Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall on Some Small Streams

 If you asked me where I'd like to be on any given day in the fall I'll answer "on the stream". In the summer and spring the answer will very, in the winter it will generally be anywhere with open water. But in the fall there is no place prettier than a river. Small streams in particular are stunning in this season, but I would be just as happy on the Farmington or Housatonic as I am on Roaring or Fawn Brook. If you are knowledgeable of CT streams you probably know that there are multiple streams by those names. I have fished all of them and only a few are worth the trip. Find that out for yourself.

Today I didn't fish any Roaring Brooks or Fawn Brooks, but the streams that I did fish were small and stunningly gorgeous. And fishy as hell. The last time I visited the first stretch I fished today was three two years ago around the same time of year. I remembered seeing some big trout and catching lots of wonderful salmon in the 8-14inch range. This time I didn't run into any of those, but in a nice pool I cast the Ausable Wulff in front of a tree's root ball. I twitched it once, then I twitched it again, then a big fish came up and sent spray into the air. I was surprised when the fish that came to hand was a rainbow in fine condition.

That was the only taker on the Wullf, so I took the advice of a wise friend and tied on a small Horneburg.

On the fourth cast with the streamer, I got another surprise! Smallmouth are rare this far up the watershed. I spotted a few others today, as well as a largemouth that looked far to big to be a river fish.

The Horneburg also brought to hand some beautiful fallfish.

On my walk out the weather was changing. Clouds were rolling in and a passing shower showed itself on the adjacent ridge.

The next spot is one I regret not fishing more often, it is home to some wonderful wild browns. Also, a beaver has set up shop there. He allowed me to get surprisingly close to him, within five feet. Despite being a beady eyed rodent, beavers have always struck me as being intelligent. This one had methodically used rocks in his dam, which I confess I have never seen before. Unfortunately, after catching a few shiners and getting a large brown to take a peek at the horneburg I had to leave. I'm looking forward to spending time o some streams soon that I have been avoiding in the drought conditions, for the fishes sake of course. Stay dry this week friends, of course I know full well I won't be following that advice. I have a new pair of waders coming and I have to test them out, right?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eclipse, Big Pickerel Hunting with Sink Tips and Huge Streamers

The coincidence of the super moon and a lunar eclipse last night was pretty cool to watch. It is hard not to be amazed by the sight of the Earths shadow blocking out our closest neighbor. It just makes me want to see a solar eclipse all the more though.

If you have looked at the weather forecast for CT at all in the past week you know that we are in for a deluge. There is a lot of rain headed are way, and thank god for that, we need it desperately! Of course the low pressure that is settling in means there may be a bit more activity from the fish. I wanted to take advantage of the only day this week with little to no rain in the forecast and went out after big pickerel. Aside from one big one that kept coming out for my flies in the same spot I just wasn't able to move fish. It is hard to justify throwing an annoyingly heavy sink tip and flies that cast like wet rags when there aren't fish eating them.  During a brief break from the pike and musky flies (I have found they work better than small flies for big bass and pickerel) I caught some nice bluegills on an Atlantic salmon bomber. Regardless of the amount of rain this week, I'm going to fish as often as I can.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Snapper Blues and Big Menhaden

 Salt only this weekend, no fresh water whatsoever. The reason for my lateness of post was a dead laptop battery and my inability to get the cable. Despite that I'm back in action, with stories to tell.

Saturday saw me at my favorite snapper blue spot, where the little monsters have grown a bit. The did seem a bit fewer and farther between though, but this may be because the tide fluctuation was fairly dramatic compared to my previous trips. That aside, the biggest and most blatant difference was the amount of large menhaden. There were schools of adult menhaden everywhere. It can be difficult not to hook them, they are tightly schooled, just swimming around with their mouths open to collect microorganisms. I hooked quite a few of them. They are ridiculously good fighters, and fun to catch, but it is hard not to feel guilty for catching fish that never wanted your fly in their mouths in the first place, or even worse, stuck to there sides or tails.

