Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I returned to the water I had struck out on(in terms of big fish) the weekend prior with a different friend this time, my buddy Chris.

We started off trying to fish the same area I'd spotted the big browns, but someone else had beaten us to it.  No biggie....we made our way much further downstream and fished some great looking water.  Only one decent take and I was just scratching my head, wondering what we were doing wrong.  Chris was using flies, but ended up throwing spinners on his spinning rod and still no luck.

Alright, let's move way down then!  We went down a ways until we saw some prime looking water, then began fishing again.  An hour or so passed by, along with some great looking water I was convinced we'd get fish in, but no luck!

Shortly after, it was like someone flipped a switch, Chris began catching decent sized rainbows back to back on his spinner, then I started getting my own swinging flies.  The further down we kept going, the better the fishing was getting.  Then we hit a stretch of water that seemed devoid of fish, bah!

We were getting discouraged since we hadn't landed a decent fish yet.  Just as we were contemplating calling it a day, feeling defeated, magic happened.  We happened upon an "ok" looking run of water.  It wasn't too deep, but deep enough to where we couldn't see bottom.  Chris ran a spinner through the small stretch of decent water, and he said he'd had a follow.  In the back of my mind I was thinking it was just a little guy checking it out.  But after he switched to a bigger spinner, his first cast and retrieve into the run yeilded a beautiful wild rainbow.  If I had to guess, it was 17"  It was a dark maroon color, which made me feel like it was Spring.  We snapped a few pics (which I can't find right now) and sent him on his way.  We were both excited, and our gas tanks filled back up after that one!  That one fish made my day, it was a great sized fish for a river that was barely over 90 cfs!

We worked out way downstream yet again, this time  hooking up into a few more smaller rainbows each, and then we stopped at a nice bend that dumped into a big pool with some overhanging trees.  I liked the way this looked.  Chris threw his spinner in and said he'd gotten a follow but didn't see the size.  I ran a streamer through and had a big rainbow follow it but not committ.  It was exciting to see these big rainbows chase something for so long!

After changing flies, the stars aligned and I was hooked up into a beautiful wild 16" rainbow.  Chris snapped a few pics for me with his camera (which I deleted on accident...I'll have to get them again) and we sent him on his way.

Chris departed from that spot shortly after I landed that one, but while I was fighting that 16" fish, an even bigger rainbow started chasing it!

I knew there was a bigger fish in there, so I decided to stick around and let the pool cool off.  Well, perseverance pays off!  Chris missed this guy.  Fish of the day, and one hell of a fight!!!

After landing this guy, I just sat in the cool water for about 10 minutes, gathering myself.  I had redeemed myself, and everything felt right in the world.

It was starting to get hot, and we both made the looooong walk back to the car with smiles on our was worth the heat exhaustion I had later that night, no doubt.

Traveling for wild rainbows

My buddy Mike and I decided to hit some wild trout water a little further from home, so we took 50 minute drive in the middle of the afternoon.  I hadn't made plans that weekend day yet, and his timing was great when he called to see if I wanted to fish.  I told him where I wanted to try, and he agreed.

We got there and noticed right away the water was low, but was still in the mid 60's.  We worked our way downstream (should have been upstream but I had a few spots I wanted to get to that were downstream)  The first big pool we fished, Mike waded out into the water  ways downstream from me, and motioned over to me after a few minutes...across the small river from him was a huge brown, sitting in shallow water.  By the time he'd noticed, the brown noticed him.  It took off into the deep water and that was that.  In the first 10 minutes, I had two pretty big fish follow my streamer on the trip in, but wouldn't commit.  After a few more minutes, I had a slam but couldn't connect with the fish, bah!!

Shortly after, I watched a rainbow feeding in the top half of the water column, right in front of me.  I couldn't move because he was a few feet downstream from me, so I just sat and watched him pick through bugs floating by him, it was great.

We worked our way downstream, and I finally hooked up and landed a few small rainbows, but had missed all other strikes.  I changed flies often, but couldn't get any love for a while.  The sun was right above us, and fishing low and clear water wasn't easy at all.  We headed to the car and drove a few miles downstream to scope out some new water.  We got out of the car and walked a few 100 yards to the river bank.

We pushed ourselves through the brush until we could see water, and in the exact spot we stopped to look at the water, directly below us, about 5 feet off the bank and 2-3 feet under the surface, sat a brown in the 20-22" range, just sitting there.  There was no way we could fish him from where we were, so we decided to try to make our way down there.  In retrospect, one of us should have stayed and kept an eye on the fish, but we were both eager to get down there and forgot to realize that. When we got down there, the water was DEEP and slipper.  My pant-high waders barely cut it, and I ended up getting wet just crossing the shallowest part.  We fished the run that the brown was in with no love.  I spotted a few little rainbows scurrying around near us, and fish rising downstream that we couldn't reach.  It was a pretty frustrating day, but humbling as well.  We got to see some seriously big fish for the size of the water that it was!

I was determined to return to that water and redeem myself.  That's all I could think about on the way home.

First bowfin on the fly

I got a call in the middle of the week, Mike had been out on the lake with his Nephew, and spotted a bunch of carp and bowfin near shore.  He asked if I wanted to try to get some hookups on flies and I obliged of course!  The weekend came quick, and before I knew it I was geared up, standing on shore of the Lake, scanning the water for any kind of action. 

