Monday, July 17, 2017

Wild footballs, er, brookies...

Chubby brookies - who doesnt like to see those after a drought year!

First though, last Thursday, I think it was, I hit a local bass/crappie pond I like.  I early released a few crappies, but landed several bass.  Some on a bright chartreuse version of Lefty Kreh's "Craft Fur Shrimp" - which is a FANTASTIC fly for everything in a variety of colors.

This tiny "micro" bass had really cool coloration - so pale, yet with such clear spotting.  Neat fish.

I need to remember how to tie that fly.  It is a marabou tailed diver of sorts... floats great.  Looks "ridiculous" and is basically folded over foam sheet.  I took the idea from a fly described in a magazine for Patomac river smallies, probably 10 years ago... it's been my best topwater for warmwater for about 3 years now, and that's the last one I have... Best get busy at the vice!
I'm sure Ill eventually catch a big fish here - there is to much food not to.  It's a super spot for a summer evening.  Lots of fish, not to hard to catch... A good place to drop my cortisol levels...

Ok, enough teasing with bass.  I managed to hit my local wild brookie and brown trout stream last Friday at lunch.  this is (gulp) the first time I've been on brookie water in (gulp) maybe 6 weeks outside that short foray in MN a few weeks ago... ugh.

The flow was great - more like the last few May's than July, which was super to see.  Temp = high 50's.  It felt refreshingly cold.  But, the year's heavy rain has changed it, even since this spring.  Some log jams are pushed out or sunk.  this one for example, that little plunge over the log below... normally that's a bigger drop, but the log sunk a bit, and, interestingly, more water than I've ever seen is coming under the tree on the right ( you see the root ball)  Interesting.

First fish of the day, came about a third of the way up the pic above, on the seem.  The brookie drilled a red Rojo Mini Hot caddis.  I thought it came off and my rod was stuck in a tree at first - this fish had fire and heft and put a nice bend in the 3wt.  Wish I'd stretched it out for a pic, this fish was a solid 10", but the amazing thing, was the girth.  Look at the belly on that brookie!

I worked up stream fishing pocket water with the dry.  I missed some, and caught some... And wile the smaller fish in the 4-6" range were skinny, as immature animals of all types seem to be... Anything over 6" was a football.  It's great to see these trout doing well!

Nice little brookie and a decent shot of the fly - bright red body, elk hair wing, hackled front end.  It's sort of a x caddis without a tail combined with a trude.  They work in a variety of colors.

I wanted to get a pic of this big fish too.  I mean, WOW!  That right there is a FAT brook trout!  Love it!
 Have a super week!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Adventures... pic heavy

Hi there.  Long time, no see :)!

Life has been good and busy.  I've barely fished since my last post :(, but have done some cool stuff.

The family did the annual road trip to MN, but we added to that with a drive to Badlands and Black Hills / Mt Rushmore in South Dakota.  If you have never been - go.  The landscape is so amazing.  Pictures just don't do it justice.  The scope/magnitude... Unreal.  Even newly minted 6 year olds were amazed!

I was trying to get the scope of badlands across here.  But you just cant "see" or "feel" that it's hundreds and hundreds of feet nearly vertical into those canyons.  It's mind boggling.

While Mt Rushmore proper is awesome... We were there for the July 4 "lighting" ceremony - a double dip so to speak since the kids turned 6 on July 4.  But, we found a trail across the street that went into Black Hills National Forest.  Amazing that literally across from the Mt Rushmore parking lot, and the thousands of people visiting that site, you could find a trail that looped into some amazing valleys and through awesome ponderosa and granite forest.  Not a person was found/seen, but a few mule deer does let us walk right by - amazing the kids.  It was a gift to be so close to a bustling national monument, yet totally away from people - Awesome!

One of my favorite spots at my inlaws is a little brook, called "Stoney Brook" in Nisswa and Lake Shore MN, about 30' north west of Brainerd.  It's a MN trout stream and a lot of work has been done on it to improve the habitat, including building spills which scour the stream (one seen below) and even inserting wood for the same purpose as well as creating overhang's with rocks (also seen below).  This year I literally only had 20-30' to fish it and landed only one dace.  I quick released what looked like a solid 13-15" brown after a brief fight, oh well...

