Saturday, May 30, 2015

Late Afternoon with Scotty's McFly

A while ago I watched an episode of "The New Fly Fisher" in Ontario where Bill Spicer was slammin' big smallmouth with a pattern called Scotty's McFly. Today I was rather surprised when, as we were headed to the pond for an evening on his canoe, fellow warm water fly fisher Mark Steiner mentioned the fly and gave me a pair. Where did he here about the fly? The episode of "The New Fly Fisher". Mark had actually called the guy and bought some. He had tried them without success. Tonight their worth was proven. First, and a stunning pumpinseed bluegills on poppers. Then I tied on the McFly and crappies pounced all over it! I love crappies. The water is very clear on the pond we were fishing, and we could watch the fish whip out and inhale the fly. Most were dock hiders. I have never had that much luck throwing flies under docks for crappie. Fish also caught today were a nice pickerel and a tiny bass. Next time we'll get some big bass.




Rainbow Dam Open House

Went with Stu Winquist to the Rainbow Dam Fish-way open-house. It was pretty darn cool. I saw lampreys passing through the fish-way, as well as a couple of shad in the trap and schools circulating through the tail race. One or two elvers went by the window too. I'll be going a little farther in depth in the book, So I'll leave you with a few pictures.



Friday, May 29, 2015

Superb Predator

This afternoon I spent some time on the pond. First I rigged with a damsel and sight fished for bluegills, although it seemed the big bulls were very spread out. Then I went and pretty much stepped on some carp. Had I done my usual careful observation of the fishes' activities I would no doubt have caught at least one, but I got cocky, messed up my shots, and was far too blatant in my presence. I did get a perch...



But I did have a more pressing plan. I am going to get a few good chances at Northern pike in the coming weeks, so I needed to test flies and bite tippets. I do this on occasion in this pond for really big bass, huge pickerel, and walleye. It is far from a sure thing. But today payed off. The very first cast, just getting the fly wet, a decent pickerel came out of the pads and crushed it. Not being ready I trout set and hooked not the fish but the tree only. But, half an hour later and towards the end of my circuit, I was ready. And it's a darn good thing I was. A big pickerel came up and tapped the fly. I gave a long jerk. The fish reacted quickly and violently. I strip set and the fish went bat crap crazy, jumping and running and digging. I love the fight of a smallmouth, and no doubt for their size it is remarkable. But a pickerel beats a smallmouth fight again and again and again. This one was the best I have ever hooked into on a fly rod, being solidly in the 24 inch range and plenty capable of tearing a huge hole in me. It is those who don't know there fish that get bit, and I know pickerel.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Empathy, and Fish Talk





I often talk to the fish I catch. I say thank you, I tell them to stay safe, and I bid them a good life. Fish don't have ears, and they don't hear in the sense that we do. Rather, they pick up vibrations through the lateral line. Exactly what goes on when I speak to these fish is not known to me, but it is my best attempt to heal wounds I have created in that fish. After being hooked in the jaw and after a desperate fight, a fishes instinct is that it is fighting for it's life. I don't know any way to have a  personal experience with a fish that will not cause such stress, but I do feel for them. I don't think my voice is as comforting as I want it to be, but deep down I know I need to talk to the fish. Not for them, for me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pickerel and Bass Heaven

This afternoon began with pickerel in a small pond connected to a big lake. Woolly buggers got my some very nice toothy beasts. Some of you may know this already, but pickerel are a species native to Connecticut and I do plan to include them in my book somehow. They have a character about them that always makes me giddy with laughter, whether it's the big ones or the little pencils. They are fun, and they fight so so well. None of the five I caught today chewed through my line today and that is very good luck! In that pond all that needed is a good cast along the far bank and Esox niger will come out and mess up your fly.



When the pickerel tired of me I went into the main lake and nailed into some nice smallmouth. No beasts like I do get on many trips to this lake, but gorgeous none the less. 



But the best was yet to come. There is a small private pond that I happen to know the owners of, and today they were kind enough to let me fish it. For a while I fished the Black Ops and caught bedding bluegills. Then I changed to a Dahlberg Diver, got in s kayak, and went to bass heaven. It was just amazing how many fish I caught. Not all were big but they were numerous, and those that were larger gave spectacular fights. Even the smallest fish took that big fly well. It was just miraculous. 





Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Project

It has come to my attention as I have talked with other fisherman or other outdoors-men how little is understood by most about the native fish species that call CT home, and how those who know more than I need to be heard. This is something I want to fix. And how I plan to fix it is by writing a book. At first I wanted to just do a few articles for fishing magazines but I just couldn't fit what I wanted into a short piece, so I'm going long. This is going to be a long project.

I would much appreciate if any of those who read my blog could help. I'm looking for commercial fisherman, sport fisherman, guides, conservationists, and politicians whose work or lives are entwined with any and all native species. Any contacts would be so, so helpful. That includes people who fish or guide on waters out of state that still have strong populations of eels, Atlantic salmon, or brookies (including salters).

As I do work for this book I will add little updates, mostly short. I have to save most everything for the book. But some extra pictures and a few of my thoughts and experiences throughout this project will be shared here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Trout

Today was just one of those days that was just my day. That's a lot of 'days' in one sentence. Anyway, today I headed to the Salmon expecting to see crowds and fish that were just not feeding. That is not what I saw. The river I came upon this afternoon, although low, was one that allowed for the perfect sight fishing for nice trout. Instead of the heavy gear and articulated streamers, I was rigged with the 3 weight, 6x, and soft hackles. Soft Hackle PT's, Green Squirrel and Partridge Caddis, And Sulfur Emergers just kicked butt. In total I caught 37. I had plenty of missed takes and premature releases as well. Most prevalent were rainbows, the bigger of which put up some fantastic fights. They acted like mini steelhead, doing big runs and spectacular jumps. It was just gorgeous.

I hope everybody made time today to remember those who fell fighting for our freedom.









Sunday, May 24, 2015

Busy Day, Succesful Day

David Gallipoli and I headed East today. First way went to the stream I fished last weekend, the one where I hooked my first sea run trout. Today was a bit less lucky in that sense. I moved a few trout, but didn't hook any. That being said the stream did not skunk us, despite it's best attempts to do so. The water here is very stained, and what appears to be land may just be floating plant growth. Mud is not hard to find. We both had problems with these at one point or another. But we did get some bluegills, smallmouth bass, and redbreast sunfish.





We also fished the bay and a side pond for carp. We both lost good fish. They were ALL OVER THE PLACE. We are going back there for the carp, and also possibly stripers. On the way home we noticed that the Salmon River was not too crowded, so we stopped to fish dries and both of us had good success. The 3 weight got a good workout from some nice trout on dry flies. Good end to a really good day.... or not...




I hate to waste daylight inside, so out again I went to the local honey hole with the 3 wt. rigged with a little Clouser Minnow and the 8 wt. rigged first with a big Clouser, then with a Pot Belly Popper. First the Clouser Duo got a panfish slam (perch, crappie, bluegill) and an extraneous smallmouth, then the poppers took over and I began catching some nice largemouth bass. Cast, pop, pop, pause... BOOM!