Thursday, May 19, 2022

Addicted to the Gills

 I know many of you think I am obsessed with the bluegill. All the post I have published on my blog proves that statement. I never tire of landing the big bulls, especially in the super clear deep waters of Smith Lake. 

What makes landing these supersize gills special is how they attack the surface popper. An explosive hit is what one can expect from this size gill, making you think it is a spotted bass. The minute they inhale the popper they go for deep water. The fight even with a 5 wt. is awesome and even more epic using a 3 or 4 wt. In other words, you just don't jerk these fish in the boat. I lost one of the largest gills yesterday I think I have ever connected with fishing Smith using a 3wt. I saw the bluegill and knew he was huge but didn't realize how powerful the fish was until it broke my 5X tippet. Today's catch helped relieve the pain of losing that fish yesterday.

I've said many times before, but this lake has to be one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever fished. The rock wall formations are astounding, with unusual color markings. The water depth surrounding the wall in this nook is 20 to 30 ft. Even at those depths, the fish can still find the popper because of the super clear water. Any commotion on the water surface will get their attention. 
So the question I keep asking myself after all these years of fishing for this fish is---which species would I prefer to land the spotted bass or the big gills?  I will let the readers of this post answer that question!
This tree is one of the many trees that can be found on the banks of the many rock walls and nooks on this lake. I am wondering if any of you know the name of this particular tree with huge leaves and large white flowers? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Finally a Day on the Sipsey

No heavy rains and generators running allowed me to spend some time today FISHING FOR RAINBOW TROUT on the Sipsey! I was fishing with my trusted Streamflex 9 ft. 3 wt. which is my standard fly rod when I fish here. 
I got on the water around 9 and was surprised  I was all along. In fact, I didn't see another fisherman until 10 o'clock. I made the most of that hour fishing three of my favorite holes and landing a trout in each hole. 
The two methods that got the attention of the trout today were dead drifting a nymph and the trusted dry/dropper.
The best of the morning fishing my favorite hole on the Sipsey. The hole this trout was taken from never disappoints me. Of course, the key is getting to fish it before anyone else has a chance to either hook the trout or land it. That should tell you how pressured this tailrace is!
Numerous trout this size is the main reason I fish the tailrace with a 3 wt. This trout can put a bend in a 3 wt. which in turn helps you get prepared for the bigger fish that swims in the waters here.  I am so fortunate to live 20 minutes from the only place in Alabama where one can fish for trout!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Weather Past and Present

 Weather conditions have changed drastically since I was a boy growing up in Mississippi years ago. We are seeing many more tornados and hurricanes today compared to what my brother and I used to call the good old days. The good old days are for another post. With tornadoes and hurricanes come heavy rains, wind, and flooding. It seems we have four or five days of great weather then all hell breaks loose for a couple of days with tornadoes in fact, as I type this post we may be under a tornado watch tomorrow. We are in this cycle through all of Spring. 

The Sipsey Tailrace pictured here is an example of the last tornado we had here a week ago. This tornado produced some damage to homes and businesses but thankfully no deaths. After the aftermath, the areas affected must deal with the clean-up in the form of flooding and the debris left behind. The image above shows the tailrace flowing downstream at 8 ft. above normal flow. When heavy rains occur Smith Lake above the dam rises above full pool quickly and last year overflowed into the parking lot at the launch. This year we are seeing it rise again 11 ft. above full pool as I type this post. The Alabama Power Company which manages the lake has to release all the excess water so it flushes through the two generators at the base of the dam. When both generators are pumping at full force you see the results in this image. One can still trout fish using a spinning reel, but no wading using the flyrod will get results with water this high. 

So, what does a weary fly fisherman do when he can't trout fish------the images above show the answer! I fillet 14 of these pre-spawn beauties and threw back a bunch of future bull gills fishing Walker Lake yesterday. 

