Monday, August 30, 2010

Win a Plano Bow case signed by Michael Waddell!

I just ran across this on Facebook and thought all you Bow Hunters might be interested. Plano is giving away one of its All Weather Bone Collector Bow Cases, signed by Michael Waddell!

Follow this link to enter

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 2 - Middle Fork of the Boise River

Day 2 of our adventure shaped up a little differently than the first day. I would be on my own for the first half of the day - Rebecca had some things that needed to be attended to. The plan was for me to drive up the Middle Fork valley, fish wherever I felt like fishing, and meet up with her in mid-afternoon. This was fine by me since, as I've stated before, I usually fly fish alone anyway.

Middle Fork of the Boise

The Middle Fork is a beautiful river that cuts through the steep mountains northeast of Boise. It is not an undiscovered piece of water by any means - when I talked to a biologist in the DNR, he recommended I fish this water as well. It is crystal clear and full of rainbow trout, redbands, some cut-bows, and some bull trout. The 'bows and redbands tend to be small, so I think that puts most of the more serious flyfishermen on the highly touted South Fork of the Boise. That's all right with me - more room for me!

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I love small waters and the fish they hold. But my version of small trout water and the biologists version of small trout water are 2 very different things! I brought my small water gear for this one - a 2 wt. rod. In retrospect, the water was too big for that outfit, and I would have been better off with a longer 4 wt. But - I got by, and had fun doing so.

The drive in is, umm - interesting. It contains 2 distinct components. First is the seemingly never-ending , winding , shoreline hugging route that parallels the 2 reservoirs you drive past. Then comes the never-ending, washboarded, dusty, long dirt road that parallels the river. Its not a long drive on the odometer, but it feels like it takes forever. It's even more fun coming out at night!

This river is, to me, a classic, beautiful western mountain stream. Fast water, gin clear, beautiful setting. I loved it from the minute I laid eyes on it. I decided to go upstream a few miles before I picked out a piece of water to start fishing. This day I would be wet wading in the refreshingly cool waters.

First spot I fished

I decided to stick to my usual array of small fish, small water bugs. Throughout the day I used: Humpy, Lime Trude, Elk Hair Caddis, Godlike Caddis, Parachute Madame X, and a H&L Variant. THE fly to use here is the Royal Wulff, but I'm stubborn. And, it didn't really seem to matter.

First trout - a tiny, spunky wild rainbow

I know this fish is tiny , but believe me when I say they put a bend in a 2 wt. they ARE spunky. The river was crystal clear, but these 'bows are tough to see in the water.

Clear water.

The hits came frequently, but the fish are both small and quick, so I missed a lot of hits. My next fish felt bigger, and showed the throat markings and spotting pattern of a cutthroat. It also had an underlying rainbow to it. I don't know which type of cuts are in these drainages, but I'm pretty sure this fish is a cut-bow.


I moved up to a different spot where a couple of trees had fallen across the river. The currents running through the branches made for some great seams and current breaks, and I picked up 7 or 8 small rainbows in this stretch.

Lots of fish below this tree

I met up with the Outdooress and her husband about 3 pm. Since they know the river, I followed them downstream to some areas they like. It continued to produce these beautiful rainbows, and I got to do some more photography. Hope you enjoy the shots.

Beautiful water

the Outdooress and the Fish Cruiser

Rebecca and Banyon

Which fly, which fly???

Got the right one!

Another rainbow coming in

Love these little fish!

The Outdooress and her dog, in their element

We caught lots of fish, missed lots of fish, and ended up spending the last hour of daylight sitting by the river talking. It was another memorable day fly fishing, one that will stay with me forever.

So, you might wonder how I could enjoy a day catching little rainbows as much as I enjoy a day catching big browns. I don't know why, but I TRULY do enjoy them equally. I'm in awe of big fish, regardless of the species. But I love wild fish in small streams, too. And a foot-long bow or cut on the 2 wt. felt just as good as the 20" browns on a 5 wt. from the day before. I guess it's actually a blessing - I'm VERY easily amused!

The only thing left to do is make return plans to this great area of the world. And I might do that sooner rather than later. The Fall fishery on River X might just be something I HAVE TO experience! I'll leave you with a picture of me and my new found Idaho friend, Rebecca the Outdooress.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Western trout adventure with The Outdooress, Day 1

I can't stand it anymore - i have to write this post. It will be the first of either 2 or 3 - not sure yet exactly how it will play out.

