Monday, March 11, 2013

Lest we forget what is under our noses…

March 3, 2013 Fishing Notes

After various and good campaigns with my boys on Friday/Saturday, I carved out a little time to look at some trout water on Sunday; day of rest is what some call it. First stop was closest to the house; HI work; hand of man is very present there. And in another way, in that there was inexplicable turbidity in this reach. I puzzled over it and investigated within the bounds of the law. I was able to bookend it to a particular reach. But no explanation was forthcoming. Water was not moving across land on this day; 0-1% chance that runoff had anything to do with it. No, the snow was still content, setting and yawning all over the fields even in the face of the sun. And it was too much water to be an isolated runoff situation. The entire river was ~8-10 inches clarity. The fish were there, in their deep geometric pools; those created by hand of man. I know that because I ass-hooked two nice BNT. So this told me that the fish were there, and I was getting down to them. But they were not active. Due to either/both visibility or water temperature.

After examining that situation I had to sit with my maps a bit and look at ratios of miles, time, quality, etc. Finally I just said hell with it and went into the park. No big secrets here. It’s the water that everyone fishes; water that everyone knows about. Big polygons of land that by the grace of sound planning has been largely set aside to provide challenge, relaxation, inspiration and some damn good times to the common man. One tenet to keep in mind, IMO: heavily-fished water does not necessarily translate to water to avoid. And further: water perceived as heavily-fished is not always so. And finally: water perceived as heavily-fished probably isn’t in the middle of the winter. So it came to be that I was fishing the water commonly thought of as the backyard of sorts.


(1) Nymphing with standard #14 models. Trailing scuds behind other patterns.  2x heavy scud hooks with pretty big beads.  Designed to get down.  Orange, gray, green.  2 wt sage formerly of Reel John Montana, formerly of John Montana.

(2) First run produced around three fish in rapid succession. In the shadow of the cliff...  and thus the first image below is darkened.

(3) A lot of the good water that often holds fish in other seasons was dead empty. No fish hooked and none spooked. I suppose this is often the case in winter.

(4) Second good piece of water produced 2-3 fish, right by that sweet rock at river left in the picture.

(5) The final piece of water made the day: see red dot. There was one drift that would work; one drift only. Nymphs had to be cast at or beyond that red dot, tumble over the submerged rock down into the head of that pool. If this was done successfully, a fish was hooked. Plain and simple. Walking up to this hole, I blew ~94 trout out of a shallow belly. The key difference there being that shallow belly was in flat water. No place for an angler to hide, no hydro camoflauge to muffle your foot, your silhouette or the plop of your nymphs. Setting being of utmost importance. Some of the big pods of fish will be only approachable only with the most ridiculous scrutiny and care. Others, if you can be tipped off in time, can allow a person to stand in one place and land a solid dozen fish. Which is what happened here. When you find that hole, do not catch a couple and leave it because “you like to move along.” Maybe do that if you are truly just out for a walk. But if you are aiming to catch a fair number of fish in the winter, you ought to linger at water that feels like it’s full of fish; pound on that water until you go ten minutes without a take. Then move on to the 1-2 other such opportunities you will be afforded. The place to not dwell, IMO, in winter is at all the middle water (the water between the holes) that will be a joy to fish in the coming months but is empty now (one exception here would be if you are fortunate enough to find fish coming to midges; a situation that might provide opportunity to fish varying/many pieces of water; see subsequent note).

(6) Some midges in the snow, but no risers.

(7) No HI work in play. Bedrock controls; good riffles and pools.

Really can’t bitch about spending an afternoon in the sun, stopping for coffee here and there, looking things over. Boot tracks went on for a while but worth noting: even in the park they dropped off pretty quickly. Brought me back a few years; water I used to fish quite often. A nice reunion; a nice rejuvenation. No electric outlets in sight. Just cliff faces and moving water.

…exile from Christendom and civilization inevitably restores a man to that condition in which God placed him, i.e. what is called savagery.         – H. Melville, page 279

[...and in the absence of opportunity for prolonged exiles, due to the "age perfecting its clinch," iterative sojourns, regularly kept and accumulated, can provide a close second-best option...]


Anonymous winonaflyfactory said...

It's been a while my friend. I hope all is well West of me. Glad to see BNT in your paws, soon a few in your frying pan.

My life is somewhat different these days, busy is an understatement. Thanks for the recap of the day...Take care

7:37 PM  
Blogger Feather Chucker said...

I've had days like that. Where you cast and there is one section where your indicator goes under and you can't tell if it's a fish or a snag. Your line never gets caught and the indicator only stays under for maybe a second. It happens almost every time. Eventually you find it either is a snag or you see a flash and feel the tug of a fish. It's like the fish have a target area of maybe 6-8 inches and they won't move any further to get your fly. In those situation I think we are actually "feeding" them the fly.

8:22 AM  
Blogger John Montana said...

Lovely water.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

WFF: miss you buddy. Hope to see you soon. Maybe we fish together in the near future.

Kevin: good note re feeding the fly. That is about my estimation too. It's an interesting challenge. Get the right drift.

JM: I believe you miss this water sometimes. Maybe we'll fish it again.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

One more thing, to the world: please stop spamming old people like me. I don't have the drive to work out a block for your pointless garbage techniques.

12:17 PM  
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7:49 PM  

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