I have started wearing Orvis fishing gloves. I had two sunspots removed from the top of my hands in the winter months and one sun growth from the top of my head. My Dermatologist told me I needed to start protecting myself much more from the sunray when I'm on the water. 

A lot of tree pollen covered the surface of the water on the lake yesterday causing me at times to use a dark popper to get the attention of the fish. All the bluegills were scattered and not in a spawning mode. The water temps are still well below spawning activity. The 2 and 3 wt. got all the work yesterday one rigged with a popper and the other rigged with a dry fly coated with Orvis Hy-Flote. It was my first time using this product and I have to say I was impressed. It is much better than any floatant I have ever used. Simply drop the dry fly in the bottle shake and remove blow the dust off and you are ready to fish a dry fly that will float high enabling you to land at least three or four fish. It becomes waterlogged once the fish inhaled it numerous times. You can use it again once it dries then repeat the process using the Hy-Flote. 
I checked the lake level when I fished this overhang or cave last year and the lake level at the time was 497 ft. 3 feet below full pool. Today this area is covered with water resting in the trees above this rock wall. I am not a fan of fishing water this high on any lake, especially a lake as large as Smith Lake. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

It's Not About The Fish Sometimes

 The Grandchildren were having their Spring break this week which gave their Mom and them an opportunity to come and visit their Meme and Pops. Their Dad couldn't make the trip because of work. Their next trip in the summer will bring the whole family. Our Grandchildren are the center of our lives just as our children were when they were growing up.

 The fish wasn't huge but it's not always about the size fish the children landed. At their age its more about just being able to land a fish and that they did. We lost count of the hand size bluegill they got to touch. All the fish were taken on live bait in the form of juicy worms. The water was a cool 63 degrees causing the fish to hover on the bottom of the park pond.
  The city was supposed to stock Town Creek with trout in November the plan never developed. Kids would have enjoyed seeing trout feeding in the stream. Some pocket holes would attract trout in the quarter-mile stretch flowing through the park. Parks are a substitute for iPhones that most kids nowadays are addicted to, including our grandchildren. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Remembering a Great Fly Fisherman and Friend

 I was surprised to hear of Alan's passing of "Small Streams Reflections"--my heart is broken to hear this because he was like a brother to me. I look forward every week to one of his inspiring posts concerning fly fishing, tasty meals, and colorful outdoor images. I felt he was the glue that held all of us bloggers together now, he's gone but not forgotten. 

I'm thankful I have numerous flies and streamers he tied for me and my son Jason. I did a post some months ago concerning the colorful streamers he tied for Jason's Christmas a couple of years ago. My condolences to his wife Jennette and children

This picture is hanging in Jason's house and will always whole special meaning for Jason and I

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Pairing Fly Rods With Fly Reels

 When some individuals buy a fly rod they like to pair it with a fly reel that gives them balance with the reel size, its weight, and the weight of the fly rod. When it comes to balancing a fly reel and fly rod it all depends on where you move your forefinger on the cork handle to get the reel and rod to sit in a straight horizontal position. I know a lot of you guys use this method to balance a combo you are purchasing and a lot of fly fishing shops adhere to this method.

