Posts Tagged ‘stillwater fly fishing

04
Mar
14

Effective Stillwater Fly Fishing (Michael Gorman)

photo-Effective Stillwater Fly Fishing-Gorman-SwittersBI pointed to this new book a few weeks back. I obtained a copy and it is an excellent book. Beyond the basics, the book pays attention to the mental planning and presentation for the Stillwater Fly Fisher. I highly recommend the book and of course it has inspired me to start my planning for the months ahead until I can launch the vessel and enjoy the chase. Effective Stillwater Fly Fishing

19
May
12

Last Light Heading In (Photography to Share)

This photograph captures one of my most enjoyable times. The last light on a lake or river. I was heading back across the lake. The sun was setting. It would be dark when I finally returned to the far side. The glimmer of light on the water’s surface is still inviting as I continue to see large fish slashing for a large Caddis coming off. Tempting to stay for a while longer, but I hate stumbling around in the dark too, putting away gear. 

26
Apr
12

Why Do Fish Jump?

Why in the heck do fish jump clean out of the water? I mean when they don’t have that hook in their jaw….

I imagine you have heard about that female fish loosening that skein of eggs or the odd fsh trying to shed bothersome lice or some critter. Perhaps, as I have seen on B.C.’s Tunkwa L., they are chasing a rocketing emerging Caddis beyond the surface many feet into the air. I have seen giant Sturgeon rocket up above the surface of the Snake River. Perhaps males are battling below and goose another to break the surface while escaping? Well, one guy thinks he has come up with another reason…..

“I am convinced that Mother Nature sees to it that every organism above a certain point in the food chain is blessed with enough sense of self to enjoy being what they are. One universal expression of this joy is the exuberance of physical activity. The whole-body rush as adrenaline and endorphins flood the system. The invigorating flush of heat and motion. The stretch and play of supple muscles, the dynamic tension between skin and ligament, bone and tendon as we each discover our physical limits. The range of emotions your face undergoes as you fight a fish leads us to the same conclusion. First surprise, followed in short order by confusion, concentration, determination and finally pride and joy as you bring the fish to net, all point to the same reason.

Fish jump because they can. Because it feels good. It’s that simple.”

Dennis Dobson

So, look at this pic of Denny Rickards with a mega trout. Look at that fish’s face and you tell me that fish isn’t chuckling:

22
Apr
12

Stillwater Fly Fishing: Slip Bobber Review

It is about time to try that wind drifted fly beneath a slip bobber or a suspended midge pupa on your favorite lake. I have posted similar videos before re this technique. Came upon this one via Singlebarbed at Idaho Fly Company. Scroll down to the short clip and watch the simple instructions. Remember the advice to keep the loop shorter than the peg. Use as small of an indicator/bobber as you can. Use this to wind drift a pattern across a stretch or into an area. Also, if you need that pattern to stay put and at a certain depth downwind of you…this will accomplish that presentation.

This may not be the most fun way to fly fish, but the technique should be added to your presentation arsenal.

05
Apr
12

Fly Fishing: Pontoon Boat Tweaking

At the end of last year’s stillwater season my old (18 years? I think) Buck’s Bags, South Fork pontoon boat wore out (valves and fabric on the pontoons). I could have fixed this stuff, and I still may, but that old pontoon boat was heavy. When I was younger I could move it around with ease. Now, years later with shoulder/neck/hand surgeries, and a fully fused right wrist the old South Fork was too heavy.

 That was hard to admit. It suggests the obvious. I don’t like to dwell in the house of “Damn, I’m getting old” for more than a few seconds. So, I researched the new pontoons out there and sprung for the new version of the South Fork. It came in the mail, boxed and I put it together last Fall….then anticipated all Winter taking out the newer, lighter version.

The New South Fork loaded on the rig....anticipation high.

So, the lesson here is probably obvious, but in all my anticipation of fishing, I looked past some subtle differences that only come out in the actual use of the new toy. The pontoon boat is lighter and much easier for me to lift up onto and off the truck. If I went with the oars it came with rather than the heavier, longer ones I use, it would be even lighter.

