Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
...And today it finally paid off. I was trying out an new long belly on my Loomis 15' 7/8. I have been really finding that for fish our northern local, a floating long belly is best in winter. The river is low and clear and the air is so cold that stripping line only make you ice up. the air was cold today, my dash read 18F when I pulled up on the river to meet Tom.
Tom just got a Carron 10/11 85' for his 15' 10 Burkie and I was pumped to try it out as I have been hearing so much about these lines, mostly from Tom. Well the hype was right, the combo of rod and line was so right it was like tossing a scandi on my 7133-3, in other words automatic every time, not much effort.
Well after trying out Tom's new toy I went back to the XLT which after years of hating, I suddenly really like. I worked my way down into a run called Winter's, which in 10 years of fishing has not produced a fish. I was fishing a gnarly no-name pattern, black and orange, and evil looking, pretty cool if I do say so myself, and I do. The fly was tied on a gami 2/0 hook and fished on a 15' foot leader, so it was getting down abit. I was grease lining, as I have been reading alot about it lately and it is something new to learn. (sorry for all the long winded BS, but I feel like adding it.)
Anyway, as I neared the middle of the run my loop was pulled out, but there was no weight when it straightened. The loop slipped so fast that I was sure that it was a fish, but I hadn't had a grab in so long...it must have been a rock. I cast again with out stepping, carefulto fish the fly the same as I had on the cast, trying to lower the rod just right to keep the fly broad side. I rarely get a fish on the follow up cast and usually take about 3... oh, loop just got pulled, weight, set, whomp, whomp...fish on!
It was a solid Brown, about 10-12lbs, and he put up a good fight. Best of all when I got him in I was able to just take the eye of the hook and unbutton the fish without touching him or getting my hand wet. Neither Tom nor I was anxious to dip a hand in the water today. The fish stayed for a while in the water right at my feet, it was a foot or two deep, it was cool to watch him there.
The rest of the day was great. I stood on the Ice shelf and talked to Tom while he finished Winter's. We watched a big male mink darting across the snow covered ice along the river. We saw a couple eagles, lot of ducks. Then we head up stream to the Boat launch to screw around with some different rod and line combos. The XLT is nice, but the Nextcast 75 8/9 (not being technical) is more nicer. and the Carron 10/11 85 is awesome on the Scott ARC 1509.
So, to Summarize:
1. I caught a fish
2. I like long bellies
3. Minks are funny
Thursday, December 18, 2008
December has been really cold and there has just not been much going on in the fishing department. So here are some photos of stuff that has made the month a little more bearable.
A few days outNew fly ideas
Dave tying at tight lines
Monday, December 15, 2008
The rogue gets around 10,000 wild steelhead in the winterrun, these fish run from 8-12lbs, and the Half-poundfers are still in the river. It sounds as if the Rogue is more of an egg and nymph fishery than a place to swing, but I hear two handers are catching on. sounds pretty good.
So there it is, I have another potential backup plan. and that is not bad. Really I just have to show up in Sacremento and then make the next move from there.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I left the site because it had lost any and all positive messages. If a guy caught his first steelhead and took a picture of it, upon posting the picture he would be critiqued by a bunch of lame ass lamiods because he had miss handled the fish. No one shared anything but unwanted opinions.
The other thing is that I really don't like guys that fish centerpins, and it was full of 'em.
I recently read an article by Bill McMillan in an old issue of the Osprey. In the article Bill talks about fishing the Skeena system and meeting a guy who is in the same lodge, who has been catching around 10-15 Steelhead each day. The guy is using an indicator technique, and he credits Bill with leading him too it in one of bills early books. This makes Bill kind of sad, because the way he sees it, this guy totally missed the point. Bill stopped using this technique, he wrote about why in the book. The technique put the fly right down in the fishs face and took alot of the choice out of the fishes fins.
