Thursday, January 31, 2013

24 hours later

Almost all of the ice was gone when I returned to the stream today.  Unfortunately, the change in the stream condition clearly did not translate into an increase in fish activity.  With the water now flowing somewhat dirty, I fished much further downstream than yesterday but was only able to attract one fish.  It took the fly twice and fortunately was hooked on its second strike.  A quick photo and back to the 38 degree water it went.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter break

Since the weather was warm today, I decided to forgo a full day of part-time work and go to a stream that I had walked recently in a relatively nearby state forest to see if any brookies happened to call it home.  Much of the ice that I had previously seen covering the stream had melted and I was able to drift a Picket Pin downstream and slowly retrieve it.  I carefully approached one section and noticed a fish holding upstream of a rock at the tail of the pool.  Three times the crazy fish struck at the Picket Pin, on the third strike successfully hooking itself so that it could be retrieved and photographed.  Although somewhat skinny, it was a beautiful brookie (first picture below).   Encouraged, I continued downstream and ended up catching one more and provoking two more strikes.  The stream had a good number of pockets and undercut banks for fish to lie in wait and I suspect it will be interesting to fish in the spring when all of it's residents come to life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Neither snow nor cold....

I was determined to get out fishing today and take advantage of the reasonable weather.  As you can see from the pictures below, plenty of snow blanketed the woods through which the stream flows.  Although I should have, I didn't bother to check the water temperature because I was fairly confident that it was once again low (mid-30s).  I started fishing with the pattern described at both Small Stream Reflections and Fishing Small Streams, Fran Better's Picket Finn.  After a while of drifting this pattern to no avail, I tied on a Hemingway caddis, a dry fly that resembles the winter stonefly.  I was hopeful that the fly would attract some attention having seen a few winter stones in flight above the stream.  It took a while (and a few changes back to the Picket Finn), but ultimately the Hemingway once again proved its worth.  The first taker was the larger brookie pictured below.  After that four smaller brookies dined on the fly and lived to tell about it.  It proved to be a nice day trudging through the snow in the woods.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Still a winter neophyte

I admit to having very little experience catching trout in the winter, particularly when it's cold and snowy.  Quite often I am humbled by the stream's residents, unable to entice any response to my offerings.  In general that was the experience today.  Try as I might, my selection of fly was invariably unable to draw a response.  The Picket Pin, Sparrow, Frenchie and EC all failed to connect.  When BRK TRT finally caught a couple of brookies on the surface using a small dry fly, I switched to a size 16 Hemingway caddis and after a while caught the one small brookie pictured below.  In spite of the lack of success, it was a beautiful day in the woods and I'd gladly do it again.

On occasion you run into some interesting stuff in the woods.  Hopefully this home-made cross isn't the burial site of one of this stream's beautiful wild brook trout.