Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Bass

Hit a local river, but quickly discovered that water temperatures were considerably higher than I hoped. I immediately knew I had little if no chance for trout.

I did land three smallies though. I practiced playing them in swifter moving currents, which turned out to be a fun challenge. All were caught using streamers. I did notice a few caddisflies though, one hatched on the water and flew right at me. Another I saw a bit further off. Tied on a Goddard Caddis, but no such luck with the dries.

Area: Large river.
Water: Levels slightly high, water felt warm (70?)
Weather: Upper 60s, overcast, slight drizzle.
Time: 4:00-6:00pm
Fish: Three smallies (black nosed dace, size 10).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Creek of Salmon

Near where I live is a small creek. It expands into a pool about the size of the floor of a semi trailer and holds several small salmon. I like to think of it as my secret spot.

These little guys aren't shy either. They'll readily strike any sort of dry fly, regardless of the conditions. It's a good confidence booster, even if they seldom are over eight inches. I'm always guaranteed to catch (and release) them and they're pretty to look at.

The other evening I fished there for a while and then bushwacked my way downstream, looking for other spots. No real luck with exploration, though I did catch two micro chubs in one smaller pool. Perhaps next time I'll go upstream and see what's in that direction.

Small salmon with fading parr markings. 

Creek exploration.
Area: Small creek.
Water: Normal levels, if not a little low. Temps a little under 70, I'd guess. 
Weather: Upper 60s, clear. 
Time: 6:00-7:30pm
Fish: Five small salmon, largest being eight or nine inches. Three chubs. 
Flies: Size 18 ant imitation. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Big Bass

I apologize for not having pictures of this outing. One of the large five plus pound largemouth would have been nice, wouldn't it? Well, there's a reason.

I've learned that definitions of "landing a fish" vary. Some say netting them. Some say making physical contact. I've even heard some say having them on the line for a reasonable time and bringing them close should be considered, and while I think that counts for something, I would strongly disagree. I'm not sure yet what my personal definition is yet. I lean towards making physical contact, but this day had me wondering.

I was fishing my local river... one that is not super productive but there are fish of all types there. It's quite scenic and remains one of my favorite spots, even if my success there has been limited. Perhaps it's also the challenge that heightens its value.

After catching a couple of smallmouth I made my way downstream. I hit a hole that produced a large rainbow trout last spring, but the hole itself didn't seem to hold much in the way of hungry fish. I decided to work the banks, using a size 10 black nose dace, my recent go-to fly since it imitates an injured minnow quite nicely when stripped in right and I haven't seen much hatching lately.

During one such cast near the banks I saw a few large V's form on the surface a few feet behind my fly. Whoa. Big fish.

Another cast. Wham! He took it. My rod arched over and I let out the loose fly line, knowing that using the reel would be best to bring him in. I figured it was that one rainbow but now bigger. Much bigger.

I played him into the open water. Things were going great and I got him a little closer when his head emerged. A bass. Not a smallmouth, but a largemouth, with a leviathan head. No wonder he wasn't jumping. Too big a fish in too shallow of water. Easily five pounds, perhaps even more.

Now I began to fear my line snapping. I only had 5X tippet tied on so I quickly, but carefully, got him closer. I bent forward, ready to net him, when he made a run and shot between my legs! Crap! Then he swam off to the side and forward, wrapping the line around my left leg.

I did a very awkward dance for about half a minute, trying to free my leg and nearly dunking myself in the river a few times. It's a good thing nobody else was around.

I managed to touch the bass once or twice in the process. Landed? I think not. And then, the line snapped. He was gone.

I stood there in the river for a good three minutes, my jaw dropped and my head down. I left the river shortly thereafter, and I told the story to my wife that evening, probably three times. My last words before I fell asleep were apparently "He swam right between my legs".

All part of fishing. Despite that trauma, it was an epic fight and a lot of fun. Revenge will be had.

