Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Eve: Some Miscellani

Tied a bit. Did a new twist on the WS - used CDC wing instead of soft hackle. I like the one in all black: 8/0 thread, ice dub thorax, black part of turkey for wing case, and white CDC for wing. I think it will be a good emerging midge pattern for SE MN.

I'm always trying to clean and rearrange my shop. I haven't conceptualized a master plan for it yet, but it'll come along at some point. For now, it's a functional room with a lot of tying and fishing gear littered about in semi-ordered fashion. Following are some shots of various corners and angles.

Done some graffiti work, I have: on the ceiling...

...and on the vintage cabinetry. Permanent marker is uncapped whenever I come across something worthy.

Jimmy hung out for quite a while in this room today, and for this brainstorm poem I dutifully acted as recorder:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Know When to Fold 'Em

On Presidents' Day, I drove a distance to this location. Known winter carp joint, as you can see there. I've been wondering about this place all winter. Don't get up there much anymore, now that I've moved down south, and we've got travel restrictions in place at work... so no heading north to main office. The only way to work out if there were carp there or not was to buck up and put in the miles. Approx 40 minute drive one way. Did it. This is what I saw:

Nothing at all, really. Couple items to consider when wondering why:

(1) The water was somewhat turbid. The knee-jerk reaction is to say sure - it rained and melted recently. Well, I've looked on this spot quite a few times, and it rarely goes turbid. It's a tailwater, and the reservoir kills any sediment pulse. Not sure how it came to be brown recently... interesting.
(2) Commercial fisherman have recently seined thousands of tons of carp out of this stretch of river. Could have decimated the population. Probably did.
(3) The fish were there, but just not in my view/sight. I stared at the water for a good 20 minutes before I even strung up my rod. Never did see one silhouette. This isn't a blind fishing water, but I cast around for 15 minutes anyway, just to see if my fly would bump something and give me a clue or two. Never did.

A good lesson in sunken costs: I made the trip, and it was a given that I had to make the trip home. Therefore, there was no sense in flailing away at nothing and burning precious minutes. Left two hours early and got home before the kids woke up.

Some folks have been around though - apparently bleeding fish and making fire:

No roughians then, yet in 2009. Have to wait it out a bit longer.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gift to Mrs. Berrell

My tying room is approximately adjacent to my wif'es crafty corner. The crawl space in said corner was difficult to use. Now as a closet, it's easier to access and thus more efficient space. She's already populated the shelves.

No power saws or air nailers were used at any point. The hand miter box and hammer were put to decent use. I did use a power drill for some framing that you can't see in these pictures. That wooden triangle piece was cut from an outcast cutting board.

Not a "big" or difficult project, but for a novice like me, an enjoyable and somewhat fulfilling undertaking. Since the pics I've finished the nailing (I set a policy to leave them all protruding until I was happy with the positions of everything) and puttying, etc. A home improvement, by definition.

Next up: some improvements in the tying room. Still need conceptualization for those though. The sewing/scrapbooking room cannot, for long, be in better service to its master than is the tying room.

The miter box sat in my mom's basement for years - it was either my dad's, my grandpa's or both.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Jukebox was Kickin' Today

And it was rockin songs like:
(1) Love is in the Air
(2) Love in a Midge-a-nator
(3) Just a Swingin Like a MF

Just on continuous loop, for the better part of the day's start.

First, an image of what I have for some weeks now wanted to see:

Hark, what light through yonder window breaks? Your got-damn right Juliette, tis the east and that is the big and beautiful, heretofore sadly forgotten ball of solar joy: the SUN. Ra, Sol, Helios, Surya, Apollo. Damn, man it's up there just shinin down and it is truly beautiful. WOOHOO!!!!

What's up grass-eaters - do you see that sun? I bet you love it too.

With that prelude in place, here is the report:

Fished roughly 1000-1330 today, while the kids worked a play date with another mom and pair of kiddos. Worked out well. Along my drive to the water, I saw a number of cars parked at likely pulloffs. I was planning to go a little deeper, but I still had a flash of worry: I don't love fishing in crowds, and any total >1 is a crowd. Indeed, when I got to where I meant to go, two gents were walking upstream - apparently they had just parked and started in. Both were holding spinning rods, and both were moving slowly. I blew past them, and walked for ~15 minutes (at least a half a mile upstream) to this location.

Kind of a "slick corner" you could call it. Not a pool, but not a riffle either. Enough current to work with. I had expected to see some midges coming off later in the day, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the wonderful and beautiful dimples-on-water the second I dove in here. I had a little coffee and watched a bit... Then got into position. As it happened, I didn't leave that position for ~2-2.5 hours. Do you leave fish to find fish? I guess it depends on what you're interested in - both generally and at a given moment in time. In this case I was interested in fish rising to midges. I thought about leaving every few minutes after I'd been there for an hour or so... but the rises were so constant and so many, I couldn't pry my feet out of the streambed. Really, I should have caught more fish than I did. I know I caught exactly one dozen trout, because I was keeping score: brown vs rainbow. I was keeping score because of the first four trout I caught, three were rainbows. That seemed odd to me, so the numbers stuck in my brain from there on out. The brownies did catch up, and ended at eight of the twelve fish caught. I missed quite a few, and lost maybe 6-7. As you'd guess, the two fish that I believe were the biggest were both seen, but not landed. One I hooked, and watched him thrash at the surface and register a great, rich bass note of thwump-thwump as he shook the hook free. Looked like a great fish from my vantage point. The other looked to be about the same size, and that one broke me off. I was somewhat surprised at that, as I don't often lose trout to break offs. I was however fishing 5x tippet because today's flies were pretty small: mostly 18-20. I tried a number of variations regarding presentation: different flies, different sizes, different weighting techniques. I kept looping back to the standard though: WS #18. It didn't completely decimate these trout like I've seen it do before though. It caught a fair share of them, but it sure swung through a lot of fish without being taken today. I don't know why that happened. For a while I thought I was actually swinging under the fish, so I tried just the WS and no shot... that did work, but not markedly better than other approaches. Maybe they just got on to me a bit after seeing a fly line wave around for a couple hours. Action did seem to wane in lockstep with time spent.

Some notes misc notes:
(1) Got to watch a number of fish move from their holds to eat midges. That was cool.
(2) Most of the fish were released untouched, with minimal exposure to air. I did cradle a few. Most got the ketchum-release though.
(3) Really wish I could have kept some of these fish. Most were in the 10-13 inch range, which is great for table fare.

Took quite a few pics - I was there for a while, so it worked out that way. These highlight the beauty of trout I think. Check the detail of the fins, and note the coloration and spots of these wild brownies.

The fish in the above pic went airborne twice. Length is 12-13 inch range.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Huh huh huh... [Denny Green laugh]

This is what you call a good weekend on which to have Monday off. He hehe he...

Where is the KG sound bite when you need it?: We're comin', we're comin...

--click here for a reminisce--

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Catch and Release

Interesting thread over at the MN TU board, regarding catch and release, fish harvest, etc. It's morphed into a discussion of the history and current potential of coldwater fisheries, but the first few pages offer some good thoughts on angler ethics and how food is part of fishing. I particularly like the offering from leakywaders, on the second page.

A released fish, that according to the history of DNR shocking at this location, is in the top tier of brownies in this reach.