Thursday, March 31, 2016

Herring Check and Evening Redbreast Sunfish

The river herring project is a little over a week old, and so far none of the five of us currently working on our designated stream have seen any conclusive signs of a run. That is not really surprising, and like Steve Gephard said during the orientation any data is data. But today there was a potential sign. Alex and I saw a few silvery fish flash in the deep murky water. Maybe trout, maybe fallfish, but maybe herring. When the water goes back down we might catch a glimpse of a thin silvery fish, with a blueish back and a spot behind the operculum.
Alex Depasquale Demostrates the correct thing to do with bank-side trash... take it home!

When I got home I had just enough daylight to go to the mill pond. I caught a bunch of redbreast sunfish, a few bluegills, and a little crappie. I have business to attend to tomorrow and the weather is going to be total garbage for the weekend and Monday, but next weekend is opening weekend so I will be able to fish all my favorite streams again in just a short time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Streamer Machine

Some days I go through a fishing trip with only a few goals: catch fish, lots of fish, and some big fish. On these days I become a machine. Today I was a streamer machine. I caught 33 fish, got a trout slam, and landed an 18 inch brook trout. For one stretch of pocket water I completely zoned out and let muscle memory do the work. I caught half of the fish in that 20 minutes, didn't photograph any of them. The 18 inch brookie and a similarly sized brown that threw the hook prematurely were in that set. It was what it was. I had only my big boat box of streamers and I only used a few patterns, and they worked. Sometimes it you need to put in the time, sometimes not.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Minnow Hunting

Rudd and golden pond shiners really, not the tiny little shiny fish used to catch crappies. The bigger shiny fish used to catch pike. Being that I like to catch anything big enough to pull a little, and especially beautiful specimen fish, so I sometimes go looking for species that get overlooked. Rudd and pond shiners are some of the prettiest fish I have caught, but for a small, densely populated, not too picky fish, well, they are a pain to catch! I fished too ponds today, caught tons of bluegills and a few small bass, then on the last cast hooked a golden on a Floss Pinkie. Small, gorgeous, and hard to come by... I'm happy.

Well... crap.

(Don't worry, he popped off after a few seconds)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

After spending much of the morning with family and friends, I finished off the day with a short streamer outing. I got some fish pissed off, watched fish chase, and strip set into a few small stockers. I have got a good feeling about this week though, and when I am not working on my biology lab report I will be on the water, either the ponds or the Salmon. Happy Easter everyone. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Paraleps, Hendricksons, and a Big Wild Brown!

Early this morning Nunzio and I went to do some scouting for sea run brown trout. The weather and tide were garbage, so as expected the fishing was crummy. But the low tide shows us the structure and when the run really ramps up we should be able to catch some here. 

I screwed around for a while waiting for the weather to improve so that I could go target wild trout. It was been a little while since I last fished for wild browns because of the limited local options during the closed season. But today I had the time so I went for it. Boy am I glad I did that!

Thee were bugs EVERYWHERE! The water was loaded with freshly hatched caddis larvae, Paraleptophlebia were hatching and there were stoneflies and hendricksons about too. Nunzio had given me a new Rio suppleflex and I wanted to try it out.... here is what I learned right away:
Do not use it for short-line nymphing. Strike detection is a pain.
It is by fa the best leader I have ever used for dry flies and shallow wets.

I didn't get much of anything for a long time, then I came to this pool There were four fish rising. Three nice browns and one dinky one. I tied on a parachute hendrickson and stuck the closest immediately. It fought hard. It was stubborn. It jumped. God I love wild trout.

The next fish, which I managed to photograph taking a Paralep, was doing methodical head and tail rises near a rock. I got the fly in his feeding lane and he was on.

In the pool bellow were some vigorously rising fish. I caught a decent one and one juvenile, and missed a few takes. Check out the spots on the big one!

Finally I reached a pool with a rock over hang. There were three fish rising in the feeding lane right bellow it. I quickly landed the smallest, shown above. Then I tied on a new fly, a size 16 mahogany dun, and put a cast in front of a fish that was loudly gulping in mayflies every few seconds. It took with a magnificent head and tail rise, and I new immediately that this was a special fish. It began bulldogging into the deep undercut, and when it realized that wasn't giving it any help it ran at me then around the rock in the middle of the pool. It began jumping like a little salmon, just over and over and over. It refused to let me touch it for a while but eventually calmed down. Holy shit what a beautiful fish! I have not caught a brown this size is a small stream for a few years, and frankly doing it on a dry was just awesome! This fish was very close to 15 inches and fat. I could not have been happier. My excited laughing and shouting echoed down the valley. I took a short video of the release. This fish was strong! I hope to come back and meat him again when he is 18 inches.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Crappie Days

Spring is an excellent time to fish for crappie, and the last two days I have run into a few pre-spawners. Yesterday I stopped at a pond on my way home from the Salmon and caught one on a beetle. Yes, crappies will sometimes take dry flies:

This evening I returned to see if that one had some friends. He did. I caught a crap load of crappies of a chartreuse bucktail. If I was a fish eater it would have been time to get the deep fryer going!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dry or Die

Sometimes it just has to be dry flies. It's almost magical. Insects burst from the bottom of stream, floating to the surface or swimming to the shore. The ones that make it to the surface are at the mercy of the current for the short time it takes for their wings to dry. Trout see them and tip up there heads, effortlessly moving to grab the little helpless bugs. Fishing magic.

I love technical dry fly fishing. I love matching the hatch, presenting the fly, working the most difficult fish in the pool... any fly fisherman can take the fish sitting in evenly paced current taking mayflies consistently, but it is far more enjoyable for me to fish to and fool even a small brown rising for small caddis on the other side of a deep pool with a strong current and boiling water, in a spot with trees ten feet behind me. I made a number of attempts to get this fish from it's side of the pool but it would spook each time. I made the best of it. I find that doing a single spey cast on a long one handed rod can get a very accurate thirty foot roll cast in the wind. Having the means to get the fly to the fish I began to inspect the subtleties of the presentation. I could not for the life of me see a size 18 caddis at that distance, so I changed flies. I thought for a while about what I should use. I ended up tying on a size 12 light hendrickson. I could see it easily, control it's drift more readily, and I figured the fish wasn't going to be too picky. I timed the rise and made the cast and a quick mend. The drift was only a few feet. The fish did not take. I put the fly back a foot and it took. I made a long sweeping set and was in. It was a small stocked brown. But that wasn't the point. The point was simply that I caught the most difficult fish in the pool. That is probably the only fish of many today that I will remember in a month or two.