I got a chance to combine 2 things I've wanted to do all year - fly fish out West, and fish with a person I know only through the blogsphere. I contacted Rebecca Garlock - The Outdooress - and she was A)available to fish, and B) willing to show me around. This would shape up to be a high point of my 2010 fishing year. We talked the week before the trip and decided to spend the first day on her favorite Oregon water and the second on the Middle Fork of the Boise river. Vastly different pieces of water, which is the way I like to fish. This is the synopsis of Day 1.

The water we fished will remain nameless. She honors that request from those who fish it, and I will as well. I will say this, though - it is public water and accessible to anyone and everyone. This is NOT private water.

We got to the river around 11 AM. She mentioned that there was a lot of water she had never fished, so I suggested we try a new area and experiment. We found a pull-off, checked it out, and decided to give it a shot.

The river at the first spot

Rebecca gearing up at at the famous "Fish Cruiser"

I knew that Rebecca fishes alone most of the time, and I do as well. This river was the perfect place for us to fish in our respective comfort zones - on our own - while still being just across the river. It was a perfect blend of fishing alone, with a friend. I waded across the river while she started up the near bank. The arid land surrounding the river was loaded with grasshoppers, so we both went with the Western standard "hopper and dropper" rigs. I used a flashback pheasant tail for my dropper initially. It took me a little while to get used to the 2 fly rig, but I got into the routine quickly enough. The river has a lot of grass / weed in it , and my clumsy wading spooked a trout I estimated to be around 16"-17". I thought to myself "Geez - that was a great trout. I just spooked the only good fish I 'll see all day" Luckily, that thought wasn't anywhere near reality.

My first trout came at 12:55, a 16" brown on the dropper. These fish have BEAUTIFUL coloration.

(As always, click on the photo for a larger picture)

Incoming brown on a dropper

16" brown

Now, I realized I had a (minor) problem - these fish were bigger than the ones I'm used to catching, and I'm waist deep in a river. So the only way to photograph them is hold them in one hand and take a shot with the other hand. Not the most artistic poses, but you do what you have to do.

At 1:10 the next trout nailed the dropper. Hey - this is starting to be FUN! [the way I know the times is via the info embedded in the pictures]

Another big brown trout

I had gotten into a bunch of fish in a deep run. I missed a few along the way, too - some on the hopper, some on the dropper. At 1:30, I got a BIG hit on the hopper and was into a good fish. After a 10 minute fight, I landed what is my biggest brown trout from a river ever. Rebecca saw me fighting the fish and waded over to net it (I landed all my others by hand). She also took this picture of a happy fisherman! A beautiful 22-1/2" brown trout.

Hell - after that fish, if I had fallen in the water and broken my fly rod, it would have been a great day! We decided to move upstream, get a bite to eat, and try some other water.

We moved up a few miles to an area Rebecca fishes often. We started 2 riffles down from our destination pool and went at them again. This water (initially) was a little shallower than before. I missed a few good fish (again) and got a few small streambred fish - 1 brown and 1 rainbow.

Spot #2

Small, streambred fish

At 5:00, things started to get interesting. I should also note that I switched droppers to a beadhead gold Lightning Bug. It ended up being the "Magic Fly" - until I lost the only one I brought. First came a brown on the Lightning Bug at 5:00 pm.

Incoming trout

Another big brown

At 5:20, after a couple of missed hits, another trout on the Lightning Bug. This one was obviously big from the start. It actually did something I've never had happen on a trout - it took enough line out that I saw my backing. Now, understand that my reel is click pawl set light, and I use my fingers for most of the drag, but he tore a lot of line out!

I measured him against my rod's butt section and he came in a tad over 21"!

The carnage wasn't over yet. At 5:40 I hooked and landed still another big brown. I was literally getting tired from fighting these trout. (yea,yea - I hear all the sympathy pouring in)

This was the third BIG trout in 40 minutes. The fights had to be 10-12 minutes each, so the fish were all taken literally back-to-back-to-back.

I decided to relax a little and took a bunch of pics of Rebecca, who was across the river from me at the time.

The Outdooress with a big brown trout

Working the edges

I sent Rebecca a bunch of other pictures for her to post on her site, including one of her holding a 20" class brown!

