Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A little time on the Swift

Played hooky last night.  Rosemary had taken the kids to the beach, so, looking at a mound of work for the next 3 months, and knowing this may be my last shot to get to the Swift, I took a shot and went out.

Opted to use my long rod.  The flow's are up on the river which sometimes lends itself to high sticking with a worm anchor and tiny nymph suspended above... So the 11ft 4 wt was my choice.  I can throw big dry's on this stick, and that's a major bonus given August/september is an awesome time to fish large terrestrials here.  It's a river known for #18-24 nymphs and #20-32 dry's.  Its a river, who's upper reaches are basically sand or a bit of moss.  It's BWO's, small ones... Midges and some caddis or other mayflies like sulfurs.  But August and September is the fisherman's revenge..  You can drop the 7-8X tippet, and tie on a Chernobyl ant on a #6 streamer hook and catch fish consistently.  Nothing like seeing an 18" rainbow that for months would only look up at a #28 puff of thread and cdc drifted perfectly... Now attacking a 2" long foam bug like a pike to a 2/0 deer hair slider :)!  FUN.

So, I set up with my midge / larva box at the ready, but with a beetle on a #10 as the first option.  Had a few attack it and I missed... So, time to go bigger, because these fish were looking up :)

I'd tied up these chernobyls recently (below).  Two were given to a friend, and two dropped in my bag... Some how, I'd forgotten my box full of them... so I had two on the day.  Probably caught 5, missed several others and had two break me off - which stunk.  one was a poor knot to the fly on my part, the other a poor knot to the micro ring I was trying rather than tying leader to leader.  Ugh.  Out of big dry's, I tried a few small nymphs and caught one.  then a small black hackled dry with a bright orange body that I learned about in a Brittish fly fishing mag last year.  That was just a totally random "what the heck lets try it" deal.  I finished up back to the beetle and caught a couple more and missed several by setting to soon.

The pic was taken with my phone, in a sandwich bag.  Considering that, it came out pretty good I think :)... This fish was about 18" long, he's flexed nicely in there.  The fish were fat and all in the 16-19" range I'd suspect.  Big, fat, and strong fighting in the low 50's degree water that flow's here.


On the way in, I'd noticed a car I suspected belonged to a local guide / fly fishing "celebrity" who's got a book and last year had a nice write up on her series of flies based on one created on the Swift she named the Jail Bird.  Her name is Marla Blair.  When I got back to the truck, she was packing up to go, so I grabbed a little bug that I've had luck with that's a hybrid of the Jail Bird and another larva I like.  I brought it over, introduced myself, thanked her for the great article in Fly Tyer last year and gave her a bug.  She was real appreciative and friendly, and I headed back to the truck to pack up.

Then I look up, and here comes Marla, and she graciously gave me a Jail Bird she tied.  Very cool to see it tied by the originator.  Thanks for the kind gesture Marla (if you ever bumble into this post :)), I really appreciated it!

One final point.  Matt Grobert always wraps up his great blog Caddis Chronicals (http://www.caddischronicles.com/) always signs of noting to sharpen your hooks.  Ill agree, but suggest checking your knots.  I thought i'd done well, but, clearly had not.  And it cost me some nice fish... So, tie good knots when you fish!

Keep well

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A little catching up...

Well, the last few months have been pretty much, um, all over the place.  A few days after my last fishing post, I was driving west to south eastern Ohio (and past a lot of good looking trout water) for an on campus part of my graduate program @ Ohio University.  I'd heard the campus was beautiful, and the trip did not disappoint.  Below is the upper entrance to the student center, and if I'd done a 180 and taken more pic's, you would see some beautiful brick dorm buildings the merge smoothly into the very quaint "college town" that is Athens Ohio.  It was a fun trip, with a lot of great learning more about things ranging from athlete monitoring, to coaching practice to sports psychology and several other related areas from some amazing presenters.   Intense, and really enjoyable!

We go visit Rosemary's family during the summer most years.  We thought we would do it around my Ohio trip to keep things smooth... but it got all funky.  We ended up with me renting a car to drive to Ohio, and Rosemary drove (with her mom who graciously flew out from MN to MA to help Rosemary on the drive with the kids) out with the aim of getting to Athens early afternoon Sunday after my final class had finished.  The timing worked out perfectly, and with a bit of a push, we made it to Moline Ill that night.  Now, if you think, Why go to Moline if you are going to north central MN... Because we have 4 year olds, and Moline is home to the John Deere Pavilion - which is awesome!

Here's a quick shot of Rosemary and Emily about to cross from the hotel in Moline over to the Pavilion.  The JD Pavilion is home to a bunch of awesome tractors and other neat JD equipment. While the timberwalker (a tree feller buncher that WALKS on 4 legs for steep terrain) is probably my favorite, the robot lawnmower that works like a "roomba" robotic vacuum is probably the one I'd consider owning the most.  That said, the kids are allowed to climb up and sit inside all kinds of equipment from front end loaders to combine harvesters and they can play with lots of cool toys as well.  If you have a kid who loves tractors, it's worth a trip!

Once in MN, we went right up to Gull Lake and stayed with Rosemary's mom at the cabin which Rosemary's great grampa built in the late 20's or early 30's.  It's a great spot, and a highlight is that every summer, each tuesday and on the fourth, the town (Nisswa) puts on a "turtle race".  It's awesome fun.  The kids had a total blast - Rosemary was helping Emily launch her turtle into orbit in the pic :)!