 I tend to follow my own method which is if you like the feel of the combo then go with it. An example of what I'm talking about is my 5 wt 9 ft. Redington Trout Classic fly rod. This fly rod is the heaviest I use when fishing for the Spotted Bass on Smith Lake. As you can see in the image I have it paired with a Gloomis 3--4 wt. fly reel. The balance, lightness, and appearance I get with this 5 wt. combo suits my needs. The norm recommended by a fly shop would be a 5 wt. or even a 6 wt large arbor fly reel paired with this 5 wt. fly rod. True the balance is there and you have more fly line using a big arbor reel, but does one really need or even use that amount of fly line when landing a larger fish? I feel that large arbor reels have their place in flyfishing but pair this size reel with a 3 or 4 wt. flyrod is a little overboard. I have seen individuals fishing the Sipsey using large arbor reels with an 8 and 8 1/2 ft. 3 wt. They probably view my 9 ft. 3 wt. fly rod paired with my 3 wt. fly reel as lightweight. Pairing fly rods and fly reels in an unconventional fashion is the preference of the fly fishermen.
 In this image my 4 wt. 9 ft. Trout Classic is paired with another Gloomis 3--4 wt. fly reel. This flyrod gives me the backbone to land a larger fish if the occasion arises. My 4 wt. is my favorite of all the fly rods I use. It's not heavy and not too light, in other words, it may be the best all-around fly rod for fly fishing. I have no data to back this up but I feel fly fishermen would choose this fly rod as their best all-around fly rod. Both Gloomis fly reels are paired with my 5 and 4 wt. flyrods which are small reels compared to a large arbor reel. Both measure 2 3/4" in dia--1" width and line spool width of 3/4 inch. A 100 ft. of fly line fills both reels without the use of backing. The backing on fly reels is used mainly to fill the spool of the fly reel and not for landing a fish. In fact, if one ever reaches the backing on a fly reel when landing a fish, then they are probably going to lose the fish.
This image shows my 9 ft. 3 wt. Streamflex pair with Battenkill II reel. I like the feel and appearance of this combo. I am interested in how the color of the flyrod matches the reel. I wouldn't fish with a fly rod that has a color other than brown, maroon grey, or green. I guess one can call me old school when it comes to flyrod colors. The reel paired with the Streamflex measures 2 3/4" dia---width of reel is 7/8" and the spool width is 1/2".  There is no need for the backing because a 100 ft. of fly line fills the reel spool. The perfect match for this particular flyrod!
This is an older Battenkill I reel that Orvis no longer makes anymore. This is the first small reel I ever bought when I started to fly fish years ago. I have this reel paired with my 7 1/2 ft. Redington Trout Classic 3 wt. It's the perfect combo to fish Walker County Lake and small ponds. I would use it to fish small streams for trout if I had that luxury like some of you guys have in the Northeast. The reel measurements are 2 3/8" width---7/8" reel width and spool width is 1/2". You can see it's been used quite a bit from the dirty cork handle. 
What caused me to purchase this combo some years ago was the smaller bluegills and trout I was landing on Walker Lake and the Sipsey. Some years ago the average size trout stocked on the Sipsey was 10". So I thought the 2 and 3 wt. combos would match the catch. It's loads of fun landing smaller fish with a 2 and 3 wt. flyrod. This combo is a 7 ft. trout classic paired with the newer Battenkill I fly reel. Its measurements are 2 5/8" dia.---3/4" reel width and spool width is 3/8". I use 90 ft. of fly line to spool this reel which eliminates backing. The 2 wt and the 3wt. are great combos to start a child fly fishing. 
 I purchased this flyrod last year on eBay for 90.00 used. It is a 10 ft. 3 wt. Euro Nymphing fly rod that is extremely sensitive using one or two nymphs high-sticking. I've only used this combo a couple of times on the Sipsey last year when generators were not running. After landing a couple of trout on one outing last year, it convinced me Euro nymphing is the way to fish pressure waters like the Sipsey. I wanted to pair this flyrod with a reel that was light to compensate for the hours of drifting nymphs in pocket water and seams I would be fishing. The reel measurements are 2 3/4" dia---reel width is 1" and spool width is 5/8" wide. I spooled the Rio nymphing line on the reel and didn't use a traditional fly line. No casting involved with Euro nymphing just flipping the flies into position and drifting nymphs slow and deep!  

Monday, January 10, 2022

My Other Social Media Outlet


As most of you know winter is not a season I look forward to. Why, because trout fishing is practically none existence on the Sipsey because generators run constantly. You guys that fish the native trout streams are so lucky. No generators to contend with, only a heavy rain that might cause the stream to rise some, but is back to normal flow in a day or two. How I wish I had that type of stream to fish here. So to satisfy my lack of trout fishing I watch Utube fly fishing videos. I have established quite a few contacts interacting with guys who post some great fly fishing videos. Not only are their videos entertaining but educational as well. The following videos are some of my favorites:

Drew Looknfishy---- Drew has a blog by the same name but never publishes posts anymore on his blog because he has quite a following on Utube now. His videos feature small stream fishing out west during the late spring and summer months. 

