Friday, June 22, 2018

What Summer was like last year.

Summer has begun and as I look back over my blog and last summers photo albums,
I realize that my fishing has suffered from working to much.
Here is a look at the few outings I did manage squeeze into my busy 2017 summer.

 Now through September will attempt to get back into some great fishing. This afternoon I registered my trailer and boat. Tonight I repaired a fly rod, cleaned some fly line and restrung a reel for left hand retreival. As I mentioned in my April 1st blog, my fishing had suffered from a right shoulder injury. My shoulder has now healed.... Praise God... I will now be training my left arm to cast better than my right. Rain is in the forcast for this weekend. I hope to get out in between downpours. I'll be fishing most of next week with my brother.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Saturday was opening day of bass season in New York State. The day started with beautiful sunshine and no wind. It was my first real chance to do some serious kayak fishing with Ben.
We decided our best chance to land some really big bass would be the wide waters of the Erie Canal. This canal connects many small inland creeks and the Finger Lakes outlets with Lake Erie and the Hudson River. The Erie canal is filled by spring rain runoff. After the state opens the locks on May 1st most of the spillways are loaded with spawning Walleye, Pike, Smallmouth and Largemouth bass, also including white Perch and Shad. This is a main waterway these fish use to get to the smaller creeks. The Wide Waters provide habitat and food for non-resident bass to hold all year long. After the canal is drained in the winter these fish move out with the receding water. Ben and I were not sure what our catch might be, but our intent was to land some bass on opening day. Ben started with casting lures and I planned on catching bass with a trusted frog popper on the fly rod. 

We got an early start at 6:00 A.M. and Ben started catching bass around 8:00.
I was not even getting hits.
I did manage a few tie ups with the trees on shore. It was a learning experience using the fly rod in the kayak, but less difficult than one would think. We had been fishing in 4 to 7 feet of water near the shoreline with only a couple of fish on. As the sun began to invade the shadows, I changed my tactics. We paddled to the opposite side of the wide waters near the boat docks. I found a patch of lily pads in 2 to 3 feet of water with a weedy bottom. I fished around some downed timber and hooked a nice bass. This too was interesting how the fish would pull me and my kayak as I reeled it closer. Being so proud of taking one on the fly, I turned around only to see Ben also had hooked one. I paddled over so as to get photos of our double catch and netted them both in the same net. Ben's bass was 17 inches and mine filled the bottom of the net with a 15 inch length. Ben had the greatest success with 5 landed and a few lost, including one much larger fish than the ones we had netted. I caught one other 8 inch bass. I was glad to have accomplished what I had set out to do.

Double in the net.

Using the fly rod and poppers was the ticket for a fun morning kayaking on the Erie Canal.

And like the song goes….. 

Low bridge, everybody down,
Low bridge, we must be getting near a town
You can always tell your neighbor,

You can always tell your pal,

If he's ever been fishing on the Erie Canal.                      

Later that day…. In the afternoon I scouted out a few of my traditional fishing holes. The lack of rain these past few weeks had reduced the water flow in my favorite summer creek quite a lot. I tried a few streamers and dry flies, which produced nothing more than a creek chub. 

And again as my opening day progressed, I made plans to meet up with my friend Kevin for some evening fly fishing. We only had a couple of hours, so we met at a small fish pond. The pond holds sunfish and bass through the winter. Kevin wanted me to teach him how to fly fish. So I started with some basics, telling him about different weight rods. I explained fly lines and how the weight of the line is what gets the fly to where you want it to go. I explained how to string a rod and found out he is a southpaw. So right off the bat he was at a disadvantage because my reels are all wound for right hands. None of this talk was going to catch fish. So we tied on a dry fly and I started him on reacting to fish strikes.

At waters' edge I got Kevin to hold the fly just above the water so that one of the multitude of little bluegills would hit on it. Before long they were jumping out of the water for the fly. His first bluegill came after a few delayed hook sets, his second soon after. We took a photo opp, and I dropped the thee inch fish into the water. 
To our surprise, a monster largemouth bass darted out from under some cover and swallowed the dazed fish. That got the adrenaline pumping. I took another rod that had the frog popper from the morning and swapped rods with Kevin. He dropped the popper in the water near the bass, and with my expert advice started twitching it. 
Within minutes I heard, "I got it!!"

The fight was crazy confusing trying to direct Kevin to use the right hand reel and keep tension on the rod and well, you know what I mean.So he landed it and I took some photos of Kevin's first largemouth bass on the fly. The fish measured 17.5 inches. After this, we continued with some casting instruction until just about dusk. There were no more bites that evening, unless you consider the one that hooked Kevin for life! He got the fly fishing bug really bad.

Wouldn't you if the third fish you caught was a lunker like this one?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

First November run with my brother

 November is already proving to be a great year for brown trout fishing in New York’s best tributaries. The fall season saw a washout of high water in NY rivers and streams. This allowed the salmon and browns to venture further inland from Lake Ontario. The female browns are holding right now over spawning redds. The water is weak coffee color and moderately high.
This week I took my brothers out in freezing weather to two different streams. Both streams offered opportunities to hook fish. Marvin lives near lake Ontario where fishing is a daily reality. Paul lives in the California desert where fishing is a fading dream.

