Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cast & Blast

I love and hate this time of year. I love it for the chance to have some time with family, take a mid school year break, and head to one of my favorite spots to fish. I hate it because of the cold, snow, and limited fishing closer to home without going out on the ice. 

So with my Dad, two brothers and myself all being teachers we had some time to plan a trip. We decided on doing a jack rabbit hunting/fly fishing trip. I think my brothers tend to get more excited about hunting while my Dad and I were really looking forward to the fishing. Awake(ish) at 2:30 AM to hit the road at 3:00, a short three and a half hours later we were nearing our destination and seeing good numbers of rabbits from the road. Hit it hard and saw rabbits consistently throughout the day, burning through a significant number of .22 shells and getting some rabbits. Around midday my enthusiasm was waning but my brothers continued to hunt as my Dad and I waited in the truck. I pointed out that my bros were a bit crazy, my Dad pointed out that they hunt the same way that I fish. Touché. 

I think that night's stay in the motel really brought how tired we all were into focus. Some ill advised discussion of politics (we don't see eye to eye) and general bickering points were brought up. We couldn't quite stay awake to watch the last NFL game of the season. Then once we were asleep some pet names were uttered that shouldn't have been (I've never been called 'Peaches' before...). The next morning came early with some seriously cold temperatures and some storminess that would assure our isolation while fishing. 

It was a bit cold
We found some decent success in the AM with a couple of decent trout in the mix to keep things interesting. My older brother Jeff hasn't had much experience fly fishing, but he was able to get into some fish and really improve his casting. 

The typical size, we caught a lot of these

A nicer one. Dig the automatic reels.
Weston and my Dad caught as many as they could wish for but didn't find any better ones. Fish came to a mix of nymphs and Woolly Buggers with nothing really out performing anything else. I was able to finally pick up some fish on my 8wt which was a blast to cast. 

A good one. You know it's cold when your smile ends up being a grimace.
Around midday we started searching out different places to fish in hopes of finding some better sized trout. What we found was dirty water and unresponsive (or non-existent, not sure which) fish. I managed one more decent trout on an olive bugger but Jeff broke the tip off of his rod and lost any enthusiasm he had left for fishing. 

Pretty girl
We were about to call it and make the long trek home when my Dad suggested we stop at one more place. Amazingly there were rising fish waiting for us there. They were pretty picky, but we picked up a few on hanging midges and Orange Ashers. My Dad fished circles around me on this last spot just to prove he still could, and I couldn't think of a better way to end the day. 

A nice buck. Sorry about the pic quality, all I had was my point & shoot.

The ride home was a bit messy with a complete whiteout and an unexpected layover that made the long ride even longer. Rather than just get another room and wait out the storm we decided to push through and make it back to my Dad's in the AM. After a quick night I loaded up my stuff and made the drive back home feeling sick, but happy about the successful trip. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

I think it's letting up!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Early Christmas

After sleeping in, and medicating up, I was able to get out for an afternoon of fishing with my youngest boy Cado last Saturday. He was really excited to borrow his brother's "thingies so he can walk on the water." Despite the late start I was really excited to get out and we headed south to a stream that has been really good to me. 

Ready to roll

A little skinny
The water was a bit low, but Cado was ready to go! Seemed like the first few spots that should've been holding fish gave up nothing. But we found some fish in the smaller water, basically the spots that most people wouldn't bother with. Maybe we weren't the first to fish this stretch today.

Almost looks like he's threatening you with a fish

Don't know why his hands got cold

Love it when we find something other than a brown
Soon we found a pod of rising fish and it was time to try out a new fly I'd tied up (details here). First cast brought a fish to hand! Managed to hook two more, miss one, and land three before spooking the hole. I'd say the fly is a success! 

Proof's in the puddin'
Hope you have a Merry Christmas, get a gift as great as I got (getting out and fishing with my boy) get outside, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

He's a fishing rock star

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doctor's Orders

After spending the past week trying, unsuccessfully, to cough up a lung I finally gave in and went to see a doctor. Even when leaving the house for the appointment I still figured that I'd be back home soon with a "stay home and get some rest" type prescription. Well, I was only half right. While the doc did say I should try and stay home to get some rest, she also prescribed an inhaler and some antibiotics. Turns out I have bronchitis and strep. Guess I should've gotten to the doctor a little sooner. 

