Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Brookie V Snake, who wins?

Well, classes wrapped up last week, and a transition with work has begun (my business partner is taking on new ventures (all positive for each of us) and so I'm starting to take over things and work fully solo) so I decided to give myself a gift and go fishing yesterday afternoon.  Rosemary and the kids played at a museum and at home, and I was on "mental reset" time.  

I shot out to fish the swift - a localish tailwater that's really the only reasonable drive, and reasonable fish health situation right now if I want to catch trout.  And, well, I just was looking to have some fun on that specific stream today.

Rather than fish it's lower sections, I opted to fish the upper CR/Fly only area.  It was fishing solidly from the infamous bubbler arm through the Y pool and really right down to the bridge.  I caught fish the whole way... on my favorite things: big hoppers or chernobyls.  Only a few fish on the yellow and orange zebra midge I'm really growing to love.  Caught a few brookies, one was only about 6" and some how had my entire #6 chernobyl in it's mouth.  WOW!  Most of the day's catch though were the big chubby rainbow's that live here.

That all said, this was a day to remember not because the fishing was pretty good... But for other reasons.

Walking up the trail after arriving, I saw a few turkeys, actually a group of about 8, 3-4 toms and some hens.  Sort of funny to see them together this time of year... and given this area is a public park with no hunting, they were surprisingly comfy with my proximity, I ultimately walked by about 10 yards away.  Pretty cool.

As noted, I got some nice bow's like this chubby one (sorry the pic is pretty deep in the water, I was trying to minimize stress on the fish).

And this skinny one among others...

But shortly after a heavy rain shower came through... I heard some splashing under some hemlock limbs.  I looked over and was confused.  Why is that brookie swimming up the bank?  Sometimes they clear the water trying to catch a bug, could it have landed on the bank?  Well, I walked over to see...

It was a banded watersnake, 30-35" long I'd say... it had caught the trout, and was trying to wrestle the 6-7" brookie up the bank for snake snack time!  At first I couldnt believe it.  I mean, I know water snakes are supposed to eat fish, but, in my head, that meant 2" minnows on occasion.

I tried to poke the snake with my rod butt a few times.  He didnt like it - as you would expect - but he would have rather died than let that brookie go - which for him in some ways could be the same thing.  No lunch, no life for a wild animal...

After trying to pull the fish out, it clearly would have resulted in serious skin loss on the fish at best... so I just scooped up the snake with my rod butt to get a better picture of this once in my life time sighting.

Here's another to show off some of the snakes impressive size... Hard to see, but he's sort of S bent through this pic... If he was hanging straight he's easily at or beyond 30", and clearly chubby on brookies.

So, the next time you see a watersnake on your local blue line or other fishery... yep... They do indeed eat fish... and not just the little minnows or fry!

Have a super day and keep well

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hopper Time

This is my favorite time of year on the local tailwater.  It's stereotype (well earned) is that 7x and #26's may be a bit big... But this time of year - even in July - chucking #6-#12 hoppers or similar giant foam and rubber flies is fun.  Hope to get out and fish these tomorrow.

The top is the style I've most fished outside of a standard Chernobyl antesque versions.  The bottom is a "Morrish Hopper" which I'm playing with.

If you fish small fly tail waters, consider going the opposite way some times.  It's lot of fun and can result in great catching.  Plus, the shock on people's faces when you show them a fly about 15X bigger than theirs is fun!