Area: small river.
Water: Low levels, relatively clear, warm temps (estimated around 70).
Weather: Upper 60s, overcast.
Time: 4-6pm
Flies: Black nosed dace (10), bird's nest muddler (10)
Fish: Two bass (or was it three if you include that one who could have easily eaten the two I caught?), one chub, one pickerel (a first this season).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Wild and the Androscoggin

The school year is about to start and Kate and I were looking for a last hurrah before things get even more hectic. We also haven't been camping yet this summer, which qualifies as criminal in our household.

I have been battling a running injury, so with the camping I thought I could focus the recreation on fly fishing as opposed to running up and over mountains. That is, if Kate were up to it. I knew she would be, and she happily agreed to camp at Hastings Campground on the Maine side of the White Mountains, conveniently located near the Androscoggin and Wild Rivers.

Kate is still learning to fly fish and is eager to get better, but I still ruled out fishing every second of the day. This would not be like the trip I took last June with a few teacher friends: all guys, all hardcore fly fisherman, fish all day everyday and all conversations centered around which flies were best, other spots, stories of the one that got away and the one that didn't. You know the drill.

We arrived Friday afternoon and set up camp, picking a spot that was perfect: close to the bathroom but not too close, well away from a pack of twenty-something bros and, most pleasantly, literally surrounded by thick and bountiful blackberry bushes. We gorged on them the entire time and didn't even put a dent on the supply.

That evening we scoped out the Androscoggin a bit and decided to fish at a canoe launch near the bridge and just downstream a bit from where the Wild River trickles in. When the water levels are higher, I'm sure it downright flows in, but we haven't had any rain in a while.

This was a good area for Kate. Her waders are backordered so she could only wet wade in. The water was a bit chilly but the air was warm, so it was tolerable. She was able to cast far enough to give her a chance for fish, if it had been active.

But it wasn't. I fished the borderline of a current and landed a big chub. Otherwise, the fishing seemed slow and I have to be mindful of outstaying our welcome on the river with Kate, so after an hour I proactively suggested we head back and make dinner.

The next morning we were out at 8am, but this time we parked near the Wild River and hiked in to where it meets the Andro. Two guys were already here, sitting on the rocks catching a buzz instead of trying to catch fish. They saw me, looked guilty, and quickly got back to casting.

Another fellow showed up in our general area and there were two more downstream. Seven total. I wouldn't call it crowded, or even cozy given the amount of territory, but it wasn't solitude. I kept an eye on the others to see if they were catching anything. It's entirely possible that I missed it, but I didn't see anyone reel one in. After about an hour or two, it was just Kate and I.

I made my way upstream and noticed a brook trickling in on the other side of the river. I had to wade deep to get to it and somewhere downstream from the small inlet I hooked a fish, but he shook off. Drat. Shortly thereafter, a fellow and his wife armed with fly rods hiked down a steep cliff to the rocks on the other side. I sensed he was a bit bummed I was fishing the vicinity, especially since they could literally only fish from one spot, unless they wanted to get in and swim out to where I was.

After a couple of minutes, I relented the spot, as I wasn't getting any other action and had been thinking of moving back down to check on Kate anyway. After doing so, I noticed the water was especially cool in the break in the current from where the Wild met the Andro. I cast here, stripped the line, hooked a brookie and brought him in.

One time during the stretch, I remember the wind stopping and the textured surface of the water would turn to smooth glass giving me a clear view into the world below. I could see at least a dozen brookies, some only a few feet away, casually resting on the bottom with their tails slowly wagging in the light current.

Caught two more brookies and then went to get Kate. She was taking a break on the river banks, and I told her to tie on a size 10 black nose dace (what I was using) and come join me. But alas, the window closed as soon as it had opened. Kate will have to wait a little longer for her first trout. We then headed back to enjoy the campsite.

I fished another pool on the Wild River that evening but it was unproductive. What sealed the deal was when I saw a winged insect, perhaps a moth, get caught on the top of the water. It fluttered around and around, towards the center of the pool and back to the side. No way a trout would have been able to resist that. I took that as a sign to call it good.

We headed home the next morning. A great weekend, and Kate had fun fishing even though she didn't catch anything. Her forward casting has improved big time and she was happy about that. She had better form than some of the guys on the water. Only a matter of time.

