Sunday, June 17, 2018

Trip Report: Kicking Around the Creek

I arose early again this morning to beat the heat while kicking around on a really popular local body of water. My shoes hit the stream around 730am and boy was it already hot 'n sticky! Before tying on the trusty zebra midge I skittered a quill bodied mayfly over an often overlooked little lie.
This handsome little man was easily the largest fish of the day. He didn't come on the first cast but within the first five! The reel seat and grip measure around 11 inches so I'd guess he was 15, maybe 16. After a great battle on the 7' 9" three weight and a brief photo session he was returned to the drink. After a few casts the midge rig replaced the mayfly and off I was to tempt a few trout from the depths.
 A few smaller ones came to hand here and there. One of about 14 inches put up a spirited fight and leapt from my hand while I was snapping a pic. He landed safely in the drink and waved his tail goodbye as he flashed into the depths. After landing a dozen or so on the rusty colored zebra midge I tied on a black size 20 Matt's midge and picked a few decent fish off the surface.
This was the nicest one to take the midge. He actually took it as I twitched it underwater and across the current. Over the last year I've learned a lot about fishing dry flies in ways other than dead drifted and it's increased my catch rate dramatically. As the morning steamed forward the fishing slowed considerably. The sun shined bright and the stream was clear, except for when the heard of cows upstream dipped in to cool down. I noticed a very brief hatch of some type of mayfly but fish seemed much more keyed in on midges. When I got home I tied up a few dozen rusty colored Matt's midges in size 20, hopefully these'll be the ticket!

If you're interested in purchasing any of the flies used today or any fly rods check out my inventory at Whitewater Valley Flies

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Trip Report: Beat the Heat

I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. With a bunch of on call shifts, family obligations, rods and flies, and work around the house I wanted to get out fishing, at least a little. I got up early, dodged a few storms, and headed to a reliable stretch of water.
I arrived on stream around 730am. Skies were cloudy and overcast. Temps started out around 75 degrees. The small stream had a neat fog over it for the first few hours which helped me evade detection. I started out with the quill bodied mayfly in size 16 and found success on my first cast!
After landing three or four I came upon a long, uniformly deep pool of about three feet in depth. I laced up a size 18 rusty zebra midge (my go to as of late) and proceeded to pull 29 fish out. None were over 13 inches but they were a blast to catch with the 7' 9" three weight!
 Some fish hit the fly with abandon while others only nipped the fly. Any irregularity in the drift of the indicator and I set the hook. In some instances a light twitch elicited a strike.
Eventually I tied the mayfly emerger again and pulled a few more out of that hole before moving on. Fishing slowed dramatically around 9am as temps rose and skies cleared. A few more fish came to hand. By the time I left this stream around 10am I landed 43 trout, all smaller browns.
This small stream was surprisingly stained. I expected crystal clear conditions. We did get some rain throughout the area so streams may be hit or miss, especially after tomorrow. I passed three other streams on the way home and they all had a similar stain to them. I hope to get out tomorrow morning but with storms in the forecast again we'll have to wait and see!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trip Report: Avoiding the Jungle

 Interested in flies, look here Whitewater Valley Flies!

After getting home from work and thinking about mowing the lawn, tying flies, and working on a rod I decided to avoid the jungle growing in my yard and the jungle growing in the woods and decided to fish a pastured section of a local stream. I was near the headwaters but visibility was good (two feet). Streams are hit or miss in the area with larger streams needing a little more time to clear up.
I fished with a size 18 olive zebra midge at first but after only a few smaller trout I tied on a rusty colored midge of the same size and began hauling 'em in consistently. This was the big fish of the day although I did briefly hook into one around 18.
After landing around a dozen I tied on a quill bodied mayfly emerger and landed a few brookies! All I noticed on the surface were little (appx size 20) midges which fish rose to sporadically. I fished the fly dead drifted and skittered. Fish preferred the fish on top and only half-heartedly swiped at the fly when it submerged. After landing a half dozen or so on the mayfly I tied the midge back on.
This decent brookie, quite a few smaller ones, and a heap of chunky browns came to hand over the course of around two and a half hours. This stream usually requires great stealth but with cloudy skies fishing was easy! Stay tuned. I hope to get out this weekend between tying flies and building rods!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tying and Building

I've been tying and building rods a lot over the last week, but not so much fishing. Right now I'm working on a 9' five weight, a 9' four weight, a 7' two weight, and a 12' seven weight Spey rod!
All I have to do to complete the spey and two weight is apply finish to the wraps. The 9 footers have a bit more work to go. I'm really tempted to keep the spey rod but I don't think I'm gonna.
The orange wraps will darken quite a bit once finish is applied. After I clean all the marks off the blank, finish it off, and shine 'er up she'll be ready to haul in some big 'ol troutfish! Stay tuned to see the finished products and drop me a message if you're interested in commissioning a build.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Trip Report: In the Land of Cheese and Brats and Beer

