Thursday, May 25, 2017

Convergence 4

This was bad. I mean how did I not see this coming? Actions have consequences, and sometimes inaction has consequences too. In this case it was inaction. First off, I had given this spot a near two week break. That meant I was no longer in tune with the cycle. Second, I didn't even think to check the charts before I left. The consequence of my inaction was my being forced to stay on an island over night because the tide cut off safe wet wading exits before I was ready to leave. Oops. 

So it has been a while. I didn't do a post about the last two days of the 7 day streak I had, so I'll post them now. I wasn't really thrilled with the last two nights. They were fun, but nothing too special. So just pictures no words....

I left Tuesday evening at 6:30, pretty much on a whim. I wasn't sure there'd be stripers and herring, so I brought the 5wt and the 8wt. Smallmouth and perch would certainly keep be happy if there weren't line siders. I got there right at low tide and didn't see any activity to indicate there were herring, so I tied on a small silverside pattern for smallmouth. I ended up with a handful of decent river bass and a few really nice yellow perch and redbreast sunfish as well. 

As the tide began to come in, however, I started to see big wakes and boils. The fish I was really looking for had arrived! I rigged the 8wt and tied on a white, blue and pink Popovics "Beast Fly". It took 15 minutes to get a blow up. A decent striper hit once, twice, then three times. The hook never found mouth. No bother. Not long after the "Beast" got trashed when I wasn't looking. Still ready, I stripped hard and the fish was on. This was not a giant by any stretch of the imagination but a decent striper regardless. 

Not long after that, I nailed into another fish. This one was a but larger. It fought incredibly well and actually jumped on the hook set. Stripers don't often jump but in this shallow water fish have no choice but to go up and out sometimes. 

It was while I was releasing that fish that I realized I had messed up. My little rock island had gotten significantly smaller. I really struggled to cross the channel between there and the next island, and I made it about half way across the channel between that one and the bank and realized that just wasn't going to happen. I decided I should probably check the charts. I was about halfway into the incoming tide on a new moon... it was going to be a really long night. 

I'm always ready for an emergency, and I was well equipped to spend the night. I made sure I could cross to the next island which is the biggest of the three, and fished until the tide was right below comfortable crossing. I gathered my gear and carried it over to the big island where I began building myself a shelter. If I was going to get any sleep at all something to keep me out of the open air would be a big help. The process of making the shelter would also keep me occupied and warm. 45 minutes and I had myself a comfortable little shelter. 

Now to wait for the tide to at least get low enough to start fishing again... it would be a few hours. I got maybe 45 minutes of sleep. When the time finally came to get back to fishing I was absolutely exhausted. In a total daze I wandered over to the spot and began making really terrible casts to a slot I knew would be holding fish. I'm not exactly sure how it went down, but I somehow hooked and landed a fat thirty inch striper around 2:00 in the morning. 

I got home at 6:00 a.m. I fell asleep at 7:00. And I woke up at 2:15 p.m. Don't do what I did. It was brutal. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morning Smallies

Yesterday I made a visit to my favorite smallmouth lake. I fished from shore with big dragonfly nymphs, the way I catch most of my smallmouth from this body of water. The first couple of fish were not very big, but a 3 pounder very quickly made up for that. She wasn't very long but she was super thick.

A near continues stream of smallmouth was punctuated by the odd panfish. There really was a lot of activity on this morning. I even saw white perch spawning on a sea wall. 

I love smallies. They are a lot of fun on light fly gear, or any light tackle for that matter. Any day I catch a bunch of smallmouth is a good day. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Home Water Mouse Experiment

Interested by my minor success getting a wild brown on a mouse last night on my "part time home river" I decided I should try a mouse on my actual home river. During the day. Because, well why not? Small stream wild trout are dramatically more opportunistic than their big river counterparts, and the conditions were optimal for fishing a mouse during the day. It was cloudy, spitting rain, warm, and the water level had moderated nicely (WAY too late to get a good blue quill or hendrickson rise, but whatever).

