Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I've never really been a winter person. Oh, I've had my days when throwing snowballs is fun. In fact, I threw four of them today. I tried to hit a spot on a building showing a co-worker that if the planets had been aligned right, and I had spent more time practicing my pitching, instead of chasing trout, I could be playing for the Dodgers. After four throws, he never bought the story, and cold hands convinced me that convincing him was futile.
Like I mentioned December 21st is the day I trick my mind. Here's how I see it. The winter solstice is the day the sun reaches it's southern most migration. The angle of the sun to my position on the earth, at this date, is at it's greatest. From this day forward, the sun begins to migrate to the north again. So, to me, December 21st is the beginning of spring. That's right! Here comes the sun. The days are getting longer. Fishing season is on its way.
It doesn't matter that it's 16 degrees outside tonight. The sun is moving in the right direction and that does wonders for my cabin fever. Cabin fever hits me every winter. It's never hit me to the point of feeling I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I just get a little winter blue. I have studied the recommendations for those who have SAD and I think they can help with mild cases of winter blues and cabin fever. Here are some of the recommendations:
Spend time outside everyday, even on cloudy days. The available light is good to absorb through the eyes and skin.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Include vitamins and minerals.
Exercise 30 minutes a day, three time a week or more.
Stay involved with your social circle and regular activities.
Stay positive mentally. Set goals and actively work toward them. Plan and look forward to future spring, summer, and fall adventures. (Of course, these should include the many fly fishing adventures you dream about.)
Spring is on it's way. I can feel the days getting longer (adding2 minutes of light per day now). I can feel the sun hitting the back of my neck and tanning my forearms as I cast to trout sipping the first hatch of blue-winged olives. It feels good. Close your eyes and watch that nice cutthroat coming for your fly. There he is. He took it. Raise the rod tip and feel the fight. See, spring is here every winter solstice. Goodbye cabin fever!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Condolences to his family. May his spirit rest in peace on his beloved Big Hole River. I hope to see him in the morning mist making a cast, playing a trout and then slipping out of sight on his favorite bend.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
This is typical late summer, early fall conditions on the Logan River.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I guess what I'm getting at is that we fly tiers sometimes think we have a talent for creating some special fly, when in reality, almost any fly would work if we get it over some hungry fish and cast it into waters that have too many stunted and hungry fish and it's summer or fall, when trout seem to be most aggressive.
A couple years ago, I talked to a fly shop guide and asked about a particular river I had never fished. He told me I had to go small and I would catch more fish using a nymph. He gave me the name of the small nymph that was "killer." I got to the river and stood in a hole just as he had explained. I used the small nymph and fished it as he explained. I actually caught two brown trout in about an hour of fishing. I soon tired of the nymphing and walked around the next bend in the river. As I looked upstream, I thought, this river doesn't look any different than any of the other rivers I have fished. It was late summer, so I tied on a hopper imitation. First cast into a cut bank and I was rewarded with a nice fish. Next cast a little further out into the riffle, another trout. I continued to cast the hopper into each seam, cut bank, pocket and run and either missed a trout or had a hook-up. It was a blast. I've done this every year on most of the waters I fish in the summer and fall and have always been rewarded with trout.
I'm not trying to brag of any prowess I have. I'm just trying to say that we sometimes get caught up in all the fly design and hype, when the trout could care less. If we get a good presentation, are sneaky enough, and fishing waters with hungry, plentiful trout, then fly pattern is not as critical as we want to believe. Maybe some waters around the country fly pattern is critical, but here in Utah it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Anyway, I'm out of town for at least 3 days doing nothing but catching trout! I'll report back in if I decide to come back to civilization, hopefully, with some photos. This should be real good for my head!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The ultra-sound came back negative. No stone! What is causing the pain? The next few days the pain stayed in by flank and started to move around my side and into my stomach area. I could actually watch as my stomach muscles (okay, fat gut flab) made painful contractions. Thursday night, I noticed a rash on my skin. I visited WebMD on my computer and decided I had a case of the shingles. A trip back to Insta-care on Friday the 12th of September confirmed it. I'm now on antiviral medication, some crazy steriod and a skin ointment. I have never been through anything this painful for so long before. I still have a few points of pain, but I think the medications are working. I'm just so frustrated at missing out on the days I had planned to fish. This is my favorite time of year to hit the streams. I'm hoping for an Indian summer so I can make up those lost days.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I learned a few lessons. Maybe I'm thinking more? The grass is tall waist high at least and sometimes up to the arm pits. It grows right to the creek bank and in areas overhangs into the water. It is hard to make a normal cast where your line lands on the water and you pick up slack as the fly and line float downstream toward you. Most casts are made with the line laying in the grass and just the leader and fly plopping into the water. Sometimes, the cast is more of a dapping proposition. Sometimes, just the fly and a couple feet of leader actually hit the water. Throw away all that long cast nonsense you learned at the latest sportsmen's expo. If you have more than about fifteen feet of line out, you're out of control.