My friend Jesse and I decided to cross the border in observance of Wisconsin's free fishing weekend. We've been putting off exploring the Wisconsin territory of driftless trout streams but free fishing was a great excuse. We decided to check out some more well documented waters and weren't disappointed.
Not only were the views great but we landed quite a few trout. Fish sipped bugs from the surface as we geared up. Jesse fished mostly with a Rapala and I used the quill bodied mayfly emerger in size 16. The first run gave up a few decent trout and it was on!
On the first stream I landed around 1 1/2 dz fish with most between 10-12 inches. Jesse and I moved on from the first stream after an hour or so. Next we hit a larger stream from a bridge. Jesse got a good one!
After a quick pic from above Jesse released this guy to fight another day. A short time later we headed to an access point further upstream.
This guy took the quill mayfly and dove beneath the undercut pictured behind me. After a great back and forth battle on the three weight he came forth for a quick pic. This section of stream also harbored brookies!
 After landing a bunch of medium browns and little brookies I tied into a slightly larger brook trout. He didn't put up a great fight but it was a blast to watch him come up and sip the fly from the surface.
In all we fished four streams and landed fish in each. I landed at least 30 trout and Jesse landed a bunch as well. I plan on getting a Wisconsin license to fish Central Wisconsin over the fourth of July and maybe I'll find time to explore more of the WI driftless too.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Trip Report: Drifting with Dave

Today my friend Tim decided to head this direction to chase trout out of his Dave Scadden inflatable fishing raft. We fished despite scattered storms in the forecast. We arrived on stream around 8am and drifted/fished until around 530pm. The stream had a good chalky greenish stain. We started out with streamers and moved a ton of fish. After trying a number of patterns I switched to a size 14 skittering caddis in light yellow which ended up gracing the end of my line for most of the day.
This was the first decent trout of the day. He took the skittered dry fly violently and put up a great battle in faster current. In the background you can see the "turret" seat complete with a custom stripping basket and balance bar that Tim rigged up since the last time I've been on his boat.
This nice trout took the skittered caddis in a back eddy and put up a great fight on the 9' four weight. At this point it hadn't begun to rain. We switched off paddling, fishing, and wading. I continued with the caddis and Tim focused on streamers. At one point I landed spunky 15 inch brown on Tim's rig.
Tim is a beast on the sticks and was patient with me while I flailed away and did wrong shit. We did landed a fair amount of fish both from the boat and while wading. By mid afternoon we noticed a few big, pale mayflies, bwo's, and caddis here and there but no consistent hatch.
Fish slashed at the streamer often but even after many fly changes we could not hammer down a consistent producer. Fish ate the caddis throughout the afternoon but not as well as I've experienced over the last few years. The average size fish was much larger, however.
Near the end of the float the skies opened up. We grabbed the rain gear we figured would get put to use and continued to fish. Unfortunately we didn't catch much after this point. I landed around 1 1/2 dozen fish throughout the day. Most fish were between 10-12 inches but quite a few in the 13-14 inch range came to hand as well as a few larger. Can't wait to do it again!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Trip Report: After Work Delight!

If you'd like to purchase any of the flies I used today or perhaps a fly rod check out Whitewater Valley Flies and/or send me an email at

After tying a few dozen flies last night to complete an order last night I decided to hit a spot on the way home from work for a little troutin'. I'd heard the biting gnats were bad on this particular stream but had no issues beside them flying in my mouth and up my nose. I talked to a friendly fella who was just wrapping up as I arrived. He had a decent day fishing a caddis pattern and reported fish rising consistently to a variety of bugs. I started with the quill bodied mayfly emerger in a size 16. The stream was running full and clear. The sun was shiny and temps measured in the high 80's. The water felt cold.
 This first fish to come to hand was this nice brookie! This stream hasn't held a decent population of brook trout for a few years so I was pleasantly surprised. After a quick pic he was returned to the drink.
This well fed fishy sipped the quill mayfly emerger gently from the surface but violently took to the air upon hook set. After a great battle in tight quarters he too was returned to the drink:) After around a half dozen on the surface I rigged up a rusty colored size 18 tungsten beaded zebra midge which both I and the fish have been diggin' lately.
 Fish ate the zebra midge with some hesitation. Most of the fish landed were barely hooked in the beak, like they were just tasting it. I landed a ton of fish in the 10-13 range and a few slightly larger. No bigguns came to hand today but I briefly battled one of around 16 or 17. The tiny fly popped free of his boney month as I steered him toward shore. Oh well. Stay tuned, without work or family obligations I plan to fish to my hearts content this weekend...and tie flies.