Today was an exploration day. My dad and I located some likely spots on the map and went out to hunt down some fish. We stopped at the local bait shop across the stream from the canal in question to ask about it. The scruffy man behind the counter said nobody really cared, so we left the car in the parking lot. He also mentioned there were blues and enough bunker that he had caught some the previous day on a snapper popper. We knew we could trust this guy because of the photos of him holding huge pike and stripers that were hanging on a bulletin board. And I'll be damned if there weren't ten thousand bunker rolling through that canal.

 The next bunch of photos come courtesy of my brother, He got some dandies this time!

To make a long story short, we ended up fishing a few spots, catching very few snapper blues, landing some menhaden, and getting somewhat frustrated. It is possible that we could have had a better time in Essex, but exploring new places is a big part of what fishing is about for me.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Craving for Grass

No, not eating it, catching it... I have an almost incurable craving for grass carp. Why, you may ask, is it incurable? Well, the state of CT is rather lacking in grass carp. There are very few waters that contain them, and in most that do they are protected triploids intended for weed control. Add that with the fact that if I catch my first grasser, it absolutely must be on the fly, and my chances of finding one of these monstrous plant eaters on the end of my line is significantly unlikely.

The cause for this carp conundrum is the recent postings by Drew LooknFishy (looknfishy.blogspot.com)
He's catching some pretty awesome grassers on the fly.

I do happen to know of two places that have grass carp that I could probably catch on the fly. I also know of numerous waters out of state that have grass carp. I doubt that I will have any luck catching on this year, so like wally in 2015, I am making Grass Carp my 2016 freshwater goal.
A backwater of a CT water body containing grass carp.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pickerel Eats and a Nice September Largemouth.

All of the photo and video from yesterday is from my brother, I wanted someone there to get the gnarly pickerel takes on video. Of course the three coolest events were not caught, two slamming eats and a little pickerel leaping and skipping out of the water with a bigger one in hot pursuit. He did get one shot of a pickerel twice coming off of the mud ledge to smash my Heifer Groomer. The only good fish I landed was a surprise largemouth bass that came off a dock piling. This is a good time of year to fish these spots, because many of the docks have been pulled and the pilings are now where one can cast over top of them. Not what I had hoped for, likely because of the increased air temp, but still plenty fun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clear Water Flat Fishing for Carp

This is the time of year that carp begin to bulk up. Also, the cooler weather that we now have here is decreasing the algae bloom and the water clarity is now dramatically better. That means that in water where I could once only see carp with their tails up, or ones that were making a lot of bubbles, I can now see this:

Despite getting some of those shots that make ones legs shake and heart beat sole to a crawl, but I was unable to get a good eat on an egg pattern or on a big mayfly nymph. But I did get some colorful little sucker spawn eaters.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pickerel and Twice Caught Smallmouth

Remember that face above, it's going to show itself again later.

I fished the backwaters of the lake again today. The change towards cooler weather turns the pickerel bite on BIG TIME, and I realized this as soon as the first one I saw nailed my streamer four times. Of course I missed him, and then I noticed that most of the fish were interested in the fly but had trouble pulling the trigger. I switched to a mouse and a monster turned it and my tipper into powder. I believe it was the same one I lost earlier last week. I'll get that big sucker sometime soon.

The gorgeous little beast bellow crumpled a black Crystal Sex Dungeon three times, finally got hooked and flew all over the place. Missile!
 The biggest pickerel of the day ate in a very musky like fashion. I had on a white Heifer Groomer, which wiggle better than any other pattern I know of, and I watched this predator materialize from the depths. A few casts to him failed to get an eat. Then I got it just right. I pulled the fly perpendicular to him, stripped it once, watched him turn towards it, stripped it again, he finned forward, quick strip flash gills flared BAM! I love pickerel.

And the last fish of the day was also the first.... no kidding, it's the exact same one. That's the first time I have landed the same fish twice in one day.