Saturday, October 31, 2015

October's End Brook Trout Adventure

Jonathan (RI Brook Trout) came out from Massachusetts today and in the cold frosty first morning light we drove in circles trying to find the parking spot for the first stream we would fish... some of you readers may recognize this. Alan (BRK TRT) showed me this stream early this summer and it has been on my mind ever since. I got skunked then, but I saw the potential this little river system had and immediately planned to return.


Of course it has taken me a while to get back to this stream. Today it treated us well. I caught numerous gorgeous, dark brook trout. The first three ate wet flies. The second was a large and absolutely stunning male brooky, about 8 inches, which of course popped off just before I could get his photo. That was the story for all the big kyped and colored up males I hooked today, but I can't complain because the fish I did photograph were incredible. Jonathan, on the other hand, only caught colored up males.


After fishing downstream we decided to go back to where we started and work our way up. After continuing a little ways with wet flies, I changed to an Elk Hair Caddis. In the first pool I fished with that fly I had a subtle rise. The fish was hooked and another dark brook trout came to hand.


That fly kept producing for me, and all the rises were subtle regardless of the size of the fish.


At one point I reached a magic spot. I climbed over a branch to get into position for a gorgeous, flat pool. There was a hemlock leaning slightly over the pool, it's roots partially submerged. The bank was undercut on that side and the water came in from the run above with just the right amount of foam. I sat on a log parallel to the other bank, in the perfect position to cast to the likeliest spots. I got myself comfortable and made my cast. The little area bellow the hemlock, about two square feet, was the magic lie.  I caught six fish from that little area, and didn't get a take anywhere else in the pool. The last fish was the biggest. I sat and held her in the water for a minute, I just had to stare at the incredible copper- metallic sheen on her flanks. When we were both ready she returned to the frigid waters.


Jonathan gives the magic spot a try. Apparently the magic only worked on me. 
On the way out I realized I no longer had my cellphone. Freak out time! We had covered a lot of area, there were so many places it could be, and many of those places were in the water! Just as we started the search a friendly local stopped to chat with us before his neighbor came over to help him put Christmas lights on a tree near the stream. He was more than happy to help, he let me use his phone to call mine and hopefully find it more easily. Just a short time later I did, right where the first big male brooky had regained it's freedom. Phew! I thanked the gentleman who had lent a hand and we moved on.

The next stream we tried was a bit of a crap shoot. I can't tell you how many times I have looked at this stream while making the trip to the shoreline or to my Dad's. I have always been torn. So many streams like this don't have anything. But we were in for a treat.

Shortly after arriving I had a wonderful Connecticut native take my little clouser style streamer. Then Jonathan caught a spectacular fish on a partridge and flash wet fly. I made an awesome discovery below a big culvert. I watched a number of brookies attempting to jump into the flow coming out of the concrete tube. One made it, and made a rooster tail as it negotiated the fast flowing water, There were plenty of fish in that pool that were also willing to eat my fly.


We made one last stop before fishing my home water for a little while. One of the best sights of the day was the highlight of a brief detour:

We said goodbye to baldy and went to play with some of the few remaining wild browns left in my favorite trout stream. I would normally have landed at least one over 8 inches in the stretch we fished, but today they were all little fellows. Still, I have hope for recovery.


There is little better than a day of fishing for wild trout in beautiful surroundings with a good friend. As far as I can figure, it's the best way to spend Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pigs Between The Leaves

Instead of being high and black, the river was flowing perfectly and with just the right amount of color for the perfect streamer fishing.

Let me set thing up here....

When the current trout were stocked they were as goofy as any freshly stocked trout are, but they weren't to excited about really big streamers. It took a few days for them to realize that all those fall fish, salmon parr, and shiners around them were tasty but as soon as they did fishing articulated flies became the best way to catch many of the larger fish. Then they realized how dangerous stuff is and became spooky. I'm sure they would still have eaten streamers, but the sound of line and fly hitting the shallow, calm, clear water made them jump out of their skins. Then came the rain.

The water was in such a condition today that I was perfectly comfortable wading in the pools that I couldn't earlier this week (the ripples I sent out spooked the fish). This put me in the perfect position to hit the deep trough on the near bank without the problems normally related with fishing that structure from the bank. My fly of choice was a big deceiver style articulated streamer, similar to those used on the Ausable bellow Mio and the White and North Fork of the White. I usually lean towards the marabou in my flies, but bucktail has it's benefits.