If you move slow and use the willows, you can sneak enough to see the trout before you cast to them. This is very visual. The water is low and clear and spotting the trout is very easy. Spook one, or two, or three and they race for cover notifying every trout upstream for maybe thirty or forty feet, that something is up.
As the hoppers jumped out in front of me some would fly to the other side of the creek. Others would land in the water and were immediately eaten by trout. This was easy pickings. The rising trout could be caught by casting my hopper imitation to the exact spot it just ate the natural. Was I chumming? I didn't intentionally add the natural hoppers to the water. Or did I? I knew that by walking through the grass with that many hoppers, that some would end up wet, but what could I do to stop them? Nothing! I kept fishing.
When my imitation hit the smooth, slow water, several concentric rings of disturbance would migrate out. Soon a trout would be inhaling the pattern and the battle was on. These were quick fights. A couple thrashing spins, a quick run, and the trout was then lifted out of the water to hand, or if it had some weight, slid up the bank on the grass. Some of the trout were unexpectedly nice and plump for such a small water. If I could not see my fly as it floated near the overhanging grass and undercut bank, I learned to watch for rings of a rise and sometimes the sound of a rise. This was an interesting way to detect a take and actually something the trout had taught me.
Some of the trout I could spot before I cast to them but I would say that over seventy-five percent of the trout I caught by watching for rise rings, listening for a splash, or by watching a trout quickly appear for the take soon after the fly hit the water. One several casts, I was casting to water that had no trout visable. I would cast into the barren water and then watch as a trout would race downstream to the fly, sometimes moving as much as ten feet. This I tried to understand. Did the trout sense the fly with it's lateral line, or did it see the disturbance rings and then come to investigate the source? The trout were not seeing the fly until they had turned and rushed downstream to consider the origin of the disturbance. Most of my dry fly fishing is casting a fly above the trout and letting the current carry the fly into the trout's window. To have trout ten feet upstream, turn and race downstream to a fly was different and fun. My gut feeling was that they could sense through their lateral line, but some it seemed to hesitate and turn to race downstream after the disturbance rings had rippled overhead.
This outing heightened my senses. I felt closer to my quarry. I somehow felt we were on equal terms. Yes, I fooled a few of them with my senses of sight, feel and sound, And, some of them got the best of me with those same senses. I enjoyed the day!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
When the proofs, the figures, were arranged in columns
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
Throw out all the numbers. Throw out the sizes. Throw out all the jargon. Wander off to a stream by yourself and in the mystical moist air, from time to time, hook a trout, look at it in silence, then look around. That's all.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The eagle, before he became the eagle, was Ukatangi, the talker.
Ukatangi talked and talked. It talked so much, it heard only itself.
Not the river, not the wind, not even the wolf.
The raven came and said, "The wolf is hungry. If you stop talking, you will hear him. The wind too.
And when you hear the wind, you will fly."
So he stopped talking.
And became its nature, the eagle.
The eagle soared, and its flight said all it needed to say.