But, a few things became apparent as I deployed the craft: I had attached the gear bags or cargo pouches on the pontoon that are not standard issue. I bought these years ago because the standard issue pouches were too small for all I like to carry out on the water: water bottle, too many fly boxes, extra clothing, food, whatever I feel the need to stash in my non-minimalist mode. Those cargo pouches when affixed toward the front of the pontoon were in the way of the oars. So, I moved them to the rear. And, in doing so, I moved them into a position that, after awhile, is annoyingly too far back causing one to twist, turn and reach in an uncomfortable position while the rod/reel are left in an always dangerous position on (or ideally behind) the apron. Very uncomfortable and not functional in rough waters and while trussed up in all the heavy clothing of a ‘shit, its freezing out here’ day. 

So, the prospect of using the lower profile cargo pouches presents itself and the limitations that go with that. I will have to weigh the awkwardness/large capacity  vs. the closer to the front, minimalist (little room for all the gear I carry) equation. The change needs to be made though.

More annoying and more problematic is the apron (the black mesh that stretches across ones lap). It is taut at the front, but at the rear it is sagging and too low. This is critical for me because when I set the rod down it must be anchored in some fashion. Do not set your rod down with the reel on top of the apron. It will go over the front, especially if you are actively fishing. I anchor the rod by setting the reel down in behind the apron. The rear edge of the apron fits up in between the bottom of the rod and the front of the reel. Now, there is no tension at the rear of the apron and the rod sets there too lose for my tastes. So, I need to figure out how to tighten up the rear of the apron given the configuration of the frame, cargo pouches and straps. Doable? I think so, I’m just not happy with the set up. I could resort to some tether I suppose.

The back, taut edge of the apron is wedged into that slot between the reel foot and the reel housing providing tension and less likelihood the rod/reel will fall off the front of the apron while you re-rig, perhaps kick/row and troll, or reach for something (something out of a cargo pouch or pull up the anchor at the rear).

So, I raise this as a reminder to not assume the newer will work like the older. Adjustments of the gear and the mind need to happen. I imagine it is like today with a new  computer or cell phone, initially it is like ‘what the hell?’ and a month later you have adapted and can’t quite remember how the old one worked. What was all the fuss about? Right? Yes. One just gets use to that fishing station out on the lakes and comes to feel quite efficient in it, even after long breaks in between it is comfortable and does not intrude in the experience. 

I will adapt and look forward to the next time on the lakes. In the meantime, I have some rearranging to do.

03
Apr
12

FLy Fishing’s Spring Outing: Zip, Zero, Nada…But, Not Entirely

Well, for months I tied with anticipation. For months, I envisioned the preparation, the packing, the outing, the success of it all. Today, I am sitting with a different outcome than I had anticipated. 

My go to lake lines were loaded with care.

The original plan called for one of my son’s to come along, but life’s duties intruded. So, my wife thought it would be nice to get away…’maybe even fish’. Hmm? A novice into the equation. Suddenly, the whole idea of a total newbie into the mix changed my planning. I couldn’t just throw her out there alone and go my way. I must admit my selfish side silently came to sit upon my shoulder. Ok, I packed for both. I planned for both as I had for years for my sons. I didn’t necessarily pack my instructor’s hat….at first.

As we left Portland, it had rained for days but was a balmy 44 degrees. As I crested Mt. Hood's shoulder at Government Camp it was a little cooler.

The Open Road beckoned. Traffic was light on a Sunday morning once past the turnoffs for Timberline & Meadows.

We arrived with no one else on or around the lake. That can be a lucky moment or a bad sign on a weekend morning. The mountains in the distance were obscured with low hanging tentacles of some kind of moisture. The wind was steady and gusting. I will mention it for the first time here….the wind can be a problem on a lake. Duh! you say. Just wait.

The gear was set up for two....just like the old days. Years of enjoying my sons being able to fend for themselves was missing. I once again had to wrap my head around the double preparation that results when you are setting up another and realizing they know nothing about most aspects of the sport. I'm not complaining; just relaying my mental journey for the outing.

The push/pull of my desire to fish (compulsive addiction) vs. changing my expectations for the outing became evident. Months of anticipation & imagery became suddenly muddled in my brain. Having been down this road before and selfishly hurting those I love, I knew I had to stop and settle down. Do you understand? Seems evident I know. But, sometimes I so yearn for that fishing fix that intrusions into it make me selfish. Not who I want to be.

