down must be carefully though out and not over done. As the fish screams across river and begins the decent down, I head for the edge of the water and realize I need to get back in the brush if I want to move down. This is a situation here folks. I though about breaking the line. Instead I held the rod up high as I could, head in to the brush, and add some faith to my rig. Keeping the line tight and the rod bent, I emerge from the brush to find two huge clumps of wood in the river between me and the fish, looks like the fish wants to use one of them for cover. Oh no you don't! I had to let the fish go back out in the fast water to go around the chunk of stuff then put max pressure on it so it would come between them and hopefully hit land.
All was good and this fight was over. What a rush!!

Oct 14, 2010

In The Drink

Fished with my son last night. Fishing was steady and the flows are still dropping, causing the fish to pile up in huge pods. A bit unfair in my mind. but to a kid who forgot his polarized glasses it doesn't really matter.
The first hour yielded 7 fish for Dylan. He was ready to find another spot but I couldn't leave with out slipping one or two more out there in the drift, the drift I wanted him to hit all 50 casts. While the rod was in my had the boy began to do boy things, looking in the grass for snakes, running into the watter as fast as he could and stopping before the water reached the top of the waders. I think he gets a bang out of the look on my face when he's messing around on the river. Thinking I better give the rod back before something happens, I hear him a comin up behind me, faulty brakes this time and the kid went in the drink! Up to his neck filling his waders with 5 gallons of frigid water right out of the dam. First I acted like nothing happened while he looked up at me trying to catch his breath, I calmly hung my bugs up on the rod, said let's go and we went. 50 feet down the trail, the laughs began to flow with the chattering teeth. I explained to him that messing around can get you hurt out here and told him how lucky his is that it wasn't further away from the truck and later in the year.. We would love to hear your "in the drink" tales, either here in the comment box or in the email.

Oct 11, 2010

The Curse Of JC

So, I'm at the tail end of a day on the river, a day or two after Midgeman's post on the JC pupa.
I should have tied a few right after I saw the post, just to avoid the feeling I had to all day..

First of all, with that bug on my mind, a fish slides to hand, slowly peeking in to their mouths with the anticipation, of seeing something similar to what I tied to my line at the house. The mirage of glitter fills my minds eye. A shake of my head and two blinks of the eyes, a double take to discover that the mouth was good and clean. I could hardly look in another ones mouth. Certain sized fish and well, fish that give up easy, don't require a net. Just a pinch of the hook. When you do this you can see right down the throat. All good unless your mind is playing green tricks on you.

Second, every time I looked in my box, every little speck of green on any pattern would glisten in the sun, teasing the eyes like angels of the JC pupa.

Last, every time the hook gathered a little bit of trash from the rivers bottom, Green most of the time by the way. Inside a speck of moss would be the usual wiggling larva but they were all green today and small.

The curse of JC trickled all the way to this post. I'm certain it will strike again. I just have no idea how. None the less I'll get a row of JC's in there so they are available to play along.

I did not run into the green insect's that were described in Midgeman's post's, but some little green thing hatched in JC's mind that night and It became a bit of a curse in it's self.

Oct 9, 2010

The Limit

I reached my limit yeaterday in more ways than one. I caught my limit on fish, the flows are down near their limit, I reached my social limit of people watching me, and limited on time, having to leave at 2 pm.

I headed up to the dam early in the morning. In search of something Big, I had to settle for a numbers game.
The water is at 70 something cfs and last time I fished it, the flow was just under 300. Clarity has improved dramatically and fish are available to be taken by sight. Gee ya think I might have to make some adjustments?

Here is the thing. When the conditions get like this Its almost annoying, sizes of fish are between 10 and 14 inches, all in pods, of three or more. When you see one it will be the higher one in the water column and there are three in there with it, either below it or behind in the chop. and its not all that unlikely to catch all four of those fish.

I began my journey up river starting from my usual place and worked up stream at a pretty good clip. Fishing to only fish I can spot. The river possesses some deep places where a person could stand and hook fish after fish and maybe even get the same one twice. If he/she were willing to change flies a few times and fish different depths. There would be no need to move more than 50 ft. On average, one predicts that after offering a spot you flies a few time then assuming the fish just aren't biting. I have to admit that there has been times where I have made 100 casts to the same spot and on 101 it hit me like a ton of bricks an adjustment that I should have made on cast 23. After making that adjustment I'll hook a couple of fish and be forced to leave the hole dry that had 16 feeding trout to begin with. Where do I get these numbers?.. I'm making them up as I go.

I choose to use, an easy to fish set up and weight combination. I leave this rig alone most of the day and fish water that the rig works in to fish that are lying in a place they will accept the presentation of the flies. For the most part leaving it alone means, putting it back there when It gets messed up. When I say messed up I'm not talking tangles, and wind knots. I'm talking the tippet section shrinking an inch shorter than my liking and having to tie another knot. I'm pretty particular about this, but I have been known to straight up bite a leader in half 16-18 inches above the lead fly remove the indicator and drop my junk in to my pouch. Tie on a three foot piece of 2x to a three foot piece of 3x, add a streamer. Throw it in under a tree three times, and then turn around and bite that off and re-tie my nymph rig while I'm walking. The Time this takes takes away from actual stream time but with warm hands It really doesn't take that long when you relate it to the time that it takes go get over getting skunked.