---as told by Marilyn Whirlwind (actor, Northern Exposure)
Monday, August 4, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Interesting afternoon. I left at 2:00 PM and arrived on the water around 3:30 PM. I figured the fishing would be slow for the first couple of hours and then start to pick up as the evening shadows grew long.I spooked two trout as I followed a trail down to the stream edge. I stopped and became more stealthy. I looked up the stream and watched as three brown trout pushed their heads out of the water in what were feeding rises. I thought, "What the heck would be hatching at 3:00 in the afternoon on a hot ninety-three plus heat wave of a day?" More heads appeared. I stared at the seam, looking for any sign of floating bugs. I saw one riding the current and fluttering, drifting, and then lifting off. Then I spotted another one, this time closer. Grayish wings, small 18 or 20 sized hook would match it. BWO's? That was my guess.I already had a size twelve Twisted Hopper tied on so I thought I'd give it a shot. First cast, Wham! Twelve inch brown on. I quickly pulled him to the end of the run so he wouldn't spook the other fish. As I released him, I noticed more heads upstream and also some fins. Some fish were taking emergers right under the surface. I cast the hopper up into the area of rising fish. No takers. After about fifteen drifts and trout still rising, I decided to tie on a Chain-stitched BWO to the hopper as a double dry rig. It worked out to be the right move. I took three consecutive browns on the mayfly each around thirteen inches.For the remainder of the evening, I took a fish or two from each likely run. Most hit the mayfly but every once in a while, I'd pick one up on the hopper. Eventually, the trout stopped rising. I decided to take a couple home for dinner (which I fried up and ate tonight for dinner, burp, thank you very much). I caught them, cleaned them, and put them on ice and had them home and cooking in less than two hours. Fresh and tasty.The funny thing is, I thought I'd have better luck in the evening, but the fishing just turned off at about 6:00 PM. I fished for about 45 minutes longer, hitting perfect water, with no hits. The water then got that gun metal sheen on it, that I hate so much. Experience has taught me when the sun hits the water at that weird angle, the surface fishing goes sour for a while. I decided it was time to leave.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I like to hike inot this stream for the day. It has about three to four miles of fishable water. I will usually pack in some tin-foil and make a small fire and cook two of these trout for lunch.
I usually only make one or two trips in during the summer. I think I'll go in and try it this fall too.
Monday, July 21, 2008
This is the creek I fished to complete my assignment to fish the smallest possible creek and catch some fish. I could literally step over it in some places. There were also overflows from beaver dams that had water in them, as one of the pictures will show. I'm sure the beaver use them as travelways to and from the trees. I caught a cutthroat in one of them too.
Overall, I had a great time on this little water and was fishing by sound and feel in some of the corner pools and undercut banks. I'll try to post more on the adventure when I get time.
I found one and caught this brown trout on a Twisted Foam Hopper. In fact, all the trout I caught were on the hopper.
It was a neat little creek with lots of skittish browns and cutthroat.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I've been fishing the Blacksmith Fork and it's tributaries, and have been catching my share of 8 to 14 inch trout. The tributaries have been fun with larger dry flies. I've been slinging a size 12 Looped Foam Cicada: black body with an orange, red, or green head. The trout seem to jump right on it. Of course, they may just jump on anything that hits the water. They don't seem to picky on patterns. Stealth is the key to success---along with a good presentation.
I talked with some Utah Division of Wildlife Resource employees last week and they mentioned that the snakes (rattlers) are out and about. I saw a dead one on the road towards the mouth of the canyon and saw a fly fisherman carrying a shed skin up from the bank of the river. Watch your step and where you place your hand when climbing around.
I'm hoping to hit it hard now. I'll try to get pictures to go with the adventures.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I've found that by fishing a few smaller local waters, I can take the frustration out of the equation. These smaller waters are easier to read, and have willing, hungry trout in them. Whole sections of water can be worked from bank to bank. If the stoneflies have been around, I can usually get a few willing trout even if the bugs have disappeared from the stretch I'm fishing.