My wife was none the wiser over my selfish little self sitting on my shoulder. She was excited and relaxed. I realized I had to set aside some of my energy to just fish and get lost in the moment. I had to 'patiently' teach.

The weather kicked up to a steady roll of waves. Not huge, but steady enough to make kicking for my wife (actually for both of us) difficult. I was struggling in the pontoon and realized I really had to stay with my wife rather than row for some shelter in a far cove. So, eventually I decided to find some likely place to drop anchor.  

We wouldn’t be trolling/kicking along, casting/retrieving etc. We would anchor up and maybe the winds would die down. Nope!

A steady wind pushed hard at the back. Anchoring up was the only hope of not getting pushed to the far bank and a long walk back.

The reality hit that I had to start from the beginning on casting, retrieving actually everything while a strong wind pounded from the rear. We could barely hear each other talk and positioning my pontoon beside the tube, while anchored, eliminated both of us fishing at the same time. So, I started from scratch. My rod was setting down beside me. The focus was on my wife attempting to grasp the grip, the loading, the line manipulation, the roll casts, the components of a cast….all along me thinking the conditions could not be much worse and, selfishly, ‘I need to fish’.

Eventually, I got her anchored in about eight feet of water on a slight drop. I put on floating line, a strike indicator and a Chironomid pupa off the bottom. She seemed to have a basic roll cast working and the wind helped propel the rigging outward. I thought maybe I can move out aways and anchor and work my Intermediate line. 

I anchored up and flailed away with all those special patterns I had tied. I varied the retrieves, I varied the depths, I varied the patterns. Nothing. Not a tug.

My wife was having a good time gabbing away. With the wind howling and my flaps down, hood up, I was having a hard time hearing all that she was saying. She reminded me of that commercial from a few years ago, where the woman talks on and on. I missed most and had to keep asking ‘what?’. Apparently my tone suggested my frustrations. Eventually, the tangles ensued and I had to up anchor to go help her….again. Patience I reminded the selfish self on my shoulder. Patience.

I don’t want you to think I was a total jerk. I was mostly fighting this little battle inside my self. She was, fortunately some would say, none the wiser.

Then suddenly my anchor rope is missing something! The anchor! The ten pound pyramid anchor that had been securely on the end of that rope for years was gone. I had to rig something up with a rock. But, most of the rocks in this area are light for their size….save one I found up in the woods.

Field Expedience! At the end of the day, this was my trussed up rock anchor. It worked.

The fishing never turned on. The only fish I caught the entire day was while I was reeling in to go help my wife. Of course, I experimented with faster retrieves…to no avail. I could say the day was a bust. Certainly based upon the months of anticipation I had invested it was. But, in the end, my wife said what a great time she was having. She thought ‘this is great!’ I reminded her that at some point she would have to have her on flies, her own nippers, her own re-rigging, her own solitude….I know, I know there was my little selfish side again. She said ‘all in good time’. She just liked ‘visiting’ the most.

She was very happy with the whole experience. I set aside my frustrations. It was an inner struggle, but thinking back to the times I have been impatient with others, I knew the correct response.

The lessons of this outing were not anticipated through the Winter’s day dreaming about big fish, solitude and the feel of ‘The Moment’. The gear was good (save the anchor), the little I got to fish went reasonably well. The new pontoon boat was great, but I need to fine tune where the packs sit on the sides and I don’t like the apron’s tension…too saggy. The flies looked good in the water, if not in a fish’s jaw.

No, the lesson, which I have alluded to here over the years, is patience. Patience in life for sure. Patience with loved ones you are teaching. Patience with self.

"Trophy Shot" perhaps? I envisioned a large Rainbow Trout, but in the end the trip was great for all the reasons I never anticipated during the Winter's planning.

22
Mar
12

Stillwater Fly Pattern: Chub (CJ Rufus)

Came upon this pattern in the Bend Bulletin. A pattern called the CJ Rufus (I don't know). The pattern is pretty straight forward to tie (Wollly Bugger), but has the unique extended beard of rootbeer marabou and some flash. The fly is reputed to ride hook up, probably because of the over sized beard? The fly was offered by Gary Lewis here




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