Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Resident Trout: Season Summary (for now)

My Friend Scott ties a nice fly and is a certified Brown Trout addict. Last fall he got pretty enthused about tying Tommy Lynch's "Drunk and Disorderly" which he did, in quantities, and VERY nicely. Along with some of Blaine Chocklett's stuff.

He picked off a couple quite nice fish in December (December!) on the Upper River where he lives. I was occupied chasing Steelbows.. if not a more sane activity certainly more acceptable (smiling)

12-07- Bad ass fish ~ Sweet tie!
The location of his second fish you might recognize if your familiar with our home river.. It's name to the old school folks is "Muskamoo" and was fairly significant location. You can read about it in The Legend of Rainbow Jim by Orie Wells if your fortunate enough to find a copy.


This spring we started hitting it seriously in May. John Haye's took one that exceeded 20" on May 21

Interestingly, this pic was shot in the mouth of the trib (one of two) that my Dad introduced to me at age nine. Where I fished on my own from the bank of a GIANT lake sized beaver dam (age 10) and sighted two Brookies cruising that were easily 20" class fish.. This while Dad was sawing giant white pine standing timber for "Brookie Bill" Coster.. Rainbow Jim's son. Also the tributary that gave me my largest Brook Trout to date.. 18" at age 18 and fresh out of high school while bumming around with one of my oldest friends, Son (his nick name)

On 05-23 I got my first good dry fly fish with the Scott G 803-3 pulled from mothballs and fresh line.. my own hand tied 5x leader. There's a blog article from 05-25 on this one.

Early June brought some seriously grand dry fly fishing. On morning of the 7'th we got going in darkness.. and got off in darkness! 15 1/2 hours of solid fishing! Started out as Streamer focus with nothing to show for it over first few hours. I broke the tip of my GLX 1087 Classic attempting to dislodge a fly so was additional buzzkill. Another hour or so later we began seeing risers. It only got better and more intense! An ALL DAY emergence! Comical as the only dry flies on board were 2 #14 spinners and 1 parachute. I later found a Sz 16 parachute in my waders. VERY fortunate to have a spare spool with 6wt dry line. The three #14 flies were DESTROYED, chewed to bits! We got into a nice pod that turned out to be almost all Brook Trout, couple nice ones in the mix, one approaching 14" mark that came unbuttoned right at the boat.


Downstream a bit Scott began working on a sporadic riser. He is determined caster, I would have gave up long before he did.. Eventually he hooked up, it was a 15" - 16" Rainbow.. a rare anomaly for this location and era. We then came into a section with multiple good fish feeding, couple of better ones in the mix. Hooked and landed a few with one better than average apiece.


There were still some decent bugs coming towards evening and we worked over several fish, some in crazy impossible feeding stations right up in the giant wood jams.

One I got to go came unbuttoned while I was powering him out as he THRASHED the surface. Later inspection revealed the hook had broken.. we surmised from being wrestled by forceps so many times during prior removals.

Scott had lost a good fish earlier due leader failure he swore was one of the heaviest of the day. Naturally I pooh poohed him for exaggerating a fish long gone with no way of saying (or proving) otherwise. Truth of the matter was we were so drunk on the amount and quality of the fishing that we'd never re-tied or thought to inspect the leader.. even after a decent brown wrapped it in submerged wood and could only be dislodged by getting out of the boat and putting a different angle on him. The REAL pain was about to come.. as we drifted quietly in the dusk through some slower frog water there was a killer rise tight to the opposite bank. The kind that give you a dose of adrenaline.. calculated, assertive, and yet subtle all at the same time.. From the kind of a spot that screams "GOOD fish". I backed the boat up quietly and he made the perfect first shot cast while still moving. Same cool confident rise took the fly down.. and exploded into action on the set. Fish tore downstream like the runaway he was and sickeningly the rod sprang vertical as the leader parted. That was difficult.. then began the easing into a good rant concerning a certain brand of tippit (mine) even went so far as to say it wouldn't be allowed on board his boat anymore.. I just laughed and told him he'd get pretty lonely with no one to talk too.. plus all my knots had held throughout the day ..lol..

