Monday, July 27, 2015

A Big Reality Check!!!

An early morning walk along the road running parallel to the tailrace had me anticipating numerous hookups with the recently stocked rainbow a few weeks ago. In fact I was so confident that had tied on my favorite nymph I usually fish early in the morning here with great success. Low humidity and a slight breeze made it seem a little like the approaching fall, which is some months away, but it doesn’t hurt to wish.

As I approached the waters edge I stopped to survey the area and notice as usual there was no surface activity to have me wishing I had tied on a dry. 

I begin working my usual spots with no success, so time to start experimenting with other patterns. I don’t know about you guys but after about 15 to 20 minutes of one pattern with no success I change flies and tactics.

It is now 9:30 and no takes after over an hour of fishing numerous patterns. I continue to work my way up the gouge, fishing some familiar places and some I haven’t tried this season. I kept noticing a few rainbows every 15 to 20 minutes breaking the surface but not actually feeding on top. I had seen this before here and knew that the nymph and dry were not the flies I needed to use to make a connection.

So what next, I am now well into my second hour with no trout landed and still trying to beat the skunk. I knew I had to go with a pattern that would just break the surface and at the same time stay up high in the water column. My logical choice was a red soft hackle fly size 12. I don’t know the exact name of the pattern, but I had fished it in similar situations here before and had success.

It is getting close to lunch and with more confidence and my new red hackle fly I begin casting up stream and letting the fly slowly drift back over trout I continue to see feed subsurface. A few missed takes made me work even harder to touch my first trout. Some of you may see where this is going, and say he found the magic fly that finally proved to be the charmer, not so. I gave the fly it’s more than fair share of making a connection, but to no avail. I’m one to never give up on solving the lock jaw problem of fish on certain days, so I had one last thing I wanted to try before the generations were turned on and I had to call it a morning.

With an occasional trout still feeding subsurface I decided I would tie on another soft hackle pattern size 18 brown color.  I started working the fly but was having trouble getting the fly to touch the water in a delicate mode, so I changed tippets to a 7X which gave me a much better presentation. Not to panic, but a glance at my watch showed me I only had roughly 20 minutes left before the generators would start gushing walls of water down the gouge. With the generation time schedule on my mind I begin working the little brown hackle above a couple of trout that was still in subsurface mode. I figured if I was lucky enough to land my elusive trout today I had at least 250 yards of space between me and the huge wall of water that might take me under.  As time ticked away I kept trying to land my one trout that would keep the skunk off my back for the first time on the Sipsey. With ten minutes left I saw another trout come up and barely break the surface. I had to move a little down stream to make a cast that would give me a decent drift that hopefully would get its attention. I made a long cast that sent the fly across the tailrace waters. As the fly drifted over the area where the trout had broke the surface total silence from the trout below. A few more cast left I assumed before the horn sounded; surely one more cast would get me my lone trout for the trip. It was not to be, the horn sounded and sent me moving out of the water and to safety up the bank.

Today was my first skunk day on the Sipsey, and I’m sure a few of you guys have experienced the same type trip. As I walked back to my truck I kept wondering what I could have done differently to land just one trout. So I thought I would put the question to you guys, what pattern would you have used on a day with subsurface feeding, clear blue skies and a slight wind coming from all directions at times?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Good Stuff!!!

Today was another memorable fishing trip with Bryson and his Mom on Beautiful Smith Lake. We had a couple of hours of fishing before the humidity set in and we lost most of the shade.  Bryson is getting to be an accomplished bluegill fisher boy.  He still has some work to do in handling the bigger gills, but today he manage to lip and release the smaller fish he caught. The crickets and nibblets were the bait of choice for the morning using a popper and slip shot. All the bluegills were caught in water 8 to 10 feet deep.

I don’t weather you guys have ever fish for bluegill or catfish with the hook tip with either a white or chartreuse nibblet, if not you should give it a try. The fish will go after the nibblet before they inhale the cricket. It is really an excellent attractor to get the fish interested especially on slow days. The slim that is emitted from the nibblet gives off a scent that the bluegill, catfish and even bass go after.
Just one of the big bulls Bryson landed using the micro light combo, he is still working on the casting technique; the landing technique he has mastered.
This big bull is the largest Jenny has ever landed on Smith. I wish I had my scales with me today to weight it, I am sure it would have pushed a pound. She landed it using the 7 ½ ft. micro light with a light action Shimano spinning reel. All the micro lights were spooled with 4 lb. test line.
The front side of this monster bluegill Jenny landed
Landing another nice bluegill
The best of the best for the morning!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Fly Fishing Bargains Can Still be Found’s post recently concerning the ever increasing prices of fly fishing equipment got me doing a little research. There are still bargains out there for the fly fisherman who isn’t concerned about using the top of the line fly fishing equipment. I found out a long time ago when I was doing the bass fishing tournaments, that I could catch just as many fish with casting combos that cost half the price of the top of the line combos. Same thing wholes true for my fly fishing equipment. It’s hard to believe that our local Wal-Mart carries fly fishing supplies and fly fishing combos. They are not the top of the line products but their equipment and supplies will get the beginner started in fly fishing.