This is not a critique on indicator fishing for steelhead. I went up and did some on the Door last spring and discovered a sport that really can celebrate the nature of steelhead. And that is what the guy on the Skeena was missing. He was there at prime time, the fishing was really good the steelhead really strong, and he knew if he got a grab when his indicator feel. He didn't get to feel the rush of energy from the fish grabbing and then turning on the fly, the fish didn't follow the fly half way across the pool, but he was catching more fish than anyone else in camp. He may as well been fishing walleyes with jigs or salmon with roe (that may be at the edge), because he missed so much of what makes the fish and the river special in his quest for numbers.
This is what I believe the "pinners" do, they see catching a steelhead as a sign of bonafide and they want that recognition, so they catch as many as they can. They become greedy their challenge to them selves focussed around numbers, nit a caring for the fish or the sport of fishing. They catch every fish in a run and think it is a good thing. It is like the guy who fishes gravel in the fall for salmon here in the great lakes, and then upon hearing that some guy caught 4 kings in Alaska say " 4 kings I could do that in an afternoon, the fishing is better here, and I'm a better angler", missing the ever lovin point.
Numbers mean almost nothing, catching just one more steelhead, time and time again means everything. I feel the grab of a steelhead so rarely and sometimes feel that I am going crazy without. I want to be in the moment with that steelhead more than I want to be bragging it up later. But to get to that moment I want to utilize the exiting nature of the steelhead when I am able. I am on a big summer river, I may start with a sink tip, but as a catch a fish or two I start to swing my flies closer and closer to the surface. I am wanting to see the boil of course, but I am try to really move that fish to the fly, instead of bringing the fly to the fish. I use the nature curiosity (or is aggressiveness, I don't know) of the steelhead. And that was the point of Bill McMillan's story, evolve you technique, when you can, to take advantage of how great steelhead are.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Rain brings the fish in, but blows the rivers out. After the rains the river drops and clears and fishing is hot, I hope. Then if there is no rain, rivers get low and the State shuts down the fishery.
So, it could be tough, or it could be amazing.
We (rusty and i) have pegged the South Fork of the Eel River as our main starting point, but our whiskers and ears are atuned to all conditions and reports from Sacramento to Portland, and we are ready to mobalize if the Tilamook area is hot and the Eel is not.
The Eel, it has got to be great. The Avenue of Giants, The Red wood forest, the land of big foot, it all sound cool to me.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Long Bellies cast far: Duh! when you start with 65-90' of line out of the guides you already have a huge advantage, distance wise, on a Skagit line that is 36' with the tip. Take the 65' head, if I am shooting 30' of running line that puts me at 95' out of the guides, and 30' is not too tough shoot with the right setup, and then you add a 10-15' leader and there is alot of water being covered. This really helps on rivers like the Snake, Thompson, Clearwater, and the Miramichi where there is water that fish hold in that is a long way out.
Long bellies are good in freezing weather: Since the heads are long you can often fish runs with only the head and you are not icing up your guides stripping in and shooting line.
Fewer running line tangles: see above and replace I with running line tangles.
It's Fun: casting well with a long head is really cool and it adds alot to the experience. It is a challenge and I enjoy that.
Long Can Take a Toll on the Body: Casting a long belly seems to require more motion throughout the Body and requires more top hand. I have found that doing it alittle wrong can lead to sore elbows, which I did not have with Scandis and Skagits.
Not so great a short distances: at 20-30' the long line is not so great. They fish better out past forty, in close they seem awkward.
Long bellies + sink tips= not awesome: I may be wrong on this one but I am having trouble find a long line that fishes a sink tip as well as a Windcutter or delta, let alone a skagit which is designed for that kind of work. I am going to try a grand spey next with tip maybe that will be better. I have put short polyleaders on a Rio power spey 9/10 with some reasonable results.
Long bellies apparently mend better: But I don't like mending, for line and fly control I take the shooting head.