Hardman Fishing Adventures ------This is a young guy that makes all of us seniors wish we were young again and could balance walking logs across streams and hiking miles on some of the most beautiful trout streams in the northeast.

Jensenflyfishing -----Dave and Amelia are husband and wife who fish for huge trout in Canada and Ontario -----amazing how well they get along and work together to land some colorful brook, browns, and rainbow trout!

George Daniel ---- this guy knows more about Euro Nymphing than anyone I've watched on Utube. I hope I can get to use some of his Euro techniques on the Sipsey if I ever get to fish it again.  George does most of his fly fishing in Pennysaliva's native streams.

Old Dominion Trout Bum------Cory, lives in Virginia and fishes small streams and tailraces in six different states north of him all the way to Maine. He only fishes the Euro technique and is very good at it!

And last----Scotty's Gone Walkabout----This guy takes overnight camping to another level all over Australia. He is in the process of learning how to fly fish as he hikes through the mountain terrain of Australia. 

Most of these guys post a video at least once every two weeks.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Reminisicing


As I get older I find myself reminiscing more about my childhood growing up in Choctaw County in Mississippi. My fondest memories were fishing the two streams that flowed through our property near our house. One of the streams was near our pond that we fished and swim in. My younger brother and I would walk the banks of the streams in the summer and spring looking for pocket holes that held sun perch and yellow catfish. The catfish could put a bend in our hand-made 9 and 10 ft. cane poles. We didn't realize it at the time but we were tight-lining without a cork. We seldom used a cork because the spots we were trying to fish were well hidden with brush and limbs. We would shorten our line on the cane poles at times to gently stick the end of the pole right above the surface of the hole and wait for a tug on the redworm we use as bait. We would always land our best fish using this method. Redworms were our go-to bait when fishing the creeks. Little did know at the time that the tight line method we use as young boys would be used by me to fish for trout one day. True the cane pole method wasn't as refined as the fly rod, but still is was successful. 

We would watch my Dad land bluegill and bass with the fly rod and be amazed at how far he could cast a popper. Dad used an 8 1/2 ft. Southbend fly rod paired with a Daiwa fly reel. My brother and I got to use Dad's fly rod only when he had time to give us pointers on how to cast. We found out that our cane pole could be used as a fly rod and much easier to cast. We used a monoline as long as the cane pole. We use green grasshoppers as our fly casting it as far as we could fishing the small creek that flowed into our pond. We would land small rock bass hiding near the undercut banks of the little stream. As quickly as the grasshopper vanished we would jerk the pole upward and the little fish would fly over our heads. It was always a contest to see who landed the largest little fish. We didn't realize it then but we were using a scale-down Tenkara rod. I am so glad that my brothers and I were raised to enjoy the outdoors in the form of fishing, hiking, and hunting----memories I will never forget!

As the winter months close in it gives me time to look back on this past year and wonder how I will approach the coming season. Where will I be casting my flies and poppers this next season? I hope I get to fish the Sipsey more this coming season!!!!------------Here's wishing you all a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Sink Tip Poly Leader

 

