Thursday, May 12, 2016

Three Generations Outing

New favorite photo.  Everything that is SE MN.  Nine year old kid at the center hooked up.

Rainjackets.  Boring Christmas presents but thus far, the most used.  Can't say enough about good outerwear for kids.  Adults don't always need comfort on the water but for the kids it can help keep the focus on fishing.  It was cool and rained much of this afternoon; there were zero complaints.

He took half a dozen out of this hole.  Probably landed 8-9 on the day including his first ever BKT on the fly.  We took some fish pictures but they are nearly all on his camera.  The kids got two each to hand.  Older kid got his first ever RBT on the fly; he is up to 29 total fly caught trout in 2016 which is pretty good for a young dude.  

Suppose I made maybe 12-18 casts on the day.  At a few holes after the guys had worked them.  Trying some of the tougher drifts.  I estimated this fish using handspans and rod markings at 13.5 inches but he was actually 15.  Standard.  Nearly without exception my field estimates are under the actual.

We took home six fish and all four guys contributed at least one to that creel.  A special harvest.

Last trout we'll see for a while.  Moving on to bigger fish in the short-term.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Couple Trout Chapters

As noted previously the deal is to carp fish on opening weekend of catch and keep.  And then head out during the week.  Bluebells; green and blue pushing up from the floodplain bench; water low and clear.  Rock faces.  Trout made of circles spots yellow and blue; tangerine colors.  The benthos rising too.  April is a special month and if I had my way this is how I would chart it out: take the months of April and May off work; June go to half time; July and August, the hot worthless months go to 2x FTE; September through November go back to half time; December and January 1.5x.  March 1x FTE.  Something like that anyway.  If you understand what's out there it feels wrong to not be there.  Maybe that's what folks mean when the say something is calling.

On this day had about six hours total; drove a little further than I normally do maybe 50 minutes.  Water was in great shape; fish rising.  Right about where my feet are positioned here I logged this video of a brook lamprey.  

Got one to eat a caddis dry and then I put it away.  I watched the rising fish.  Nearly all small brown trout.  I had it in my head to nymph steady so I went with it.  Fished a triple nymph rig with this barely passable caddis pupae the trailer-most.  It got eaten quite often.  Root beer bead.

Some nice fish on light gear.  The legacy 2 wt rod.

Took a few photos of this fish as I was tuned into those spots.

Be honest caught a lot of fish of which I kept my first share of 2016.  Felt right to walk out early so I did it.  Nice and slow.  No folks around.

Day II:

That wasn't the case on second day; sometime in early May.  Been itching to get The Kid out to keep some trout.  He was pumped too.  I was bordering on uncontrollably happy when we parked at 730 AM in the rain and found no one in the lot.  A Sunday.  Risky as hell.  But I thought we had it licked.  Started upstream and he hooked two nice fish and lost them both near his feet.  Tough go.  Good fish.  Would have kept both.  An emotional dude so I take great care to encourage and state the way to do it is think of the day as a whole; each fish lost and landed a part of it.  Focus on the next one, etc.  Million trout; it's okay to lose a few.  Happens.  Thirty minutes in, around a bend and we met a guy walking downstream toward us.  He didn't look happy.  Hello we offered.  He wasn't rude but he was grumpy and he explained as much: I keep running into people he said.  Oh man. So more folks about.  And we two of them, yes.  We pushed on and fished two holes that should have produced trout but showed none.  Fishing behind people.  So I let him decide.  Look for new water he said.  So walk out; drive out downstream.  But now cars at every corner.  Every pulloff.  We screwed.  Approaching mental breakdown as an adult; can't take it; people all around.  So we left out for C&R water where we knew there'd be few people.

Here he studies his place in the world.