As I made my way up river I encountered a few other folks. First, a guide with a client who I could tell would fish dry flies every dries day if conditions permitted.
From down river I could see them both standing in a place that I surely wanted to stand on my way through. I slowed my pace and waited for them to move on. I took my parking place, retied my knots, just to do it, and proceeded to hang em heavy right where they just were fishing dries in an area with so little current that I cant see a fish looking up in that run for any length of time. I mean the spot is over 9 feet deep. How ever I do picture them hiding down there in the cold and deep eating tiny tiny stuffs.
I have super sonic hearing on the river and can hear mumbling each time I hook up, are these two guys talking about me over the noise of the watter on their boots? What could they possible be saying? I was just getting my feet on the bank after a cross, when I clearly hear the guide tell his client "when he gets up here ask him what he is using". Keep in mind their talking over the water running past their legs. I began to plan my answer. Sure enough when I get up there his client said Boy that was a nice fish you caught over there, how big was he?" "yea that was a good fish 12-14." I said, even though it was a solid 12. "Whatcha usin" he asks, and I was thinking bout saying " just a magic bastard from the front range, but I had to tell the truth and say a pt and a sparkle wing rs2. The guide then tells me "were tearing em on dries". I'm Thinking, Yea I caught a few with the crap tore out of there faces, also thinking, OK let me bite all this stuff off and join you on the dinks... NOT, my bug is acting like an emerger of the same, hardly noticeable hatch you boys think your fishing, but there eatin it down there, I didn't say much else than have a good day. I just walked on knowing they were heading up and would like me to keep junk out of the water, needless to say I didn't fall for the oldest trick in the book, witch is for a guide to tell the guy who passes them up to use dries. I moved up out of sight of them and fished on.

Those were the only two patterns that I fished all day other than the OJ worm that didn't produce.

A little further up I crossed paths with a woman who sure looked like she knew what she was doing. She was smart enough to watch what was going on around her. In fact she appeared to bee looking around more than fishing although she had all the amenities that make a person fit in on the stream. Hat, waders, vest, rod and net. She apparently had a Strong interest in what I was doing.
I now had a one person audience. A situation that I absolutely hate. I generally would walk up, out of sight and find a spot of my own, if there is such a thing. Granted I get off on showing up a guide from time to time if needed, but I'm not all that much into messing with the concentration of an average person who just wants to catch a fish.

When river banks, become crowded to the point where I have to sit and wait for someone to move, or so crowded that if you try to go around somebody, you will end up walking your little legs off all the way to the boundary, and spend no time with your head in the game. When there are people watching you like a TV show, you either like it and catch fish, you hate it and leave, hate it and stay... or you, last do what I do... Don't look at them, don't say anything, Catch three fish in a row, and leave the other three down there, walk away after hanging up the net, leave them confused.

If there is room I prefer to walk away and find a run where the 'bubble" is mine and anyone who comes in it, isn't welcome there. I will demonstrate this with out saying a word or giving a look if need be.

OK so about the lady, she caught on pretty slow that I was looking for fish with my eyes an not my flies, She is staring at me like a pig looks at a wrist watch, trying to figure out what I was doing. She probably though that I lost my net in the river or something. It started when I was down stream, a few yards she won't even fish, just watches me and wont look away, A pass up a few fish and casually walk the bank reading the book of the water. I realized that I need to spot a fish and catch it quick, to prove that I'm a nut case. I make a quick scan of the water from left to right and see a decent fish rise in the column, eat something, and drop back down. A smaller one then gives up it's feeding position and drops to the right shoulder of the first.
I dramatically dropped to one knee, pulled out three strips of line and held the stick up high. Then, for no reason at all, I bring my hand up to cut the glare and bend my back a little, Ya know like those guys in the salt flats.... for a more of a scene.
Come on fish work with me here. The lady is still staring at me like I'm sitting at a red light. The next thing to happen was almost embarrassing, the fish comes up and strikes my thingamajigger, not once, not twice, three times, in one drift on the third time, the fish held it in its mouth and swam off. I have gotten over setting the indicator when this happens so I let the thing swim around with it in its mouth until it lets go, I don't think she saw the whole thing go down but my chances at this fish are long gone. As my indicator pops back up to the surface I roll a mend in there to finish the drift, and hook a 2 inch dink. That's what I get. I should have just walked on. I saw a little grin from the woman and onward I went, about another 15 yards up, I Made some dangerous casts under a tree and hooked 5 fish under it. and landed four of them all under one branch three behind a small rock and two, just above it.

There is a walk bridge near here, and the river harbors some great rocks for fish to hold. A fair number of healthy fish, are usually stacked in here. When the water is high you cant see the rocks because the river narrows out and speeds up. I'll add a half ounce of led to the rig in the summer for this swift run. I usually skip this section because of the constant flow of people crossing the bridge and of course the passerby's always stop to look for fish or watch an angler land one. I'm warming up to the people at this point and the comments weren't all that bad. At these low flows, I decide to fish the rock section near the bridge. Oh great it's going to turn on big times now and the fish began to come every drift for about 15 casts. The people came and the comments flowed like the water was. Getting short on time I retied knots again and got out a fresh bug to tail the pt, began a very fast paced way of fishing, landing and unhooking the fish in hopes of the biggest total possible.
I didn't count too well but 50 is not an unreasonable estimation. That was the limit for catch and release this day anyway.