Oatka Creek 1/1/12

photo

My first try at putting these pictures up failed so I tried again and the 2nd time worked, this is a picture looking downstream on Oatka Creek

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Last Day of the Year

Graph of  Gage height, feet

Just sitting here thinking about the year gone by and thought I would show you how up and down my home waters have been lately, as they have been all year.

Here’s also a wish for a very Happy New Year filled with many hours of FLYTYING and catching TROUT.

Tom Rosenbauer’s 7 Top Winter Fly-Fishing Tips

 

Posted: 14 Dec 2011 01:33 PM PST

Landing a Trout on Armstrong's Spring Creek on a Snowy Day

Trout will bite even on snowy, frigid days, if you know what fly patterns to throw.

photo by Paul Schullery

‘Tis the season for winter fly-fishing. Here are seven tips to get you started, as well as my favorite fly patterns:

1. Pick the right place. Best winter rivers are Colorado tailwaters like the South Platte, Yampa, Frying Pan, or Gunnison; Montana tailwaters like the Bighorn and Madison; Wyoming rivers like the Snake River in Jackson; Idaho tailwaters like the South Fork and Henry’s Fork of the Snake; the Provo and Green in Utah, Great Lakes tributaries, and the upper Sacramento in California. As you can see, a fishing trip can often be combined with a ski trip.

2. Slow and deep is best. Use a strike indicator and weighted fly, or weight on the leader and the high-stick method, which keeps most of your fly line off the water. Dead drift is critical in winter because trout won’t chase a fly in cold water. 

3. Swing with a sinking-tip line. Although dead-drift nymphing is best, if you prefer to swing a fly for trout or steelhead, use a sinking tip line with a very strong mend at the beginning of the cast so your fly swings slow and deep.

4. Look for rises. Occasionally trout will rise during the winter, almost always to small midges or olive mayflies. A small midge emerger or a tiny olive mayfly emerger will be the only dries you’ll need to carry.

5. Stay in bed in the morning. You’ll see the most surface activity mid-afternoon on sunny days, or, surprisingly, all day long on gray snowy days without wind.

6. Light tippets are usually more productive in winter. The flies are small and water is clear. I use 6X Mirage for trout fishing and 4X Mirage for steelhead under most conditions.

7. Know where the fish hold. Fish tend to “pod up” in winter in deeper, slower water. Once you catch one try not to disturb the water and continue to fish in the same place. Fish the slow water thoroughly, but move often if you aren’t connecting.

Best Flies for Winter Fishing

Nymphs:

English Pheasant Tail Nymph sizes 18 and 20. This version is far more effective than the bulkier American version for imitating the slim Blue-Winged-Olive mayflies and small brown stoneflies common in winter.

Disco Midge sizes 20 and 22. Imitates tiny midge pupae that hatch all winter long, particularly in western tailwaters. You can fish this one in the surface film for risers, but it’s usually more effective deep, with Sink Putty on the leader (as are all of the nymphs listed here)

Flashback Scud size 16. In spring creeks and tailwaters that hold tiny freshwater crustaceans called scuds, this fly is essential.

Micro Stone size 14. Small stoneflies often hatch during the winter, so the nymphs are active in cold waters.

Vernille San Juan Worm . This fly in both red and tan imitates aquatic worms that get washed from the streambed when water rises slightly during dam releases on tailwaters.

Dries:

ICSI (I Can See It) Midge . Gray, size22. A floating midge pupa pattern you can spot on the water because of its orange parachute post.

Griffith’s Gnat  size 20. Great when adult midges skitter across the surface, especially when they form clumps. 

Cannon’s Bunny Dun , Baetis. Sizes 18 and 20. My favorite imitation out of many for winter Blue-Winged-Olive hatches.

Streamers:

Bead Head Flash Zonker . White, size 8. This fly has become one of the favorite streamers of the fly fishers on our staff. It’s particularly effective in tailwaters, where light-colored shad and alewives get washed through turbines.