So does discolored water. The first take came about four feet from the rod tip. I couldn't see it. I just felt resistance. It pulled, and I pulled the line back, hooking the fish and launching into an awesome acrobatic display. Not a big fish, but a good start. About four casts later I watched a boil on my fly. I felt a bump. I kept stripping, and a few seconds later I watched the water boil as the fish came back for the kill. Awesome. That is very similar to the way wild trout behave. So was the fight this fish put on, taking line and head shaking like a monster. This was a big rainbow, all of 18 inches and with girth to match. It had also taken the fly in the correct way. Fresh stockers always eat from behind, this one smashed the head and left the rear hook alone. What an awesome fish. I should have known to end it there, things were not going to get any better: I broke of one fish and missed a few take. All that did very little to hinder my enthusiasm. Streamer fishing is just so much fun!





Thursday, October 29, 2015

Black Water

Black as night. The rain came, it washed leaves and other staining substances into the river, and the water turned a mesmerizing dark black, surrounding the light colored rocks and just making an awesome scene over all. Of course the Salmon had gone from under 20 cfs to over 300, and the stocked trout are not used to drastic changes in flow, so the fishing wasn't it's best. One take on an Ausable Ugly. I fished a small stream too, and that pulled the skunk off my head but not with the intended wild brown and brook trout that live there, but small creek chubs. I did get a brooky to take, but did not hook it. Tomorrow is another day, and I'm sure Saturday will provide some really good wild trout.








Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two of Those 'Meh' Days

Yesterday Kirk and I hit my local pond hoping for carp, and we both caught panfish but none were even the slightest bit impressive nor were they particularly photogenic. There were some cool looking migrating water foul there too but I couldn't get a decent photo of them. Today, a big fat nada. Plenty of rain and wind, a couple of takes on big bass jigging flies, and an epic flock of migrating blackbirds were the highlights. The rain is about to turn the streams into beautiful wonderlands, free of leaf jams and flowing healthily. It's gonna be an awesome weekend!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Spawn

I went for a bike ride today. I crossed over a stream at one point where, in the past, I have caught wild brook trout. It is a tiny little stream, barely moving a 4 cubic inches a second. But there were some fish there, going about the business of making little fish. I watched for a while. I 6 inch female had chosen a nice little piece of water and a 4 inch mate and was making a redd there. Every once in a while a longer but noticeably skinny male would sneak up behind the pair and one of them would chase him out. I tried without success to get a photo of this wonderful and beautiful drama-in-miniature that has played over and over in this stream for thousands upon thousands of years. Wow. What a thought. And these fish were probably 5 or 6 years old and yet they had only grown to about the length of the palm of my hand. I love brook trout.


She's there, right in the middle...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Transition

The change in behavior of warm water species in mid fall is quite striking, second only to the spring, when every species suddenly goes ape-s/#^* within about one month's time, including cold and salt water. But in the fall, some species turn on, many shut off, and most of them move to new structures.

Around here, the perch I catch most often changes from white perch to yellow perch, big smallmouth bulk up before going deep when the lake turns over, smaller bass go shallow and big ones get lethargic. Pickerel stay their nasty self's.

Today I went to the lake. I used to avoid it when the water dropped bellow 55 degrees. Not doing that any more. I caught some BIG yellow perch at the mouth of a stream.  One small one also. I was targeting brook trout that move up to spawn at these small deltas, of course every year the numbers fluctuate. I didn't see any today. Last year a friend saw a good number in a different tributary, and four years ago Dalton caught a 15 incher on a soft plastic lure. In a different spot on the lake I caught a couple of smallmouth.







This year the draw down was pretty significant. If I really wanted to I could probably circumnavigate the entire lake without getting my feet wet. There were many places where, three months ago, carp were feeding that are now bone dry!



After I had enough of the lake I went to my favorite pond. There I attempted to get some pickerel on Galloup's Barely Legal. Perch kept playing with it so I dropped a smaller Ausable Ugly off the back and was immediately into the yellow perch again, with some bonus black crappie. The shallower end of the pond also provided some small bass to round out the outing.