May 17, 2016

Higher water, bigger fish and no video camera

I drove to an area stream today with my wife. I wanted to see how the water was shaping up, although I suspected it to still be quite high. As we drove into the mountains I watched the stream, and sure enough, it was high.

We parked on the side of the road and I went down to the water. It was relatively clear, flowing with force and speed...but fishable. I went back up to the car and put waders on.

This stream has always had the promise of a nice sized fish. It's relatively small, being about 10-12 feet across in many places. It has brookies, rainbows and cutthroats. But it's the rainbows that can surprise you. I've taken some rainbows in the mid to upper teens on this stream. It's hard to fight them due to the fast current and the limited room in which they can run.

Still snow.

Lots of beaver activity

My first cast yielded a nice rainbow... no picture taken because I had decided not to photo-document this outing.  A few more casts, a little upstream, and I took a really nice brook trout; it was about 12 inches. Again, no photo.

As I worked my way up stream I took another rainbow, from a current seam. It was bigger than the first, coming in at just under 14 inches. He was a fighter and made a number of dashes towards the under water snags that are plentiful in this stream. I got him to net, but again, I decided no photo. I'm trying to simplify my fishing.

Through the next section, I had to collapse the rod numerous times, due to the heavy brush. But as I walked upstream I came upon an open area. A large log jam broke the current and the water, after coursing over and under the log jam, swept downstream around a bend.

I worked the red worm pattern upstream of the log jam when my line stopped. I set the hook and up rose a large trout, which had taken my fly. It was larger than any fish I had ever taken or even seen in this stream.

It shot around the log jam and into the current. I was able to steer it out of the current into an area of slower water, then quickly get it into my net. The fish barely fit in my 30 cm net. It's head was in but the body and tail were hanging out. The Suntech Suikei 39 with 5X tippet had worked perfectly helping me control this fish despite the heavy water flow.

It was a beautiful cutthroat, 22 inches long, full bodied and very healthy. I left it in the water, took a few pictures, then watched it swim vigorously away.  What a beautiful fish.

After that, I drove upstream a ways and checked out the water. I caught one more rainbow and that was enough to me.

I'm not a big fish fisherman. I get most of my thrill in being outside and in the water. I relish the art of the presentation and getting it just right. I love the thrill of the take after a perfect presentation. If it's a 6 inch rainbow or a 22 inch cutthroat it makes no difference to me. But I must admit, that large cutthroat (and the other one that I hooked and lost) was pretty special.

It was a wonderful 1.5 hours on the stream.

May 7, 2016

Tenkara -- May 5, 2016

I visited a high mountain stream the other day. Run off hadn't started quite yet, although the water was up a little, yet the water was still clear.

The stream holds wild, native cutthroats, which are my favorite trout. Here's a video of a few of the fish I took. No music, only sounds of the rushing water. Arrows show the drift and ovals show the take.

May 1, 2016

Fishing during run off -- April 29, 2016

April and May (and sometimes June) are hard times for me to fish, since that is the time when the spring run off occurs in my part of the world.  As the mountain snow melts the water levels rise and the turbidity increases. On some of my favorite streams the water levels rise to a point where it can be dangerous to wade. So either I fish spring creeks or I don't fish at all.

The maze -- willow, dogwood and black hawthorn.

Yet, there are a few creeks near where I live that arise from lower elevation mountains that have less robust run off flows. I visited one of these today.

The stream I visited is a cutthroat stream. The cutthroat spawn is just finishing so it's less of an issue to fish now.  The water today was fairly high, for this little stream, the color was off, and the turbidity was high. Yet I caught trout. I'm always amazed that the fish can see my fly -- even when my fly is a worm pattern.

I was alone on the stream, unless you count a visit from a moose (and a couple of geese). There was a lot of Black Hawthorn that made getting to the stream fun. I hope my waders survived the army crawl on the way out!

I used the Suntech Suikei (medium action) keiryu rod, but I could have used the TenkaraBum 36 just as well. They cast about the same, but I like the various length options provided by the Suikei.

My Suntech Suikei.

Black Hawthorn -- go under, but don't go through!

My moose friend -- on his way out. 

I fished for my usual 1.5 hours and took 10 fish -- not bad given the water conditions. The air was 52°F and the water was 40°F.  All fish were wild, native cutthroats. Most were around 10 inches. The last one came in at 14 inches -- it was a beauty!

Last fish -- a real mountain treasure!

April 29, 2016

"Oval winding spool Fly box line winder" from eBay -- GAW

The other day, I picked up a couple of inexpensive line management spools from eBay -- just to see what they were like. I get sort of curious about certain items and if they're not too expensive I'll buy them to try them out.

These spools are oval shaped, plastic and have a built in fly box. Maybe you've seen them before and wondered what they were like. The rim is rubber and there are two finger indentations on the back that help you hold the spool while winding on the line.

There are two small compartments in the center of the spool. Each compartment will hold two or three #10 flies. The little door clicks shut tightly, so there seems to be little chance of spontaneous door opening and fly loss.

The spool works OK but one thing that is annoying is that there is no slot to "anchor" your line. There are two "slots", one corresponding to each compartment, however. I think they are so you can keep your fly attached to the tippet, but neither works well for anchoring or securing the end of your line. I have a few extra elastic spool tamers from used RIO tippet spools and these work well to keep the line on the oval spool.

There is no slot to "anchor" your line.

With elastic spool tamer in place.

Now that I've seen them, I've decided they are not for me. Therefore, I'll keep one and give the other one away to the first person that says they want it. I'll pay for shipping in the CONUS. You get one spool, but the RIO elastic spool tamer, line, and flies are not included (ok, maybe I'll send you a fly or two also).  If you want it, just let me know in the comments section of this post, and then send me your mailing address via my "Contact Me" tab at the top of the blog.