Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21, 2010 Report

Fished 11:00-16:00 today. Went south of Interstate 90 for the first time since trico fishing last year. My goal was to mix it up a bit: fish small streams and bigger water. Here is how it went down:

11:-11:45 nymphed what is essentially a giant hole in a great trout stream. I know there are exceptionally large fish in the hole. I think I heard tell of a 28" holdover rainbow coming out of there one winter. The only thing that worked for me at this location was naked nymphing: I hooked and played two fish - one was the rainbow ~12" pictured below. The other was a small brown trout. The rainbow was on when I tightened my line on one drift. The brown hit the fly as I was slowly raising it up. Nothing too amazing. The best outcome was strategy development on how to fish it in the future - thinking full sinking lake line is in order.

12:00-14:30 nymphed a small tributary that I've fished a couple times prior, but not recently. THe obligatory bridge hole attempt came up empty - no fish in that water. I moved up to the next hole and watched for a while: saw fish pushing water, occasionally rising... In sneaky fashion I perched in amongst the logs and rocks... and was able to conceal myself pretty well, positioned right at the tail of the pool. Pretty much immediately I began catching salmo trutta on most every cast. Chuck rig up near head of pool, let it drift through belly, hook fish. Weave fish through logs. Use ketchum release to free fish untouched. Repeat. I won't lie and say I caught 40 fish. I know I caught 20 fish though. I was half-heartedly counting until I got into the teens, and that was maybe half way through my stop at this hole. The downside: not one fish over 10 inches. Many were very well colored though - deep hues and well defined spots. The twitch was absolutely crushing: some time ago leakywaders said (to me or to someone else - can't remember) that when your nymphs get to be about where you figure the fish are, give them the slightest twitch. I was doing that, and it was clockwork: twitch, count one, two, three seconds, indicator buck, set hook. It was quite interesting. Not really that impressive, I should say: nothing too skillful about it. I had a good spot with willing fish and I was allowing them to eat an orange scud. Big deal. It wasn't that exciting really, but I wanted to see how long I could keep on it... Couldn't do it though. Had to leave. I literally couldn't stand there and catch 8 inch trout anymore, if you can believe that. Needed something else. So I up and left... and on my way out I peered into the belly and saw that it was indeed absolutely full of small trout - just holding there, waiting for orange scud. Also, at this hole on the bank was the odd fork contraption picture below. What the hell is that? Some odd way to hold a line? Hopefully nothing to do with meth. Weird man.

Tactcial notes: Almost every fish ate the scud (#14 on striaght shank hook, with root beer BH)- maybe three ate the lead nymph, which was a generic black beadhead. And on this day the takes were not subtle: indicator was jumping and twitching. The belly was deep enough that the fish were not able to perceive (apparently) the false casts... so things rolled out pretty easy.

Back to the big river - fishing a section of it that has been called in a public forum "the Driftless Area river stretch that most resembles a western river." Indeed I did find some really big riffles that looked like bug machines. Big pools adjacent - pretty cool. Tried to nymph it but was too light. I changed up tactics and got in the water - still a lot of energy even in dead of winter (flows up a little I think, compared to long term averages). I swung a bugger. Polar chenille. I forget that that can be pretty fun. In the first hole - got a pale brown of maybe 12 inches. Cool. Second hole, on the first cast I hooked a fish behind that rock (pictured below) but had it on for only a few seconds. Enough to see its body though... and a nice body it was. Great fish. Uncaught. My favorite of the day.

I wasn't real focused on bug activity today. I did see a couple midges in the air, but I didn't pay any mind. Not sure why. Come March I'll get into some midge action.

Back home in time for dinner and wrestling the boys into bed.


Anonymous winonaflyfactory said...

Good to see a numbers day man. So was that the 2wt chucking the streamers? Splitshot too?

I thought for a second I saw the brown with a Sprinkle Me Baby in its mouth but it was just the view in the shot, should get you a few of those but yours seem to do the job just as well. Take care.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Trout Caviar said...

Nice report, Wendy. Reading about your outings, and doing some scouting, I'm starting to get the itch. Wisconsin early season opens next week.

Regarding the fork tied to the stick: It's either an inept attempt at spear-fishing, or purely an objet d'art.

Cheers~ Brett

8:27 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Yes - chucking that big bugger with Sage 2 wt. And two split shot. Not too bad really. That things turns it over pretty well. Need to fish bugger more often. I like picturing th fish chasing a black shadow out of a pool, up into the riffle.

I thought about that fork as a spear... but man, that would be an absolute failure. Would be interesting to watch someone attempt it...

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Jonathon A. Waske - Fly Fishing Artist said...

I agree with trout cavier. I live in MI and am really itching to get out soon. The weather seems to be breaking.

8:39 AM  
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8:42 PM  

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