This assortment pack at Wal-Mart will cost you 15.00 bucks, just the forceps at Orvis  will run you 15.00 to 20.00
Quite a bargain at 5.00
Most of these nets will run you 80.00 and above at different fly fishing outlets
Courtland 8 ft. and 9 ft. 5/6 fly rods
Bargain Combos
Great Price on Teton Float Tube---75.00
The cheapest Chest Pack at Orvis is 75.00—this White River Pack at Bass Pro will cost you 25.00--I'v been using this pack for the past 3 years
Telescopic Walking Sticks at Wal-Mart will serve as a great walking staff when you’re on your favorite stream or tailrace. This is the walking stick I have been using for the past 3 years and it works just as well as the folding or telescopic version at Orvis which sells for 100,00. The Wal-Mart Stick sells for 10.00
Hope I’ve helped some of you guys out with your bargain bin shopping!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Contour Video Camera Filming Landing Rainbow

Today I was determined to get film footage of some of the trout I’ve been landing on the Sipsey. The heat and humidity was on even at 8AM and wearing a camera helmet made it even hotter. I found myself splashing cold water on my face frequently most of the morning. I only got to fish a couple of hours because the generators came on at 10AM instead of the 2PM schedule time; so I was glad I made the most of the time I was given.

Sorry no trout images for today, but a brief description of how both videos played out: The first footage took place in shallow water 12 to16”, using the nymph with a stick on indicator. I knew the trout were holding in a narrow seam about 30ft. from me. I made numerous cast before I connected with a quality rainbow, which put up quite a fight for my 3 weight. I was using a 6X tippet, in the super clear water, which has worked much better lately for me as opposed to a heavier tippet. These trout are pressured on a daily basis so the less visible line worked better. As always on the Sipsey the drift is critical and today was no exception.

The next footage takes place on the opposite bank across the tailrace. I seldom wade out into the middle of the tailrace but I knew trout is always hanging out in this fast current seam next to the bank there. You will notice there is a large boulder I am standing by to film this segment. I was using a nymph swing casting up current and letting the nymph dead drift through the seam and at the very end of the drift I would swing the nymph across the seam; as I was working the nymph back across is when the attack would occur. There is no mistaking the hit when it happens. Again numerous cast were made before I got the hook up, and of course when I did the camera switch came on.   

Monday, July 6, 2015

Making up for Lost Time

I was back on the Sipsey today using a different tactic while fishing the ¾ mile stretch from the dam to the pump station. I wanted to fish the faster water that is about a foot deep above the pump station. At times it is difficult to see the trout in these areas, but trust me they are there. In fact I landed a 15” rainbow about a month ago in gin clear water about a foot deep here. I never saw the fish take the fly.
It seems lately I just can’t get enough of this place which is a good thing for me, because every time I set foot in these cold waters here I feel I am learning yet another valuable lesson in fly fishing. In other words this place is the training grounds for bigger things to come for me before the year is out; another post in the future. I started fishing here 8 years ago and I have loved every minute I have spent on its waters. My only regret, I have told you guys this before, is not fly fishing the Sipsey when trout were first introduced here in 1974. So now I’m in catch up mode to recover some of that lost fly fishing time.
What a great way to spend the morning!!!!
Trout is not the only fish species swimming in these waters 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Daylight on Smith Lake

At 5:20 AM Thursday morning the boat was in the water and I was making my first cast on a submerged rock ledge right next to the launch. No need to start the big motor when some of the best top water action is located right down the bank from where I launch the boat. Tuesday and Thursday are my main fishing days of the week and this Thursday morning I had the long bank to myself; why Tuesday and Thursday, Monday the lake or any lake is just getting over the weekend traffic, Wednesday has more individuals off work, and Friday can be classified as a long weekend day.  I can go on Tuesday and Thursday and see only a boat or two from daylight to 10 AM. I usually call it quits by 9:30 to 10 mainly because the bite has stop and the humidity is getting thick.

I seldom fish this bank without landing some quality spots or largemouth using my favorite bass popper. I have landed some nice bluegill using the Boogle Bug as well. I had a couple of boomers on this trip and one was loosing my black Boogle Bug to a huge bluegill which got me tangle in a brush pile. I hated to lose the big gill, but I hated even more the loss of my $5.00 popper.
My first largemouth of the morning taken no more than 30 ft. from the launch.
This spot gets up early to eat breakfast!
This largemouth went airborne numerous times while trying to break free; the airborne thing can get the blood pumping!!!
The quality bass bite went cold after the sun peaked over the horizon, so it was time to break out the 3 weight and go after the bluegills.
I like to use dries on this lake and this morning the smaller spots were willing to nail the Wulff time after time. Amazing the fight this size fish can produce on a 3 weight. This is why I love fly fishing so much, because the small fish can make a trip just as exciting as landing a large fish if one is using a lighter combo.
  Only one counter today, two other counters manage to break free—I don’t know how you guys feel about losing good fish, but if I have lose the fish that I work so hard to take my offering, then let me skip the fight!
One of my favorite areas on Ryan Creek, not only for the fish but for the large amount of muscadines this huge vine growing on the rock wall produces in the fall. Notice the rock bench someone built on top of the rock wall. A great place to soak up the beauty of this awesome lake!