I am sure there are more pros and cons that I am not thinking of now, but this is a start. now for an anecdote:
Last week I fish a big slow run on my home river. The Air temperatures were in the mid to high twenties, so it was cold. To reach the real fishy water it took any where from a 60-100 foot cast, as the run grows wider as you step down. I was able to fish this run without my guides freeing up and that really helped when I hooked a fish. I also was able to keep my hands warmer by not constantly stripping in line. Also, the slow current swung better with the longer thicker line. The long line really made this run easier.
As soon as I moved down river to the next run however, where I would be fishing a faster narrow slot, I put that setup up away and switched to a skagit rig.
So I guess the point is that there is a time and a place for every thing, and if I can find applications for long bellies in Wisconsin, they must not be a total mistake. Heck, if it catches me one extra fish and it is fun I'll keep on trying to learn more.Once my arm quit aching.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday was the opening of deer hunting, so I was out with my dad hunting. I am not a big hunter,really I only hunt one day a season, but I feel it is important for me to take the respondsiblity of actually killing a bit of the food I eat, some I can understand and appreciate where the meat I eat comes from and the sacrifice of life that is required. With that said, I got a doe.
Since Saturday was also really cold, The rivers were still really frozen on Sunday, but I went anyway. I fished with Tom and even though fishing was lame we had a good time I tried a Nextcast 75' head line that Tom got on Speypages and it was amazing on his 15'7/8 Meiser and on my Sage 7141-4. But no fish on Sunday.
Now yesterday, I got fish. The weather started to warm and the O produced with two lake run browns, One was about 5lbs and the other was nearly ten, and that one came of my favorite run along with two red-horse, which was random. Hopefully the fishing is just picking up for the thanksgiving week.
Friday, November 21, 2008
So I headed to the O and fished a run that has been very productive for browns over the last couple years but is ridiculously slow to swing. I was hoping that the strong WNW wind would help speed the swing, and it did, alittle. It is sad when you are counting on wind to make swinging a fly bearable. Well it was better than bearable, I landed 4 browns, all over 10lbs and none looked wretched.
It was butt-ass cold so got off the river early.
Out again today, we will see if 20F is more than I can cope with.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This is a run down of two-handed fly rods that I either use or have used and the lines I have tried with them. I will mention whether I liked the rod or not and any info that I can think of.
Rio Skagit 550 w/6'-10' T14
NextCast Winter Authority : *Best w/ tips
Airflo Northwest Skagit 35' (650grn) w/ 8-15' tips
Airflo Northwest Skagit 35' (650grn) w/ 8-15' tips
On the way back I was able to Stay at BR's house and get a few runs in on Thursday morning and it paid off with another brown. That is three for the year, which is down on my last two years around this time, I think. I could be that this will not be the best year I have had for fish numbers. I am worried that I will not have the enough time before the rivers freeze.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The rivers are still low, and that has really slowed down the push of steelhead and browns so far. Two fish in a week (four outings) is not good, but it is an improvement over the last few weeks. I think I will be heading south next, and then I will be on the road for a while.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
We spent the first 4 days of our trip on the Clearwater and fishing was tough, but with the help of our friend Tom and Billy's pioneering of new runs we were able to go 1 for 2. The 1 was about average size (for the Grand Ronde), 5-6 pounds. A fish is a fish however, and I was happy to land it. It ate a black G.P. tied on a size 1 hook. The fish that got away was larger and it a purple G.P. tied on a size 6 double hook.
One note on the fish that got away: I borrowed a rod from The Red Shed Fly Shop, well actually it was from Tracy who is a local guide and lives by the shop. The rod was a 15' 7/8 weight Loomis Greaseliner, I tried it with a Hardy Mach II 8wt line (I think it was an 8), I threw the line on my new Speyco Symmetry reel and took it to the river. BR and I fished a run we pioneered and as I was testing how far the rod could cast, I hooked a nice fish, which fought like crap, but it was a fish. I was really happy with how the setup preformed, in short it rocked.