If you fish long enough you may think you've learned everything there is to know about this great sport. There is always new gear, accessories, flies, and equipment to enhance the skills or catch ratio of any fisherman. Like many of you, I am willing to try a new fishing product if it improves my chances of landing fish. The Sink-Tip Poly Leader at Orvis is one of those products I purchased some months ago but never used until this past Tuesday. This is a sink-tip leader that can be used as an extension of your floating fly line. You simply loop to loop the leader to your fly line and you are good to cast. The leader has a monocore tip which I cut off and tied in a tippet ring instead so I could change my tippet much faster instead of using various knots to attach the tippet. Once you add two feet of tippet from the tippet ring you are fishing a leader about 9 ft. I choose the intermediate sink tip leader from the four sink tip leaders they sell. This leader sinks at a rate of 1 1/2 inches per second and by adding a bead-head nymph the tippet line is sinking close to the same rate as your sink tip leader. The Orvis link will give you a detailed description of all the Sink Tip Poly Leaders they sell. 
Jeff and I ended the season Tuesday fishing Ryan Creek on Smith Lake. I checked the forecast for Tuesday mainly for rain and didn't think of checking for wind. We arrived at the lake with wind gusts 10 to 15 mph and temps in the low forties. We knew the fishing was going to be slow and we had to find rock walls out of the wind. With that in mind, we proceeded up Ryan Creek in my Tracker Boat until we located the one wall suitable to fish. I found out years ago that there are two negative factors when fishing surface flies, wind and sun. We had the wind but not the sun. We were amazed we landed a few bluegills and smaller spotted bass with the surface temps at 65 degrees. The popper action ended almost as quickly as it started when peaks of sunlight penetrated through the cloud cover. With the surface action over for the morning, I knew what I was going to try, my sink tip poly leader rigged with a bead-head wooly bugger. I had been planning this trip for a couple of weeks. I even tried the sink-tip leader rigged with the wooly bugger in a small pond where Cathey and I walked. I was impressed with how easy it was to cast using my 5 weight Redington fly rod. In other words, I was sold after landing the largest Spotted Bass on Smith Lake this year. 

This pot-bellied female took me for a ride into the depths of Ryan Creek. I had my 5 wt. rigged with a  brown tensile wooly bugger which got her attention. I was casting the bugger as close to the rock walls and at times I would hit the wall with the head of the fly. My first fish on the bugger was a small rock bass, causing me to tell Jeff that at least one fish was interested in hitting it. As we moved slowly down the wall I continue to make shoot cast letting the excess line at my feet shoot through the guides of the rod. Once the fly made contact I started using different retrieves, in the form of short jerks, slow-moving retrieves, and at times letting the bugger drop and giving it a quick jerk. The slow drop and jerk motion is the retrieve that connected with the fish. 
I can't think of a better way to end my Smith Lake fishing season for this year. I've already started planning for Spring to arrive and land some more of these fantastic fighters on the fly rod. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Survival of Stocked Trout in Tailwaters

 


I received an email the other day from one of my fly fishing buddies concerning stocked rainbow trout in the Sipsey Tailrace that we fish. The email contained a study conducted by an Auburn University student in partial fulfillment for a Degree of Masters in Science. 

Hypolimnetic discharge waters (the layer of water in a thermally stratified lake that lies below the thermocline, is noncirculating, and remains perpetually cold)  from reservoirs in the southern U.S. provides water temperatures cold enough to support Rainbow Trout fisheries in regions where they otherwise could not exist. The Sipsey Fork tailwater in Alabama provides such an opportunity and is stocked with Rainbow Trout monthly. In a recent survey, less than 25% of the Rainbow Trout stocked each month were harvested and few trout appeared to persist in the system for more than 3-4 weeks. The objective of this study was to describe post-stocking dispersal and the fate of the non-harvested Rainbow Trout. In March, June, and October 2017, and January 2018, numerous Rainbow Trout were radio-tagged and tracked to document movement patterns and to determine longevity in the tailrace. Tagged Rainbow Trout had dispersed an average of 4.1 km or 2 .54 miles with only 30% of tagged Rainbow Trout remaining alive five weeks after stocking. The extent of predation on Rainbow Trout was assessed using a bioenergetics approach. Electrofishing surveys and diet analysis of predators identified Striped Bass as the primary predators of Rainbow Trout in the Sipsey Fork. Bioenergetics simulations revealed that approximately 500 Striped Bass living continuously in the tailwater from March through October could consume all Rainbow Trout stocked each month. Knowledge regarding the dispersal and fate of stocked Rainbow Trout in this system can improve the management of the fishery.