Day 1: We started at sunrise and the ice was still on the mud puddles as we headed for the stream. Marvin, Paul and I worked some pools that normally hold fish. We saw several moving up through the current.

Is this what we came here for?
Paul caught a large creek chub. As we only had three hours to fish, we had to find fish in hurry. Never a good way to relax. But as we were leaving the stream, we came across several fish holding in the gravel areas. I used a swing pattern in the current to no avail. Nothing was attacking it. I did manage to hook up twice with a grub pattern, both times the fish bolted up stream and I lost them.

Day 2: Only Paul and I went this day and checked out a couple of areas before we settled on a familiar stream. This second stream had produced fish for me many times in the past. Each year is different in the adventures I encounter. We were seeing a half dozen or more fish holding in various places. We found a few that were not spooked by our trudging across the fast moving water. Then I hooked one and tried to hand the fly rod off to Paul, not knowing he was getting his phone ready to photograph the action. When we met rod with phone it almost knocked his phone into the water. With all the excitement happening, slack went crazy wild in my 6 wt. line. I watched as the fish had looped around and removed himself from my 12 lb. leader.  I showed Paul some different techniques to fishing under the grass banks in the current. We traded fly rods, and I left Paul to practice drifting egg patterns. I found a female holding in about three feet of water in the back end of a long deep pool. I cast upstream and watched my egg drift above her. I checked my two split shot on this 7-8 wt. rod and moved them closer to the egg pattern.  Again I tossed the egg into the current. As the split shot pulled the egg under, it still missed the target and rolled past her. I added another small shot and cast again, so she could see it. The indicator pulled under I raised my fly rod and set the hook. I yelled to Paul “fish on”. After a great four minute fight in deep water, she tired and went belly up in the shallows. Paul took a video and these photos. Thanks Paul for getting our adventure all recorded.

Fishing on opening day of Deer Hunting.
This day we took the brown home and had a nice dinner of fresh trout.
This is what we came for! 27 inch Brown Trout.

Early Salmon Run 2017

September came and went with little fishing on my part. Kim and I did manage to get out twice in the early part of October. Toward the end of the month it rained a lot. The streams near my home were blown out quite often on the weekends.

  I managed to land this Salmon, while Kim also hooked solo her first Salmon without my help.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Today is Saturday, April 1 2017, opening day of Trout in New York State. What that means is any stream that is closed to fishing during the winter months is now fair game for fishing trout. For there are tributaries of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that are open for trout all year up to the first barrier impassable by fish. As I reviewed at my blogs, I realized that I have not fished much since opening day of 2015. The reason is I had fallen and injured my right shoulder to the point that casting a fly rod was painful. Now that my shoulder has healed, I will be retraining my arm to cast effortlessly.

This week the rain had been in the forecast for the weekend and Thursday night the rain started. It rained steady all day Friday through the night. This morning it was still sprinkling and the water-logged earthworms covered my driveway. I knew that any major river would be muddy and blown out. So I really was not expecting to even fish today. As it turned out, almost by instinct, I found myself headed toward the closest trout stream in my area. I drove past ditches and ponds overflowing their banks. I wondered if I was wasting my time. When I got to my destination I parked my truck and could see the creek was at flood stage and running with chocolate milk.

Presenting a fly in these conditions can be futile. I took some photos of the water and thought "Well I'm here now, might as well fish. So I looked at my fishing license and remembered I had purchased it in December of 2016. That was the last time I had my fly line in the water. (I still need to blog about that day) Blogging is a nice way of keeping a fishing journal and I can review the conditions like today. It's about 38-40 degrees, cloudy and dank. Several Trout Derby's are happening today so fishermen flock to those places leaving the quite streams available for those who seek secluded fishing holes like this one.

I got back into my truck and parked upstream where a small feeder creek dumped into the main stream. The water was much clearer, stained, but not muddy, almost green. This was certainly better water to fish. My thinking was the trout must know about these areas where they can go to avoid the churning torrent of gritty flood waters. I reasoned also that because of all the earthworms ascending to certain death by drowning, this would be what the trout would be feeding on. And I was right. I collected a half dozen trout worms from the parking lot and draped one over a single no.8 hook. I began drifting the worm just above where the clear water met the cloudy water of the main stream.

After about fifteen minutes I moved further up the creek. The churning water was not so violent and revealed a nice area to drift in about three feet of water. Just three passes with live bait, and this thirteen inch wild brown trout was landed. After a couple more worms were stripped from my hook. I tied on some sucker spawn and felt a few hits. Nothing more. I fished some other parts of the creek without success. I packed up my rain soaked gear and headed home feeling "This was the start of a memorable trout season."

I know a lot of fishermen were not satified with the weather today. Thinking like a fish was the key to fooling the fish today.

Have faith and the fish will hit.