I fished a stretch of water on June 4th. Stoneflies had been in the area the previous week and so a few of us decided to give it a shot. I had a couple of hits on a Twisted Foam Stonefly but was unable to hook the fish. I then decided to tie on a small brown stonefly as a dropper; size 12 hook. I took a couple of small 10-inch browns but still had a few trout hitting the dry with no hook-up. I finally managed a small 12-inch brown on the dry fly. He totally inhaled the pattern and I had to use some foreseps to reach down and remove the fly from its mouth. I picked up a couple more browns on the nymph and had a few more hits on the dry. I was very disappointed on missing around ten trout that hit the dry. Looking for excuses, I blame the hook or maybe the size of the fly. The dry was tied on a Mustad hook and the point just didn't seem to be that sharp. I have heard others be very vocal about Mustad hooks, but have had enough fish caught on them that I didn't pay much attention to them. Now, I am wondering if in the larger hooks, the sharpness is diminished. Maybe it was a combination of the hook and the size of the fly? Maybe it was a factor of the foam fly riding too high? I'm going to tie up some new flies on a different hook and go out either Monday or Tuesday night and give it another shot. I'll let you know the results.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Air-filled fly body. I've been tying and fishing air-bugs for several years now. Great material to imitate large insects like stoneflies, cicada, grasshoppers, beetles and crickets.
Photo by Bushrat.>>>
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
These stonefly adults were captured and preserved by the Utah State University bug lab students. While big stonefly hatches are often downplayed as hard to hit, if you are on the water at the right time with the right conditions, it can be a very exciting time. I love to look for this hatch. The bugs themselves fascinate me.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
It shouldn't be that hard. A trip to the Uintas would allow me to hit several lakes and streams in just one weekend. Of course, I'll have to wait for the snow to melt to get into some of these places. And other river drainages have tributary streams which all will count in the total.
I will log all the details, especially the flies I use, the types of hatches encountered and the species, quantities and size of trout I catch. I might even throw in a warm water adventure or two.
It's going to be a great season!
Spring is the time for lovers and flowers and trout fishermen. Since I am all three, I must prepare early, for the sounds of the river are near and the trout are waiting."
Secret Places of Trout Fishermen
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
With the amount of run-off predicted here in Utah, we may end up with high off-color conditions in May, when these little critters want to crawl out of the water to learn to fly. I have three "streams" that I try to hit during stonefly activity, and then I try to migrate north and hit some of the fabled waters in Idaho and Montana.
I have always used these braided stoneflies to imitate the nymphs. I have good luck with them. I use the dark ones to imitate the large Pteronarcys californica ( salmonfly) and the lighter ones to imitate the large golden stoneflies.
I'm hoping for a good stonefly season and already getting excited. It seem like the larger fish come out to play when the stones are migrating to hatch. It's still fun and somewhat funny to catch the smaller 8-10-inch trout with a large size six stonefly nymph sticking out of it's mouth.
When I see the adults out, I will switch to a dry fly, but I like to fish the nymph a couple weeks before I see adults and then a couple weeks after the adults are gone. I have even fished the dry fly for a couple weeks after the hatch and had decent luck.
Time to start tying some of these delicious, trout-candy nymphs and dream of great action in the next couple of months.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Most of the fish I spotted that evening were already in position when I cast to them. This brown was fun because I watched him come to feed and becasue I was already in position hiding behind some willows, he had no clue I was there.
I caught several more fish at each run moving upstream until I could barely see. The fear of wild animals and ghosts soon scared me from the water.
Monday, February 25, 2008
This is a neat site if you are interested in some of the historic patterns that were created for fly fishing the wild rivers in Montana and other areas of the Rockies.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The only thing I didn't like on some of these wet wading adventures, is walking back down a dirt trail or road in wet shoes and pants. The accumulation of trail dirt is amazing. It builds up nice and thick. It's something you really don't want to drag into a vehicle in most instances. Wearing shorts can help cut down on the mud, and having an extra pair of dry shoes or boots and socks is smart. If you plan things right, and the day is hot enough, you can try to dry off before you hike down the road. On hot summer days, this doesn't take too long especially if you wear some of the quick dry fishing and hiking pants that are out there.
Anyway, it's fun to just throw a fly box, some floatant and a spare leader or two into a pocket and then head up the stream, rock hopping and wading wet. I find it makes me feel like a kid again and brings back those memories when I could fish all day and cover miles of stream.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Alrdredge's farm was a special fascination of the young men who were fortunate enough to explore its mysteries. Summers would have been a lot less fun had it not been for invitations from my boyhood friend to spend some time there.
