Saturday, November 11, 2017

Trip Report: Small Flies, Big Fish

s This bridge is very photogenic. Two kids stood on the bridge just like my brother and I would have done growing up, spying for trout from above.
I arrived on stream at 10am with air temps near 30 and cloudy skies. I headed to a few spots in the park today and found cooperative fish at every stop. Fish ate the gray zebra midge, disco midge, quill body midge emerger, and matt's midge dry. Fish were most interested in size 22 and 24 flies but I managed a few on up to size 16's.
This rosy cheeked rainbow took a gray zebra midge bounced along the bottom under an indicator. I've found that in some of the more heavily pressured areas of the parks it's best to use small flies and light tippets. It is important to make sure your fly is very close to the bottom as such heavily pressured fish will often only bite if the fly comes within five or six inches of its face. Having a drag free drift matters as well, although giving the fly a few twitches at the right time often elicits a strike too.
 This handsome rainbow trout was the only fish landed on a dry fly. He took a sz 20 matt's midge dead drifted perfectly through the foam line. I tricked four fish into hitting but only landed the one.
This stout little guy came from an unassuming lie and put up a great fight. He took a size 24 quill bodied midge emerger tied on a light emerger hook. I had to nurse him to be sure the light hook didn't straighten out.
 Fish came to hand pretty consistently throughout the late morning and early afternoon. There was never any really consistent surface activity but fish remained happy to take flies subsurface.
This silvery bugger took a purple size 22 disco midge. A hole lot more fish came to hand including a few little brown trout. In case anyone wonders the reel seat and grip on this fly rod measures 10.75". I estimate that the biggest fish caught today may have hit 15 or 16". It was nice to get out again since I'll be hunting, working, and doin' family stuff over the next few weekends.

All flies used today were tied by me and are available at Whitewater Valley Flies. I fished with a 7' 9" three weight fly rod that I build. Those are also available @wwvalleyflies.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trip Report: Cold Cold Cold

I had today off work because I was going to head to the Milwaukee area to see some family. I still plan to go but decided to wait until Sunday. With a day off work and no real plans I considered staying home to tie flies, then I thought better!
I arrived on stream around 1030am and headed to a quiet little run that always produces a fish or two. It yielded two little brown trout. Because I was fishing a State Park I decided to look around for where rainbow trout have been stocked. It didn't take long before I found 'em!
 Initially they came on a size 16 tungsten beaded WD40. After a while I tied on a Matt's Midge dry fly dropper in a size 20 and that took quite a few fish. The dry fly dropper is pulled under by the lead fly and gives the trout something a little different to look at which can be a game changer when fishing heavily pressured waters like our state parks.
This was the big fish of the day. I'd guess he measures around 15 inches. After fishing one spot for a few hours and landing a dozen and a half fish I moved to another area where they sometimes stock and sure enough!
This was the most colorful rainbow of the day! At this point I had switched over to a gray size 16 zebra midge with a tungsten bead. I could see a ton of fish through my polarized lenses and almost every dead drift caught fish for the first half hour of fishing at this second spot. Some of these fish looked pretty darn big too! 
With a cold wind blowing all day my hands were really cold. As I type this my fingers still feel a little clumsy. When I got too lazy to tie on 5x tippet the fish took notice and my catch rate slowed. I did lose a good number of flies due to light tippet and saturated fly line. 
 By about 345pm I decided to call it a day. Now I remember how much it sucks to have my fly rod guides ice up every three or four casts! It never got above 30 degrees today but the fish didn't seem to mind. I didn't try to catch any on the surface but a few fish did rise throughout the day. I notice no bugs in the air.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Trip Report: State Park Rainbows

I've been healing from a cold and today I felt great! The problem is that Friday evening I lost my voice. I was scheduled to work but being unable to talk I would be unable to fulfill my duties. This morning I felt great, minus the voice issue, so I laced up my boots and headed to the nearest State Park. Armed with size 16 WD40's tied with a tungsten bead and size 20 Matt's Midge dry flies I arrived on stream shortly after 10am.
First cast!
Second cast! Action slowed down a little after these two, but remained consistent for an hour or so. I could hear gunshots in the distance and although I love deer hunting there was no place I'd rather be this morning.
 Action really slowed after an hour, but then this guy sucked down the WD40 and put up a great fight on the 3wt.
I'm not sure if these fish were stocked a while ago or if they came from a different area of the hatchery than most. Most of their fins didn't have the characteristic gnarled edges that newly stocked fish have. They could also be holdovers (stocked months ago) but this area sees so much pressure I doubt they were stocked less than a month or two ago. After puttin' a hurt on the rainbows I hopped into the car and headed downstream in search for rising brown trout. I found 'em and landed a few on the Matt's Midge. I ended the day around 1pm with at least two dozen fish to hand, about half rainbows and half browns. The browns were all 8-12 inches and the rainbows between 12-16.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Trip Report: A Quick Hour

