Friday, July 31, 2015

Close Enough

I searched all over the lake this morning for a carp, and I found many. Not all of them were willing. Some didn't notice the fly, others had it land right on top of their backs due to my drowsy condition. Eventually I found a nice fish tailing over a gravel bottom in the perfect spot for me to present the fly too. I had on a big olive bead headed pattern. I saw the fish react to it's hitting the water, then watched as it moved forward, tipped down, and picked it up. I set the hook and it dumped right into the backing. As is usual after that there was a long period of give and take, then I got it to shore, it saw me, and it did another long run. That tired it out and I got it to hand again. Then I did a stupid. Carp often react badly to being touched for the first time, and this one did just that. Usually I let go of the leader early enough and get the rod back into position but this time I was to slow. The tippet broke and the carp returned to the lake. But I'm OK with that. I got the take, the fight, and a good look and brief opportunity to handle the fish. It wasn't an extraordinary fish in any way other than it's strength. That and it was a carp. Any carp caught on artificial fly is a minor miracle. To be perfectly honest, I was somewhat upset. But there's always tomorrow, and Kirk and I have plans to fish a pond where locals feed the carp bread. That makes for a good opportunity to get my first ever carp on a dry fly and Kirks second carp on any fly.

I did get a few cool shots on the first run, so thanks for that, fish!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Puddles Full of Brook Trout

Today I biked the long trail in to some streams I haven't fished in a long time. I was expecting them to be low, but as both are fed mostly by the cold water of springs I wasn't worried about stressing fish.

The first stream is always quite small. It was in much the same condition as the first time I fished it, with the stretches of trickling water then deep pools with one, two, three, maybe even as many as five brook trout in them. The fish were hiding under rocks or branches, and when the PT Parachute hit the surface they came out to inspect it, and usually ended up at hand.

You just know there's a fish in this pool.

By far the prettiest out of this stream today.

On the way back down I took a snake break. I carefully examined an outcropping hoping to spot a sunning timber rattler. They only scaly slitherer I found was a garter snake.

Then I found a tributary and, to my surprise, it was also still holding some fish.

Stream number three, though usually bigger than the first, was now no more than a series of pools. Most of the running water was underneath the rocks. I talked to the land owner before I started fishing and he was adamant that I wouldn't catch anything. Yet it's fish are still hanging on. The pool in the above picture had five in it, none of which I caught.

This man made pond provided some delightful fishing. A skated stimulator brought crazy takes. I let most of the fish throw the hook once I got them to the edge, but some of the smaller ones ended up coming out. I tried my best not to get them or myself buried in the mud and fortunately all made it back safely.

Then I went upstream to a pool that is deep and big enough to always produce, and that it did. I caught five out of it, and one was a very nice female.

It is always amazing to hold a brook trout. It is far more amazing to see the conditions that the survive in. These fish weren't just surviving either, but thriving. I saw hundreds of fish today, everything from juveniles to ten inchers. I know there are some 12-14 inchers in the third stream, but they probably spooked before I was even close enough to see the water they were in.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three P's and a B

I wasn't really sure what to do this evening, but eventually I just made up my mind and went to fish a favorite little pond and the adjacent lake. First I caught some bluegills. Then, I got the first of the P's:

 Then I tied on a white woolly bugger and caught P species number two, yellow perch

Then I got number three: the chain pickerel. I caught three on the white woolly, the first and third being little pencils and the second a strong decent sized fish. Then I tied on a popper and caught a few more. The popper was a lot more fun! The takes were gnarly and fast.

What's left? Oh yeah, the B. The last fish of the evening was a smallmouth bass.

Carp Lovin'

After the last carp trip I was reluctant to go after them again for fear of the heartbreak. But in the end that's all part of it, so I rose before the sun this morning and was on the water right when I wanted to be. There were a lot of big carp feeding! They were grouped in tight schools, and sunfish and perch were following them. I was set up for heartbreak.

The middle one with it's back out of the water is over 20 lbs.
 Eventually I found a solitary fish, and a big one too, but it was in tight quarters. I put a couple casts in front of it and eventually it ate. I fought it carefully, because I new that if I made it frantic it would run right out of the canal and into the main lake. If that were to have happened, it's bye bye carp!

I did pretty well, tiring the fish a little bit at a time. Eventually I pushed it into a corner and grabbed it. It reacted violently and damn near broke my hand. I got it to calm down enough and a passing jogger offered to take a picture for me. Many thanks ma'am

 I walked a little big more shoreline, but not spotting any activity I got in the kayak and went to the back bay, which at the time was still in the shade. The first fish I saw gave me an interesting insight on carp behavior. I spotted a nice one tailing beneath a dock. As I adjusted position to get a shot at the fish it turned and tailed along a retaining wall. As I began casting it turned and came right towards me. I plopped the fly to its right and watched it react to the sound, turning towards it and examining it's creator. I'm certain it would have taken but I was already pulling the fly away from it. i made another cast to the left, and again the fish reacted with a clear turn. This time the fish ate, but I missed.

That was OK, because I got another chance further into the bay. Two carp were angled diagonally to the shore, both head down and tailing. I cast toward the bigger of the two and it took, though imperceptibly. The result was obvious though, the fish had felt the hook but was not alarmed and both were now re-positioning to feed again. I made a cast in front of the other fish and it came to a stop from it's slow cruising and very clearly picked up the fly. I set the hook and it went for open water.

After the first run I was able to beach myself and properly fight the fish. It was another good one, and like many carp would not let me touch it until it was ready to give up.

The carp bug is hard to cure, it just keeps you coming back time after time. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grande Nighttime Walleye

I was planning to night fish for trout with a friend tonight, but when that plan got cancelled I chose the next best thing. I walked to the pond in the shadow of a collapsing storm. Until the sunset I cast dragonfly nymphs and a Heifer Groomer. Then I switched to slim bright streamers. The first two were big articulated ones, and though I felt some bumps and takes no hookups resulted. I decided to change to a smaller fly. The third cast with a white Woolly Bugger lead to a violent take. I set the hook and was immediately certain that this was a big fish. What species it was I could not tell, but it was fighting hard, taking line regularly then thrashing at the surface. My mind was going through the possibilities: catfish? Bass? Pickerel? I didn't think it could possibly be a walleye until I saw it, they aren't supposed to fight that hard. But this one did, and part of the reason was... was massive! Long, thick around the midsection and with a big head full of teeth! I love walleye. They just have that nocturnal predatory monster look.

I'm not sure I'll be able to outdo this one for a while, after all this is only my third one on the fly, and the biggest I have seen in person.