Moto’s Minnow , Dark. Size 10. This small dark fly wiggles in even the slightest breath of current, important when you are fishing nearly dead-drift in winter. Its coloration is a perfect imitation of the sculpin, a small baitfish common in freestone streams.

Trout Unlimited’s New Stocking Policy

 

A controversy with no simple answer

First published in The daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y., 11/3/11

Trout Unlimited really got people talking last month when it announced that its members may not take part in stocking “non-native, hatchery trout” in streams that already hold native trout.

The directive isn’t expected to curtail stocking, which is mostly conducted by state conservation departments. But it has stirred up a lively philosophical discussion about the merits and perils of adding catchable trout to our streams.

Many — maybe most — New York streams that have been stocked for generations also hold at least a few native trout, meaning trout that were not only born in the stream, but are in fact descendants of the trout that were here before people were here. If the presence of any native trout at all made an entire stream off-limits to stocking, an awful lot of New York trout fishing would simply disappear.

“Does one stop stocking brown trout in Willowemoc Creek, for example?” asked Phil Hulbert, chief of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Fisheries, referring to the storied Catskills stream that holds wild and holdover browns and brookies, no doubt including some natives.

“I’m confident there would be people that have opinions both ways. The way we try to deal with this is in a technical sense, not phil­osophical. When we decide whether a stream should be stocked, we take into account the abundance of wild trout and we make adjustments for the presence of wild trout, in terms of whether there’s unused carrying capacity for hatchery trout.”

If there are enough wild fish, the DEC doesn’t bother stocking at all, Hulbert noted.

Mike Walchko, president of the Clearwater Chapter of TU in Albany, said the chapter doesn’t take part in any stocking activity, preferring to focus on maintaining and improving trout habitat. He agreed with Hulbert that the issue of where to stock and where not to is complex.

“Since streams are continuous bodies, most brook trout populations are found in the upper, colder, cleaner headwater reaches, while the lower stretches are the sections stocked with hatchery fish,” he said. “Many streams are dependent upon these stockings to support a fishable population in these lower stretches.”

Larry Harris, head of TU’s national leadership council, wrote this week to chapter presidents that he was taken aback by the controversy arising from the new policy. After all, TU has been on record for years that stocking should be avoided if it was likely to harm native trout populations.

“I began receiving calls the very next morning after the resolution was sent to council chairs and chapter presidents,” Harris said. “What I am learning is that some chapters in several states currently stock hatchery trout in streams containing native trout.”

And so Harris and a number of TU leaders from around the country are forming a committee to help state councils and local chapters comply with the policy in a way that makes sense on their local waters.

I’ve complained in this space, and others have complained in other spaces, that some New York waters are stocked with way too many cookie-cutter trout with barely any survival instincts. But I also fish some streams where all the trout are wild, others where most are wild, and still others where there’s a pleasing mix of wild trout and holdover stockies. One of my regular spots even has a few genuine, certified, heritage-strain brookies, their DNA untainted by interlopers from California or Germany. None of these are secret or remote. Even after a century of heavy stocking, New York still offers plenty of “natural” trout fishing.

But TU’s heart is in the right place.

Native trout can never be replaced, and anything that will protect the ones we have is a good idea.

Morgan Lyle’s commentary appears regularly in The Daily Gazette. Reach him atmorganlyle@gmail.com

‘Rock snot’ infestation shuts Vermont hatchery

 

DownloadedFileAn infestation of the invasive algae didymo, or “rock snot” has prompted the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission to close the Bethel Federal Fish Hatchery in Vermont so it can be thoroughly decontaminated. Some 3,000 hatchery salmon will be donated to Native American tribes, while the fate of 434,000 lake trout will be decided later. Via AP.

