Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stocking Basics

Turn over rocks and most of what you see looks like this: dark, #16-18 or so. Been a while since I restocked any basic flies. This is in part due to having little time and also in part due to going to bed earlier because I'm old now.

This is a PT, but with black flashy dubbing for thorax instead of PT fibers. Could describe it as Nick's Walking Hares Ear, inverted. It's easy, fast and is a good general imitation for SE MN. Third pic shows a flashback variant.

Laziness, disorder, spring-wind-blew-my-list-of-things-to-do-away type nymph box. This does have its pluses. If you find this scenario in your own possession, it implies that you have in fact had ample opportunity to lose the flies that formerly held rank in those rows. This gets to the idea of a good problem to have.

Toward responsibility, order and replenishment, of which some (moderated) is good. Add a couple dozen flies, discard some rusty hooks (strip down to keep beads), and reorder everything:
First Creel of 2011: April 22

This sandy hole gave up first kept fish of the season. Dirty, doggy water. Had to wade in quicksand to get into position.

Moved on to other water and got into some fish on dry flies. It all seemed a little blah because only a few hours were available and a person felt rushed to harvest some fish and get home before heavy rain came (which it did). Next outing will be better.

Whatever the case or the quality of the time, a few hours later, fish were in this state.

Unrelated to meal, see unfortunate dog below. I surveyed the scene/context and my current speculation is that this fellow was likely lynched: hung by neck to die from bridge just upstream. Can't say for sure.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Tombstone Shadow
[iteration of SMB and/or conehead bugger]

hook: #6 3x long is just about right on (curved shank is good)
tail: whatever crap marabou you have laying around
underbody1: the crap marabou wrapped forward and lashed down to add bulk
underbody2: flashy leech dubbing (from WFF)
hackle: grizzly or whatever garbage is laying around
collar: chocolate guinea
head: 1-2 coneheads depending on size

Note: fly will fish better if you swill beer and listen to namesake song while tying. Guaranteed.

This is tied precisely to be a big nymph or small streamer, to lead 2-nymph rigs in standard Driftless Area fishing. Twitch retrieve is nice. Dead drift is nice. What the hell. Pretty nice. When the caddis won't hatch and the rain and snow won't stop a guy can only make big dirty flies and catch fish below the surface. All the while singing this song:

When the sky is gray
And the moon is hate
I'll be down to get you.
Roots of earth will shake.

Sinister Purpose
Knocking at your door;
Come and take my hand.

Burn away the goodness;
You and I remain.
Did you see the last war?
Well, here I am again.

Sinister Purpose
Knocking at your door;
Come and take my hand.

I can set you free,
Make you rich and wise.
We can live forever;
Look into my eyes.

Sinister Purpose
Knocking at your door;
Come and take my hand.


And who wouldn't love yelling this on the stream?: TOMBSTONE SHADOW ON THAT ASS!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Close the Book on 2011 C&R Spring Season

One final outing before streams get crowded for a while. Here are notes:

(1) Started out nymphing, with a SMB or SMBesque fly as lead, and #16-18 HE or PT trailing. As has been the case lately: deadly. Fish love the drab and dark streamers. The twitch is deadly. I've all but abandoned the straight-up dead drift. Twitch, wait. If no strike: slow lift and a lot of times a trout will pick up the trailing nymph. 20+ fish taken even at relatively relaxed trot. Got to see quite a few takes. Every single fish but one was sporting a gut. Would have been interesting to knock one and look at stomach contents. Wrapped up nymphing around 1 or 130 PM.

(2) Put on an Adams, despite no definitive hatch. Got a handful of fish on #18. Was able to watch one BNT rise up from the tail of a pool, open white mouth wide and take fly. Found a nice little group of feeding fish, and put Adams on them. Moderately effective. I sat down for a while and watched bugs. Noticed BWO showing more of a presence. So switched to darker mayfly - traditional BWO pattern #18. This fly was crushed pretty well by the remainder of the fish before me. Some leaping takes.

All that said though, this was not a bug day by any means. Only minor dry fly action. I count on hitting that up next week.

(3) Dusted off the Avid 4 wt for this outing. I was planning to dredge a bit for bigger fish. I even brought a sinking leader. Not too driven on that though. Guess I changed my mind. Didn't do it. However: I really enjoyed returning to the nice power of that bigger rod. I have a Rio Windcutter line that I used today, and that thing shoots really well and overall the line just glides through the guides. It was laying down dry flies at quite a distance with good accuracy. Better than the 2 wt. I suspect that the 2 wt line I have is shot, and that is affecting performance of that outfit.

Note gut. Many fish in this range: 11-13" or so.

The holes showed good fish, but all this gray water with a little foam maybe... don't walk by it. Fish or two in there for sure. I stopped to cast at everything but the shallowest stuff.

