Trip Report: Conditions

After work I checked the finish on a rod I finished up last night, ate an early dinner, and sat around contemplating my next move. I have a few flies to tie but I’m waiting on materials, same with fly rods. With a number of spectacular trout streams within a short drive going out to check stream conditions, and maybe bring a few to hand, was an easy choice. I headed to a medium sized stream expecting a fair stain on the water. I arrived under sunny skies at 615pm and found the water stained with a greenish brown tint allowing only a foot or so of visibility. I used my 6 weight since it was already strung. The only fly that came along was the streamer pattern I’d used on Monday (see my last post for pictures). I cast the fly down and across, trying to land the fly in current breaks, along the banks, and behind rocks. Lots of fish, including some decent ones, swiped but missed, flashing in the bright sun. Eventually one hooked up!

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I missed a few in the 14-16 inch range but didn’t move anything substantial. A few caddis buzzed around, enough to get a fish or two to rise. I also noticed a crane fly and a few spare mayflies too before heading home after an hour of fishing. Large streams will very likely remain unfishable through the weekend although as the clear the bigguns will be eating. Medium sized streams should fish well with streamers, worm flies, and larger nymphs as the continue to drop and clear over the next few days. Caddis are still around, Sulphers and light hendrickson’s should appear soon, and terrestrials should start to play a more prominent role. Headwaters sections and small streams are already clearing up well and should be clear by Saturday as long as conditions remain dry. There’s still a lot of moisture in the soil but warm temps today and tomorrow will go a long way to drying things out. Unfortunately those warmer temps will probably hatch our first crop of skeeters!

Trip Report: Rainy day

A friend and I planned to fish all day today. With rain in the forecast we decided to check the radar this morning before making a final decision. Unfortunately a blanket of green, yellow, and red covered the radar and looked like that picture would persist throughout the day. He decided to stay home and I planned to sit around thinking about tying flies and checking the radar periodically. Around 11am I pulled up weather.com and found what looked like a fishable break between the lightening and heaviest rain. I quickly put on my waders, saddled up the Kia, and headed out.

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I didn’t find clear water but the water I found was clear enough. I strung a streamer on my 6wt and started slapping the fly onto small current breaks.

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This was the pattern I chose to fish. It’s actually a popper pattern I’ve been using tied onto a streamer hook. It worked well!

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I landed a number of small fish before hooking into this respectable specimen. I missed one really nice on of about 18 inches that struck out of a small log jam but missed the fly.

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This was my big fish of the day! He took the streamer as soon as the fly hot the water. After a decent little battle he came to hand. By this point the rain really picked up. I called it a day returning to the car after about an hour and a half of fishing. Some smaller streams may be fishable after tomorrow but we recieved some heavy rain and with farm fields bare a lot of sediment is probably making it’s way into our rivers. I’d guess fishing on medium and larger streams won’t be productive until the end of the week and into next weekend, considering the short term forecast as well.

Fly rod out the door

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This 9 foot 11 weight Loop Cross S1 Flatsman will be auctioned off at a fundraiser to support suicide awareness in Alaska alongside the 9 weight Sage Method that I finished off a week ago.

I enjoyed working on this blank and recently picked one up to have on hand for anyone looking for a salmon, musky, or tarpon stick!

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Trip Report: Rain, trout, and morel mushrooms

I was on call this morning and not expecting to fish. After working on a fly rod and finishing up an order of flies my co worker relieved me of my duties earlier then expected! Time to go fishing.

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Skies were cloudy and rain spittled from above. I arrived on stream around 1130 and fished a short section of stream before heading to check out some public land for morels. I tied up a few San Juan worms before I headed out expecting a good stain. Surprisingly the river ran clear.

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The fish responded well. I pounded the banks as I fished fairly quickly through this section of stream.

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You can see a log in the background of this pic. I landed three smaller trout behind the log before walking upstream, dabbing the fly into the current, and extricating the trout from his haunt.

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This is not the largest trout I’ve ever caught but for his length he may be the fattest! They’ve been gorging on something! I spotted a few rising trout and likely could have done well skittering a mayfly or caddis dry. The only bug I noticed was a lone caddis. After 2 hours of fishing and around a dozen to hand I headed for the hills.

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A few morels came to hand as well! I’ve finally caught up on some fly and rod orders so hit me up if you’re interested in a new rod or some flies!