Hard to tell, but that corner in the distance has an amazing scour into that blown down tree, probably 5 feet deep right there.  Nice work MN DNR!

The day's sole catch.

Figured some of you fellow stream health and brook trout lovers would enjoy reading about the work on Stoney Brook.

 Prior to heading west, I got to do a little tying.  I have been expanding my craft fur streamer selections, that material is one of my favorites!  I saw a slightly different approach to doing a craft fur baitfish on the Bobcat Hollow blog, and tried it in one of my favorite color combos: olive over yellow.

Love it, and may get to strip it through some bass and panfish water later today.  Hopefully...

Monday my wife suggested I go fishing.  I got a little bug on the drive home, and, being self employed, despite being "on vacation", I generally work just as much as normal, but from a place with wifi.  with the added driving west this year, I basically worked or drove for vacation outside the one day at Badlands and Mt Rushmore... She was seeing the burnout on my face and sent me on my way after my daily email review.

New England being steamy right now, and me having an affiliation for fishing terrestrials to the well educated fish of the Swift River Tailwater flowing out of Quabbin Reservoir... That seemed the perfect spot despite the hour and ten drive to get there.  The water is generally mid 50's this time of year, and on a hot day, that feels great... as does the occasional hat dip in the river and put back on your head!  I was amazed to arrive, on a nice summer afternoon, to no one parked at the usual spot.  One guy arrived as I headed out, but I ended up with the rivers "famous" "Y" pool to myself for a while before he eventually got there.  I landed 4, none on the terrestrials I like to fish here, all on a #16 olive and gray shuttlecock CDC emerger.  Sort of a giant fly for the swift, but enough fish enjoyed it that I felt like Charlie Sheen - "Winning"!

After only 45' or so though, I got a call... The family had locked themselves out and couldnt reach another option to get in... I had to bail and head home.  Sad.  But gotta do it.

Quick shot of a Swift River Rainbow that just wouldn't keep still for a photo :)
 After driving about 25', I got a call that they had reached a friend with a key, and she could let them in, so I could keep fishing.  I was almost half way home, so I stopped at the Millers River - another great fishery here in MA.  The Millers though is entirely different from the swift.  It's diverse, super fertile, and a lot warmer - 70-75 pending where I dipped my thermometer the other day.  How diverse?  Well, in the general area I was fishing, over the years I've either caught or seen:
Carp (seen)
LMB/SMB (caught - lots)
Several sunfish species, besides bass (lots)
Several dace and fall fish/chub species (lots)
Walleye (caught)
Pike (caught)
Rainbow-Tiger-Brown-Brook trout (caught)
Lamprey (seen)
Sculpin (seen)

I'm sure I'm missing many!

Similarly, while the Swift is mostly little bugs and scuds and baby brook trout for food stuffs, the Millers is a smorgasbord of bugs and little fish species.

Well, because of these differences, I tend to carry very different gear - including a wading staff.  the Millers is a brawler of a river - big rocks and cobble, deep holes, and current when rolling.  Last year at this time, there were rocks I could stand on - and be 6-10" out of the water - which were almost 2 feet under water on Monday night when I was there.  This bodes well for an awesome fall on the river - and likely a super 2018 spring.  But since I'd anticipated the swift, I really was not equipped - no staff, mostly little flies and terrestrials etc.

But, knowing a river has perks, and I got safely to a nice deep pool that I'd hoped would result in lots of smallmouth bass, but instead resulted in several Rainbow Trout, and a bunch of sunfish.

This is just below the pool I mostly fished, as I hiked down to exit the river.  The way the gravel bars and currents work, this pic is actually taken from mid river.  Without a staff, and not really being able to see your feet 16" into the water... this is tough wading.

Seeing lots of dry stone fly cases explained why my fly of choice for the day, a stone fly, worked well...

Ok, all caught up... Hopefully more mountain biking and fishing adventures to share as summer wears on...

Keep well