Friday, February 26, 2016

Two Trout Chapters February 2016

I. Kid gets to an even dozen BNT for his lifetime thus far.
Pretty good  one-hand hold.
Back to the same water.  Maintaining some familiarity; not messing with the variables too much such that the nymphing can progress.  Older guy went 5/7 on the day and he could have had all seven fish had he not set the hook "like you're setting on a tarpon" as my dad has been known to say.  I figure he just pulled the hook clean out of a couple mouths.  Main note is that he continues to discern takes.  And he's getting pretty good at mending; understanding the right drift and manipulating his line such that the drift is executed.  Also of note is that I challenged him to present flies starting with a backhand cast.  He picked that up well and in fact hooked a fish after backhanding and then mending around a big boulder.  As documented in video, things aren't always perfectly smooth: guys barking at each other here and there; in this case, he did not detect the take; rather he was distracted (as wise men say one must birddog that drift; ultimate focus is required).  The yanking of the fish clear of the water isn't pretty but can't yell at a kid for it; just eager; he was good about returning trout to water asap.  He stopped at five fish to hand because it beat his previous record of four.  I stood behind the little guy for quite a while holding onto his hood (we were over a deep hole and there was some ice on the rocks) while he flip-casted and drifted looking for his first ever fish on the fly.  He set the hook on two trout and the resistance was there but the connection did not hold.  He did take pretty well to "raise the rod slowly now flip the line forward" instruction.  He was logging some good drifts.  Still pretty young dude.

II.  First solo day of 2016. 
Habitat improvement hole.

No big numbers day thus far in 2016; went out looking for it on 2/22.  Was moderately worried about snowmelt pushing stream temps down and so chose smaller water.  Close to home.  Started 10 AM no need for hand warmers or extra layers.  I'd been on this stream a number of times but never fished this particular reach.  It's all been reworked by HI engineering.  So at this point in time it is a series of deep holes with plunges headed by logs or rock weirs.  There were a lot of fish in the middle and back ends of the holes.  Very difficult to get them in those places.  Water very clear; aquarium settings tough.  The most difficult thing about these configurations is that one cannot cast up above the hole to allow nymphs to tumble down into the depths.  I don't fish this kind of water much but when I do, I find myself casting AT the plunge point instead of ahead of it.  Setting myself up to drift over the top of fish.  And those downstream of the plunge point are already onto me, so they are done.  Some success can be had sneaking up right to the plunge, and just dropping nymphs into the froth and then high-stick following downstream.

Caught exactly eleven brown trout and every one of them looked like this one.  Strong year class.  Good news.  But on this day, not enough to keep me around for the afternoon.

I looked at the two nodes on my map: current location and my home.  Chose a spot in between that would afford a quick hitting couple hours of streamer fishing.  Pretty easy access; bigger water.  Marginal water which I appreciate.  Tied on that middling fly that was my contribution to the fly swap - Ivy Pheasant Craw - started walking upstream.

First strip-retrieved cast of 2016 brought this yellow-tinged bow.

Quite a contrast to the small water with the built plunge pools:

This water type may be shunned but I love it.  Somewhat deep.  Foam lines.  Woody debris.  Red lines indicate fan casting.  At one point brought rainbows to hand on three of four consecutive casts.  Those tall-mouthed aggressive stocked rainbow trout.  Cast a small streamer quartering up and across.  Let it sink.  Strip retrieve.  Fish jump on.

Another one here.  Oval indicates where a load of fish struck the streamer.

Like the small streamers.  Easy for fish to ingest entirely.  They can be dead drifted; twitch drifted; stripped home.  Two fish ate after hard twitches followed by 1-2 seconds of dead drifting in moderate current.

Nothing real spectacular about these trout.  Some were long and skinny.  But the walking, the water, the streamer fishing, the hard strikes: all a nice contrast to the morning deal.  Ended up 10/13 all rainbows in 100 minutes of fishing.  Had been looking for maybe a big BNT but it didn't happen.  Never saw another specie save one creek chub.  The three that were moved/hooked but not landed could have been lost in part due to fact that I was knowingly fishing with a slightly bent hook point.  Didn't care enough at the time to change it out or break it off.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Ivy Pheasant Craw

For southeast Minnesota fly swap 2016.  Ivy being the dog that brought a pheasant home for my neighbor.  Neighbor being kind enough to let me uncoat the pheasant, tack the whole deal to a scrap of sheet rock and salt it down for a while.  Indispensable addition to tying shop; many uses.  

Basic concept is a fly that is kind of between a streamer and nymph and as such can be fished as either.  Or both depending on how you look at it.  Goal for trout fishing is a fly that dead drifts well, twitch drifts and also can be strip-retrieved.  Or in the case of carp, a fly that headstands and presents well on the bottom of the river or lake.  Long time ago I submitted a fly for this swap called a "symph" and it was kind of along same line but I like this one a lot better.  

I'm into deleting steps; a generalist.  At this point I like being in my shop and tying flies but I don't get a lot of enjoyment in tying complicated patterns.  No rib.  No full body hackle that needs pinning down.  These are the materials.  Dubbing, bead chain eyes, thread, wax, #8 hook, pheasant feathers.  The feathers for the tail/pincers are up by the pliers; those for the soft hackle collar are under the box of hooks.  You see many other options there too.

Only real care that needs to be taken is to strip off fibers and lash down the two tail feathers such that they both curve outward.  Soft loop is good.  You can set them right on top of the hook; no need try situate them on respective sides.  
Dub body.

Soft hackle collar and then a couple more turns of dubbing around eyes.  Whip finish in front of eyes.  Done.

Heavier eyes would be even better but the bead chain works okay for headstand.  This being great attribute  for carp fly as has been noted.

9/13 done; will get rest soon.  Thanks to RB for coordinating swap.