Friday, May 29, 2009

Memorial Day Nebraska Fishing

Monday, I headed North for my first Nebraska fly fishing experience. I drove about 3 hours to a large reservoir formed by the Calamus dam. There is a small spring creek called Gracie Creek that feeds into the head of the reservoir which contains some nice rainbows.

The fish were very selective and it took me a while to figure out what they would hit on. I started with dries and had one rise, then they quit responding. Then I started fishing various nymphs, gradually getting smaller and smaller. Finally, I hooked and landed a beautiful 16" rainbow on this #24 midge pupa. I think this is a personal record for largest fish to hook size ratio.

I landed five fish for the day. Some were fooled with purple wooly buggers out in the lake area. I caught others using a bead head caddis nymph pattern.
Anyway, it was a great way to spend the day. I'll definitely try this spot again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Virginia TU Rally (continued)

Sunday morning we had a short seminar after breakfast. We discussed ways to capitalize on Trout Unlimited's 50th anniversary. After the seminar, there was a raffle for a custom built fly rod made by Jon Hulcher. I was very lucky and won the rod! It is a 8' 5 weight with genuine cobra snake skin above the grip and carbon fiber reel seat. I think it is a very good looking rod with a medium to fast action.

I had heard that Virginia has excellent native brookie fishing and wanted to try it. We asked one of the local Virginians at the rally where the best brookie fishing was. He put us on a really good spot!

I caught a 7" brookie out of this large pool. This pool had 4 waterfalls about 30 feet tall. It was an idyllic setting.

This has to be the most colorful brook trout I have ever caught.

My friend Jimmy caught this healthy brookie in one of the lower pools.
The area surrounding the creek was really lush and green.

Virginia has some excellent brookie fisheries. I definitely want to fish here again.

Virginia TU Ralley

This past weekend I was invited to attend the Trout Unlimited South Eastern Rally at Hungry Mother State park in Virginia. I traveled with our new incoming chapter president who happens to be a fishing buddy. Friday night we checked-in and enjoyed some hot dogs and hamburgers. I enjoyed meeting people from TU chapters from all over the South East.

Saturday morning we attended seminars of varying subjects relating to TU. I especially enjoyed the TIC (Trout In the Classroom) seminar. It is a program where teachers can obtain all the materials and instructions necessary to raise live trout from eggs in the classroom. After the trout mature they have a field trip to a river and release them into the wild under the supervision of a state fisheries biologists. The program has been very successful and our chapter is trying to get it started in SC.

After the seminars, Jimmy and I went fishing on the White Top River. There were many simultaneous hatches. We saw large green drakes (pictured below), blue wing olives, march browns and light cahills.

We saw lots of fish rising, but the problem was trying to figure out which flies the fish were feeding on. After several attempts to match the hatch with no luck, we started catching fish on a royal coachman stimulator pattern.
I caught this beautiful wild rainbow near dusk. The picture does not do it justice. The colors were really vivid and bright.

We were late getting back to the cabin and missed the barbecue dinner. So we picked up a pizza on the way. We were both exhausted after a long day and looking forward to the next day of fishing on Sunday... see next blog entry

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Matthews Creek

Yesterday, a friend and I did a little scouting for a good camping area on Matthews Creek in South Carolina. While we were there, we decided to do a little fishing.
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We found a great campsite, but the fishing was less than spectacular. We did manage to land a few wild rainbows, but they were very small.
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Jimmy caught two little rainbows out of this deep pool. We decided that we should try to find a camping area near a more productive stream.