This study proves what a lot of us who fish the tailrace have known for some time that the Striped Bass consumes a large number of the trout once they move beyond the pump station. I have never seen Striped Bass above the pump station which is where a lot of the fly fishermen wade. All the guide trips take place above the pump station. There is less than a quarter of a mile of prime trout fishing from where the trout are released to the pump station. The rest of the tailrace is much too deep to wade. I feel the deep water below the pump station is where most all the trout are consumed by Striped Bass. 1100 to 1200 pounds of trout are released in the tailrace each month which could equal to 1000 trout or below depending on the size of the trout. Consider how many trout would be left in the quarter-mile wading section if trout were released every couple of months.

I respect the findings of this study but see little chance of reversing the effects the Striped Bass have on trout that is stocked in the Sipsey. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Bluegill, Start to Finish


The bluegill is probably the most common warm water fish caught throughout the United States. A lot of us started fishing as youngsters fishing for the bluegill. These fish will hit almost anything that moves in the water. I remember catching this fish as a boy fishing from the bank in our pond near our house. The first fish my grandchildren landed when they started fishing was the bluegill. Any size bluegill will produce a bend in the light fishing rod. The excitement on the face of a small child landing bluegill is priceless. I know I have witnessed that excitement. 

Bluegill and Crappie are the only fish I keep to dress for table fare. Both these fish are excellent to eat if they are dressed and prepared right. I'm not a fan of the so-called tried and true method of cleaning these fish. Scraping the scales off their sides and cutting their heads off is how we prepared them for the skillet years ago. My family and I thought they were delicious to eat at the time. 

It took years for me to discover that a filleted fish has a much better taste than a fish fried whole with the skin and bones. You eliminate the fishy taste when the skin and bones are removed from the fish. I filleted my first bluegill 45 years ago one afternoon on the back porch of my school Principals house, dressing bluegill we had landed that afternoon. The first fish I filleted on my own wasn't perfect but over time I mastered the process. 

This little Rapala 8" fillet knife is all one needs to fillet bluegill and crappie. The knife needs to be razor-sharp. A dull knife will not get the job done properly!
Both these beauties were taken off the rock walls on Smith Lake using the Boogle Bug poppers this past Thursday. A meal for two can be prepared from the meat taken from 5 or 6 bluegills this size.  
I created this video some time ago explaining exactly how to fillet quality-size bluegill. The same technique can be used on the crappie as well. 

The Receipt for delicious bluegill and crappie


Take all fillets and place in a pan with water and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of salt and stir until all the salt is dissolved into the fillets---let sit overnight in the frig--the salt removes all the blood from the fillets

Remove the fillets the next day and wash all the salt off the fillets

Spray a cookie sheet with pam and coat all the fillets with cornmeal mixed with lemon pepper, salt, and black pepper

Bake all the fillets on 450 in the oven and turn the fillets over in about ten minutes and continue to bake until done. The process of baking the fillets takes about 20 minutes or less. You want the fillets to be tender and not overly baked which will make them tuff.


For those of you who like the fillets fried use a fry daddy adding Crisco, or Coconut oil to fry the fillets until they are golden brown--remove the fillets and let set on a paper towel to drain the oil 

French fries, coleslaw, and hushpuppies are all sides dishes that are delicious to eat with the fillets. Don't forget the tartar sauce and catsup---almost forgot a cold beer to top the meal off!!

