Columbia River 2015
The individuals that comprised this year's fishing party are for convenience listed below:
D. Frasier of US Carp Pro
First, Some Historical Notes
Best I can recall it went something like this, according to
my assessment of one old correspondence and a review of our photos, of which
there are many: in the year 2000 I moved to southeast Minnesota. Fact is we had both spent the better part of
the previous six years there too, taking classes shooting hoops etc. But in 2000 I came down to work. With me was the trusty spinning gear of many
many miles; many bass and pike; days in small rowboats; crowded boats countless
fish with my dad and brothers. I think I must have taken that
gear to the river for grab-bag fishing.
Probably in 2001 John Montana said why don’t you get a fly rod and get
the trout that are everywhere around you.
I was slow to warm up to it; typical fashion; why change anything. He took a St. Croix Pro Graphite 5/6 weight
with a SA reel all spooled up and sent it to me via USPS. He understood that it would make in me an
obligation to get out and use it. Fish eat almost all their protein under the water; use nymphs. Fish
two nymphs he said. Why would I do that
it sounds like more chances for tangles. I did
as much and I remember the exact location at which I stood, whining to myself
that this would never work, when an invasive brown trout ate the beadhead hares
ear that was drifting maybe six feet upstream of my position. First trout on a fly.
I think that was not first fish on fly because I had been going to lakes
and wading for sunnies/crappies/bass on poppers. Those were the days of dumb fish, dozens to
hand, eutrophic lakes giving up bounties.
On the trout though, I am unsure as to the year but I think 2001. On one of our earliest (if not the first
overall) fishing trips together, JM and I found a pod of brook trout in a
beaver pond. I know how we can get these
fish he said. Aquarium. Only way to do it was to get upstream, belly
crawl, strip out line and backhand cast an emerger. Let it swing down and across to them. Then they will eat it. First attempt we stared at the line. It jolted and we had fontinalis #1. Next guy up.
Same deal. Hundred brook trout
and we caught two and that was exactly what we aimed to do so we then
The email mentioned was May 19,
2003. All things being measured in rain
events and flow conditions, we were at that time subjected to the only major
event of that year. The email feels like me talking with an informant regarding fisheries that may serve
as alternative to those for trout. Big
event; high water; streams blown out; my guy coming to fish; what to do.
My buddy John Montana
from Westfly copied me on a letter to you re fly
>> fishing. I live in Cannon and I fish often.... catching quite a few
>> trout in the streams around here. Sounds like you're into some nice
>> bigger fish in the main river - rough fish, etc.
So the link is made: JM points me to his buddy, who is IMO
an elite angler who set a record catching a fish on the fly for some
ridiculous number of days in a row something like 59. I remember we would fish together I’d pull up
to his funny little no-frontage apartment and he’d come out looking tired and
off we’d go. This guy was key in tuning
into the local carp on flies angle.
Next, after I said some things like this small northern come almost completey out of
the water and shred my popper
> - missed him though as he bit it off and left if floating for me, was
the clincher of sorts:
you may have seen me
or a buddy of mine up under the dam downtown
. it's by far the best place to fish for carp as they stack up
under there nicely. i've caught them there mostly on dead-drifted nymphs.
we really pounded this spot most of last month when the water was right.
The carp are there and they can be had. Not like we used to throwing giant Northern
Tackle Whistler jigs and retrieving them 22 mph; rather, they can be had on
flies. I would note that some people in
the world were already catching carp on flies; I have met three people that
were doing it for years before 2003. But
one’s world is largely defined by his own life and those very close to him;
this is generally understood. We got some carp in 2003 dead drifting nymphs; blind fishing.
To this picture then – the first of our sight-fished carp. Here is the flow context; the mean daily flow values (cfs) at the local river
gauge: 193, 221, 696, 956, 1170, 1050, 739, 543, 428, 436 (date of picture), 1230,
1250. And that is a relatively large drainage (292,xxx acres,
compared to trout streams which very but are often fished at 12-20,000
acres). So we’d just been hit with a big
slug, and on May 24 water was rising again at the big station meaning the trout
streams were blown. Probably peaked and
turbid. Where can we go and what can we
do. The only hydrology that seemed
approachable was that between lakes. That
held by wetland complexes. We went to
such places and found clear water; rivers of grass. Within those forests undulating we saw
buffalo and carp; in and out of our vision.
JM had made a bamboo rod; at great pains; finished just weeks prior. This was the rod he applied; I cannot recall exactly why; maybe all we had along. We gave it everything we had – trying to hook
those fish. They were not actively
feeding. But in 2004 safe to say we were
not really tuned into carp moods. JM
used a small hares ear and in striking foreshadowing fashion he got one to eat. This was a dirt road culvert scenario. Several cars stopped to watch. This better be good said one tobacco enthusiast. And I do remember explicitly the second the
people saw it was a carp most turned away without a word and drove off.