More Ramblings

I was looking through my computer stuff and came up with this site http://globalflyfisher.com/ it is without a doubt one of the most informative sites for FlyFisherman on the Internet and all the info is free. Go take a look I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Global

The Global FlyFisher – The Internet’s Cutting Edge Fly Fishing Site
Site Developed by GFF Partners: Martin Joergensen, Steve Schweitzer, Bob Petti, Bob Skehan & Kasper Mühlbach

FlyFisher

6 Things Guides Do That You Shouldn’t

 

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 08:45 AM PST

Bryan Eldredge Cropped

As a guide, Bryan Eldredge can get away with things that you can’t on the river.

photo courtesy Bryan Eldredge

I was was nine years old when my brother Scott gave me some advice I’ve applied to all sorts of things since then. On that Saturday, we were playing catch after watching our beloved Red Sox on NBC’s Game of the Week when I made an imaginary relay throw pretending to be the Red Sox’ shortstop, Rick Burleson. Scott, who was already a high school star, caught my near-perfect throw and proceeded to chew my butt for throwing side-armed.

“But Burleson throws side armed,” I objected.

At this, Scott walked right up to me, pointed the finger of his ungloved hand at my nose and said, “He’s not a pro because he can do it; he can do it because he’s a pro.” After giving me a few seconds to process this profundity, he spoke again—in a slightly less intense tone—and explained how throwing overhanded reduces the number of variables in calculating a release point:  Overhand throws can miss high or low, but done properly the ball doesn’t end up right or left.

The importance of mastering the basics, as taught by my brother that day, has application in a lot of arenas, not the least of which is fly fishing. I’ve listed below six things that my fellow professionals in our fair sport, namely guides and instructors, do regularly that others might best avoid.

1. They twist their wrists while making a backcast. This is sometimes called “poor tracking.” The effect is such that someone standing in front of the caster sees the side of the reel rather than the line housed in it. It’s something akin to throwing a baseball sidearmed. The problem here is that this little outward twist, magnified over 9 feet or so, does funky things to your rod tip, making it travel in several directions. And, as the truism says, wherever your rod tip goes, the line will follow.

2. They fish without a net. The fact is that a lot of guides fish on their own without a landing net, especially when walk/wading. There is actually a case to be made that landing a fish without a net can be less dangerous to the fish, but only in the case of very experienced hands. But this argument isn’t why guides do it. Usually it’s because they can, and it’s less trouble than carrying a net. For most folks, using a net greatly reduces the potential of injuring fish. It also increases the odds of getting a nice photo.

3. They grab their leaders while landing fish. Want to see a guide panic? Reach for your leader as he or she prepares to net your fish. Grabbing a leader removes virtually all of your tackle’s shock-absorbing capacity, making a broken tippet very likely. Interestingly though, the pros will very often grab their own leaders, particularly if they aren’t using a net (see #2). It can be done, but you have to properly manage a whole bunch of variables. For most people, it makes much more sense to just bring a fish to net by touching only your rod handle and the reel.

4. They carry their lines off the reel in loops while moving along a river. The frustration of trying to get your line free from brush, rocks, boots, and legs is one of the universal experiences of fly fishing. It is not, however, one of the more pleasurable ones. Given that rivers are furnished with all manner of line-grabbing objects (not to mention feet and legs that come with the angler), it’s usually a better use of time to reel in before moving very far.

5. They cast heavy nymph rigs overhead, even when using a series of split shot, weighted flies, and strike indicators. Timing the backcast is tough for lots of fly fishers. An early forward stroke creates snarls for which guides have a name, “do overs.” Nymph rigs, with their arsenal of two or three flies, multiple split shot, and a strike indicator, complicate things all the more. To avoid spending your day on a monofilament Rubik’s Cube, stick with simple flip casts made by letting the current pull the line downstream and then lifting the line in a high arc upstream in one simple motion.

6. They wade and fish at the same time. Wading is inherently dangerous, and doing it well is more of an acquired skill than it appears. Trying to manage line while wading is an unnecessary risk. Do one, then the other. Live to fish another day.

There are easily more than six things the pros do that don’t bear imitation. In most cases, the pros will be the first to tell you what those are; in the end, that’s what their profession is all about. In this case, it’s almost always better to do as I say, not as I do.