March 11, 2018

March 8, 2018

This has been another unusual winter on the streams that I fish during the winter (yes, I usually fish different streams in the summer/autumn months). Most winters there is plenty of ice along the shore to lower then water levels. Last winter and this, there has been very little ice. Because of this, there has been higher water levels than usual. This makes it challenging to use unweighted subsurface flies.

The water temperatures have been running around 38-40°F. so the trout are holding right on the bottom. I usually use bead head nymphs to reach them, but this winter I decided to try to stick with kebari. I've been able to take trout that are holding right along the shoreline, or are holding in shallower water, but I've not been able to get my fly deep enough to take the larger fish holding on the bottom of the streams. I've been using all the "tenkara" techniques to get the fly lower in the water column (plunge pools, thinner flies, pausing the drift, etc) but still no go. This has lowered my catch rate as well as overall fish size.

Another technique I've used is using larger flies to try to entice them off the bottom, but with the cold water temperatures they don't want to move. When I go back to using bead heads I easily hook the larger trout (14-15 inches) that are on the bottom of the deeper runs and pools.

That's how it went today. I hooked plenty of smaller fish (8-10 inches) holding along the shore, but water levels and current speed made if difficult to get the fly down into the deep water. I only used one fly at a time though. I'm sure if I went with a duo tungsten bead head set up I could have reached the bottom of the deepest runs. Too much hassle to do that though.

Still, it was fun and great (as always) to get onto the stream.

March 7, 2018

Fishing with John

On day two of my Park City conference I had the opportunity to fish with John Garlock. I first met John at the Oni School 2017, which is hosted by Tenkara Guides, LLC of Salt Lake City, UT. At that school I had fished with John, who's a very accomplish tenkara angler, and we had a great time. So, a few weeks before my conference I shot John a text to see if he wanted to go fishing again. He said yes!

Since he was more familiar with the waters near his home, I let him choose the fishing venue. He chose a mountain stream that flows right through the town where he lives. He promised brown trout. I was excited to see.

John fishing where we started. 

The first fish I hooked. A nice little brown.

We met up at noon, got our gear on, and were fishing before 1230. Sure enough, the browns he promised were very cooperative! I bet that within the first 20 minutes we fished we had caught at least eight trout! Also, we caught them in less than 30 yards of stream.

John hooking a fish.

Playing the fish.

Both of us started out with a UKB, as John stated, his confidence fly. As we fished we would change flies from time to time, just for fun. We didn't have to change, we just wanted to.

Another one of my fish. 

The stream started out with a park on one side and a food wall on the other. As we moved upstream it was more channelized with flood walls on either side. People out walking their dogs would stop and ask us how we were doing. Some of them saw us catching fish as well. It was fun!

John landing a brown...

...and another.

After about 2 hours we had reached our end point. The last few fish I took were taken in a large pool with a dry fly. That was something I hadn't done in many months, fish a dry. It was fun, but I think I'll go back to subsurface fishing.

Another one of mine...

... and another for John.

So, here's to John! Thank you for a fun afternoon! I had a blast and hope to be able to fish with you in the future. Next time I need to get you up north onto some of my waters!

March 4, 2018

Windy on the Provo

I recently attended a therapeutic endoscopy course at Park City, Utah. The majority of the lectures were in the morning and late afternoon, and mid-day most of the attendees go skiing. Rather than skiing, I went fishing.

The first day of the course was very windy. The winds were strong enough to blow a couple of semi-trailers over onto their sides and close the ski lifts at many of the resorts. Still, I wanted to fish.

I decided to hit the Provo. I went to a section where there were more trees in attempts to reduce the affects of the wind.

Sorry, my gloves got into many of the pictures. 

The water was low, running at 69 cfs, but still very fishable. I used the TB40 with a 390 cm #2.5 level fluorocarbon level line with 3 feet of 5.5 X tippet. This was very manageable most of the time, as long as I timed the casts to correspond between wind gusts.

I caught numerous fish, all browns. The largest was about 14-15 inches. The section of the river I fished is not known for its really big browns, as in other reaches of the Provo, but I have no issues with smaller fish. I'm no respecter of size.

BTW, if you attended the 2017 Oni school and camped with Tenkara Tanuki, then you the place that I fished and caught these beauties.

I fished for my usual 1.5 hours, then went back to Park City. It was a very nice get away.

March 1, 2018

Frozen Stream and Bushcraft Lunch (in other words, a successful failure)

I had all the good intensions in the world to go fishing the other day, but I never got to cast a line. The reason? Ice. Actually, I sort of knew that the stream I was going to check out was likely frozen over. After all, it was still February. But there's no harm in trying - right?

The stream I was going to check out was about a mile off a dirt road. To get to it I would have to either snowshoe or cross country ski through lodgepole pine/fur forest and down into a small valley. I'm not too steady on cross country skis still (after my latest back surgery) so I decided on snow shoes. I examined the map, took my compass bearings, and off I went.

No tracks. No person or animal has been out there recently. Nice!

Yes, I use my Wader Gaiters as deep snow gaiters (over my OR Gore-tex gaiters). They allow me to kneel in the snow and not get my knees cold/wet.

My goal was to fish, but if I found that I couldn't then I'd at least have a nice walk in pristine forest. I also brought some stuff with me to make a fire and have some lunch. I'd make a no match fire, boil water and make some warm soup. You see, I want to keep up my skills and try to be like Paul Vertrees (who is the real deal when it comes to being a true outdoorsman). I'm much older than him though and probably in much less shape.

I found the snowshoeing to be pleasant and much easier than what I normally do (I usually snow shoe up mountain sides in the Teton range and follow the backcountry skiers to the top of their crazy runs down avalanche shoots. I go for the challenge; they go for the death defying thrills.

The forest was absolutely quiet. No snowmachines. No wind. Just quiet. That's my favorite way for it to be in the winter. The air was a warm 18°F so I did a little sweating (single digit temperatures are best for snowshoeing), but not too much to dampen my clothes.

I arrived at the stream only to find it completely frozen over except for a few little holes here and there. I could hear the water talking to me from under the ice, but no significantly open water, so I found a nice sheltered little place among the trees and made my lunch.

A little opening in the ice to the free running water.

The walk out was truly glorious -- sun, blue sky, no wind and plenty of deep, fresh snow.

Not my main compass, just a backup, and one I look at while walking out -- to keep me going in the right direction.

Even though I wasn't able to fish I thoroughly enjoyed myself. One of these times I need to bring my hammock and stay the night. Maybe then I could be like Paul!

Here's the video: