Monday, July 25, 2016

The Last Cool Day

Car drop day with DF.  Who is pictured here.  Right before the heat came; feeling was that trout fishing was still a reasonable and safe undertaking, especially given we were going to bring home some trout meat.  Also pictured here is the character of this season: the terrible July dogmeat thick veg crapfest.  Fish are all still present; they can't leave.  The challenge is mustering the mental fortitude to let yourself sweat all day and plow through streamside veg and guide your flies through rooted macrophytes and filamentous periphyton.  Waders or not; always tough call.  On this day my suggestion was that we wear waders, rolled down to waistband level, to keep the veg off our legs.  Nettles, brambles, chiggers, etc.  Accompanying that suggestion was a directive to carry our sandals in our backpacks so we could climb the steep valley wall (probably 30 minute walk up up up) with waders rolled and strapped to back.  Figuring that once you're on the stream, you don't move really fast anyway, so sweating in your waders is not a huge issue.  It's not like walking Death March.  The weight of occasional sweat was assessed to be less than that of the constant itching scratching tearing so we planned and acted accordingly. Our first option for water to fish was blown out so we got a late start somewhere around 8 AM.  But no other people seen at put-in, and indeed ninguna personas todas la dia or something close to it.

Next big question is how long does one fish dry flies.  We started out doing it.  Pretty fun.  Got some small fish.  After a while though couldn't bear it and went to a streamer.  Not a nymph; no dead drifting given the difficulty.  But this BKT came to a streamer cast up above a pool in which I could see all the fish (so it wasn't going to be great output as they were generally on to me) and then stripped back to me pretty much straight downstream.  Almost always fish straight up or somewhere on the range of 0-45 degree quartering down toward me.  Used to fish streamers down a lot but I don't like it much anymore because it's a lot harder to stay down.

Great picture of the challenge presented.  Don't want to nymph it, that much is clear.  Aquarium condition without fish rising; they all in the belly.  So it was cast streamer up and bring it through as noted previous pic.

And I did switch back to dry fly and in fact DF rarely if ever left them.  We had some nice foam lines like this one at which we took turns hooking fish.  I estimate we were at this one for maybe 40-45 minutes.  Doing this, only landing most of them. 

Different dries and emergers were cast; DF was fishing a parachute of some sort for much of the day.  I used some traditional hackle Adams type flies.  Great dry fly takes in quite a few settings, including some surprises in which fish in very still corner water ate traditional hackles.  But my favorite was this emerger; probably has a name (please share if you know it).  I made it quite a few years ago - back when I tied flies with some regularity.  It has three and only three key components: (1) a flashy dubbed body, (2) two loops flash that may look like a trailing shuck or wings, (3) a little foam head that simply disallows sinking.  I believe it sits in the film really well.  And being a generalist pattern can be fished to really any hatch as it just looks like a ball of something good.  Idea came from John Montana's Wilted Spinach fly.  Only I moved the shuck up and put on a foam head.

It wasn't until 3 PM that we wetted a nymph fly of any sort.  There were two holes that were deep enough to nymph and we did so; pretty well. At this one pictured we got no fewer than ten trout to hand.

Been a good year for plants of all sorts.  Terrestrial and aquatic; woody; shrubs, grass.  All.

The biomass dramatically changes things for the angler.  Earlier in a given calendar year this water going upstream (it's a little flat just here) shows some nice gray bellies and short pocketed riffles that always give up fish to high sticking a streamer or whatever you figure.  All generally unfishable now.  Nothing wrong with it; just the way it is in the world.  That said one might conclude that it's a lot less fun to fish in summer than in spring.  It might even be a fact defensible using a suite of criteria.  May even be such a strong argument that it would go from opinion to fact.  I think July and August should just be declared the socializing months in between good fishing and hunting seasons. 

We didn't fish the evening hours; we ran out of water and just decided to walk out.  Must have caught around 30-35 fish; notably none of them were what you'd call big.  Kept our share for food purpose.  Next time I hit it, suppose it will be just early morning standing waiting for a spinner fall sometime in August.  Off the water by 9-10 AM is good.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Micropterus salmoides

Some old discarded library book in my basement says approximately what basspro Wade Bourne says on the interweb: After casting a surface lure, an angler should wait at least 30 seconds before starting his retrieve. This allows spooky fish to get over the intrusion of the bait in their territory and to become curious or even enraged about its presence.  Murder was the case that they gave me.

Not a rule but an interesting note nonetheless.  I've seen bass eat poppers immediately after hitting the water; have seen them leap into air out of water to meet poppers before they even lay out.  But I've also watched bass flee the splat.  

Canoe on home lake, approx 6:30 AM.  Maybe 6:45.  Taped at 18.75 inches.  Not a lot to these fish after the take, but those can ge quite good. Also like the big mouth.
Little while later.  Cast was made and bulge-wake was observed.  Per literature, a fish fleeing.  At the count of 27 fish came back and sipped the popper; very gently sipped it.  Approx 16 inches; no tape applied after ball-parking.