Money fly. Credit WFF. I have come to realize that I can no longer figure that I have enough flies... and that I "need to get out to lose some before tying more." Fact is, I'm running low on standard PT and HE. Scuds. Need to get do it. And need to whip out some SMB.

Around us now here in Driftless Area are trout lilies, speckled trout lettuce and speckled trout themselves. In other words: April is good to us. Can't believe it's half over already.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Drifter

This guy fairly naturally took to dragging and flipping rigs upstream and high-sticking with the current. I think he got some hits but no connections yet. Didn't help that the water was worked over all day before we fished it.

This guy picked a fight with a mother goose sitting on her eggs. To match her, he spread his arms out wide and hissed in her face. They were nose to nose, maybe 4-5 inches apart. Goose took one solid shot at kid and nipped him. Kid hit goose (lightly) with a 2010 version golden rod.

All the while singing this. He's got it pretty well memorized.

From backyard:

2010 speckled trout lettuce that wintered over. This did not work quite as well as 2009 to 2010, but we had a number of viable plants when snow melted.

Worst thing about April is that it has an end. Attention turning to one more C&R outing. Skipping town while mobs hit streams for catch and keep opener. Returning mid-week to fish dry flies and bring home salmo trutta.
Recounting the Weekend Part II: Flies and Other Notes

Going back to C&R opener notes.

Root River Special, or a variant on it that I got via a swap some years ago. I fished a lot of rigs that were led by a larger nymph or small streamer (SMB, bugger, etc.) and trailed by a standard PT or HE, etc. This was devastatingly good. All weekend, everywhere. It allows for twitching, stripping, dead drifting. Indicator, no indicator. Very versatile. Bigger trout ate the bigger fly, generally speaking.

FIrst hole I walked up to on Friday morning I applied a tandem rig using Root River Special in lead, followed by orange scud. First three fish at RRS. So I started keeping score out of interest. In ~20 minutes counted exactly fourteen BNT to hand. Ended up being 8-6 in favor of orange scud, in dramatic comeback fashion. Most of these fish were smaller. But very healthy and gutty. A short-mouthed strain of BNT (I'm convinced that this stream has short-mouth genetics that are prevalent).

And here pulled out a fly that is maybe 6-8 years old. Sitting in my box. Quick Descent copper dubbing. Fish ate this in ready fashion.

Here is some big, sweet water that I stumbled onto. Turns out it was too big for me to fish at the moment I found it. Couldn't wade it well, and couldn't get down. Caught a couple fish but didn't do it right. I estimated a riffle of maybe 70 yards in length. Bug factory. Followed by nice, deep broken water. Something that someone should work over for a while. I've only ever fished one western river for trout, but this stretch drew my mind to that western water for sure. Most like it of anything I've looked at in SE MN so far.

Fished with this guy for a while. Nice outing. Caught a lot of fish. He stood at one location and nymphed up a half dozen in maybe ten minutes. And he brough goose stew (honker taken in Rochester) for post-fishing meal. Even heated it up on site. Very generous.

Money triangle: one of those dirty doggers posted previously was sitting right in that triangle. Hydro-cushion, perfect lay for a trout. Jolting strike. I'll look in again.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Recounting the Weekend: Money Water

This stream was so garbage, that any little pocket of deeper water or any vestige of cover had a fish in it. Seemingly a big fish. This subtle little slot produced a beauty.

This stream showed a few great reaches like this: fairly slow but enough current to carry a nymph rig. Good depth. At the end of the drift: strike after strike. Hit it on the way out: same deal.

Another slow reach. Deep. Cast up, let rig sink... strip hard or twitch and then twitch or slowly retrieve back... strike. Strike. Again. This was exceedingly difficult to wade due to deposition of fine material and high banks. It was worth the effort though.

Bellies. Gray bellies. Always drift nymphs in them.

No red lines needed here. Hard to get much better than this:

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Today's dirty dogger. Check the gut.

Yesterday's dirty dogger. Check the ripple.

Friday, April 01, 2011

April 1st, 2001

Report later. Maybe. For now, suffice it to say that this day provided some remarkable variety with respect trout fishing:

(1) Fished three different streams near my place;
(2) Started with BNT numbers, inlcuding a run of 14 fish in 25 minutes;
(3) Then moved to BNT size, including three fish ~15-16" easy;
(4) Then moved to BKT;
(5) Then moved to BKT on dry flies, including at least a dozen that ate mayfly patterns;
(6) Hooked and played two trout at once, twice today - but in each case only landed one fish.
(7) Other than last year's caddis hatch fishing, I'd say this is the most trout I've caught in a day. And I only fished fairly lazily, for maybe 2/3 of the daylight hours. 50 trout.

And it's not even tomorrow yet.