I was expecting a few pops and splashes here and there from wild browns, maybe a few stocked trout to hand. Best case scenario I would get a handful of wild fish hooked. That did not happen, but I did have two takes that were clearly large wild trout, and plenty from small fish. No surprise at all, I caught stocked brookies, salmon smolts, and one rainbow. It was cool to see a few wild trout go for the mouse during the day, especially since two were way above the size I've been seeing here the last two years. A hookup would have been nice though.

Was it worth experimenting with the mouse even though I knew it was far from the most likely thing to catch a good number of wild fish? It is always worth learning something new. But in this case, I chose the wrong day to mess around. There was a huge number of sulfur nymphs in the drift. Had I been nymphing with a size 16 PT, I would have had a field day. Oh well.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

PTHW Ep. 10. Late Shift and Meat Flies

It was another warm day yesterday. I made my way the river late in the day, ready to throw nothing but big meaty flies in hopes of hooking into some of the large aggressive wild trout that live in this stream's many log jams and cut banks. Streamers were up first. I started out with Cheech's Mongrel Meat. No takers. I switched over to a yellow Heifer Groomer. It took a little while but eventually a nice wild brown came out of the cut bank and slammed it.

That was a decent wild trout for this water but it only made me more excited to stick something bigger. I worked my way upstream and moved a few smaller trout, nothing serious. Then I watched a rainbow just jump all over the bright yellow fly, them all over the run when I strip set. 

Right after I released that fish I ran into another angler. He was obviously new to fly fishing and asked a few questions. We chatted for a little while, I gave him a streamer and wished him luck. Hope it caught you a big one buddy!

I kept working upstream, moving small trout here and there. I got two takes from bigger fish before changing flies. The first I never got a hook into, the second was a high teens wild brown that the hook did not get good purchase on. That was a heart breaker. By this time the sun was right at the horizon and bugs were everywhere. Light cahill spinners, hatching tan caddis, and beatis were the primary bugs. Fish were rising, but I stuck with meat flies. I don't think the big fish in a river like this will ignore a streamer unless there is a really epic hatch in progress. I changed color but not size or pattern, now black to match the conditions. I missed two trout in one pool that I always have confidence in. One was large. At this point the sun was gone. I walked a few runs up and switched to a mouse. Hopefully these fish would be in nocturnal mode already. I worked through all those runs, nothing. Then I got to the pool where I missed two. Tried for the bigger one, no dice. The smaller one, however, came up and absolutely trashed my mouse. The hook stuck well and in moments I was holding a beautiful fat wild brown; my first wild trout on a mouse. 

Unfortunately in the next half hour I got nothing but a few misses from small fish. No toads tonight. I will get a big wild brown out of this river this year. It's just a matter of timing.

Friday, May 19, 2017


Yesterday I fished for a couple hours in the morning at "The Bell Pond". I was playing it fast and lose with the whole 'target species' thing. Carp, bass, perch, walleye, whatever was biting, I would catch it. There were carp feeding but they were in a bad mood and seemed extra line shy. So that went right out the window. Bass were being fairly aggressive and some were one beds. Largemouth bass and I go WAY back. I love me some bed fishing for big bass. I pulled one small male and a decent super chunky female off the bed.

It was a bluebird extra warm morning. I was not expecting to get a walleye after 8:00. But, with the sun beating down like it were a July day, I stuck a really nice 'eye on  yellow and brown clouser. Sweet!

One of these days I'll break that magic 30. Mid afternoon I drove my mom partway to the store.  Only part way because I had to get out to fish a stretch of river I had never wet a line in before. Often these kinds of things just don't pay of, but this time I was rewarded with probably one of the best 45 minute trout trips I've ever had. Fishing a Sexy Walt's Humphrey style I over 30 trout in just one run. It was crazy. They were all stocked fish but the average size was not bad. I got two rainbows that were 18 inches. They also fought extremely well, a few taking lots of line and jumping like crazy. It was just about the most fun you could have with stocked trout and nymphs. 

And what's a day with a whole bunch of variety without some evening saltwater action. I joined Dan and two of his friends to look for some stripers, and though the fishing was super weird we did find a handful of stripers. I caught one hickory shad as well. 

That was my day yesterday... busy and with lots of variety. Today I fished only for a little while and it wasn't very good. My only skunk day so far this spring.