26 Feb 2009 /
Such a nice day outside I decided I needed to eat my lunch by a trout stream. Saw no fish rising, the water was cloudy due to snow melt. I did however find these: Midge arn’t the only thing twitching around the streams.
Interesting that I found the Dobson Fly larva crawling in the snow, several of them infact, bigger worm looking things. Also, I collected between 6 and 10 Black Stone Flies and only 2 had fully developed wings, I’m wondering if they sit in the snow and develop them over time after they crawl from the water? I didn’t have my thermometer with me but I won’t make that mistake again.
Tags: Dobson Fly, Little Black Stonefly, Midge Fly, Trout Stream
Tags: Fly Fishing, Midge Fly, Southeast Minnesota, Winter Trout Fishing
Hit up a new stretch of water south of me on the advice that I might find a winter brookie hold up there. Pulled up to a very small trout stream and despite below freezing air temps and wind too boot we hit the water. Along for the fun: the dog, the little blonde, and another family of trouble makers. Two rods, two dogs, two women, and two men hit one stream and had a great afternoon in the sun.
Saw quite a few fish but I caught none. I have plans to return hopefully sooner than later. Water temps higher than usual peeked my interest. At one point the water flows from a drainage pipe just below the road, this is spring water for sure. On the other side of the road a small pond no more than 4 feet across but no ice, spring water.
Catching fish was difficult today, perfectly clear water and difficult casting conditions made it a challenge. After scouting the stream I am more confident that I can return and catch a fish. This place was brilliant in the cold sun, I was excited to be in this place. A Good Day.
Tags: Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, Minnesota, MN, Southeast, Winter Trout Fishing
The Winona Fly Factory Fly Tying Radio:
- 30 minutes of Minnesota Public Radio
- Tommy The Cat: Primus
- Opiate: Tool
- Holdin’: Yonder Mountain String Band
- Walk The Line: Johnny Cash
- Loser: Beck (Wendy, I laughed)
- Sin: Nine Inch Nails
- Daylight: Aesop Rock
- Bleed the Freak: Alice In Chains
- General Tso’s Chicken: The Northwoods Band
- Soul Jacker pt. 1: The Eels
- Bring It On Home: Led Zeppelin (Awesome)
Thinking to the not to distant future and knowing how long it could take me to complete my task I started the day tying BWO’s to Minnesota Public Radio. I listened to news and then set the ipod to random tunes to finish the afternoon.
I tied these BWO’s in size 18 with two different types of tails. I personally think the Micro Fibbet tails look better but the hackle fiber tails take me less time. I am planning on testing both under semi-scientific conditions to determine which I like better, and I guess I will let the trout weigh in on the subject as well.
I must admit I was reluctant to start these due to the fact they arn’t as easy for me but it needed to be done and I’m fairly pleased with the end result. I used a razor blade to demolish an old dozen I didn’t approve of. Keep your hook eyes clear, I did not on my previous attempts.
Things to note: Use the smallest amount of dubbing, I really think its better to add some more after the fact, especially the dry fly dubbing, it tends to clump. Work on tying in your hackle, I find that having it at the correct angle with relation to the hook shank helps keep the fibers neater when palmering. Buy quality hackles…they are worth it.
Tags: Blue Winged Olive, BWO, Dry Fly, Fly Tying, MPR, Music, Radio
I was invited back to speak with students from Winona Senior High’s Fish and Wildlife class. I did my previous presentation with alittle bit of new information that I have added since the last time I gave my trout dork speech. This time, however, I found I had to fight alittle to get students to respond but they came around towards the end when I got into tying.
I discussed trout in Minnesota ranging from species, location, and behavior including spawning and feeding. We also discussed habitat, conservation and my desire to start volunteering for the MPCA which I plan to begin spring/summer.
I tied two flies for the students explaining how each would be fished under different situations. The PT nymph because of its wide range of application. I explained how it is fished is related to the behavior of the trout and the habitat in which they live, understanding both will enhance your fly fishing. I also tied a size 20 Midge Larva to explain how trout will take such a small meal when that meal comes in large quantities and requires few calories to acquire, but that at the same time (as I learned with the Marabou Leech) when the fish are holding and there is no single food item they are keyed into, that fishing something larger providing more incentive to a holding trout may be better, maximize calorie intake while minimizing output.
I hope I left a few with something they will want to look back on, if anything perhaps they will think about the area they live in a slightly different way, I know when I began to fly fish I began looking at this place in a different, better way.
Tags: Demonstration, Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Lecture, Minnesota, Trout
The Partridge and Orange
The Wilted Spinach
I apologize for the quality on the videos, lack of time caused me to crank these out quickly once again, video can be difficult. Big ups to Wendy B. for the Wilted Spinach pattern. I plan on swinging the dozen I tied up this week soon.
“Worth noting that this is a variation on John Montana’s original Wilted Spinach. carponthefly.blogspot.com” -Wendy B.
Tags: Fly Tying, Partridge and Orange, Soft Hackle, Wilted Spinach
Started my day on the water just after 10am hoping that the weather would cooperate with me. It, however, did not and I found myself fishing under cloudy skies with the wind a blowin’ right at me in most instances. This could be discouraging but I dressed warm and although my knees hurt at the end of the day I had a good time on the water. The first thing I noticed was the drastic water level difference on this (one of my favorite) stream between the summer level and now. With low flows the stream trickled from hole to hole which is where the trout are so this is hole hopping! I should also note that the water had cleared significantly from a week ago when this stream all the way to the source was a chocolate mess.