Mike started off blind fishing some water he knew had bowfin hanging around in it, but I opted to just sit and watch for action.  It didn't take long before I noticed some surface action about 100 yards to my left, so I worked my way over, scanning near the shore as I went.  I spooked a cruising carp with my footsteps about 20 yards from the splash, bummer...

When I got to where the commotion was, I noticed something about 5 feet off shore, under a downed looked like it was sipping something off the surface, but way slower.  Odd behavior for fish, couldn't be carp could it?

I walked over slowly to find that a monster bowfin was just hovering below the surface of the water, looking right at me.  It felt like he was looking into my soul.  As I pulled my rod out slowly and maneuvered it under the downed tree, I grabbed my fly, pulled a bit of line out, then did the "bow and arrow" to make a short, 10 foot cast under this tree.  Once the fly landed, the bowfin didn't budge.  I pulled it so it dropped in front of his face, then twitched it.  Once he noticed it, he hovered over to it, snapped open his mouth, inhaled my fly and then darted off he'd just taken my wallet!

I set the hook hard and low to avoid the trees, and before I knew it...mike was netting this beast of a bowfin!

A Master Class bowfin coming in at 30".  Not bad for my first on the fly.

After I got a handle on myself, it didn't take long to spot another bowfin sitting near shore. A plop of the fly, a few twitches later and another bowfin in the net!

This time around 27"

After my fish, Mike had one of his own on, but it decided it wanted nothing to do with him.  I watched his fish take his fly, and I can't believe how aggressive it was.  It slowly approached the twitched fly, then snapped it in his mouth and bolted away 30 yards before we could even blink.  We ended the day short, both missing a few more strikes!

Beautiful scenery and fish with a beautiful girl

I talked Katlyn into fishing with me again, but just for a few hours.  It was a great few hours though, and I landed 4 nice sized browns for the size of the water I was fishing.  The first 3 fish were back to back after I'd let the hole cool for a few minutes, it was amazing!

It wasn't too early, or too late, but just right in the morning.  The sun was still behind the trees, and the wind was still chilly.  It was an awesome time to just be outdoors. 

First drift....something magical about watching your line tighten as it drifts over some great looking water.  This guy was tricked by a tiny little size 18 midge!  Love the color on this one

The next 3 fish were almost as big, but I was content with having a picture of the day was complete after landind him.  Katlyn snapped this one as I released (or tried landing?) one of them.

The day after, I headed out to fish some new water with my buddies Mike and Matt.  It was the Otter Creek, and the water looked great!  Only downsize was that the water was 70 degrees, so we didn't have much hope for trout, but river-locked pike did inhabit the waters we fished, along with a plethora of smallies we all got into!

I swung streamers and landed a dozen smallies, and one huge fallfish that I thought was a chunky brown the way it hugged bottom.  Definitely water I'll be fishing when the temps drop.

After we struck out there, we hit the New Haven, but it was very low and we didn't spend too much time on it.  Mike had a decent sized bow smack his streamer just minutes into fishing, but it popped off as quick as it struck.

I managed a few small trout, but lost what could have been a big one towards the end of the day.  I decided to swing a streamer behind a rock that had what looked to be a deep hole around it and WHAM!  A hard tug following by line slipping out from my hand....and then slack line.  Seems I got taken by surprise and forgot to set the hook on that one, hah!  Oh well, it was a humbling day, and exploring new water is always a treat!

Trout to MC perch!

I've not found the time to make any blog posts recently for various reasons, but as I finish up tying flies, and gathering gear for a weekend fishing in NY, I figure it's a good time to catch up on things!

After my last post, Jerry and I had opted to fish my favorite little trib on the Winooski early in the morning.  Things looked great, it had rained a bit the night before, and it was chilly.  I always take a minute to appreciate the outdoors whenever I get out of the car and the door shuts.  A stretch followed by a deep inhale through my nose to give me that nostalgic smell of the outdoors and I'm good to go. 

This trip was short, and very sweet.  We both landed quite a few wild fish.  Mine on brassies and princes, his on spinners and bait with pinched barbs and tiny hooks (I tried to get him on fish with the fly rod but they wouldn't cooperate)

Since we hadn't checked out the stocked waters yet, we took a trip over to check things out.  The dam was open, which was good for the fish, I think the river was in the high 60's.  Fish were jumping randomly, so we knew they were around.  It took less than 2 minutes for me to hook up into a cookie cutter stockie bow, about 18".  We had steady action through the day, and had half a dozen fish for the both of us.  I cut 3 snelled hook rigs with 15~ lb test and a size 2-4 hook, which was pretty sickening to see.  Probably why I don't really care for fishing stocked waters anymore.....

In any case, we were home by the afternoon and had another great day on the water together!  A few pics of the many fish beautiful!

A few days later, on a weekday, I took a drive up to Jerry's place in St. Albans after work and we both headed out to check out a spot he'd spotted quite a few carp in.  We got there to find a few people panfishing, but could see no signs of carp.  We fished it anyway, hoping they'd circle back in towards shore like they seem to do, but we had no such luck.  I ended the day with my Master Class white perch on the fly though!