Last year I found this cool little trout stream just down the road from the cabin and flowing into the northern reaches of Gull.  It was a pleasure to fish.  This year, not so much.  I was tight on time, and fished it about 45' from about 9-9:45 PM one day (it's light a lot later there).  I was skunked, and the stream was flowing pretty low this year, but also hugely different due to a tornado (I assume) that went through the area late last summer I'd suspect.  The current directions were all different due to massive amounts of wood that had blown into the stream - by wood, I mean full on trees.  It was like an entirely different stream.  So outside a nice encounter with a doe deer, and a failed attempt at one rising trout in a really tricky skinny water area (I blew it - to clumsy on approach), it was just a nice walk in the woods.  Hopefully next year will be better... But a tornado that went through a week or so after we left may have caused even more damage based on the reports Rosemary's mom sent us!

The kids and I did use some poppers along the dock though to catch sunfish... and everyone spent a ton of time in the lake.  I think that's me floating with Will - pretty much how the kids spent every day while we were up there.  Grammy had bought a new dock this year and it was GREAT, with a nice bench and going out to about 4.5' deep water, the kids must have jumped off a thousand times :)!

The morning after we made it home from MN (driving) Rosemary had to work two 12 hr shifts Saturday and Sunday.  So I took the kids out to visit my mom and dad.  I grew up in a town called Petersham MA - which is, the greatest place on earth still.  I'm biased in this matter, and there is no changing my mind on that one :)!  After dry mopping Mia's floor, we walked the kids up to the country store where they could use their hard earned 25 cents to buy actual penny candy (that's what's in the bags).  But they were amazed at the excavators that were on the side of the road where the town was putting in some new drainage piping.  Really fun!


That Monday, we shot up to Maine for a few days with my folks and sister.  We had a blast at the amusement park, and playing on the beach.  But, the little chick's we'd ordered earlier in the year, with a delivery date of July 20, came a week early, thus one night I shot home,  set up the chicks with the heat lamp and thanked the neighbors hugely - they went to the post office for us to pick up the "girls".  It gave me a chance to go through emails for work so I was not crazy behind, and then drive back to York Me for another day and a half with the family.  A bummer, but, good to get the "girls" situated.

Since then, it's been about catching up on work, getting school work done, and when possible, hitting a local beach with the kids.  Amazing that, if I get there (or Rosemary does) before 10AM we have a few hours of the beach to ourselves.  It's awesome.  The kids have loved it, and have combined playing in the sand, in the water, and catching about a million sun fish over the trips there this year.

Will's been wanting a bow bad.  He think's it's fun to see me practice - watching he and Emily run to the target butt at my folks to help me pull arrows is awesome.  We'd got him on for his B-Day (July 4), but it really just didn't work great.  The long suction cup arrows were really hard to get on the string and shoot.  So a trip to the local Cabelas resulted in this cool bow that shoots little nerf darts, he LOVES it.  Emily went in wanting a bow to... but seeing the stuffed animals near the other toys, she was swayed to a stuffed, plush deer.  They had a blast.

Last week I had that Monday trip to the tail water.  I had a blast and caught a lot... but realized I was low on some flies... and wanted to give a few flies to a friend.  One I was low in was Chernobyl Ant's and the other was that I'd lost a few Chimera Caddis larva's that Monday so I needed more.  Tightlines productions vimeo page had a Chernobyl Ant video this week that showed me a way to tie that fly I'd not tried before and added motivation, so last night I had some vice time and tied up a bunch of Chernobyl's, Chimera's and then a green version of the Chimera that I've wanted to play with using wine colored thread for the underbody and head (that tail water fishes great with a little green and red fly called the Jail Bird, and this is simpler and probably a bit more durable, so I have wanted to try it)...   Here's a few pic's of the bugs...

Here are the Chimera's and Olive and wine pupa's.  These flies are tied using flexy floss which is colored, stretchy and sort of transparent.  So the chimeras have an orange thread base, over wrapped with yellow flexy floss and then finished with brown thread for the head.  The wine and olive ones are just wine underbody, olive flexi floss and wipped off.  These are all size 18's which has always worked best for me with the Chimera Caddis.

Ok, now I'm caught up here from the past 8 weeks...  Hopefully I can get into a better posting pattern again here soon.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Time away, Time with trout, Time to get back to action.

I knew this year would be pretty darn crazy.  And it certainly has been that!  I hope to post a little about some adventures over the next week... But first, a little post about my first (ugh) fishing trip in about 6 weeks.

Last night, I decided I needed a "personal" day.  A short one, but, one none the less.  To do that, I worked until noon, then headed to a tailwater about an hour away.  There were fish all over the darn place, but I focused on two sections I really enjoy fishing.  One is a slow, deep glide with one side open and shrubby and the other covered in hemlocks.  Just below this a power line crosses the river and the water becomes much skinnier and with a bit of structure rather than a sand bottom.  It's not a riffle, the water slides through this area in 1-2 foot depths, and gin clear.

It's a fun spot, full of well educated fish, and with memories from my childhood and development as an angler.

It was a really valuable half a day.  I caught a number of fish on the Chimera Caddis in a #18... but never broke out the camera.  The day was about doing some de-stressing, and just being outside.  And, it was that.

Plus, I met a few real nice fellow anglers, which added to the day for sure.