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.

April 23, 2016

Spool Cards revisited -- Yamawa Haste Spools

If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that I use spool cards for my line control.  I like that they are very thin and do not encumber my small chest pack. I make my own spool cards out of polystyrene sheeting. They are easy to make and very inexpensive.

However, some folks would rather purchase than make certain items. Spool cards may be one of those items. So I thought I'd review a commercially available spool card for those of you who might be interested.

The spools I highlight here are made by Yamawa. They are available in Japan. They come is 70, 130 and 160 mm diameters. Colors are blue, red, green and black. I have not seen a US supplier yet, but if enough people are interested in them I suspect we could entice Chris Stewart to get them for us. Chris is the "all things Japanese tenkara" supplier for us in the US.

The Yamawa spool cards are reinforced plastic and are circular in overall shape. They have small tabs cut into the plastic. These tabs can be pulled out, and it is onto these that the line is wound. There is also a center hole and a thin foam ring for anchoring your fly.

I find these spool cards easy to use and modestly inexpensive. They're not as inexpensive as making your own, but they're not that expensive either. Two packs of four 70 mm spools was $8.50 USD. With shipping from Japan, the total was $16.50 USD.

Winding the line onto the Yamawa Haste Spool is a little more difficult and slower than with a regular spool, as it is easy to miss a tab or two. I also found that winding the line onto the Yamawa cards to be slower than winding them onto my homemade ones. But if you're not in a hurry it works well and the overall appearance is neat and clean.

I'm sticking with my homemade cards, but these spool cards are an acceptable alternative. If you are interested in getting some of these Yamawa Haste Spools you can get them from Tenkara-Ya or ask Chris at TenkaraBum.

April 21, 2016

Run off is in full swing

All the streams near my home are running high and off colored, due to a generous snow pack this winter and recent warm weather. I'll have to wait for a while until they drop and clear a bit before I venture out to fish them.

There is one creek near my house that is spring fed and seems immune to the melting snow. It runs 56-58°F all year round and issues forth gin clear water. I only fish this creek in the spring, before the camping crowds come.

The creek has rainbows in it. They are small but very fun on a light rod. They are very hard to catch; because they are so skittish. It seems that most every day I fish the creek it has been full sun. This forces me to cast my best and be a stealthy as I can be. All in all it's good practice.

Here is a POV video of fishing the other day. Nothing very large -- the last fish is about 11 inches, and that is huge for this creek.