Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's pretty effin simple

This is a flat 100% eat every time. LOD iteration with the chenille and hackle swapped out for a skinny little strip of palmered tanned squirrel hide. The top of the squirrel pushed down by the peacock wingcase. The deal secured by a wrap of medium wire. The wire providing the segmentation that gives this thing a tangent of a look of a house centipede or a hex bug or something crunchy and soft at the same time.

Back in June the scene was this: John Montana and I, walking up a flat with the sun taking a serious fall at our backs. Carp were in front of us like big hooded lanterns there, facing away with asses tilted upward maybe 30-45 degrees... it was like we'd arranged the set up. Waving wands and progressing through the gameboard, dealing flies to these monk fish who didn't hesitate even once. The only thing that limited us was the ruckus caused by each hook up. Worked our way through that with deadly precision there as the grayness came on. Nice sandy bottom for wading. And of the millions of people in the world... we were the only two walking in Lake Michigan that night; the only two seeing those fish and connecting with them. I always find that hard to believe: that something so sweet is so overlooked. But in the end that works out well. The point of that recollection is that I used one fly that evening: Legion of Doom. It is your destiny, fellow swappers.

*Pictures taken before head cement applied; that loose-looking thread will be shored up nicely.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Report: Janury 6, 2012

You may have taken the Farmers' Almanac and put it in the outhouse for whatever purpose. It's taken some serious shots over the past month, being that it feels like March and all. Worst winter in a decade. I suppose I'll knock on some wood and leave it at that. This is strange man. Very strange. I can't remember a winter like this.

It was criminal to be indoors yesterday. To keep things right then, I left work a little early and met my neighbor at a local water. Fished until about 415 PM. This was the outing as it was meant to be: many fish in places you'd expect to find them; brook trout included; some moderately large brown trout. There were two bouts of 6-7 fish each, with misc sprinkled in there. So may have approached 20 fish which is a high count for January. Most fish ate an orange scud.

The best sequence of the day did not result in a fish to hand: working a hole and knowing fish are there; no takes though; so move indicator up; still no takes; so take the two #4 Dinsmore shot and separate them - put one between the two beadheads; first drift, beautiful brown hooked and subsequently lost. Still though, it's another check-mark on the lesson board of nymphing: the fish are in the holes. The job is to apply shot and indicator movement in iterative fashion until the fly gets in front of the fish. This is, if you want to dredge the bottom for the trout lying down there in those bellies. If you don't want to do that, don't do it. Someone famous said "the trout can have the refuge of the deep water." Today though we took that from them: fishing the soft edges and mending to let the nymphs sink... twitching the nymphs now and then... catching good trout. It's a pleasure to nymph with moderate success.

There were midges in the air; between the two of us though we observed only one rise. Paid no attention to dry fly possibilities. Didn't even fish that much for the second half of the allotted time. Drank a pint of good beer and talked about where we might go next.

Now on to tune up the ice fishing gear in prep for an outing with boys tomorrow.

Fish pictured here measured at approx 14".

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Trout Opener: January 2, 2012

Fished 1300 - 1600.

Gear List:
8.5' 4 wt Avid
4 wt Rio Windcutter
G. Loomis Adventure 3
pre-tied tandem nymph rigs
equipped lanyard
Simms waders, boots
waterproof winter coat
two pair gloves, for travel only
brand new muffler
nice stocking cap
some oats mixed with PB and chocolate
hot tea
survival kit: matches, lighter, compass, headlamp

This, for going down in the valley. Not a fishing-at-road-crossing deal. Cold, windy day. Headed deep into the valley. Approx 15-18 minute walk from parking place to the water. The lack of snow made the walk relatively easy; but the combination of snowcrust on leaf litter made descent challenging. Couple controlled falls were anticipated and executed.

The fishing report amounts to not much. Not sure exactly what happened here. I talked to one guy who went out on Jan 1 and lit it up pretty good... same water on Jan 2 showed two fish. I like the water I fished and it looked and felt good going in. But hole after hole would come up blank on me. Holes from which I pulled good mobs of fish in 2011. Not today though. Only a few stray, small fish here and there. I figured I'd better take one token picture of the first fish of 2012; it took a while to get a fish to hand and I sensed there would not be many to follow. Fishing unremarkable. Other important notes though:

(1) It was indeed cold and windy. But the armor I set up beat the elements really well. I'd say I was in pretty good condition all along. I came across a coupon for that Gander Mountain hand muffler, so I went and bought it: $12. My initial rating on it is very good to excellent. No gloves while fishing; duck hands into muffler now and then for solid warmth. Recommended.

(2) Gander Mountain fly shop is worthless. I ran out of #1 Dinsmore shot. Messing with a person's split shot is a big deal. It's not as simple as just getting some more; buying another brand or another size. A guy gets used to certain shot. I tried some bogus substitute and it was just garbage. Different size and weight and I had a hard time setting up my rigs. Couldn't take it OFF the tippet, which is a key disadvantage Dinsmore is worth the money.

(3) Yet another found gear item: seat pad out in the woods.

This was essentially an ice-breaker. Hadn't trout fished in Minnesota since September. Needed to get out. The solitude was appreciated. I figured I wouldn't see anyone and did not. At one point watched six bald eagles circling under the moon. Much left to be desired though: finding and catching a pod of trout for example. I suppose that'll happen on next outing, likely on a warmer day.

Most importantly, those valley walls are good medicine. I took a few pics in an attempt to capture how towering they stand. This place has been here for a while. All the dirt went away and the groundwater now flows at the land surface. The trout hold in cold water behind rocks and in bellies and wandering folks can look in after them.