Friday, January 23, 2015

Scouting the Scenic Small Streams along the Natchez Trace Parkway

My brother and I recently spent a rewarding Saturday scouting some of the scenic small streams that are found along the historic Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. We decided to zero in on a few streams that flow along the Choctaw County stretch of the Trace. These streams years ago were a source of food for all those who lived near them. Today those who drive over the many bridges that cross all these streams seldom pay any attention to their beauty and what species of fish they whole. My brothers and I use to fish all these streams as boys when we lived in the area; now the streams are void of any fishing; how times have changed.

We wanted to spend the day to see which streams would be fishable in the summer when all the streams are flowing at their normal level. As you view the images below you will notice that the streams were somewhat stained and showed signs of some high water. Even with an elevation in water level we could see some excellent pocket water and drop offs that will be perfect to fish with the fly rod come summer.
Big Sand the name of this stream was one we selected to fish come summer because of its easy access from its banks. We found some nice pocket holes along its banks.
Little Bywy creek is one of our favorites, and one we fished as boys; notice the inside cut bank, which is where Redeye Bass hang out in the summer months. A dry fly floated along the edge of the bank would get a reaction.
Jenkins Creek pictured here is probably the easier stream to access. There were some fast runs as well as drop offs into deep pools in this creek, which would whole redeye bass, as well as Sun Perch. Casting up stream and letting a dry or nymph float through the deep runs would be deadly.
Little Bywy just on the Trace Parkway look so good I just had to give it a cast or two. I know the bass and sun perch were there, but on this day blue skies and cold temps kept them at bay.
Middle Bywy could be a bit more difficult to fish compared to the other streams because of its high banks. One would need to wade this stream in places to have success. The ideal tackle here would be the Little Jewel 10 ft. rod rigged with a nymph or dry. Catfish are abundant in all these streams and a red worm tipped on a size six hook will yield some nice channel catfish using the Little Jewel. As boys we always used a cane pole and red worms. Our cane pole will be replaced come summer with the Little Jewel and our 7 ½ ft. fly rods. I guess you could say we have moved up in the world of fishing.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fly Fishing Magazines We All Enjoy Reading

If one fly fishes they probably read an array of fly fishing magazines and buy fishing equipment and supplies from numerous tackle magazines. Receiving magazines in the mail is like receiving a Christmas gift every month. Some we paid a monthly subscription for and some we receive because we purchase an item or two from their company. In either case it’s a way to add knowledge and enjoyment to a sport we are all continuing to learn and love with each passing season.

I receive a couple of fly fishing online publications as well as numerous free fishing magazines that includes all type fishing as well as fly fishing. I have found ordering just one tiny item from any of these companies will usually get you a free magazine for months, which is fine with me.

I always want to share with my fellow bloggers, so with this post I thought I would give you all some insight into some publications concerning fly fishing. I am sure most of you are familiar with some of these publications, but as I did my research I discovered some that was new to me. Let’s start with one everyone may know about:
Fly Fisherman--- This magazine is one of the most well-known fly fishing magazines available.
Fly Rod and Reel--- This print magazine also focuses on the fish themselves, their habitat, and what tackle is best for each situation.
Eastern Fly Fishing---One of my favorites; the magazine is available in print publication as well as digital download.
Northwest Fly Fishing--- Fly fishing in the great states of Northern California, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming as well as British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory and Alaska.
Southwest Fly Fishing--- For fly fishing anglers living in the Southwest area of the United States.
The Drake Magazine--- Unbelievable amount of information about fly fishing found in this one magazine 
American Angler---This publication is considered the fly fishing authority of fly fishing.
Catch Magazine--- Official journal of fly fishing photography and film
Fly Tyer Magazine---Official magazine for the fly tyer, the beginner and the seasoned tyer
Angling Trade Magazine---An array of fish fishing information
Fly Fusion---North American fly fishing authority
Fly Fishing and Tying Journal---America’s leading publisher of fishing books and magazines, serving anglers since 1967
Hatches--- A publication with a strong devotion to professional writing, beautiful photography and informative articles
Rod Maker Magazine--- Worlds leading publication for custom rod builders

J Stockard Fly Fishing---Dealing specifically with fly tying and supplies, not a monthly publication

Southern Trout---Need I say more, really close to home!!