Common water right by the house.  Most know it.  Rebuilt by man.  Good lesson on this day.  First off, he wanted to leave.  I suggested we fish this last piece.  We had worked through maybe four holes and he had gone only 0/1.  So wearing a little thin.  Ready to hang it up.  Persistence is a quality though.  I put a couple drifts together and got a fish; his attention was thus refocused.  Flip drift flip drift high stick etc.  No fish.  I took rod and instead of drifting four inches from the bank, put the whole damn rig underneath it.  All out of sight including indicator.  Came tight on nice fish.  He watched; took rod; did same; got three to hand including this one.  No creel but some fish to round out a tough day anyway; he was lauded for his efforts.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Trout Catch and Keep 2016

A sot when it comes to a creel of trout but not archsot enough to wade into the mire of human egg carton crowding on the water for the harvest opener.  What I like to do instead is go carping.  This was the first carp of the year; smallish fish but a little belly geometry there and she even got her dorsal up for the camera on timer.  Ate a plain strip of green bunny fur with DB eyes.

The water was turbid such that the fly had to be in many cases levitated in front of the fish for a while so it could be detected.  The normal heavier flies e.g LOD were sinking out of sight too quickly.  Switched to an egg fly.  Rarely use it.  On this day it was money.  Ended up catching 6/7 carp that came to hand.  Seven carp over two hours in MN is a pretty good clip.  No big ones.  No dramatic fights.  Still felt good to catch some bigger fish though; big relative to trout.  Didn't scale any of them.  I think I was getting one class of fish around 5-6 lbs and another around 8-9 lbs.  Couple fish were in clearer water; deeper; it was highly enjoyable to sink this damn egg on them (very high vis fly) and count it down, watch for tells and set the hook.  Jedi carping at its best.  No strike; can't see fly; watch fish and discern.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring Break 2016 Chapter III

Older guy is going to paddle north this year.  About time.  When the hint was made that the younger guy isn't quite ready there was some marked disappointment; maybe some tears.  My construct was a weekend outing then in which he would be the focus; a special trip for him.  Dad guiding; big brother hanging out with Mom.  At the start of this outing he was 3268 days or 8.95 years on Earth. Following are some photos and captions.

First day, first hole, first fish of day, first rainbow of his life.  Pretty excited.
I like these shots more than I like the grip and grins.  The Kid II well-positioned, following his flies down and around the corner.  I could look at that one for a long time.  We took some care here to work on flips and rolls.  No backcasts.
The country we're walking; country we love.  Will never get over fishing good water framed by outcrops and towering cliff faces.  Special place and I wanted him to be immersed in it without having to worry about competition or anything else.

There are a few places down here that have seemingly unending good water.  All day.  Just keeps coming.

Found half dozen of these.  

Wild onions with soup we carried into the woods.

He ended day one with seven trout to hand.  Many more hooked and LDRed.  He was born in 2007 and as such one can't expect him to put the hammer down on every fish he encounters.  I was impressed and happy for him.  I maintain that if he'd focused a bit more he may have had a 15-20 fish day.  But that's his personality - much lighter than mine - probably a good thing in the end.

Start of day two.  Money water.  Just full of fish.  I think he hooked 3-4 here.

This fish right here.  A special one.  He hooked and lost one.  Persisted, and few minutes later got this one to hand.  From the same water that gave his grandfather his first trout on a fly.  He recounts the matter.  

Favorite postcard here.

Another just ridiculous piece of water.  That seam between the current and the triangle resting water...   thick with S. trutta.

I think the biggest he landed. 

Old cut healing itself somewhat there on river right.  This entire river reach is good water and should never see heavy equipment or the mark of "improvement" by man.  Beautiful.  Full of fish.  Good habitat for fish and bugs.

This was memorable because he hooked a good number of fish from the main lanes of this water.  When he was done I took the rod and mended into the toughest-to-get-to lane which was right against the woody debris on the outside corner.  I told him there would be one fish there.  This was it.

Absolute coffin-trough full of trout right there.  He worked from near to far as one should do.

We used the tripond one time; looking for the grandeur of the cliffs as backdrop.

