Monday, May 23, 2016

Great Day in the Morning

I haven't been getting out too much lately with all the end of the school year stuff that seems to get in the way (including helping the Wife get her garden ready for Summer). So writing on the blog has taken a bit of a backseat with the hopes that once school's out fishing will resume and writing will follow. Looking back through my notes I realized that I didn't share one of my early morning solo trips from about a month ago. So, if you're not into history you might want to just skip the rest of this post, but if you like hearing about, and seeing crappy pictures, of fish it could be worth your time to read on...

Late Friday night I made up my mind to hit a stream in the morning. Atley was having a sleepover with a friend at our house but I still invaded the 'party' downstairs to tie up a dozen flies that my boxes always seem to run out of then went to bed early dreaming of big browns slamming woolly buggers in the pre-dawn light. 

When I got out of my car the first thing I noticed was how freakin' cold it was! I'm talking ice in the guides, two sweatshirts, why did I do this to myself, cold. In fact, it was cold enough to turn my felt bottom boots into skis on the frosted grass that made me fall so fast I had to sit there a minute and try to figure out what had happened. Luckily, the fish were awake so it seemed worth it.

A great beginning!
I seemed more sluggish than usual and managed to miss three good hits out of one hole (or maybe it's normal and I just suck...). I just tried to keep moving and cover as much water as I could before the sun came up and fishing would go back to how it usually is (still pretty good, by the way).

Chunky fish
Once the sun was up I switched to a dry & dropper and started moving back upstream picking up a few fish while retracing my steps. I still tried to move quickly since last time I was fishing this stream I'd spotted a really nice fish and wanted to see if I could get him in for a photo opp. (read about the first meeting HERE)

Caught quite a few about like this

I love how colorful they get here
Once I reached the pool where I thought the lunker lived, I fished it pretty hard but only made connections with some smaller fish. I slowly worked my way up to the top of the pool, staying on my knees in hope of not spooking any, when a nicer fish showed and I managed to get him all the way in this time!

Dig the orange!
Love 'em and leave 'em
The day was more than a success with several nice fish landed and many others to fill in the blanks, so I headed back to the car. On the walk back (which always takes so much longer than it seemed to while fishing) I couldn't help but think about the fish that I had missed first thing in the morning. Switching back to the black bugger that I'd started with I fished a few of the deeper holes on the way back down stream until I made it back to where the fish had eluded me in the pre-dawn light. A couple came to play but for the most part re-fishing the stream went exactly the way it should've until I found myself at the deep hole where I'd almost been productive.

The first few casts didn't bring any interest and I was about to call it a day when I had a really hard hit on a slow retrieve. The fish went nuts, running upstream, under the bank, to the bottom of the hole then started to take me downstream but I kicked it into high gear to get in front of him and keep him where I figured the fight would be in my favor. This fish didn't seem to know that brown trout didn't jump, and tried several times to lose me in the air before finally coming to the net. Too bad he wouldn't fit! I ended up having to tail him and used the net to try and keep him wet while getting my camera out. He was too big for me to hold in the usual way and get a decent picture!

Big and Beautiful

A personal best brown for me was definitely a great way to end a spectacular day of fishing! I ended up getting home earlier than I usually do (probably because I'd gotten up so early). Writing this up now I realize that I've only been back to this stream once since this day, maybe a return trip is overdue! 

Hope you're as lucky,


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sibling Day

I didn't know that Sibling day was a thing, and I certainly didn't lose any sleep worrying about how I was going to celebrate this obscure 'holiday' (if you want to go as far as calling it that). So, it wasn't as if I planned a solo fishing trip as some clever slight aimed at my siblings, it just worked out that way. 

I started before light to throw some streamers and had hoped to find the huge nocturnal trout that we all hope exist in our local water. Not just a little bigger, but the behemoth fish that feeds on the best fish you've caught from that undercut bank. Probably a brown with a hooked jaw and no qualms against cannibalism or attacking skinny-dippers.

Of course after fishing an olive bugger in every way I could think of through the first couple of holes and stumbling around in the dark I still hadn't found any fish. Light was starting to show on the horizon so I used the small amount of light to tie on a black bugger in hopes it could change my luck. I managed to somehow miss the first two hits and was just wondering about maybe changing out the fly for something smaller, or maybe a lighter color, when I finally made the connection. A good, healthy fish, but not the cousin from loch ness that had gotten me out of bed so early.

Apparently I needed to use the flash
When I came up on the undercut bank that had held so much promise in my imagination it didn't seem like any fish lived there. Only when I had worked my down, so I was standing over the top of the bank, did anything resembling old nessie come out to play. A nice fish took the bugger and tried to keep it in it's sheltered run. Once I had him in the net I began to wonder if this was the same fish that I'd caught about a year ago (read the post here). If it's him he's growing up nicely and it won't be long before he's a fish like the one with the scottish heritage. 

A beauty of a fish
Maybe it's just too early in the year for the fish to be out in force before the warmth of the sun hits the water, or maybe I'm just not that good, but I didn't see any fish for a while. I snuck down where I could swing a fly into the top end of a pool. It took a few passes, but the nicest cutthroat I've seen from this stream didn't like his territory being encroached upon and slammed my fly. 

I'm a sucker for a pretty cutt
When streamer fishing I prefer to work downstream, so I fished down as far as access would allow then turned around and re-fished my way back up. The streamer got replaced with a couple of nymphs and I started picking up fish right away on a orange bead head Hare's Ear

The fish in this small stream seem to be extra pretty, and with the approaching spawn the cutts seem to glow. I tried to keep moving in hopes of working my way up to some water I haven't seen in over five years. The fish seemed to prefer the Hare's Ear over any other nymph I tried, and as the sun made it's presence known the fishing seemed to slow down quite a bit. I kept moving and noticed that the water seemed to be getting a little cloudy, once that happened the fishing picked up again. Maybe I was spooking the fish? 

A Chunk

Gotta love 'em
 A lot of the holes I used to fish are gone now, completely silted in, but there were still a few spots that held fish. One spot had several fish that were willing to play. Once I reached the top of the hole and was about to keep moving on nessie's cousin showed himself. I hooked the beast just long enough to see that he was quite a bit bigger than anything I had caught in this stream, then he came undone and slipped away. I tried a few more casts, but knew he wouldn't be coming back today. Makes me anxious to get back and try to arrange for another meeting. 

Hope you're as lucky,

This mink (?) didn't seem too scared of me, probably just worried I was going to steal his duck