The clear water is such a special river. Near it mouth it has that same type of desert feel that I get on the Deschutes, but as you head up stream the arid environment gives way to evergreens as the elevation increases. BR and I van-camped each night and stayed in the area between Cherry Lane and Peck, we ended up finding a great camp that was well hidden from the road, and a great spot for a tent, should we ever use one.The flows on the Clearwater fluctuated greatly when we started fishing the river was flowing around 3500cfs and by the afternoon of the second full day it was nearly 8000cfs, and the change took place in only a couple hours. It was the fluctuating flows that ultimately led to us leaving the Clearwater and heading for the Grande Ronde.
The Grande Ronde was as fun and beautiful as I remembered it from last year. We were only there for a very short time, only an afeternoon and a morning, not enough time. We got sevral grabs on the Ronde, I had several pulls that took the whole loop and even gave a yank, but we never got even fight a fish. That's how it goes sometimes.
From the Ronde we headed for the Snake River above Asotin, WA and below the mouth of the Grande Ronde at Hellar's Bar. We fish one run on the Snake on our way up the river, then I fished Black Rock on the ronde while BR hit Hellar's bar. It was a cloudy day so we were able to fish all afetrnoon, which was good as it was our last day. Neither BR or I got any grabs so we headed back down the Snake. BR pulled off at the fist major tailout below Hellars bar, BR took the low end and I went in about 200yds above him, I was still fishing my 11' 8wt from the Ronde, which is a tiny little stick for the Snake which is probably the biggest Steelhead river there is to fish, until we pioneer the Columbia. Any way I ended up getting a steelhead that was about 6 lbs, maybe, a hatchery fish, but still cool.
We were now starting to lose light and barely had time to hit another run, we hit two. The first was a nice but non-descript run. The second run was one we had fished on an evening two years earlier, in early October of 2006, on that night BR took a nice wild steelhead in the tail out above the run. Br knew the tailout looked right that night and I put my faith into the riffle below, that night in 2006 BR was right. One this night in 2008 it was the riffle that paid out. On about my second cast I hooked a nice steelhead on a #5 Purple Green-Butt, and after some drama with tangled line, I was able to fight out and land(just about) the fish. BR fish a waker on the tail out and boiled two fish, but no hook ups.
And that was it, we drove to spokane from there, trip over.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I started joining Tom and our friend Paul Anselmo for casting practice on weekends this summer. At first I brought my switch rod and short light sticks, but kept enjoying casting Tom's Burkheimer.
In 2002, I sold Paul a Scott ARC 15' 9 weight, that I owned. Paul never really liked it that much and, so, I bought it back from him this year. I then began the very tough process of finding the right line for it. I had a Wulff triangle taper of unknown weight which had no punch to it, I also owned the original XLT 7/8 which weighs 880 grns, and I was able to make that work, but not great. I tried Tom's CND line and that felt pretty good.
Then at the local Spey Clave last Weekend I tried a 10wt Snowbee line with a long head the Chris Anderson from Sage owns and it felt much better than any thing else I had yet tried, until Simon from Rio took some time to let me try the Rio PowerSpey lines. The 10/11 was great, the 9/10 was way better. The PowerSpey is shorter and lighter than alot of lines I have tried (the 9/10 = 68' head, 740grn) but the cast is smooth and easy and it feels like it will fish all day long.
In preparation, for BR's and my to the Clearwater next week I also took the liberty of trying to dial in a good long belly on his old brown Sage 9140-4 and I mean the original one from the early 90's. Well, I got a hold of the new SA XLT 8wt this line has a head length of 80-85' and 710grn. We had tried the original XLT7/8 (880grn) on it in 2002 on the Thompson with rather poor results, but the new XLT 8 fished great on BR's 9140. I was able to cast the whole head, which in it's self is pretty amazing.
So... this week I learned that:
1) Scott ARC 15' 9wt takes the Rio 9/10 PowerSpey
2) Sage 9140-4 (Old Original Brown) Takes the XLT 8
I also learned:
3) New super powerful spey cast for tournament type casting
4) That I don't really need to known new super powerful spey cast for tournament type casting.