Hope this list of magazine publications will be helpful for those of you considering subscribing to new issue of fly fishing.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fishing Tiny Poppers for Finicky Bluegill

I know all of us who fly fish have our favorite flies and poppers we use on a regular basis. These favorites are the ones we always pluck out of our fly box first because of their success rate. I did a post sometime back on fishing with your top 6 flies and poppers for warm water and cold water species and the tiny popper I am discussing in this post was not one of them.

There are fishing trips where all of your favorites do all the work and we never have to search through our fly boxes for that game changer pattern. For me the tiny popper has been that pattern. I have found that bluegill especially the big ones can be very finicky at times, even when they are spawning. In fact I have moved my boat within casting distance of numerous spawning beds in the spring and dropped a fly in the spawning area and get no reaction at all mainly as a result of a cold front.

Hand tied feathers and hackle
Excellent on bright days clear water
Cold fronts can be a killer during this time of the year and no matter how aggressive the fish were the day before they can practically turned off the next day. This is when you go small with tiny flies and poppers. It also helps if you have a lot of patience on those days, because the longer you let the fly sit without movement the better chance of coercing a super size bull bluegill to nail your tiny offering. During this particular time this is when I go to the tiny popper, which 90% of the time produces. As for the other 10% of the time one might want to tie more flies, clean fly line, and get ready for the next outing.
 Size 14 work best especially on those slow days, as stated patience is the key with these little gems.
I didn’t notice when I started working on this post that the world record bluegill was landed in Alabama:  

 Bream aficionados recognize that the world record bluegill was an Alabama behemoth that weighed an astounding 4 pounds, 12 ounces. In Florida, the record remains a respectable 2.95 pounds, and if interested, you can qualify for an FWC “Big Catch” certificate by weighing in a bluegill that measure at least 11 inches in length or weighs at least 1.25 pounds.

It’s interesting to note that a good spawning shellcracker averages a pound or more. However, if you’re looking for a record, you’ll have to beat out the South Carolina giant that weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces. The Florida record currently stands at 4.86 pounds, while any shellcracker weighing at least 2.25 pounds or measuring 12 inches warrants that “Big Fish” certificate.

Can you guys imagine landing a bluegill in the 4 lb. range? Who knows some of us this season may hit that mark. Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Will 2015 Make my Bluegill Quest??

WELL!!!! “As Ronald Reagan use to say” ---------My long sabbatical is over and I am back with you guys again to share and comment. I am sorry for my absence these past months, but other obligations got in the way of my blogging. I know some of you thought I would probably never return, but trust me that was not my intention; blogging has always been away for me to communicate with fellow fly fishermen and women who love the sport as much as I do. I have been blogging since 2009 and it is something I truly love. I hope I can stick around for a long time with you guys.

Now for today’s post; with high water on the lake the trout fishing is out until generation slows, which could be a while. Heavy rains have caused an overflow in the lake and the water has to go somewhere so the tailrace gets flooded. This of course doesn’t stop me from thinking about casting for the rainbow and monster gills in coming spring.
My last outing in my boat this year was roughly six weeks ago to mark some sandbar nooks on Smith Lake. I will fish all these areas in the spring for spawning bluegills.
Sandbars are prime targets for big bull bluegills to search out in the spring to create spawning beds. The sand is easy to move and creates a perfect incubator for the eggs.
I have landed some of my largest bluegills from heavy sandbars, where sand has piled up because of wave wash.
The site of monster beds such as these can trigger a quite reaction from an avid bluegill fisherman.
I have never found more than a dozen bluegill beds on Smith at any given sandbar. The fish are scatted more in Smith Lake as opposed to smaller lakes. In a smaller lake there could be as many as two dozen beds in one area.
After February I will be counting the days until the spawn. I hope some you guys will join me this year in casting a fly or popper towards the big bulls.