Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Brookies Save the Day

I spent hours swinging wets and streamers today, with almost no result. I got one tug, lost a twenty inch brown (haven't gotten over it yet) and cast to a big fish that wouldn't react. In the least I got to see plenty of new water that will be terrific come spring. I ate my sandwich and drank apple cider in an absolutely terrific spot.
That being said, I was tired of eight weights and swinging and wanted to catch some fish!

Not to worry, readers, you will not have to look at another post lacking in fish. I found a small stream, switched to a smaller, more delicate rod, and a Cinnamon Kate McClaren wetfly. In the deeper pools I caught native brook trout, and two kindly allowed me to photograph them. I lost a few that were quite chunky, and landed one such male that slipped out of my hand.

In any case, it was a heck of a morale booster after am almost fish-less week.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


It was far to darn cold today for me to fish, not the air but the water. Most freestones I checked were in the low thirties. Not good.
Tonight it will begin to warm up and I will be in business tomorrow. Maybe natives, maybe big browns on streamers, we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Big Ones

I've been having a fantastic big fish year. And it isn't over yet, so this post may be a little early. I may pull something impressive out of the dark, icy waters at the last moment like I did last year. But in case I don't here are 2014's Hawg Johnson highlights:
Brown Bullhead, 17 inches, caught on an Edson Tiger
Wild Tiger Trout, 12 inches. Took a March Brown
Holdover Brooky, 13 inches, sipper of an Ausable Wulff
Rainbow, 18 inches, caught on a bead eyed mono body nymph.
Common Carp, 12 pounds, vacuumed up a modified woolly bugger.
Brown Trout, 30 inches on the nose. Caught on a articulated bluegill streamer.
Common Carp, 14 ponds, also took the modified bugger.
Twenty pound, backing and dragon nymph caught common.
Smallmouth Bass, 23 inches, chomped a dragonfly stripper nymph.
Foot long, fat Maryland Chub. Chomped a small deer hair popper.
12 Inch Native Brooky, attacked a Pine Special
Fish of a lifetime in these parts, on a sedgehammer caddis.
Another 12 inch male Speck on the Pine Special.
And another on a soft hackle.
Jumbo Perch (14 inches) on a bass bugger.
15 inches of wild Brown Trout, on the soft hackle Hairs Ear.
11 inches of raging male native on an Edson Tiger.

An Attempt at Atlantic Salmon

And I nearly a chance at one too.

I have been extraordinarily bored with skunking out on small streams. I needed a change. I wanted to do something that nobody really does that often, something so incredibly useless in success rate that I wouldn't necessarily be the reason for the skunk.
Salmon. In a river that has very few in it right now. And, at a time when the conditions make fishing that river a pain in the ass.

I headed out around 11:00. The water was up and stained, but you take what you get. I started at an extraordinarily deep pool, at the deepest around 20ft! For those of you that know the river I'm talking about and don't believe this statement, you'd just have to see it. It is impressive. I fished the tail, couldn't get to the run above in the current conditions, and blanked.

I fished the pool above a set of riffles for an hour, blanked.

On my way down to the next pool I would fish I found a small stream. I poked around a bit with an egg pattern and caught one small Brooky, but I was not there for Brookies.

Back down in the river, I reached the fishiest looking pool so far. It was fairly deep with a good run and tail out, and some nice boulders. I changed to a smaller pink and yellow wet fly. On the eighth and tenth swings I god good pulls that were quite dissimilar to the take of a trout. I was getting something! Even though this is what I was hoping for it was far from expected. I didn't get anything in the same spot on the next few passes, so I changed flies. This time there was a halfhearted bump and I very briefly felt a heavy fish shake it's head before it spit the fly. I was disappointed and elated at the same time.

Further downstream I tried a slower, deep side channel. I saw a big wake that signaled the presence of some sort of enormous fish. Salmon? Big Brown Trout? I will never know, I never caught it. I ended the day watching a duck and warming my hands in my armpits. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Third Annual Thanksgiving Brooky Trip

Year one: skunked.
Year two: A few nice ones.
Year three: skunked.
I guess next year I will make it a pattern.
The conditions weren't all that bad, with the first good snow coverage and reasonable water temperature and good flow. Hey, there were even some stones and midge hatching. But no matter the fly, it was not to be. The only thing that could have improved the day would be a Native Brooky.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Phresh Pheasant

A nice beautiful set of tying materials from a wild pheasant. Love the crimson and golden sheen on the cape, and the tail feather is perfect! I can see some great streamers, wets, and Sawyer-Style nymphs in my future.


Sometimes this is needed, even in small streams. Today was such a case. I was required to use a bead-head nymph in order to avoid the skunk. But that was O.K., and the results were similar to yesterday's. With snow coming tomorrow, I fear my annual Thanksgiving native Brooky trip may lead to an unproductive session. Then again it may be beautiful, clean, and very fishy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Continuing to Produce With the Pine Special

I first used the pine special a month ago. It had sat in my box and was ignored. Now it is my staple producer. Today it came in handy. I was fishing a small brook I hadn't touched since spring, and it was high and tannin stained after the deluge we received today. This stream is home to many beautiful native Brook Trout, and the population is more healthy then in any other stream I fish. My favorite way to fish this water is working downstream and skating and hanging wets and streamers in the plunges. There are other ways to fish here, obviously, but I find this most productive.
With the high water the Pine Special was the perfect combination of size, attraction, and finesse. Although I did not catch many Brookies, they were pretty and hit with vigor. I did one on a worm pattern too. I account my lack of bigger fish to the fact that I was fishing from upstream with a bright red shirt on!

The same fish as above, but the other side. Amazing how much it differs.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Just What the Doctor Ordered

COMFORTABLE! I fished today, and it was beautiful. The sun was shining, the water was sparkling, and the warm air brought out the mayflies and caddis. When I got on the river this is what I saw:

Yesterday in the same spot:

I got busy fishing a hairs ear soft hackle when, before the fly had time to sink, a trout came up to smack it. I landed this pretty brown after a short fight. He had me thinking I was in for a spectacular day. Seeing some rises within inches of the bank, I tied on a new fly I've created and sure enough the fish came up and sipped the big dry fly in. He was a little bigger and very well spotted. 

After that I called my father to see if he would come out to fish with me. He eventually did, and although we spent a lot of time trying to find fish even when we did we couldn't get any takers. I ended up fowl hooking a brown from atop a retaining wall at one point. I had to hoist him up and run down to release him. I spent a little while looking at aquatic larvae of assorted species before we both went our separate ways.

I ended up on a pretty little blue line that I fish every know and then. It has, for whatever reason, treated me rather poorly regardless of it's obviously fishy pockets and pools. This time, however, I was able to get a taker on the Pine Special as I retrieved it down to me. A wake appeared behind it and soon I had a wonderful native jewel in my hand.