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.

click picture to enlarge

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.

click picture to enlarge

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.

click photo to enlarge

This is truly a fish of a lifetime.

Congratulations Graham!