Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Current River September, 2012

I arrived at the Baptist access before daylight.  The air temperature was around 50 degrees and a patchy fog hung in the air.  After finishing the last swig of a cup of coffee which had grown cold during the drive, I stepped out into the dark toward the sound of rushing water.  I started fishing over a large pool using a big black streamer.  I could hear an occasional splash as night feeders were smashing at something on the surface.  Once the faintest light appeared, I could see what they were feeding on.  Clouds of tricos filled the air and the trout were grouped into feeding lanes casually sipping them off the water with some indecipherable cadence.  With no trico patterns on hand I tied on the closest thing I had: a #14 white fly on 7x tippet, hoping to entice some confused trout.

After several dozen drifts over the feeding lane, one errant cast landed right on top of the feeding fish.  To my surprise a fish darted up and swiped at my fly, sadly the no hookset, but an interesting behavior to note.  I would have made nothing of it, but it happened again further upstream when casting at a different feeding lane I set the hook but it slipped out and spooked the fish.  Around this time the hatch had tapered off, so I switched to a #12 soft hackle and landed my first fish (a nice brown trout) casting this upstream and letting it drift back with no indicator, watching the end of my fly line for a pause in the drift.  I caught three more brownies using the same technique, 1 on the soft hackle and 2 on a #12 olive streamer, similar to a wooly bugger but with a yellow pheasant rump collar instead of a hackled body.

It was about time to turn around and head back downstream, and a good steady rain had started to fall.  I switched over to a #12 black wooly bugger with a bead head.  As I worked my way back downstream, I cast toward the bank angled downstream and left my fly swing across the current and dangle for a bit before moving downstream a few more steps and repeating.  I caught 3 more fish using this technique, all rainbow trout, one was nice sized.  Most fish were taken during the swing and I had two missed strikes, one on the swing and one on the dangle.  I will come back to the Current river some day, and when I do, I won't forget the #26 tricos.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Carping by Numbers

Well, the conditions were not the best to sight fish for carp but I had a personal best day on the water at least in terms of quantity.  It was partly cloudy and extremely windy with gusts up to 25 mph.  I took my canoe out to a lake I have been scouting recently and fished once for bass with no success.  The last time I was there, I noticed some serious activity on the back side of the lake.  Lots of cloopers and some real monsters tailing with reckless abandonment in about 8 inches of water ( is it still called tailing if more than half of the fish's body is sticking out of the water?).

I got on the water early and went straight to the back side of the lake.  The water was so turbid I could only see about six inches deep and I did not see any tailers near the shore so I resorted to casting to the bubbles, which indicate a potential carp rooting the bottom.  I started out with a #6 black back stabber with rubber legs and didn't get any takers for some time.  So, I switched to a #6 carp carrot with a bead head and that was the ticket.  The next set of bubbles had a hungry common that took my carrot and once boated, was a welcome sight.  After this fish the wind really picked up and the fish seemed to become more active .. maybe they felt safer with some disturbance on the water.  I noticed more fish tailing near the shore so I stalked into place as best I could with the wind pushing me around.  I managed to get a clear shot at a fish that was alternating between tailing and cruising and made a leading cast about 2' ahead of the slow cruising fish.  After the fly settled and gave it a short strip.  I felt the take before I could see it due to the water being so muddy and a great fight ensued.  

All in all I had 7 solid hookups and boated 3 common carp, which is a personal best for me in terms of numbers.  This trip was also the first time I have caught a carp while fishing from a canoe.  Stalking carp from a canoe I feel has several advantages over wading including: stealth, better positioning and no fear of sinking mud.  On the flip side, as steep as the learning curve is for fly fishing for carp, doing it from a canoe is even steeper.  I have found that instead of sitting down or standing up in the canoe that standing on my knees in the middle of the boat is a good compromise to both maximize both my ability to see the fish and cast to it and quickly alternate between maneuvering and casting.