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.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Break 2016 Chapter I

Three nights out in early April.

Had never tried one of these cabins.  Always tent.  But when I saw (1) cabin was free, (2) wind/snow/rain was predicted, (3) river blown out I decided that some new thing would be a good fall back highlight.

Main river high, cold, turbid.  So the small water was crowded.  

Killed me to watch the kids fish well and not get trout to hand.  Always fishing behind other anglers.  Water a little high so volume and energy greater; required more thought to get nymphs deep.

Second day I don't think the wind ever went much below 25 mph.  We agreed to not fish that day; instead walked around.  Played some wheel of fortune.  Ate some good camp food.  Went way up along one of the blufftops.

Bacon cheese english muffins darn good.

Our gear for a Thursday - Sunday deal.  Can even see out the back via rear view mirror.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Closing Out March

Just spent half hour looking around tying bench scouring for marabou with rust flakes mixed in come from old hook bends; bent hooks on retired carp flies.  Broken hooks.  DB eyes loosely spinning.  I clipped materials and triaged parts into good trout streamers.  Small; with hook at back.  Such that the fly has the streamer silhouette but can be easily eaten.

I don't think too much about flies other than I know what I need in my box to employ a few basic methods.  Nymph; fish streamers and keep them down.  Split shot more important than the details of the nymphs and it ain't close as they say.  Maybe some small dark dry flies.  Point here is that I had come up low on streamers; needed some; materials didn't matter much as long as they were short; heavy and drab/dark with hints of flash.  And good hook gap.

Been fishing through others this year; mainly through kids; on this day though I went down in the valley looking for some more aggressive trekking; looking to go hard and hit the triple threat not of species but of application: nymphs, streamers, dry flies.  Down some steep grades; no guard rails; big road cuts of sandstone.  Going from up top down to the bottom that was made by moving water.  
Identity of the region.  You won't catch me not appreciating sun on face walking a stream.  Can't get over it.  Even after a while.  I hear people complain about fishing license cost.  And worry about ticks.  Sure; interesting points.  But what are you going to do stay home.  World ain't wallpaper someone said.
Turns out I was rushed first thing.  Weekday.  I checked every road crossing.  No cars.  Parked mine at one.  Twenty minutes in, I looked back; sure there was another gleaming motor vehicle behind mine.  And a biped making his way up toward me.  Kind of bugged me.  The whole valley not to mention the whole world; weekday.  Probably selfish but the deal I wanted was solitude.  Yes selfish.  My approach was to jog upstream for fifteen minutes.  Give him some water and keep me from having to talk to a human.  This fish pictured here was from the second hole I addressed.  I liked it because it was an aquarium just thick with BNT and suckers.  I dead drifted through that glass and this aggressive fish jolted.

Wasn't long and the dry flies came out.  Every foam run like this showed risers.  BWO.  I switched over and caught 2-4 smallish fish from a number of good reaches.

This old fly has been good.  For years even it's held up.  Small dark BWO.  I think #18.  I remember using it on this exact stream probalby 10 or more years ago.

And she died on this day!  Trout tooth.

After catching quite a few on top that deal ended when I spooked a giant, giant specimen from the bottom of the run/pool I'd just worked with a dry.  I got pissed and switched to streamers.  Immediately started getting the next-older year class as the average fish.

Like the spots on this one.  Wow.  White fin edges. Deep mouth.

Eroding bank.  Does not always equal poor habitat.  Enough fall here to scour and there were some boulders.  The corner was just silly with fish.  All charging and head swatting at streamers quartered upstream.  See it all unfold.

Lot of life in the rocks.  The benthos.

Keep a low profile; a necessity in this life.

Walked back out fishing a streamer slapping fast at woody debris hoping to move a big fish. Got a few to hand including a BKT that I watched eat; no bigs though.  April's coming; could be a good one.