Trip Report: Brown trout and the elusive morel

After finding a couple morels yesterday I was chomping at the bit to get out searching again today. I cooked my mom a mother’s day morel and bacon omelet before they headed out. Then I geared up with a south facing slope and a trout stream in mind! I arrived around noon under partly cloudy skies which gave way to more sun as the day progressed. I headed along a trail along a promising slope and searched a bit while walking to the river.

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The woods is in bloom. Unfortunately I think I’m a bit early to find morels in this spot. Oh well. I fished!

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I fished the streamer all afternoon and kept moving. I only spotted one rise and noticed two caddis and three little baetis mayflies.

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This was my big fish of the day! He smashed the streamer as soon as it hit the water, missed, then grabbed it again. He put up a respectable battle on my 9ft 5 weight. Despite not locating any morels I enjoyed the afternoon. Now, on to fly tying.

9′ 9 weight, 7′ 6″ 3/4 weight

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been working on a few rods. This morning I pulled this one off the dryer.

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This is a 9′ nine weight built on a Sage Method blank. I used recoil guides, a fancy wood handle, a gunmetal reel seat, and plain black thread wraps. The buyer is donating this and another rod (to be featured  in a few days) to a suicide awareness fundraiser. Since my day job is in mental health I’m hopeful these rods will not only wrangle some good trout and salmon, but will also to some small degree contribute to improved research/treatment of mental health.

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I’ve never used recoil guides but despite the difficulties I experienced working with them I like ’em!

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A couple weeks ago I whipped up a panfish and small bass rod, the Panny Snatcher.

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The Snatcher is a 7′ 6″ 3/4 weight panfish catching machine.

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I built my first rod on this blank around 5 years ago. Despite using a big game reel seat, spinning guides, and sewing thread I still managed to land three fish over 15 inches on its maiden voyage!

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That first experience with that blank really ignited my passion for building rods and highlighted the difficulties involved in rod building. The blank is an unlabeled one that performs well above its price.

Trip Report: Tigers on the prowl

Today a friend, Jesse, and I explored a few new-to-him streams. Jesse is a dirty, low down, spin fishin’ son of a bitch but we like him anyway;) I’d fished one of the four spots we fished today while only one was familiar to him.

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We checked out quite a few bridges before finding a spot without multiple cars parked. This spot gave up a load of smaller brown trout which eagerly took a caddis on the skitter. I noticed a few caddis in the air but not enough to get the fish moving. In this section I spotted a beastly brown of around 18-20 inches but couldn’t entice a strike.

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After traipsing around for a spell we headed for greener pastures. Unfortunately these pastures were also full of fishermen. After landing a half dozen or so we decided to look for a brookie stream.

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We stumbled upon a stream small enough to step across. I tied on a size 14 black and red beetle and had at em.

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This was my big fish of the day. After quickly fishing through this stretch we headed, again, for greener pastures, this time quite literally!

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I fished downstream while Jesse fished up. I pulled in a few small browns as thunder rumbled above. When Jesse returned to the car he was glowing. He landed his first tiger trout!

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I’ve never landed a brookie out of this stream so I was in disbelief. Jesse was out with a friend yesterday and his buddy caught a nice tiger too.

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They did well yesterday while Jon and I slayed em out the boat. We spotted sporadic risers throughout the day but nothing compared to the caddis chaos from yesterday. I’m hoping the hatch will continue over the next week but the weather has been weird so who knows? Stay tuned as I’ll be finishing up and posting some new rod pics over the next week.

Trip Report: Breaking in the Skitterbug

Today a friend, John, and I took his new Flycaft fishing raft out in search of a good caddis hatch. Sure enough we found one!

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We shoved off around 945am, starting off with Elk Hair caddis flies in size 16. We pulled in a few little trout before hitting a promising run. Caddis started coming off thick with at least three different species of caddis coming off at a time. The fish responded accordingly.

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These fish were gorging on caddis. During the emergence and while the flies laid eggs the fish seemed to only respond to dead-drifted flies. We still landed a ton of fish over the first few hours of our outing. By around noon fish began to respond well to having the fly skittered.

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John landed this beautiful brown on an Elk Hair caddis dry skittered over the surface.

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We didn’t tie into any huge fish but we each turned a few up to around 16 inches. We had multiple doubles on the day and landed fish on multiple casts in a row. By the time we landed at around 6pm we must’ve landed at least 75 fish between the two of us! It was a spectacular day of fishing and a great maiden voyage for the Skitterbug.

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Stay tuned. I plan to fish tomorrow and hopefully throughout the week between work and rod building.