It was at this farm that I learned to shoot a .22 rifle with enough accuracy to hit a jackrabbit running 35 miles per hour from 50 yards away. It was also the place I learned about deer, rattlesnakes and coyotes and where I first felt a newly-discovered feeling of self-reliance and freedom. It was where I learned to love solitude.
The most enjoyable thing I learned at the farm, however, was how to catch brown trout with grasshoppers. The creek was not large. Not many people knew of its whereabouts, except a few locals from town, it was rarely fished, and I can remember fishing two weeks without ever seeing another soul.
The small creek had deep holes and holding areas beneath the overhanging willows. The willows were so thick it was almost impossible to see through them. The water made its way down from springs higher up in the mountains and ran down through hills and flats covered with sage and juniper. The banks were almost always covered with willows, except for small openings just large enough for a small boy to stick his head and fishing pole through.
Grasshoppers were the best bait. They were overabundant in the wheat and grasses and sage. The best way to catch them was to throw a handful of sand at them. On the way to the first fishing spot I would stop occasionally to secure the hoppers I needed for bait.
The best way to attach the hopper to the hook was to thread the point of the hook through the thorax and then follow the abdomen with the point until the hopper was sitting upright on the shank. After securing the hopper to the hook, it was lowered into the water for its final fate.
Fish could be caught with hoppers all along this creek except for one place: the Crossing. I don't know if trout like to sun themselves but it sure seemed like it. There were always about 15 trout holding in the crossing. These trout were uncatchable. Every time I walked up to the crossing, I would spook them and they would race upstream into the cover of the willows and deeper water. No matter how sneaky I was, I could not approach the Crossing without scaring the trout.
I tried to sneak through the willows from above and below the Crossing but my shadow would fall upon the water or my movement would startle the trout. Sometimes I felt I had finally gotten close enough without making an error in my approach, only to find the browns were gone when I peered through the brush. It was like the trout had ESP.
As I got older, the trips to the farm ceased. Many years had passed and I advanced from a natural grasshopper-fishing boy to an adult fly- fisherman.
The desire to catch a trout from the Crossing drew me back to the area as an adult. After two and a half hours of driving, I found myself going up a small canyon road, weaving my way through a multitude of childhood memories.
I parked along a dry creek bed and leaped across a sagging barbed-wire fence, then stared at the tractor tracks that led to the Crossing. As I started up the dirt road, I picked my best hopper from my fly box and quickly threaded it on the leader.
Standing way back and viewing the situation, I decided my only chance for success would be to kneel down and cast the fly from about twenty feet out. I wanted to cast so that as my line straightened out, the leader and tippet would turn over gently and land on the water without much disturbance. False casting was almost impossible but I managed to do it long enough to get the right amount of line out.
My cast was long enough and the imitation hopper landed at the head of the Crossing with no noticeable disturbance. I watched intently as the hopper floated down through the middle of the stream. A brown trout lazily approached the hopper and sipped it in. I raised the rod tip and felt the struggle of a trout on the end of my line. As I stood up, I noticed all the other trout flying upstream as they always had, but I had one of them on the end of my line.
The trout I caught was about thirteen inches long. It was a fat little brown trout. I looked it over for a few seconds and then returned it to the Crossing. I knew I would not be able to catch another trout out of the Crossing for some time, but the thrill of catching that one little brown trout from the Crossing is a satisfaction that will last a lifetime.
I have a few new places to hit this year, small creeks that I have heard about, but haven't had the opportunity to explore. This blog site will be about those explorations. I will post about the discoveries and the feelings I encounter as I wander. I will try to post a few pictures too.
My favorite thing to do is to seek out wild, native trout in their natural and historical waters. Here in Utah, that means cutthroat trout. I will,however, not limit my drivel to just cutthroat, as many of our waters are not capable of sustaining these beautiful gems. In many of our waters, the native cutthroat have been taken over by brown trout. The brown trout have been reproducing in our waters for many years now and although they are not native are very much wild, reproducing trout.
I have been fly fishing for 37 years and tying flies for over 25 years. As time goes on I will introduce you to fly patterns, materials and some techniques. This will be fun. Thanks for joining me!