Started my week off with a bit of carping with almost nothing to show for my effort save a few tears. The spots I’ve come to enjoy have filled in with thick weeds. The carp are present but this change is striking and my lack of experience made me go after them anyway hoping I might get lucky. I spent two hours on the first spot from 8-10am. Bubble trails were noted further out in deeper water but targeting those didn’t get me anywhere. I moved around and found two carp that looked approachable, first cast was decent and they moved toward the fly. The second saw a small carp literally swim up and snipe the fly from the two I was targeting. That fish would be the only carp I touched and it was smaller than most bass I catch. Eventually I found where the majority of the fish were, slow cruising on the far east side of the water near the surface. I tried everything in my power to get them to take a fly but none would so I moved on. The second location looked abysmal. The weeds were super thick and I couldn’t see a single carp or bubble trail anywhere. I thought about packing it in but instead I decided to persist and wade the weeds hoping to find fish. At first it didn’t seem like I was going to get anywhere but eventually I found many fish sitting under the weeds. Stone still. Occasionally one would be slowly feeding through the weeds, I tried targeting all of these fish but the weeds made getting flies down to them difficult. The conditions demanded that you dap the fly, you simply can’t cast in a traditional manner in this situation. Dapping requires you to be close, very close to these fish. Slowly I moved through the weeds. Several times I came across jedi carp who the second I saw them and thought about putting my fly on them immediately spooked as if they could read my mind. I had a couple good shots at fish, one big one that made me almost weep when after waiting for what seemed like forever to get it to come close it got within range and read my mind. Stoned as Wendy would say. I almost gave up but opted to keep looking and found one decent sized carp obviously feeding. I waited and played my cards right, everything was perfect as my fly sunk right before it’s nose when a sun fish came out and hit my fly sending the carp running, that sealed the deal. My lawn needed to be mowed.

Over the next couple days I fished for trout here and there a few hours at a time. Caught a bunch of fish on hoppers one morning and fished the cranefly pattern that my friend Carl has been tying. Amazing to see how a well placed fly that floats high and skates fast can produce explosive sometimes comical rising from fish that would otherwise sit hunkered down snubbing streamers. Over the years I’ve become overly reliant on streamers. My desire to hike and fish different water was supported by fishing streamers as they offer the ability to do so without adjustment as say a nymph set-up might. Turns out that fishing a dry fly even when nothing is rising can offer similar experiences. Moving from run to riffle to pool, fishing the weed lines, the edges and pockets between massive plooms of vegetation searching for that fish who is willing to launch for a well placed dry fly. The morning of the 3rd was particularly enjoyable as I fished a small stained stream for two hours looking to hike out with five trout in the 10-12inch range, browns grown in a stream full of smaller trout in need of a bit of thinning.

I fished a the cranefly pattern for the first two hours then switched to a hopper when the sun came out. I became acutely aware of the only time bugs ever bother me this past week. Gnats, biting gnats that fly in your ears, nose and mouth. They bite your hands and when you’re hot and covered in sweat and bug spray they can be relentless. Fun fact: gnats are attracted to bright and dark colors. Perhaps explaining why my white hat was often the target of swarms this week when my buddies blue and brown hat was relatively spared. Either way I highly recommend a long sleeve shirt and a buff or other face mask this time of year both for the sun protection but also the bugs. I can handle just about anything but the gnats do push my boundaries. Another side note worthy of mention: the Grayl water filter. After some discussion on a local forum and my posting about the Sawyer mini water filter I was sent a Grayl water filter to try and I must say that of the three it has the convenience factor nailed. Its a light weight hard plastic container with a french press style filter in the bottom which can filter out bacteria/viruses and in addition it can filter and purify water of chemicals which is something none of the other filters I’ve used can do. I took it to the creek within an hour of UPS dropping it off at my house. The form factor is about the only minor downside and even that I can look past for the quick ease of pressing 16oz of water in a few seconds to become potable. Thank you Eric for sending me this excellent piece of gear.

4 Comments

  1. Oh man, gnats. They suck. In your ears, nose, mouth. I’ve found that Buggins insect spray works fairly well to repel them. It’s safe to spray on your face (but don’t get it your eyes). You have to reapply frequently, and you’ll smell like pound cake, but it does help.

    avatar Bill Schlafer
    1. Trust me. After last week I would bake pound cake and bring it to smother myself in if you told me that the gnats would leave me alone. I’ve been wearing a neutral colored hat the past two days and noticed a modest difference compared to my almost all white and black hat.

  2. I’d love to see a write up on how to tie that Cranefly pattern you used. I had great luck last year with a pattern I tied up. But for some reason this season I’ve been getting more refusals than takes. Not sure if it’s the size, or the colors or what is turning the fish off.

    avatar Bill Schlafer
    1. I’ll talk to Carl about sitting down with him when he ties his next batch up. He has been altering the size and length of a segmented foam body as well as the color and size of the hackle he’s been using. I’ve noticed that the higher they ride the better they fish. Also the legs, he has specifically mentioned that the multiple single turkey barb knotted twice is super important and he’s been toying with using different barbs from different areas on the feather because as soon as they clump together as opposed to stick out wildly the fly doesn’t fish as well. I hope this helps temporarily Bill.

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