April 21, 2015

Being Schooled

Yesterday I fished a mountain spring creek where the water is always 54 degrees F and is gin clear. It is not a destination stream, mainly because the trout are small -- but there are some reasonably sized fish, if you can find them. I don't fish this creek often, mainly in late winter and spring. It never blows out with run off and it is a great place to practice one's technique.

The main reason I go to this stream is to be humbled. Even though the trout are small (6-8 inches mostly, with the occasional 10-12 incher sprinkled in) they are not dumb. They are very skittish and, in general, much harder to catch than the trout in most of the mountian streams I fish. With the clear water, and on days like today with bright sun and blue sky, they must be approached very stealthily. Any movement overhead and they are gone. There are no pockets to hide in and for most of the stream the surface is flat and very transparent.

I've used many different rods on this stream but the one that has increased my catch rate has been the Daiwa Sagiri 39MC.  It is a seiryu rod that is now out of production, although it can be found on eBay from time to time. It casts beautifully and can zoom between 340-390 cm. It is very lightweight and yet is robust.  I really like this rod!

The other thing that has helped my hook up rate is lengthening my tippet as well as using 6X fluorocarbon. I am a short line tenkara fisherman. I almost always use a line equal to or shorter than the rod length. I do this because I like the control it gives me. On freestone streams my tippet is always 5X and usually no longer than 2.5 feet. This allows me optimal control over the fly when casting. But on this stream 2.5 feet is not long enough, and 5X is too thick. So going with 6X at 3.5 feet has resulted in a better yield. I do lose some control over the fly, due to the longer tippet, but that hasn't seemed to hurt me, unless the splash down is too hard.

Finally, I have found that on bright days, a dark fly one size smaller than I usually fish out fishes a light colored fly. Also, a subsurface fly always out fishes a dry. Sure, I can take trout on light colored flies and dries, but using a dark fly seems to really produce. Here's the two that worked really well yesterday.

I didn't keep track of how many fish I hooked yesterday, but is was well over 30. I used to hook only 8-10, but now my practice is paying off. Soon I'll leave this creek until next spring, but what I've learned from it will help me throughout the year.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a unique looking stream for sure. So much aquatic plant life, much more than I thought were in most mountain streams out west!

    Great looking soft hackles, I was just looking at my box the other day and realizing it didn't have enough dark flies - I'll try your patterns out here in NY.