5) Speyco reels are really cool, check out the link.
6) Palin is pure evil
I Have gone pretty quiet the last month. I was feeling so burned out and beat down. I have been spending lots of time checking out our eastern Wisconsin Rivers. And between our low river flows, no rain, and higher lake levels fish have been hard to find. The Me is nearly a tidal pool beron of life, and the Oconto a trickle, The manitowoc and sheboygan not even for the drive. So, I have been looking but, have not had an overwhealming urge to blog about it.
Two days ago, However, while fishing with Bart on BR's Local, that finally changed. Bart and I fished several runs, in cluding one that has been on of my most productive runs in the state, which produced nothing for us. We fished so up river runs where we met BR, He had hook a Steelhead up there 3 day earlier, and the three of us fished for a while, I got a grab in a pioneered slot. Then BR left, and Bart and I tried a favorite run again. An old lady screamed at us for walking across her back yard and her and her husband chased us to the river. It was my idea to walk the backyards, Bart was against it.
Well, once we were free of the angry people and could fish, Bart got jacked by a steelhead the ran and lept before coming off. I heard Bart's oralizations and saw the splash and boil.
Bart and I then went down river, stopped in at a good looking run which is well know and ran into Eric Helm, who has a blog at Classicalangler.blogspot.com which I keep meaning to put a link to. I had just seen Eric at the Green Bay spey clave. Eric had just gotten back from an epic trip from the Clearwater where he caught some huge fish.
Anyway, Bart and I then continued down stream to one of the lowest runs and right off the bat I got grabbed, then Bart fished the spot and Hooked a big fish, it looked a little dark as it rolled and I figured it must be a brown. There was virtually no moving the fish but soon Bart moved him and he rolled again, a King? This is a fairly deep, off color run how did Bart snag a King? He didn't, old darky came over and ate a 5" string leach. I had the same thing happen 8 years ago, haven't seen it since, awesome.
I went back to fishing ahead of Bart after the king was caught and released. I got down to some real slow not super fishy water while he was still in the shit, so I reeled in and worked my way down to where two wing dam on opposite side of the river are straight across from each other causing the river to narrow and speed up. I started casting there and mental having the late day doze off, where my mind must just kinda go blank cause I sure don't know what I was thinking of when I got the pull. All the sudden I had a fish on and after a few quiet moments the fish went nuts, taking one long scorching run and several other short runs a couple near jumps and a whole lotta tough stuff. Bart landed and photographed the fish and she swam free.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It all started last Sunday morning, I was packing up a convention booth in Ottawa, getting ready to head for the Gaspe the next morning; when a fellow who I really don't get along with too well offered to help me tape up a box by cutting the tape with his knife. I said yes as I had nothing to cut tape with and had to bite it off. Well, on the first cut he was a little too enthusiastic, and the knife was fairly large, and it ended up in my leg. Just above the knee.
At first I wasn't sure what happened. I looked at my pants and saw a gash in them. I pulled up my pants to see a nice fillet of meat, but no blood. The guy said "I guess I got you" and I said "What the Fuck". Then I got up and headed for the bathroom, to keep blood from getting on my pants. 50 feet later my pants were soaked in blood and I was off to the ER. I was alright in the end and would still be able to fish. The Packers lost that night.
In four days of fishing and after showing countless flies to thousands of fish (visible fish) I never got to fight or land a fish. That's my third trip this year without landing a fish, third in a row. I had 3 solid grabs and was unable keep one connected for more than a few seconds.
Now a am in Quebec City spending the day in a motel room. The knee is hurting and black and blue and the Packers lose to Tampa, and Farve throws 6 TDs with his new team.
Well, shit. I come home from Canada in a week and I can not wait to be home and outa here
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Rusty followed me through and hooked a solid fish. It fought hard, getting tangled in a beaver dam, but Wayne (our guide) and rusty crossed the river, got the fish free and landed the big guy. Wayne said the fish was around 25-30lbs.