Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Burrrr, Its cold!
Most of my trips out to the PA spring fed streams involve catching a lot of browns with the occasional mix of brookies and bows. Last weekend I had to check myself for a second to realize I wasnt fishing for steelies. I debated making the two and half hour trip to steelhead alley but the temperature wasnt condusive to the driving. It was very very cold.
I found myself at the tying bench friday night trying to discover a few new patterns for the box. Ive come up with three new. A new egg and two new nymphs. The one nymph is a hares ear variation and the other is a variation on the pheasant tail, both are very large and incorporate flash. The flashy material is the Spirt River dubbing that greg uses in his sculpin. The hares ear is simply that a hares ear but with a twist. I take the spirt river dubbing in a small amount and cut it into very tiny pieces with scissors, then i blend the dubbing by hand. This gives the nymph a very tiny amount of sparkle. The reason behind this is native fish I have found are not bigger eaters of sparkly flies but a little flash can pay. With the pheasant tail I replace the tail and legs with hungarian partridge. In the process of tying the thorax I replace it with the Spirt River peacock herl. Not only does this create much more flash but its much more durable. The egg I plan to do a demo on soon. Its been tested and smoked the competition on other egg patterns in my box. If the native fish love it I cant imagine how an egg lover might like it. One other fly Ive come up with recently is a very small sculpin. Ill save that for another day.
After my tying frenzy trying to fill my boxes in preperation for lots of upcoming fishing I managed to make it to the stream on sunday. Before heading out I attached a new pair of hemostats with scissor jaws to my vest. Two hours later those babies were gone. I cant keep anything on me fishing unless its tied down. Ive always been that way, I can only hope that someday that I will stop losing nice stuff.
I could see the fish hanging in the shallows. Ive observed this behavior for the past five years now. When the water drops, the fish go shallow. I dont know if its warmer water theyre after, the sunlight, easier pray or something else but I find more then 90% of all the trout in this type of water in winter. The typical feeding lies of riffle heads and fast water are gone, the fish are lathargic, the water is saturated with oxygen and they simply lay around and conserve energy.
My setup consisted of my 4wt Orvis Superfine, by far my favorite rod, I just love that slow action, a 10' leader, two split shots the new egg and the pheasant tail. In about the first twenty drifts I managed to roll at least 5 fish and land two. Heres where I need to throw out a big thankyou to whoever invented the thingamabober strike indicator. These things never sink and provide almost effortless drag free drifts, which i have no doubt made a difference. Some fish hit hard but the majority just ticked it. I even caught a couple on the swing. I had a great day and landed a lot of fish, one a huge rainbow male the rest were smaller rainbows. The browns eluded me. Maybe theyre still spawning, maybe theyre still holding in deeper water. Ive never caught so many bows in a native stream without catching a single brown. Im not complaining though, it was a great time and maybe that was gods way of saying, you have your own little paradise right here with rainbows too.
In all it was an awesome day, with two of my new patterns doing really well. The icing on the cake... I found another public hunting spot with a monster buck. Additionally, I didnt see another angler all afternoon. I like to fish around other guys but I also like fish that havent been spooked. My day ended with me dropping my gloves into the creek and freezing my hands. I walked back up stream, took my gear off and couldnt stop smiling. What more could a guy ask for, great fishing, seeing something you invented work and finding a big buck.
Soon Im going to have to take a trip to one of the big stocked streams. It seems to bring out some really monster fish in winter.
Id like to end with a tip: When a fish is giving you wrestle while trying to remove a fly, flip him on his back, he will lay still.
Keep your eyes peeled for the egg. Ill try and get it up soon.