I picked up the Streamer rod, we didn't even bother tying the last #16 parachute on.. It wasn't that far down to the access, maybe half an hour and I just thought it wise to fish it on out rather than power row. Once again it was about to be illustrated just how important not giving up or calling it quits before the actual end is. All but in sight of the truck I put the fly down in a small defined pocket along the bank with drowned wood both sides.. second strip got blasted HARD and instantly hooked up. What a way to finish such an already stellar day! My new Streamer "personal best".


On 06-10 my old friend Son and I made a float. The weather forecast was a little bit shaky but there was one constant for everything I found. .03 (3 tenths) of an inch rain MAXIMUM. That didn't sound to threatening so decided to risk it.

We have matching Orvis 8'6" 4wts and both traditional spring / pawl reels, great little rods. The clicker reels provide a more direct relationship with the fish in addition to enjoying classic equipment.

Just as the sun dropped into the tree line we were easing up on one of my favorite spots. I dropped the anchor and not 2 minutes passed when a decent trout rose within easy casting range. Son poked a few casts out but he did not return.. another rise a short distance below so we dropped to it. Within a couple casts the fish took and he was hooked up with the spring pawl reel screaming.. unfortunately the connection severed. On inspection the hook had broken. How odd that seemed, years and years of fishing without ever occurring and now twice in the same week. Not so sure his flies didn't rust lightly in the foam box.. told him he needed to fish more often! Another trout, this one back in the brush of a shrub leaning out over the surface. Cast above, nice upstream roll mend, fly tracking perfect ..sip.. he's on and charging downstream my reel screaming pretty good. Same scenario, rod springs straight.. hook did not break, just pulled out.

It's right at this point that we both notice the BLACK sky coming at us fast. We reel up break down and stow the rods, secure / stash whatever needed it and left rowing hard. By rights we should have had another 1 1/2 hours of daylight.. Did not work out that way. Had about 20 minutes of eerie low light darkness before the first drops hit. Was granted about another 10 minutes before the lightning picked up with some thunder boomers. Not long after the rain started coming in sheets.. sideways. Finally I broke down and had him hold the light, which luckily I had the foresight to put in. Without it the trip down would have been impossible, and there was talk of leaving the boat and walking out, but no phone on hand and miles to reach any road traveled at all. We pressed on.. 2 1/2 hours through that stuff, the lightning getting so intense for a bit to LIGHT UP everything for 2 - 3 seconds with simultaneous deafening thunder.. not a good feeling. We finally reached the vehicle and had a bit of an incident getting the boat in, the oar came loose and took a couple seconds to correct, in that amount of time we'd overshot a bit with no way of rowing back up, current rips pretty good through there and definitely NOT wadeable Getting out on the bank we were able to remove the anchor and line the boat back up, dodging trees on STEEP banked rain slick ground in the dark.. fun times! The good news being the light had lived through entire trip, something I worried over all the way out. It was dimming hard as we tied down the boat..

Crazy as it seems we had an almost exact evening a couple years prior, right down to almost dumping the (lighter) boat on the take out, it to had major amount of water inside and river was RIPPING. Another year or so prior to that we fished during one of the worst storms in quite a while, downed trees, flooding etc.. BUT that time we had one of the best evening / nights of fishing ever! Storms, you gotta love em.. or not!

The next day I went out to take care of the boat. It was flooded above both front and rear decks! 3 tenths of an inch maximum.. Meteorologists (disdainful facial expression) ..enough said.

On 06-12 and 13 I made evening bushwhack missions into a couple select spots hoping for a spinner fall. This style is not for everybody.. Crashing through thick vegetated river flats crisscrossed with down timber, ripe with Poison Ivy. In HEAVY humidity with all your gear on is not for the meek or weak.. but it can be a good way to do a little head hunting. I took a good fish each night, the one from the 12'th a little better but no decent pic.