I started at the first hole and got about twelve holes in before hitting the end of the winter boarder. This, by the way, is way better than any round of golf, even in overcast, windy, 24 degree weather. I swung a scud with a midge trailed and got no where. Assessing the situation I moved away from the scud/midge and went to a #8 Black Marabou Leech. I’m not too experienced with swinging heavier weighted patterns with my 4wt but I figured got to get to the fish and that means down deep, practice is good too so a leech launching I went. It just so happens that today I would catch my first trout on a streamer pattern. The first fish made me laugh and I stopped to take it in. Slightly larger than a sardine you would find at the store but much more to look at. I smiled and sent it swimming. I could see that this was going to work. I found that I would get strikes right after the leech hit the water and it sank for just a second. I lost a few opportunities to take a fish due to the inexperience I had with this situation. I ended up loosing two or three that displayed some areal acrobatics which aided in there escape from my barbless hook.
I spent the cold weather leech launching into the wind and trying to get used to casting a heavier pattern. I picked up one more on my way from one winter border to the other. After taking in the entire section of winter fish-able stream I headed back to try my luck at two of the beginning holes. I took a few casts and sure enough missed one right as it struck after it just hit the water, I went back for more. I saw a flash, clearly a fish turning around, I set the hook and with that I had what I came for, a fight! This log didn’t jump once but sure did test my resolve, I was fishing with 7x tippet, in retrospect I will tie on 5x for the marabou leech but I was pleased when I pulled him out. I said hi, took my picture and sent him on his way. He ruined the hole for me and seeing the time I headed out. At 1:15pm I got to the truck to turn around and see parting skies and sunshine. I still caught a great fish and fought the poor weather to do so.
Tags: Brown Trout, Fly Fishing, Marabou Leech, Minnesota, Southeast, Trout Stream, Winona, Winter Trout Season
16 Feb 2009 /
Liz and I decided to drive south to a trout stream that I wanted to see again. Knowing I couldn’t fish the stream I brought only a camera and the dog. We left at 8am with an air temp of probably 20 degrees, we didn’t park until close to 10am and the air temp was no more than 26. The sun was shining though and despite the wind it was a beautiful day and I was glad to be up and outside early. We hiked a route I had taken in the summer and I guess I was curious to see if I could find one, just one fish. The reason being: this summer none were to be found and in water that looked perfect for trout.
We started and immediately I noticed that the water was clearer than I remembered it, an advantage of the winter season. I was hoping this would help me find where the trout were that I was missing this summer. We walked and I thought I saw a few move in a large 6-10ft deep pool. This was a very slow moving section of the stream requiring the wind to cooperate if I was to see what was on the bottom. After my initial thought we pressed on due to lack of wind cooperation. Moving on the next section for sure produced trout, I got excited and then confused. I was seeing in a section that I had witnessed no trout in during the summer almost teeming with them, I had to have seen 20 trout hold up in this hole.
Now, I know that they stack up in the deeper holes during the winter but do they migrate up/downstream and then hold up? Was it possible I was blind this summer and either the water was too murky for me to see them or I was so poor a fly-fisherman that I couldn’t catch even one? I’m not sure, the area they were hold up in was more of a long, slow, flat 4-8ft deep section, not a 10+ft deep hole.
We hiked further than I had in the summer, after using Google Earth to map my route I was much more confident in my assesment of the easement boarder. Interestingly enough I thought I would see more fish further downstream but as we hiked I saw nothing. I’m not saying they wern’t there, I just couldn’t find them. After a few hours we hiked back to the car and as we did I stopped to look in the initial section of water that the wind had kept me from seeing more clearly in. At first I thought I saw one or two, and then I moved and saw more fish in this one section of water than I had in any other. I was awestruck. The only time I’ve seen more fish in one spot is in the hatcheries.
I watched, they were deep. Holding, still. I sat and wished there were winter regs here. After ten minutes or so Liz and the dog got me moving back to the truck. I’m glad I came back, I might have unfairly judged this section of water writing it off as a barren wasteland when in fact it might hold some sweeeeet trout. I will be making another trip here in a few months.
Tags: Fly Fishing, Hiking, Minnesota, MN, Observation, Southeast, Trout
13 Feb 2009 /
Think about this:
Tags: Behavior, Fly Fishing, Reading, Research, Trout
The Winter 09′ issue of Fly Fishing and Tying Journal has two great sections that provide alot of good advice for both tying and fishing caddis patterns and of even more help is a nice tutorial on the selection and application of deer hair. The article goes into how to select hair based on the type/size of fly as well as what you want the hair to do, lay flat? or flare? It explains where on the deer you would find hair for different applications and it discusses what time of year the hair is taken from thus dictating length and size (hollow), relating to types of flies, dries vs. emerger.
I should admit that I don’t know if I fully agree with all the points made in the article, I don’t know if it matters as much as they make it seem but I have much to learn, we shall see I suppose. If your in Winona and want to pick it up, the bookstore in the mall has it available but as much as reading the article can help really the practice and repetition of tying these several times is the best way to get the hair issue down, I know I could use more work.
If you know the album behind the magazine you will know a bit more about me. One of the best ever made, listen to it while tying.
Tags: Caddis Fly Pattern, Deer Hair, Fly Fishing & Tying Journal, Fly Tying