Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 11, 2010 Report

Like I said - getting sick and tired of seeing no bugs coming off and now hearing about bugs coming off but never having time to be on the water when they might come off. Good Lord it is currently April 13 and my hand has yet to touch a trout or a carp in this calendar month. And it's one of the best calendar months. Damn it all. When a few hours pop up they aren't really right on but one must make it work out somehow. No rising fish and no waving tails do leave a person longing and bordering on physically ill sometimes though. There are addictions. Some conventional and some more abstract and foreign to 99% of the population. Anyway, this all being the case I acted in defiance on Saturday morning by grabbing a BWCA rod a BWCA fly selection and a BWCA multi-tip line and hitting the door right around 6:20 AM. My wife said she heard the patio door close but I don't know if I can believe it (of course I believe it). I proceeded to drive exactly 22 minutes and that's only ~4-5 minutes more than it takes me to drive to work. 13 minutes less than it takes me to bike work. So it wasn't a long drive and I didn't feel too guilty when I turned the key and killed the motor on the little blue car. Sat for a while and sipped coffee and watched the sunrise on a streamer and an old Okuma reel that John Montana gave me and that Brother Joe used out west for carp this past year and a multi-tip Airflo line that I traded away from Brian Stewart formerly of StewartFlyFishingCo some years ago. The multi-tip was equipped with the second fastest sinking tip in the wallet. Not a bad sunrise.

This is not a pristine place but a pretty special place nonetheless. A little stream confluences with a big stream, and then that stream confluences with an even bigger river. All within a couple-hour-adventure scale. Very interesting. Not something that can be taught in a classroom, modeled by a computer or placed properly on a screen of pixels. The waters run together and those places are always special and for a fisherman they can be of particular interest. And in between the confluences are woody debris deposits... I ran streamers under those with high hopes but never solicited one strike. This was marginal trout water. My hope was that I'd meet a senior citizen salmo trutta but it never did happen. The holes weren't as deep as I'd hoped. The corners were there and the debris was there but the depth wasn't there. Or who the hell knows.

Walking downstream is a cirriculum in itself. Walk on inside corner, which is a depositional feature... cross at a riffle to the next inside corner and look across the river at the cut bank on the outside corner. The river is the most careful sorter and placer of material that we know and we won't ever properly imitate it. And I'm glad we won't.

And finally the confluence with the big river. I got here around 9:20 AM. I figured I'd sit right here for 40 minutes and then head home. If there were a fish to be found this was as good a place as any to find one. So I tried all the various seams and currents at this triangular place and this is what happened:

[and here I had to interrupt this post to remove four loaves of bread from the oven that my wife had placed in there to bake and man oh man do they smell good and needless to say I'm a lucky guy and we're a lucky family oh geez - thinking about that bread for tomorrow morning - woohoo!]

And this is what happened, in note form:
(1) Right as I got here, two dudes walked up behind me. Wow. I was surprised, impressed and encouraged all at the same time. They were gear guys and I could tell what they were up to: hunting big fish. They said "we'll go downstream and get out of your way." Well, they did go down ~30 yards and park. No big deal. I saw them catch one fish. Not a trout.

(2) I had five perceivable strikes: (1) a thwub that was all and I had no chance; (2) a hard railing strike that dipped my rod hard but produced no hookup; (3) a solid strike that resulted in a hookup and ~5 second battle before fish came unpinned; (4) a great fish that I played to near-hand - saw too - but lost just as the deal was closing; (5) this nice smallie (high teens I think) that thumped pretty hard, leapt a bit and put itself on the reel. Needless to say, until I confirmed this fish was a smallmouth bass I was pretty excited and dreaming of very large trout.

(3) As I was playing the last fish the gear guys said "there's a coyote right behind you" and indeed there was a coyote behind me. Right on the bank, trotting along as I battled along. I was surprised at how small it was.

(4) Probably would have been blanked if it weren't for the sink tip. Absolutely critical in this water. Disciplined mending and counting down the sink were what produced the strikes.

So that's the nature of fishing streamers in marginal water. Few chances at bigger, possibly interesting fish. I'll do it now and again and sooner and later, because I do enjoy it. Not as much as rising trout or waving carp tails though and one of those deals has to be next up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet to touch a fish in April. That's fucked up. Something must change...

11:32 PM  
Blogger Trout Caviar said...

Great report, Wendy. Those confluences can indeed be enchanted spots. I fished one such along the Apple River recently, hoping for panfish, a sucker, that roaming monster trout, whatever. Nada. The two times I've been out this year I've fished a 7-foot garish yellow Eagle Claw fiberglass 6-weight, the first fly rod I ever bought. I just might fish that all year.

So discuss best practices for catching suckers in trout streams, if you have any words of advice, please.


10:28 AM  
Anonymous winonaflyfactory said...

Good report, I know a bit more now than a few minutes ago man. Sink tip, larger rod. Both in my future, just need a bit more time. Would be good to borrow that rig again, it was good to me the last time. Hope you get on something good soon.

1:42 PM  
Blogger John Montana said...

Good stuff as always. One of the most interesting things about mn is the variety. We think we have it good in Oregon(and we do) but there is something to be said for having no idea what is on the end of the line. That is a dandy smallmouth.

Jp you will get some fish in April. Book it. I will be doing a little scouting this weekend so keep your eyes out for a report on Monday.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Trout Caviar: I have no advice re targeting suckers in trout streams. I'll say this: about the only time I catch suckers by the mouth is when I'm dead drifting nymphs for trout or carp. I think maybe I've sight fished a few while they were holding in riffles. John Montana would say that any sucker will eat a RL Hares Ear if presented well. The sucker expert is roughfisher.com - check that out. Otherwise, this works too: lay your rig on the streambed and wait for a sucker to swim over it. Pick up your rig when belly is in the right position.

I'll be back to this confluence this year. For some reason kind of more enchanted by marginal water right now...

That will change soon though. The one "scheduled" April outing is coming up fast. Maybe grey caddis. Good Lord starting to shake thinking about that I'd better sign off.

RF, WFF, JM: see you all soon, on the water.

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