I think here he is studying relativity.  Giant colluvium.

Streamers do not need ribs; they do not need palmered hackle.  Tail.  Dubbed body.  Soft hackle collar.  At the walk-out point of our journey on day two, the boy took up a sword and went to work beating down last years husks and stalks on the floodplain.  I took about one hour and cast streamers.

This fish, in my observation, could be caught by approximately one means.  A favorite hole.  Woody debris parallel to the flow.  Drifted nymphs through; smaller fish.  The current and wood are configured such that a guy can't really strip a streamer through the heart of it all.  So it's the twitch drift of the streamer, under the indicator - not to indicate, but to regulate depth as the drift proceeds.  Cast upstream, mend into lane along wood.  Right before heart, one hard twitch.  Photo credit Kid II.

He got three fish to hand on day two for a total of ten.  Nine brown trout, and one rainbow.  All nymphing with tandem rigs under an indicator.  He was allowed to flip and roll.  He did well in initiating roll casts from either side of his body depending on how he stood relative to the current.  I think his biggest fish may have been 13 inches; it was for sure a strong 12.  His first serious trout fishing affair; will be remembered well.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring Break 2016 Chapter II

We'd have caught a bunch of fish if we'd stayed north of 90.  That's what the kid figured after we got beat down pretty good over the first weekend of spring break.  He'd only hooked and lost one fish; I landed a couple here and there.  Fishing overall was poor.  So we looking for some redemption; some lonely hours on uncrowded water, good conditions.  One day mid-week then we went for an afternoon quick hitter close to home.  100% my favorite line of the day was as we were pulling up, noting another angler parked; older boy said urgently oh, do you think he's going upstream.  This the confirmation that the anticipation is alive in him; this all matters.  Plus he very clearly has upstream and downstream in his head.  What's next river right and left.  Riffle pool run configuration. One can hope.  I did my best to be a good example in terms of manners and parked the car and jogged (away from the stream) up to the angler and talked with him.  Told him that we'd go to the next access upstream if that'd work for him.  Sure he says I only have a short time.  Good news boys.

Older guy is eager to fish every hole; not always ready to take turns with little brother.  On this day we dipped downstream of normal starting point to add one more piece of water.  Ten minutes in and it produced first fish of the day.  I got pretty excited; fish wasn't that big; I estimate 12-13 inches.  But what I value in that video: (1) good intensity, (2) bird dogging the indicator, (3) finding a reason to set the hook on each drift (rule from JM), (4) the discernment of the very subtle indication.  Nice work all around.

Redington Crosswater waders.  Gear tip.  $100 brand new; found this pair for $79 brand new.  Kid II was in heaven being able to wade in April and not get cold and wet.

Same place we put our newbie angler friend on his first ever trout on the fly few weeks earlier.  Just a nice foam line in a deep run, easy flip casting and easy positioning of feet.  Kid II hooked and landed his first trout.  Pretty happy time for everyone.  Eight years old; almost nine.  See in vid that it wasn't an intensely studied drift, but we'll take it.  Maybe he knew he had more coming in the near future.  Some gentle chiding by me in the video.  Not necessary to urge Kid I to study the indicator; but this guy needs some reminders; just typical of their respective personalities.  I really wanted him to get a trout to hand and he was setting up good drifts but then not really paying attention.  He clearly wanted to fish; have to remind myself that little dudes may not always understand the focus required.  Or hell maybe they don't care and they're in the right for it.  Whatever the case it worked out and kid was all smiles.  

The fly that got him.  I'd never tie anything like it.  Was on stream with someone a while back and he handed it to me, lauding it.

Ended the day with this one; nice deeply cut mouth.  I wasn't even watching him when he approached the stream and hooked it.  His decisions; his lanes; his drifts.  I helped him by netting it.  I think four fish logged by the older guy; one for the younger (he hooked and LDR one other and missed a couple takes).

About what we needed.