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Here is another newt photo. This is the Red-Spotted Newt. It is in the "eft" stage of it's lifecycle. Newts are aquatic when they are young. Then they move to land and live for several years as an "eft". Then they will go back to the water and become aquatic again as a full adult and lay eggs.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Davidson River 4-11-09

Last Saturday I went back to the Davidson River with my friend James. Here are a few fish pics for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Davidson River Slam

After almost a week of heavy rain I wasn't sure if the Davidson River would be fish-able. I thought my best chance would be to hike to the headwaters of the Davidson where the water levels would be lower and more fish-able. Unfortunately, this proved to be a big waste of time, although I did get some good exercise and nice photos.
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I had a relaxing shore lunch and rested up for the long hike back down the mountain. By this time it was about 2:00 in the afternoon and the water level was steadily falling as the day went on. I decided to give the lower Davidson a shot.

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I went to a big pool just down stream of a popular riffle and just sat and watched other anglers for a while. After a few minutes I saw some fish rising to the swarms of black gnats that the wind pushed in. I tied on a #16 griffiths gnat dry fly, but did not have any luck. Next, I tried a natural color san juan worm imitation that produced the nice rainbow above.

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As the day got later and the water level dropped, the fishing only improved. At one point, I was getting a strike on almost every other cast. The fish were very energetic and fought hard. Several trout lept out of the water shaking their heads like a large mouth bass. One rainbow in particular jumped four times almost 3 feet above the surface making a huge splash when landing. I have never seen trout do this. Maybe it was the highly oxygenated water from the rain?
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I was very surprised to catch this large brook trout (below) in the Davidson. My first on this river.
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I completed the slam with this handsome brown trout.

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I must say, this was probably the best day I have ever had on the Davidson. If you are ever in the Brevard area, it is definitely worth a try.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Fish of 2009

My very first fishing trip of 2009 did not disappoint. I really missed fishing for the native wild brookies, so I headed up to my secret spot near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was not sure what to expect because I have never caught a native brookie in the middle of winter. It was a very cold day with a layer of ice on the exposed rocks. I had to move very slowly to keep from falling.

I knew the fish would be feeding deep so I was nymph fishing all of the deeper pockets. I did not have much luck, except for one spot where I always catch fish. A large undercut bolder. I made several casts to the other side of the bolder while standing behind it. Finally the line tightened and I quickly raised the rod tip to set the hook. It was a 7" male brookie still in spawning colors. But from his thin body, it was obvious he was just trying to make it through the winter at this point.

I released the brookie and decided I would leave the little native "speckles" alone until spring. They are under enough pressure as it is. I decided to move to the catch and release section of the Davidson River.

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On the Davidson, I went to the same place where I caught the 16" brown the week before. It was late in the day so many fishermen had already fished this hole. Fortunately a cold winter rain shower chased most of the other anglers away and I had the spot all to myself.

I fished for about an hour with no luck. I could see fish but they were very skittish. Finally I changed to a very fine 7X tippet and tied on a natural color San Juan worm. I allowed the nymph to drift as naturally as I could in the deepest section of the run. I only felt a slight tug that caused me to set the hook. It was a good sized fish. I had to play him very carefully to keep from breaking the fine tippet. Finally I was able to coax him to shore and get a net under him. It was a very plump rainbow measuring 16". I was hoping for something a little bigger to break my previous week's record, but I was happy.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monster Davidson River Brown Trout

Last week a very large brown trout was caught on the Davidson River near Brevard, NC by Graham Sturgis. Here is the original write-up by Kevin Howell (Owner - Davidson River Outfitters - Fly Shop).

There have been a lot of people fishing over the holiday period and with the increased water flows and warmer than usual temperatures, we have seen a lot of good fish being caught. However, Graham Sturgis, gets the big fish award. Graham stopped by the shop on Friday morning and we had a conversation about a large trout he had seen the evening before. We discussed the fish and what we thought it might be, I suggested a Foxee Red Minnow. After he left the shop he caught this brown out of the Catch and Release section of the Davidson River on a size 6 Clouser Foxee Red Minnow, on his first cast. After a couple of rough measurements and a couple of quick photo's the massive trout was released unharmed back into the Davidson. We estimate that the fish weighs somewhere in the 13-14 pound range.

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This is truly a fish of a lifetime.

Congratulations Graham!