Enjoy the meal!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Micro Swivel/Vanish Flourocarbon

 


This past Friday was another steller day fishing Smith Lake for bluegill and spotted bass. I was alternating between my 3, 4, and 5 weight fly rods. All the fly rods I use to fish the lake are nine feet medium to light action. I like to use 4X, 5X, and 6X weight leaders in 9 ft. and 7 1/2 ft. lengths. I always snip at least 24 to 30 inches of the tippet section off and add a micro swivel to the remaining leader. This tiny little swivel is a must when fishing surface flies and poppers. The swivel gives me the advantage of adding tippet to a leader that lasts me a couple of seasons. The swivel also keeps my tippet line from twisting, when casting different size popper. As soon as the tippet section reduces to 8 to 10 inches from changing poppers I tie on a new tippet line. By following this procedure I'm always fishing with a new tippet line. You may be thinking I am spending a bunch on tippet material; not so when I can buy 100-yard spools of Berkley Fluorocarbon Vanish 4lb. 6lb and 2lb. test line that will last me years. What impresses me about this line is its low memory and being super clear. The spooled Vanish line and the Micro Swivel are money savors for the fly fishermen on a budget and retired!

The orange Bea Popper is still the favorite of the bluegill and bass! I use the size 10 for bluegill and the size 8 for the bass. The next 5 to 6 weeks is prime topwater action on the lake using surface poppers.  Hopefully, I can make a trip happen soon on the tailrace. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Keepsakes

 A Keepsake can be defined according to Websters and Google as something kept in memory of the person who owned it or something kept as a memento. All of us have items in our possession that would qualify as a keepsake or memento. The older and longer an individual keeps the memento items the more valuable they seem to become to that person or persons. 

So you guys ask, where did this post originate from? As I was stringing my three fly rods for one of my early morning fishing trips the other afternoon, I couldn't help but admire the three flyrods/reel combos I had chosen for the early morning outing. It has taken me years to assemble the seven combos I own and all have special meaning. I can recall some of the fish I've brought to hand using each one.  All seven of my combos have met my needs for fly fishing and will continue to do so the rest of my fishing. This may be a bold statement, but I will never purchase any more fly rods or reels the rest of my fishing days. All are considered special in my mind, but the one that really stands out is the combo given as my retirement gift 15 years ago. I have mentioned this fly fishing combo numerous times on this blog. I am referring to my Streamflex 9 ft. 3 wt. paired with my Orvis 3 wt. fly reel.


This combo is truly a Keepsake that I treasure and I help it will stay in the family for many years.

Another Keepsake I treasure is the bone-handle Case hunting knife that my Dad purchased over 50 years ago. He never used the knife because he didn't want to damage it. Dad was a Case pocket knife guy and owned quite a few in his lifetime. My Mom gave the knife to me over 25 years ago. The sheath has seen some wear over the years but will still holster the blade and protect the handle.
Two written texts that I am glad I took the time to assemble are my  Ancestry research and my blog to book. Both have special meaning and will be shared with family members over the years.
All of you know what a big western fan I am and anything to do with the wild west interests me. Ten years ago,  my son gave me a solid bronze 8 lb. statue of a Sioux warrior in full battle dress. It sits proudly in our den and one day will sit in Jason's den.

Three years ago, I decided to give Jason a Christmas gift that he would keep for the rest of his days. His interest in fly fishing got me thinking about some unique streamers framed under glass. This is where my blogging buddy Alan at  Small Stream Reflections entered the picture. I wanted him to tie 15 streamers utilizing as many colors as possible in the streamer patterns.  Jason and I were amazed at the detailed work he did creating each streamer pattern. He is truly a master at the tying vice! This streamer picture is what one would consider a keepsake that will stay in the family for years to come. It has been hanging on Jason's bedroom wall at our house for the past three years. It will find a new home in Jason's house in Noverber, which is when his house will be ready to move in.  
All these Keepsakes or Mementos will hopefully stay in our families for many generations. I know all of you guys have mementos or keepsakes you value. What would you consider the top three or four items you would want to keep in your family?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Blogger is Changing

I found out a couple of days ago about some of the changes occurring with Blogger. I started using Blogger back in 2010 and have never used any other means to publish my post. Yesterday was a shocker for me when I found out that I couldn't delete some of the blogs I follow that don't post anymore. If you go to the layout link in the dashboard and select the gadget "Blogs That I Follow" you will notice that it has changed. This new version only allows you to follow ten blogs. If you try to add more than 10 blogs none will display on your feature blog page. The following links will not work anymore from this gadget. The Snippet of most recent item, Thumbnail of most recent item and Date of the last update. The only way for me to see if you guys have submitted a new post is to click on your blog title to see you have submitted a new post. If you are using WordPress or some other blogger support service, those blogs will show the broken links I have mentioned above. With Blogger I don't have that option anymore. 