Yesterday around 515pm I headed to a nearby State Park to take advantage of chilly, windy evening by the river. I fished a size 18 tungsten beaded wd40 nymph and a gray size 16 tung beaded zebra midge. It was cold and windy but I found a few good tucked away spots to cast.
First I got a small brown trout. Then I rolled a smaller rainbow. Then I hooked into a little more substantial trout. This holdover rainbow took the zebra midge. He put a great bend in my Whitewater Valley 7' 9'' 3wt and took quite a while to haul in. I haven't been able to get out much lately and probably won't for at least a few more weeks.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Trip Report: End of Late C&R Season

I got out yesterday and today to chase trouts before the late catch and release season ended today. Yesterday it rained all day but the streams I fished had a perfect stain to them. The stream a buddy and I chose today was pretty clear but with cloudy skies we didn't spook 'em too much.
 This steam was loaded with browns and brookies. Most took the pink squirrel of prey while a few took a gray size 20 Matt's Midge dry fly. Fish held pretty tight to the bottom and came from faster runs and deep pools with a little current. I did spot a few fish on reds but not as many as expected. They were left to procreate!
This was the biggest fish from yesterday. Nothing huge but fish eagerly ate my flies. After around 7 hours of fishing I must've landed at least 30 trout, about half bows and half brownies. After returning home a buddy texted me and we decided to meet at dawn today to chase brownies.
 I had a great jacket so the chilly temps didn't get to my top half but I quickly regretted wet wading. Still it didn't make a difference to the fish. We started right were we left off catching a few fish out of almost every section of water.
 This was my big fish of the day! A great way to end the season. Now on to a lot of fly tying and rod building.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Trip Report: Lots of Stops

Today a buddy and I fished a few different streams. The first spot was full of fish but so low and clear that they often spooked before we could get into casting distance. Casting distance was limited by the tight quarters on this stretch of water. When we could get close enough for a shot the disturbance of the fly hitting the water sent them scattering. I even fished a 10ft leader with 3ft of tippet.
 I still manged to catch a few little trout despite high light conditions. They all ate a gray size 16 zebra midge with a tungsten bead. If this stream would have had a little bit of a stain I think we would have done really well. We spotted a number of fish in the 14-16 inch range. After a few hours of largely fruitless hiking and fishing we headed to a nearby stream where I expected to catch a few biggins. We only fished one hole that required a little hiking to get to. No luck. We turned around and headed back to the car and toward our next destination.
We fished downstream of the same access point I fished yesterday. After landing a few little browns this decent brookie took my zebra midge and fought like a bull on the three weight. My buddy landed a few including a decent brownie that was around the same size as this one, which came on the pink squirrel of prey a ways downstream.
After a lot of walking and fishing around a ton of weeds we decide to call it a day around 330pm. It wasn't bad day of fishing but clear waters and sunny skies worked against us. Tomorrow I may get out to chase smallies on the big river!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Trip Report: After Work Trout Fishin'

After work and after tending to pets I headed for the nearest trout stream. I initially fished a section of stream that fishes Ok and found that it was way too weedy. Still a few fish cooperated.
I arrived on stream around 615pm and gave it a half hour of prodding with a nymph. No fish spotted rise tonight so none caught on a dry!
 The second spot offered good brookie action in tight quarters. Browns too. I landed two on the pink squirrel of prey before noticing a good hatch of tiny midges. After tying on a gray size 16 tungsten beaded zebra midge fish started coming pretty consistently. Fish are colored up and will probably be ready to spawn soon.
This brookie fishing reminded me of some of the tank brookies we used to get in some of the tiny creeks I fished in Montana. Today was a little different because this stream dictated long cast with long leaders/tippet to weary trout.
 The sun disappeared over the horizon and four or five more came to hand in short order before I rolled out at 715. I plan to chase some big old trout tomorrow. We'll see how it goes!