The last fish of the day for me came at 7:50. I got a few other 16 inch class fish but didn't get photos of them. This last one took a hopper, and I had to bring him in through a thick weed area. I thought that he would dive into the slop, but I managed to get him in. He went just over the 20" mark on th rod.

Coming in over the weeds

ANOTHER great brown trout

We spent the last hour of daylight on another stretch of river, watching from the bank for the epic evening hatches Rebecca had talked about. Well, they didn't happen this evening. There were fish rising, but not to the extent she was used to. And - she was downright bummed! I had just experienced the best day of catching big trout in my life, and Rebecca was APOLOGIZING to me for the lack of an epic evening hatch to end the day!!! Are you kidding me? She had just taken me on a day I'll remember forever - nothing could ruin that. Certainly not by ending the day watching rising fish in a beautiful area, with a new friend.

It doesn't get any better than that.

And we still have one more day to fish!

Friday, August 20, 2010

OK - 1 picture

OK - 1 picture to help you make it through the tortorous weekend before the "Official post" (like it's really that important to anyone)

This is one of the smaller trout from Day One. And, no, I'm not kidding.

A Teaser Post

Those of you who read "The Outdooress" (and you all should!) know that my plans for this week included meeting up and fishing with Rebecca in Idaho. A detailed post - maybe 2 - will follow over the weeekend. However, to alleviate some of the suspense:

- The fishing was phenomonal

- Rebecca and her husband are the perfect hosts/ guides, and any expectations were exceeded exponentially

- There are now actual pictures of "The Outdooress" fishing and catching fish.

Stay tuned

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My shortest post ever

I just read Tami Curtis' comment re: "What lure did I use" and it struck me - I assume everyone reading knows what I'm referring to when I say the name of a fly, but they probably don't. So - this is what I was using on the trout stream Thursday. NOTE - the pink San Juan Worm is there for comparison to the "Stripper Pole" variety I used. The others are a size 16 tan bead head scud (lower right) and a size 18 bead head rubber-legged flashback Copper John (upper right). the rainbows came on the worm; the smaller wild browns on the scud, and the largest brown on the Copper John.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finally, some trout.

The morning after my meeting with Troutrageous, I had plans to meet up with one of my best friends and do some trout fishing for a few hours.

Now, at least on the surface, this was hardly the time to be out fly fishing for trout. Pennsylvania, like most of the country, has been wrapped up in a nasty heat wave, and hasn't had much rain, either. That usually means stream temps push into the upper limits of a trout's tolerance. Even if you an find trout in these water temps it is often advised to leave them alone and not stress them out.

All this is true. At least it is for most waters. But I wasn't going to "most waters". I was going to spend the morning on some special waters.

The Tulpehocken Creek, or Tully as it is locally known, is well known among fly fishermen throughout PA and NJ. The primary area of interest is the area below Blue March Lake, known as the tailrace. It has a well known, consistent trico hatch and receives heavy fishing pressure. I've fished these waters in the past, but not on this short trip. I was fishing the private headwaters.

The stream originates as the outflow pumped from a limestone quarry. The initial mile or so of the creek is a long standing private club with a hatchery license. The wait list to get into the club can be measured in lifetimes. The water is constant temperature and flow and supports the lush weed and aquatic growth prevalent in other PA limestoners. The stream is never wider than 20'. There is quite a bit of natural reproduction on this section, from both browns and rainbows. That's right - wild rainbows in PA. I know Falling Spring has some natural rainbow reproduction, and I believe there are a few others, but not many at all. The stream is stocked as well.

There are a LOT of fish in these waters.

The rule of thumb here is: if you want to catch a lot of fish, use tandem nymphs. Sow bugs, scuds, and pheasant tails are the order of the day. I always throw in my own wrinkle - usually a San Juan worm. And, I rationalize, if a plain SJW is good, a bead-head SJW with some crystal flash in it must be even better. You know - a stripper pole worm. You can pound some fish up on crickets, ants and beetles, but the action is far slower.

Our morning started after a hard rain at 8 am. It was about 84 out, and had to be 100% humidity. I decided to go straight after the numbers and used the stripper pole bright red flashy worm. And immediately got into rainbows. I landed 5, hooked and lost 2, and missed numerous strikes in the first run I fished. The first trout was a stockie rainbow; the others from this run were BEAUTIFUL natives.

And, (probably because I didn't check the camera settings before I started shooting pics) the pics are not very good. They are not focused well. Sorry.