One of three brookies. 

Blackberries abound

Kate casting on the Andro.

Local sausages and corn over the campfire. Can't beat it!

Area: Large river.
Water: Clear, cool (upper 60s?)
Weather: Lower 50s to lower 60s, sunny.
Time: 8am-12pm
Flies: Black nosed dace (size 10), bird's nest muddler (size 10)
Fish: Three brookies, one chub.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Short Time On the River

A good evening on the river, even if time was cut short. Kate came with me but wasn't feeling too well. No fish for her, but her casting continues to improve. 

I got two chubnobyls in the hour. I went with a Goddard caddis, even if none were hatching. I figured fish would mistake it for a grasshopper or even a small mouse. At least the chubs thought so, and while I consider them garbage fish, they are relatively big in this river so at least they put up a fun fight (and it saves a skunk). 

After awhile, I noticed Kate was sitting on the rocks and not fishing. I felt bad and walked over to check up on her. She said she was fine and just enjoying the scenery (can't blame her). Still, I insisted we go since she felt a bit sick, but I'm glad she still had fun. 

Looking forward to going north this weekend. Cooler river temps will hopefully yield some trout. 

Area: Large river with lots of structures and pools. 
Water notes: Clear, aside from the usual tannins. 
Weather: Mid 70s, sunny. 
Time: 6pm-7pm
Flies: Goddard Caddis (size 12), wooly bugger (size 12)
Fish: Two large chubs. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Explored a new section of river that holds much promise. Once it cools down a little more, I'll bet it is quite productive. Unfortunately, it's supposed to warm up considerably next week though, which is a bummer as the water temp is seemingly flirting with starting to get cool enough for better trout and salmon production.

Still, it was a fun morning. Caught three chubnobyls. Big guys, offering a fun fight only to lead to disappointment once they were close enough to be identified. Still, at least they prevented being skunked.

An eddy produced a nearly perfect round chunk of flotsam. 

Primo territory. 

The fly of choice today, a bird's nest muddler I tied a few nights ago.

Area: Large river, lots of structure and pools.
Water notes: Pretty clear, aside from the usual tannins. Slightly low levels, but quite nominal. Water temp unknown, but I suspect just below 70. 
Weather: Lower to upper 60s, sunny. 
Time: 8:30am-11:45am
Flies: Bird's nest muddler (most productive), Goddard Caddis. 
Fish: Three large chubs.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review - An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World

Last May, I was fishing in a local river after work when a pretty big fish hit my fly (prince nymph). It fought like mad, and I suspected I had a big brookie on the line. Just as I was readying my net, I saw the telltale red stripe down the side and knew I had a rainbow, my first one ever (keep in mind this past year is my "breakout" year).

The adrenaline quickly morphed into excitement once the 14" trout was in my net. So much so that I decided to stop fishing and come home. I wanted to end on a good note. My hands, shaking with excitement, unhooked the rainbow and gently released it back into the water.

I had known enough then that rainbows weren't native to the area. Same with browns. But how'd they get here? What impact has it had? I got all of those answers and more in Anders Halverson's well researched book "An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World".

Halverson covers the bases by connecting the dots through history from the rise of fly fishing popularity in America to how it led to stocking programs. But at what impact did fish stocking have, both financially and on the environment? Is it even necessary? The facts are presented in this book and invite the reader to decide.

The book is well written, with stories told in entertaining fashion and scientific data presented in layman's terms. It has a nice flow, though if I were being hypercritical I'd say it was just a tad slow for the first few chapters. However, certain turns of events, namely the extremely controversial decision involving the "rehabilitation" of the Green River in Utah and Wyoming, kicked the book into high gear and the momentum continued until the end.

This is one of those books that sticks. As other reviewers noted, I will never look at stocked or even non-native wild fish in the same way again. I now know what those reviewers were talking about. That being said, it hasn't ruined catching these fish by any means. It's just given me a better understanding on how they've come to swim in my favorite holes. Great read for any fly fisherman, and it's available on Kindle to boot.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pre-Work Fishing

School year is going to start in a few weeks, so it's always helpful to get in the classroom often this time of year to prep. Decided to wake up early and hit a river near the school at the crack of dawn. I figured the relatively cooler air temps would translate to cooler water temps which would mean more trout.

