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Monday, April 20, 2009

Tube flies & Small Stream Trout

This weekend I had the opportunity to Escape to the Mountains to enjoy one of my personal favorite fly fishing trips, taking Long walks into the Allegheny Nation Forest is search of Brook Trout and fishing the Trout streams of Warren County. This time would be different though, I would be leaving all my typical bugs at home and carrying nothing but an assortment of my Ice Man Minnow tubes. Yes that's right tubes flies on a 3wt! The challenge for me was that on our everyday steelhead trips we catch fish on an array of tube designs of varied sizes, so why can't I use similar patterns ties in micro designs and catch trout around the region. The results were much more than I could have ever ask for, and for me very rewarding.

In the picture above you can see the two patterns I used mostly during my trip. The first pattern is tied on Eumer's Micro silver tear drop body with pink and blue Laser dubbing and pearl Ice dubbing. The weighted body allowed this pattern to sink rapidly in plunge pools and swift under cuts were the current was too fast for the unweighted version. My second choice was the unweighted piece of Eumer's medium plastic tubing. Tan and grey Laser dubbing and pearl Ice dubbing make up the wing. 3D prismatic eyes are epoxied to the tubing with a large bubble of epoxy left under the tube. This extra epoxy along with the Diiachi X510 hook makes the pattern ride perfectly up right in the current and also allows the pattern to swim and dart through the many boulders in the stream. In most circumstances this was the pattern I found most useful on the small mountain streams I was fishing.

The first fish of the day darted out from a cluster of fallen trees and submerged root balls to take this Tan and Grey Ice Man Minnow tube fly. I almost forgot how much fun it was to fish 7'6 rods and 6x tippet. This fine brook trout gave me the fight I was craving and put a severe whooping on my light tackle, but it sure was worth it. Some people have asked why I still trout fish, when the steelhead run is going on? Its a skill just like anything else if you don't use it you lose it! Besides light fly tackle trout fishing is just exciting to me on a personal level as landing a 15 pound steelhead on the switch rod, and as long as I am able to do both I will.....

Here is a section of a warren County mountain stream I was fishing, as you can see there were lots of places a trout could ambush it prey.

The second fish I caught was absolutely a rocket! From a distance I was perched on the mountain above the stream just watching for any type of activity, when this trout would flash and dart around his small pool obviously chasing other small trout , chubs, or small minnows. I was able to sneak around behind the pool and get in position to make a cast. As you can see by the photos there is very little casting room and a very low canopy, so your cast had to be accurate the first go round or see ya tomorrow, because you just spooked the pool! I will say I did spook enough fish this week but this particular cast it was perfect... you can see the results above.

The small pool the brook trout above was caught from, if you look to your right you will see the tree root ball I was casting from, being a south paw this offered me good cover and the most casting space for this particular pool. The trout took the fly at the base of the boulders were the current flows through.

This particular pool I have always enjoyed fishing, and as you can see there are old bridge structures along the stream. To put this in perspective you are about 3/4 mile back in the middle of the forest and no roads are in sight for a long ways. These structures were old bridges and roads created by Catholic Monks who had come to the region teaching Christianity to the Indian tribes in the early 1900's. Its pretty amazing to catch trout among some pretty historic relics of the old country.

This brook trout was coaxed out from under the bridge embankment seen above, and absolutely hammered this minnow tube.

The tube fly box I chose for this trip. Doesn't look like your typical trout box does it? That was the point of the trip it wasn't supposed to!

Here is one of several nice trout fooled by an Ice Man Minnow. It came from one of my favorite pools near my cabin in Warren. The pool is about 5 ft deep and by mountain stream standards in this area its about as good as it gets! I managed several decent Brown trout and Brook Trout from this hole alone. Later on Friday evening Jason Gregory met up with me after he was done guiding for steelhead. From what he was telling me all our groups had done pretty well on the rivers, and he was pretty eager to get into a couple of decent trout for himself after hearing how much fun I was having.

Saturday morning we hit several area streams from Tionesta Creek, The Broken straw, and Caldwell Creek. Here Jason drifts a secluded run on Tionesta Creek.

Here is another nice book trout that smacked an Ice Man Minnow Tube I dubbed the "Native".
The pattern is supposed to represent a juvenile brook trout and is tied with natural grizzly marabou over Pearl ice dubbing and Hot pink Laser Dubbing.

Wild Tulips in the middle of no mans land.

It was great to get out and throw a light rod and use tactics that don't match the hatch or match anything for that matter. The challenge was to be different and to have fun with a tactic or style you enjoy, and use these methods for what ever species you decide to stalk. I know Pat will have a steelhead update for you tonight as well, and I will be putting my trout fishing on hold for a few more weeks to finish out our guide season for steelhead.
At this time we have been really hard at it on the water with clients for steelhead, and are going to be getting into the trout right after. If you are interested in the tactics or area you just read about give me a shout, we host several retreats for trout through out the summer. Contact 419-466-9382 for more info.
We still have limited days available for the last of the steelhead runs, so if you want that last minute steelhead experience on the fly we are the guys for you...
Take Care and good Fishing!!
Greg Senyo

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