My wife told me this might be a blessing in that I don't follow as many bloggers as I use to. The 10 I selected to follow is about all that I communicate with these days. Still, these little changes that keep occurring with Blogger are annoying. It makes me wonder just how long Blogger will be around for those of us who use it as a means to share our posts.  

I was on the Blogger Forum yesterday communicating with bloggers who are having some of the same problems I am experiencing. A lot of the individuals were experiencing other issues. I am sharing a link that helps explains some of the changes occurring-----Blogger Hints


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Working Through Some Frustration

 


I'm glad summer with its 
humidity, rain, and heat is coming to an end. I got a feel of some early fall weather Friday morning as I launch my boat at the dam on Smith Lake. A light jacket felt good to be wearing as I motored to one of the many rock walls in Ryan Creek. Fall is some of the best times to fish the lake using a fly rod and popper. 

The closer you get the popper to the wall the better chance you have to get the hit. The heavy rains didn't affect the clarity of the water, making it easy for the bluegill and spotted bass to target the popper. 
The bass was not hitting anything on top and this one was the only one that hit the little popper. I am not complaining because anytime I can land quality bluegill using the 3 wt. I'm pleased!
The winner today in the popper category was the size 8 Orvis Bluegill Bug. I have mentioned how effective this little popper is before in a previous post, but today it outperformed anything I was casting. What makes this popper so special is its ability to go subsurface when moving it. Most all the hits today occurred when the tiny popper was submerged. I always select this popper when the fish are not responding to surface poppers and today was one of those mornings. 
What a great way to spend a cool early fall morning fishing some of my favorite rock walls on beautiful Smith Lake. All these beauties were taken using the little subsurface Bluegill Popper. 
32 fillets ready for the freezer to be enjoyed during the winter months. 

A little frustration, no a lot of frustration trying to maneuver a trout fishing trip on the Sipsey these days. I do have the option to fish on the weekend, but I'm not a fan of casting thirty feet from someone else above and below me. The weekends are the only time the generators are not running. I am grateful I have Smith Lake to fish during the drawdown. Today's trip help me work through my frustration----Hopefully, the drawdown will be complete by October.  

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Color "Orange"


Orange, red, green, chartreuse, and white are all colors that are used when fishing poppers for bluegill and bass. One would think brown or black would be dominant colors fishing for warm water species, but not the case when trying to get a hit from weary bluegill or bass. The primary color of almost all insects that touch the water surface on Smith is black and brown, but I get many more hits using bright colors as opposed to the insect colors. 

The fish were hitting orange on Tuesday morning. I tried other colors which resulted in no hits. As soon as I tied on the Orange popper the bass jumped on it. This Spotted Bass came out of the water to inhale the orange popper. This fish was the second landed on the popper off the wall in the background. The first bass on this same wall was larger and broke me off while I was trying to get it on the drag. Never let your fly line get tangled up at your feet while you are trying to land a fish. How I wish I could have touched that fish I lost!!
The following are some more orange lovers. The bluegill sucked the popper into its gills; it would be my only good bluegill of the morning. The depths on most all the walls now are 10 to 20 ft. as the drawdown continues getting ready for the fall season. The lake is well below full pool during the fall and winter.  I kept wondering what bug the fish thought this popper was? All the Spotted Bass today were respectable giving my 3 wt. a workout!
Who needs a ruler when one can simply have it tattooed on your leg. I think I will pass on this tattoo. Tuesday was another fun day on beautiful Smith Lake!!