I moved upstream, picking up fish pretty consistently. I added a second fly below the SJW - a bead head sow bug - and started picking up small, wild browns. Beautiful fish. Finally, toward the end of the trip, I picked up a big brown on a Pheasant Tail'

This water is always great, and very private. I certainly don't always fish private water, but I don't pass up the opportunity to do so when it presents itself, either. Especially when I have a very short amount of time to fish.

Again, I apologize for the picture quality, but the fish were so colorful that it shows even with the crappy photos.

Finally, next week I should have another posting on fly fishing for trout, as I plan to be out West. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it comes together!

A nice fish on

A wild rainbow in the water

Stream bred rainbow

Another wild 'bow coming in

Beautiful wild rainbow. The color on the gill plate, brightness of the band, white tips on the fins - just beautiful fish

Nice streambred brown trout

An Actual Accomplishment!

One of my goals for this year, as I have stated numerous times during these posts, is to meet and/or fish with some of the folks I've come to know through these blogs. Well, I finally got to meet one of you. Troutrageous and I met for beers and a bite to eat on Wednesday nite.

(I know most of you are familiar with his blog, but if you are not, click on through my Blog List)

When you meet someone in person for the first time, you're not really sure what to expect. You think you "know" the person because you read their writings, but meeting in person is different.

This meeting did not disappoint (at least it didn't disappoint me!!) It is so nice to spend time with someone as passionate as you are about fishing, exchanging stories, and sharing a great evening. His choice of meeting place - the Sly Fox pub - was perfect.

Thanks, Trout - I look forward to our next meeting! Not sure if I'll catch the Tenkara bug or not, but you have at least piqued my interest.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And then - PPOOOFFF - they were gone

I went out for the third day in a row on my subdivision pond. The water coming in has now been reduced to a normal trickle. I went out with my son at 1:00 pm today. Overcast, a light drizzle - perfect. Instead of the usual bass gear, I took an ultralight spin rod and a few grubs, Cubby jigs, and 1 UL spinnerbait. i wanted to see if I could get any of the ponds (sometimes) big bluegills to bite.

Well, they didn't.

So I worked my way toward the inflow. over a span of 20 minutes, I caught 5 largemouth on the Cubby, and 1 on the spinnerbait.

The largest was 10" long.

The bass have moved back to their summer haunts. the good news for the trip - the fish in the picture below. At least they are spawning successfully!

A hungry baby bass

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Conditions change by the hour - you have to adapt

After yesterdays epic largemouth bonanza, I decided to see if the bass were still in "attack mode". I waited until High Noon, and went out at 12:10, under bright skies. Conditions generally accepted as "crappy". This time, I only took along a bag of Yum Dingers, 1 wide gap hook, 1 swim jig, and a bag of creature trailers for the swim jig.

I tried the west pond first - the one that is supposed to be good. The water was flowing through the inflow, but it was clear and shallow. And, for me, fishless.

West pond inlet - too shallow and not enough incoming water to pull in the fish

I walked along the east pond to the inlet, picking up one small bass along the way on the swim jig. When I got up to the inlet, the water was still flowing but at a noticeably lower rate than yesterday afternoon. Also, I was on the other side of the inlet today. I started with the swim jig, missed a hit or 2, but wasn't real impressed. I switched over to the Yum Dinger and started covering more water.

I started picking up bass on the Dinger. They were definitely relating to the current but were no longer tight against the grass. The fish were all over the Yum Dinger, and I caught 3 quick ones. Then I snagged a stump and broke off the only worm hook I had brought along. I went back to the swim jig and caught 2 more, but it wasn't as good as with the Dinger. In the span of 20 hours, they had moved off the banks about 15' - 30'. In the next 25 minutes I landed 5 bass and lost 2, while missing a few hits. The fish were pretty nice sized, including one big one (the terrible picture of the good fish is due to no level ground to set the camera on and having to tilt it up in the grass)

So, even though I caught a few fish, I had to adapt to a changing pattern. Moral of the story - ALWAYS pay attention to the conditions, and how they might affect the fish. Without a new barrage of rain, the bass in the pond will disperse back to the deeper weed edges for the rest of the summer.

This bass ate a Yum Dinger

Another chunky pond bass

Biggest bass of the morning, and one of the worst pictures ever!!

This is the view of the east pond, standing on the road above the inflow