March 25, 2017

Small Rainbows and Spring Water

All the streams in my area are running very high and muddy, due to record snowpack melting. But I was able to get a little fishing in on a stream I know that seems to be impervious to the spring run off.

This stream is spring fed, and although it comes out of the mountains it doesn't use snow melt for its flows. All year round its waters are crystal clear and 52°F.  Its flows seem stable as well, but there's not a USGS stream gauge on it, so I don't know what its flow rates actually are.

Small rainbows inhabit its waters. The largest I've ever taken was about 12 inches, and that was from a very deep plunge pool. Most of the fish are 8 inches or under. Still, they are very difficult to catch due to the clear water. Any movement sends them scurrying for cover.

I have to lengthen my line and greatly lengthen my tippet to have any success on this stream. I normally fish 5.5X tippet, but here I use 6X -- it seems to help my presentation on this challenging little stream.

I used the Oni Type I rod. This works great for the open areas, but there are many trees and the Oni-I is frustrating in a closed canopy. Still, I caught a couple dozen in the few hours I fished. They were small, but strong and reluctant to come to hand.

It was good to be out. I hope to get out here a few more times before the campers/picnickers invade the area for the summer.

March 21, 2017

It's coming down!

Typically our runoff gets going in April and then accelerates into May. On most years the water will remain high into June, but by July the streams are fishable. This is why, if you live back east and visit the west in early summer, many of the streams are difficult to fish.

This year may be different. The other morning I was walking alongside a stream that I fish frequently and already the runoff has begun. Typically I can fish this stream into mid April, but not this year! I usually fish it at about 60 cfs, but now it's flowing at 600 cfs -- and it may go higher. For a larger stream, 600 cfs is nothing, but for this little mountain stream that's amazing this early in the year.

It will be interesting to see how high and how long runoff is this year. We received record snow pack over winter and it's still unclear how that will affect the runoff. I might not be fishing my usual streams for a while. I'll need to concentrate on lower elevation waters.

Spring is coming, or I should say, it's here. The mountains are starting to come alive again.

Hemlocks are breaking through.

The camas are coming up.

The chokecherries are opening

Ready or not, here it comes!

March 18, 2017

An easy way to carry your stuff

I recently made a change in my work and now I work in a different location. Near where I work now are some canyons, walking paths and streams. This, of course, provides me the opportunity to walk for exercise and fish for relaxation.

But when I'm there I don't want to carry much stuff. And the stuff I do carry I want to be easy to use and not in the way. Therefore I've been experimenting with a new way to carry my rod, lines and flies so I can walk on the paths and yet easily fish when the opportunity arises.

I recently showed you my chest packs and the stuff I carry in them, well, I've got another pack that I keep in the car. This is the one I've been using lately and I've found a way to carry a rod on it to make it very minimal and non-encumbering. 

The pack is a Zimmerbuilt Strap Pack. On it I have a neck lanyard which I can lengthen or shorten based upon my needs -- shorten to go around neck for fishing, or lengthen to go over my shoulder for walking. In it I have a small foam fly box, a couple of lines (on spool cards), nippers, a Ty-Rite, a spool of tippet and a Dr. Slick Mitten Clamp

But I needed a way to carry a rod. I could carry it in my hands, or my pocket, or with a length of paracord. But why should I? I already way carrying the Strap Pack. So I hit upon this idea: use my snap-on line winder to attach the rod to the neck lanyard. So, that is what I did.

I took the Snap-on line winder, put the neck lanyard along the inside and clipped it to the rod. The line winder clicks on tightly to the rod, which is in turn held to the lanyard. The whole thing can be carried over the shoulder and doesn't get in the way of walking. Then, when I come to a section of stream that looks promising, I unsnap the line winder from the rod/lanyard, extend the line, and fish. It works great and there is no need to have other stuff, like packs, slings, quivers, etc.  

Sure, I don't have a net, but I consider a net non-essential. For a quick fishing trip, particularly during a nice walk, a net is just not needed.

I know what you're thinking -- just use a Nissin Pocket Mini and carry it in your pocket. Yes, I could, but I sold mine and I prefer the other rods I have. 

So there you go, another way to carry your tenkara rod without having to carry other gear. It's simple, elegant and practical. For a short walk, it works great!

March 17, 2017

Another nice outing (highway excluded)

Yesterday I went back to the river, but earlier in the day than I fished a few days ago. The sun was out and I wanted to see if I could get into some fish despite the chance of scaring them. There was a little breeze, but it wasn't too bad -- it actually felt nice. The air temperature was 68 degrees and the water was 48 degrees.

The fish accommodated me really well. I fished for about 1.5 hours this time and took rainbows, browns and one nice mountain whitefish. I used the TB 40 again matched with a #2.5 level line. I did lengthen the tippet somewhat and I think this helped keep from scaring the fish off.

The highway was active -- lots of cars and semi's, but being down in the river was really pleasant and I didn't hear them (too) much.

I started with an Oxford wool sakasa kebari until I lost it on a fish (bad knot). I then changed to a Grave Digger sakasa kebari until I lost it to a tree. I ended with a UKB. This took me to the end. All three flies took fish equally.

It was a successful sortie. I was very pleased with the outcome. I took pictures with my iPhone (which is a pain) so I only took pictures of a few of them -- here they are:

Good luck fishing here and not wading.