Oh well. Guess I'm stuck at home for the next little while tying flies and entering contests. Don't worry I'm sharing all of them over at my Facebook page so you can enter too. I'm sure I won't win, luck has been too kind to me already, but there's no harm in trying.

Most of the flies I've been tying have been standards in my boxes. Things like woolly buggers, mod. hares ears, brassies and zebra midges. Then I got thinking about the last time I was out, and those fish that were taking midges in the surface film (I think). So, I tied up a hanging midge. Basically just a zebra midge without the bead and a parachute post. Put it on a scud hook so the the body would dangle down through the film.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

I'm tying them in four colors right now: red, olive, black and orange. All with a silver "barber pole" and a grizzly or dun hackle. What do you think? Will it catch? I'm betting it will.

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.
- Kidder

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a great Wife (who made an amazing Thanksgiving dinner) and two awesome sons. I have a good job, a nice house and lots of opportunities to get out into nature (and a Wife that puts up with my adventures, did I mention she's great?). I was also raised by some pretty great parents and had the opportunity to get out fishing with my Dad for Black Friday. 

Nothing quite like waking up at 2:30 am the morning after eating way too much turkey, but at least it wasn't to go shopping. No, we were hoping to maximize our time on the water by getting there at the crack of dawn. 

Ever wake up so early you feel sick to your stomach?
Got there a little early, even for us, but the fish were ready and willing. We got a lot of little ones early on, almost every cast, on pretty much any nymph we tried. It quickly became clear that we needed to try some different spots to find the better fish. So we headed over to a spot where my Dad hooked into a nice fish last year, only to lose it, and hoped that he could get some redemption. After only a few minutes Dad again hooked into a great fish only to find that we had left the net back up at the truck. In the two minutes that it took to go and get the net the fish found a way to come unbuttoned and my Dad was thinking luck wasn't with him. Thankfully he was wrong about that.

Great lookin' bow
Of course the one that got away was bigger, as they always seem to be, but this was a great looking rainbow. Next it was my turn to find a couple of nice fish.

I was pretty satisfied with the trip at that point! My Dad had found a couple of nice fish and landed one. I had managed to catch a couple of nice ones. Now we only had to try and find my Brother a decent fish (not that he needs much help). We figured that this spot was spooked so we ought to try some other areas. Among these was a spot where I caught my personal best rainbow just last January. The problem with this spot is that it seems like I'm the only one that likes it much. I can't really blame them though, the spot does seem to favor me. Sure enough, after a few casts with my olive woolly bugger, I hooked into a quality fish. I played it as tough as felt I could, but it still was taking line whenever it felt I was getting too close. After about 4 times of getting her close only to induce another run the hook just came free. That fish worked me over and left me standing on shore looking like an idiot. 

This seemed like a good time (to My Dad and Brother, I never want to stop fishing) to go and do a little rabbit hunting. I knew going into the trip that this was part of the deal. Now, don't get me wrong, I like hunting. It's just that I love fishing. Especially when the fish in question tend to be nicer than the fish I usually catch. Just had to go with the flow on this one, and ended up having a good time. After some indecision, some arguing, and finally letting a coin decide our fate, we decided to spend the night and do some more fishing in the morning (and some more hunting in the afternoon). It didn't take long for my Brother to find the fish that eluded him the day before on a red zebra midge.

Check out all those spots

Then I hooked into a good one on my olive woolly bugger.

At this point we decided to hit up a spot that had given up some nice fish in the past. We found some small to average sized fish that were coming to hand on about every other cast. As long as you could keep the weeds off your fly the fish seemed to be pretty easy, and there were a couple of bigger fish mixed in to keep things interesting. 

They are such fat fish
When it was getting to the point that the wind was dictating the drift more than the current it became clear that it was again time to go hunting. But before we got out of there, my Dad found another quality fish.

Good times
It was a great weekend of fishing and spending some time with my Dad and Brother. With any luck we'll be able to do this a few more times this Winter. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.