Monday, January 16, 2012

Flying in warm weather

Midges.  They just sound small and difficult don't they?  But in a crazy warm spell of Utah weather I figured it was nearly a sure thing, despite it being January fifth.  So I headed out after work with visions of a heavy midge hatch making the mere fifteen minute drive seem closer to an hour.  I Was excited to hit some moving water again, and figured if the catching sucked (the fishing is always good) at least I'd be out and could test out a couple of new-to-me patterns.  Arrived at the river and to my dismay there wasn't much of anything hatching above or below the surface (flipped some rocks).  So I decided to start out nymphing with my standby nymph, a #18 bead head pheasant tail, trailed by a midge larvae pattern trailer until the hatch picked up.  Worked my way up stream slowly, trying to keep to the east bank so as to minimize my shadow on the water.  Continually reminding myself that I need to take my time and try to thoroughly fish every hole, so different than the way I fish during the warmer months when I quickly move on figuring to cover as much river as possible.  Nothing much happening on this rig, so rather than get panicky and start changing flies haphazardly I decided to just add some weight to the rig by way of a couple of split shot about 16" above the top fly.  That seemed to be the ticket for the next hole, second cast I had a hit and the fourth cast I landed a pretty little brown on the pheasant tail.

  Then, curiously, nothing came out of the rest of that hole or the next.  So I decided to try out some of the 'new' flies.  First was an AK Hopper which I really like the look of on the water (though I really didn't expect anything happening on it today) then a Blue Wing Olive patten with an upright wing that I found in a fly shop on the San Juan River in New Mexico.  It actually took me a while to get the wing right at the vise, but the fly looked great on the water.  Well, with the flies tried out I decided to go back to the rig that I started with and managed a little better brown to end the day.  No, the hatch didn't come off.  But who cares?  I went flyfishing in January without any iced guides!  Not bad for a quick trip after work.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Pike 1/2/12

We've been putting this off for way too long, so to start the new year we decided to head down to Redman and try our hand at fishing for Northern Pike.  There's been a lot of rumors and discussions on the fishing boards on how best to catch pike there, and we finally made it down to give it a shot with some minnows.  It just happened to be a freakishly warm week for Utah, so it really felt like spring fishing.  The sun was out, with no wind to speak of, and we were all very comfortable fishing from the north shore of the small reservoir.  I was the first to catch a pike, which put up a pretty good fight even though it had a strong resemblence to a pencil.  It turned out to be the smallest fish of the day.  My oldest managed the second fish to shore, a much better pike but still not a 'keeper' by any stretch.  Then I caught the lone catfish of the day (which the boys thought was pretty cool).  Next came our baby boy's pike, which seemed like a pretty big fish to us novices, so we kept it to try for dinner.  Finally, Deli managed her pike as the bite was slowing down.  It put up a great fight and was by far the largest fish of the day measuring out at just under 25" long.  We fished until late in the afternoon but started to leave as the temperature dropped.  Another fisherman we had been talking to reeled in a bass (caught on a Kastmaster lure) and offered it to us, and we gladly accepted.  The meal turned out to be a good one with pike being surprisingly good, and bass dissapointly not.  I know a lot of people like to eat bass, which is probably why I was so dissapointed, but we all agreed to practice catch and release on them from here on out.  Good start to what I'm sure will be a great year!