Thursday, April 14, 2011

On the doorstep of change!

We are a fortunate bunch out here in New York. At least that's how I look at it! Not only have we enjoyed an amazing spring tributary season (that isn't quite done yet,) we are on the verge of yet another wonderful part of fly fishing - Our first major hatch of the year, and casting dries to rising fish!

In fact this week I was able to escape to an inland trout stream to see first hand how things of a buggy nature are progressing. And I was pleasantly surprised. The water was high, but not high enough to discourage a few very eager fish that wanted to suck in the small BWO's that were coming off. The hatch was sporadic at best and so were the rising fish, but at least I saw fish taking off the top, and that was something I hadn't seen since last fall!

I took stream samples from two different locations and found plenty of bug life. Scuds, BWO nymphs, caddis larvae, and even a few golden stones filled my net. But they were out numbered at least 5 to 1 by another nymph - the Hendrickson. And they were everywhere!! It won't be long now. Maybe a week or so, and thousands of dark gray wings will be floating downstream to pods of hungry trout that have waited all winter for this one event.

I did end up fishing the stream for an hour or so. And I did catch a few fish on streamers. But after seeing those few fish rise, I must admit that I am ready to cast something a bit lighter!

As for the condition of our tributaries - They are doing just fine! And are continuing to fish well. In fact we are now seeing mostly steelhead, with almost no drop back brown trout to speak of. Both fresh run steelhead and drop backs are being caught, and most of the fish have been taken on streamers as of late. But like I said before..."we are on the doorstep of change"...and this amazing spring tributary season that we have enjoyed so much, is almost done. But I'm still smiling, so I guess that's a good thing...right?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fishing with the boys!

Yesterday was a great day all around! My wife has been planning a trip to the theater with our daughter to see the Lion King, and that meant that the boys and I were left to fend for our selves. So we did what boys do....we went fishing!

Jonathan had been wanting to go for so long now, and the forecast was looking pretty good with temps in the 60's and plenty of sun, so it was now or never!

My goal was to get my oldest son into his first steelhead. But over the coarse of this past week, the water has gone way down, the air temperatures have come back up to normal, and the fishermen have come out in droves because of it. So my expectations were somewhat diminished. I still thought that if we got to the stream in the morning there might be a chance that we would beat some of the crowd, and be able to find plenty of fish. But when I saw at least 9 cars parked near the bridge, I knew that wasn't going to happen. So we got our gear together and went anyway! But I must admit that I was a little frustrated, and it must have shown a bit because Jonathan said something like "Dad don't worry about it, it will be fine!" And he would be right, even if our day started off a bit on the slow side.

Our plan was to walk down to a certain spot that has been a good producer for everyone this spring, while fishing along the way. We would hit up almost every pool we could, that wasn't already occupied - we found few! But we did manage one sucker, and one nice drop back brown before we reached our destination.

The pool was vacant and Jonathan set up in the front half while I tried a few other places. It wasn't long and he started to hook a few fish here and there and even landed a sucker. And while he fished I searched out more water and found a few willing fish, and after at least an hour and a half we finally landed our second fish - a beautiful hen steelhead.

Then Jonathan decided he wanted to fish by himself in the middle of the pool. He picked out his own fly and went to work. It didn't take long and he was into a fish. I ran up to help him land a good sized sucker, his second solo caught fish. He hooked a few more that he lost after a few head shakes, before I looked up again to see him doing battle with yet another fish. I ran up again to help, and asked what he had hooked. He thought it was a big sucker, but after he worked the big fish closer to shore I saw that it was a huge brown trout of at least 10lbs. But Jonathan's inexperience won out, and the fish parted the line and swam away with his fly. He went on to hook fish after fish in the pool. Most were suckers, but every once in a while we thought he might have hooked another trout, but like the others, they pulled free. Even Ethan got into the action with a creek chub that he caught all by himself on the fly rod!

Then it was time for the long walk out. We stopped and fished here and there on the way back and found one more good sized brown before the day was done.

It was a long day, but a good one. The boys did a fantastic job of sticking with the game plan and making the most out of the day, even when it was a slow start. I am very proud of both of them. Jonathan also showed me that he has some really good instincts when it comes to fishing. It will be a great joy to see what he does in the years to come.