Wrong. At least during this morning on this river. Eleven chubs, but no trout. Bummer. They're definitely in that area, I've caught several there before, but perhaps the water temps are still too warm. Levels were also somewhat low.

Still, it was a good morning to get out and at least I wasn't skunked. I also explored further downstream than I ever had before and found some nice pools.

The Goddard Caddis flies I have, while fun to fish with, looked like they were too big. Lots of annoyance/investigative strikes. Switched to a smaller size 16 wooly bugger variation and had better luck... but all of them from those garbage chubs.

Area: Small river.
Water notes: Normal clarity (slightly stained), levels a bit low.
Weather: Mid 50s to lower 60s, sunny.
Time: 6:15am-9am.
Flies: Goddard Caddis, size 12. Purple wooly bugger variation, size 16.
Fish: 11 chubs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Murky Waters

Up in the Bangor area visiting family. My father in-law, wife and I headed to a local river this morning. Slow going. I got a pretty good sized bass and a huge 14" Chernobyl chub (Chubnobyl?) though. I've never seen one that big and could have sworn I had a salmon or trout on the line. Gary got a nice looking perch. Kate didn't pull up anything, but she still had fun. She's still learning and her casting is improving nicely.

This river looks promising. Water is still a bit warm, but it looked nice for trout. Will try it again when it's cooler. Not photographed was an area I hiked down to that had a lot of rocks for good resting areas for our fine spotted friends.

Locale: Medium-sized river, water a bit muddy and stained. Slightly high levels and fast water.
Weather: Upper 60's, partly cloudy turning to overcast.
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Flies: Bead-headed prince nymph (lost); Mickey Finn variation, size 14 (both fish)
Fish: 14" chub, 1.5 lb. smallie.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kate's First Fish

My wife landed her first fish with a fly rod this evening. She was quite stoked and I am quite proud. Just a chub, but hey, a first fish is a first fish!

Other than that, pretty slow evening. I only got one chub myself. Temps are supposed to dip back down a bit by mid-week so hopefully by the weekend the waters, especially in the smaller streams like where we were today, will be more productive. 

Locale: Smallish local stream. 
Weather: Upper 60s, clear. 
Time: 6:30-7:30pm
Flies: Dry ant imitation, olive and red, size 16. Goddard Caddis, size 12
Fish: One small chub. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Smallish Stream Exploring

Explored a stream a few miles from my house. It's along one of my running routes, and I finally got around to checking it out. Glad I did. Lot's of nice looking pools and I bet when the weather gets cooler, it'll be quite productive.

For today, I landed a small salmon and several chubs. Nice to get out at the crack of dawn. Woke up at 3am and couldn't fall back asleep so this was a great way to spend the extra morning time.


Baby salmon.

Mist on the water. 
Locale: Smallish local stream.
Weather: Mid 60s, sunny. 
Time: 5:45-7:00am
Fly: Dry ant imitation, olive and red, size 16. 
Fish: One baby salmon, ~7-8 chubs. 


Why this blog? It's simple. I've found my running blog to be an immense resource for several reasons: connecting with others, organizing my thoughts and as a valuable way to keep notes. I've had it up and running since 2006, chronicling every workout. I cannot imagine running without it. I sincerely do it for myself, but am honored that it has at times proved valuable to others as well.

So, why not apply the same with another huge passion of mine, fly fishing? It is time. I'm still pretty green at fly fishing, however 2013 has been a "breakout" year. To put it simply, I'm catching fish.

This blog will serve to chronicle every outing. Unlike with running, I'm able to take pictures easily. I also tie my own flies and will post those here as well. There will also be product reviews when I see fit.

My writings here will be more for myself. I'm a chronic journalist, always have been, but if you're reading this I bid you welcome and hope you enjoy what you see here. Like I said, I'm pretty new, so if you're a seasoned veteran (or learning, like me) I'd love to hear your advice and input.

-Jamie (aka Squatch)