06 - 13 - 16

06-15 Scott and I made another float. We got a late start.. and still managed 12 1/2 hours. Pretty much a recap of 06 - 07, good amounts of dries with fish willing to take. FAR better prepared on the dry fly front all the way around, flies and rods. Pretty fun taking turns casting risers. Towards dusk the dry fly rods were stowed and Streamers now the focus. You could almost feel electricity in the air, a tense and expectant aura. Going into a specific bend that's particularly juicy I mention to Scott of good fish from the past sighted and encountered on this very bend.. Fly is sunk deep and swimming through the gut and mid story I get clobbered by a heavy head shaking fish. Luck is with us and she's soon in the net. My heaviest Streamer fish to date! Prior personal best broken only a week after the fact.. This fish is in another category all together, her girth is staggering. Hard to handle her briefly for a couple pics she's that out sized, makes my hands look small.

Scott picks up the rod and starts casting as it continually darkens. Only a few minutes have gone by when he has a good fish take a swipe at the fly without hook-up. We continue along at peace with the world, our day is cloud 9 already. Shouted exclamation from him as another NICE fish shows itself and attempts to eat the fly with no luck. Wow.. it is one of the ultra rare and elusive windows that open and for some yet unknown reason the big fish just go on the feedbag. Getting quite dusk now and just above a tight technical narrow spot created by fresh downed giant Ash tree. you guessed it, third one is the charm and he's hooked up solid, rod bucking like crazy! We slide into the chute him doing his best to keep the fish out of the drowned wood, me all I can do to keep the boat somewhat on track. Couple times his rod tip or line were under oar path creating tense moments for me. We came through in fine shape though, boat under control and fish still on but up gator rolling and thrashing in the surface on a tight line. Fortunately he buried the rod tip and fed him some line saving the day. Not long after I slid him into the net.. beautiful male, still full of attitude.

On 06-20 Scott once again defies the norm.. and comes up with a fantastic resident Rainbow (21") I can count on hands the Rainbows I've caught with none of them notable size. Must be something with the name "Scott" since my old (different) friend Scott "I" seemed to just 'find' them as well.. or do they find them?

I'll finish with pics from the Hex hatch.

On 06-26 we took four 20" class fish from same bend in 1 - 1.5 hour time span. A lot of people would never believe that number of trophy class fish would live or be that close together.. but they can and do.

Scott 06 - 28 - A rare red phase male.. 21"

Scott 06 - 30 - Hex Spinnerfall victim
Last Saturday (07-16) we met at 3:00 a.m. and dumped the boat in for a try at fishing big surface wakers. Early in Scott had one pop hard on his fly but no hook-up.. then nothing. I was up front as daylight came on and continued with confidence fishing the surface bug.. but nothing came and confidence waned. Picking up the Streamer rod we continued down through. What a great morning, misty and intermittent sprinkles but not uncomfortable. Casting into some parallel submerged wood around 30" depth on second strip I saw something coming.. it was a good fish. He slowly eased upstream about 4' then shot like a rocket the final six feet to the fly and crashed it in full on kill mode. VERY cool to be treated such a showing. The furthest I've yet to see one move / come to the fly.  Several more fish were moved before we had to get out. Condition were so fantastic we decided to bite off another short section, but made complicated by the bridge crossing being torn out. Turns out we should have just kept fishing and dealt with it later. The momentum we'd built carried through another 45 minutes and multiple fish moved, but began to wane as the skies cleared and the sun began peeking through. About the time we were moving into the area KNOWN to hold giants it was out in full force and scorching. Hind sight is 20/20.. 
I've had the luxury of fishing Scott's flies 90% plus so far this season. He has ruined me on the junk I've fished for years, destroying confidence in them.. Or rather the fish have! 
Hope fully more to come.. 

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