Thursday, April 21, 2011

Baghdad Fly Fishing Club

Check out this Slab of the month entry on Moldy Chum. Steve Peterson serving over in Iraq sent in picture of a pretty nice slab.  He is a member of the Baghdad Fly Fishing Club and they could use some gear to help outfit their club members.  You can send donations by mailing them to one of these two addresses:
MAJ Dave Cloft
USF-I J5 Assessments
Unit 42001
APO AE 09342

If the above address fails, send to:
BAC&SFF C/O Joel Stewart
3461 Calavo Drive
Spring Valley, CA   91978 
 This is a great chance to find a home for your unused fishing gear.  You can see a list of gear they are in need of here.  I hope everyone can send out just a few things they have lying around.  It all adds up and will provide gear for our troops overs seas to try and find some relaxing time between what must be a stressful situation to say the least.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rush River BWO's and the crowd

The Rush is a classic driftless region lime stone bluff stream

To say the Rush river is a popular fly fishing spot is an understatement.  I have avoided it until now for two reasons.  One is Access.  This is a common problem for streams in Wisconsin.  Maybe I haven't come across the right info, but I can't find a map that has a clear indication of what land is private with an easement, private with no access or public.  Minnesota publishes an invaluable book that marks each trout stream, shows the regulations and where easements have been secured.  My approach in Wisconsin: find a river, drive to a spot, and check for no trespassing signs.  A driftless anglers best bet in this situation is to consult the driftless bible, Trout Streams of Minnesota and Wisconsin by Jim Humphrey and Bill Shogren.  This book has all you need to start exploring the streams of Wisconsin including maps and a little info about each river.  There is not so much detail that you will know a specific spot to fish, but the book will get you to a general spot that can be explored.   After all, exploring a new stream is half the fun.  I owe a lot of my fishing success to those two guys, and I am so thankful they produced such a great book. 
    The other reason I haven't fished the Rush until recently is it's so crowded.  Well, it is and it isn't.  It's a big river.  I drove up A from the Mississippi past about 4 spots detailed in the book and one other I had heard about.  2 spots had one car.  One had none and the other had at least 7.  Since I haven't fished that spot I have no idea why so many people were out there but geez.  If I see two cars I move on to somewhere else.  I look for no cars or one if it is a crowded weekend.  There are plenty of fish and spots on the river.  I wouldn't want to fish with 10 other people on a section of river anyway.  I moved on to another spot, saw one car parked and saw the guy walking down stream.  I parked and headed up.  I saw one guy coming back down and I worked past him up stream.  I didn't see another person until I got back to the 3 pools closest to the access point.  All three were occupied.  The funny thing is I only caught one fish out of those three pools on my way out.  Up stream a half mile or so I got 8, almost all on #20 or #18 (after I destroyed my #20s form catching so many fish I switched to 18s) BWOs.  The pressure is super high at the bridge crossings and the first few pools but if you get out to the 7th or 8th pool, chances are you will be the only one out there and the fishing will be better.  I do the same thing at the lower Kinny when there are lots of people.  I walk out until I pass two runs or pools with no one in them then I work my way back.  Usually, by the time I get back to the popular pools they are empty.  Moral of the story is get out and walk until it's not crowded anymore.  You will catch more fish, get better exercise and not waste your time on a bunch of spooked fish. 
Wide, and not shaded.  The Rush has some challenging runs

Only fish I got on a nymph.  #18 BH flashback pheasant tail.  Smaller than average fish for the Rush

Below is a video of the BWO hatch last Sunday.  Pretty consistent like that for hours.
    Another early season thing to consider is shade.  The Rush is wide in spots and the trees this time of year are not shading any part of the stream most of the day.  Generally, fish stay out of bright runs or feeding lanes when there is no shade.  If they are out there it won't take much to send them to the bank for safety.  The good thing is fish are hungry this time of year, so there may be feeding fish out in a sunny spot anyway.  Look for spots with a little shade though;  I think the fishing will be a bit better there.  Later in the day when the shadows get longer may be the best bet this time of year. 
    Cloudy days this time of year are a great thing.  This Saturday looks like it might be a great day for a BWO hatch.  I got a nice 14-15 incher on the Rush last Sunday on a #20 BWO.  Still working on my 20-20 club though.  (20 inch fish on a size 20 fly)
Nice 14 incher on a #20 BWO.  Glad I had my net.  This guy hit the fly and just sat there in the current for a few seconds with me pulling on him.  Then he decided he'd had enough and headed for the deep bank side. 

My last #20 BWO.  Mangle.  Got a few more on #18s

Monday, April 4, 2011

What can you do?

Sneaking up on trout during a hike.  Hope days like this are just around the corner. 
I'm ready for some bigger fish like this. 

I didn't go fishing this weekend.  Actually, I didn't even think about going.  I took one look at the Mississippi and thought  the trout streams would look about the same.  High, fast and chocolate brown.

Maybe I should have gone.  Catching trout under those conditions is tough but not impossible.  I walked the Kinnie a few years back around the same time of year.  I had never seen the river so high and off color.  I brought my rod down but I wasn't serious about fishing.  I stripped a wolly bugger across a few runs but got nothing.  I ran into a guy who said he got 4.  I couldn't believe it.  Then I saw him get one along the bank.  He was high sticking nymphs along the banks.  With the high water, the banks turned into the perfect spot for trout to get out of the current.  The banks were higher, since the water was up, and had more room for the fish to stack up.  I guess you learn something every time you go out.  It makes a lot of sense though but it's just hard to do the opposite of what you normally do on a stream.  Typically, I would be standing about a foot or two off the banks and cast to the deeper part of the pool or run and that would be where a majority of the fish are.  Now, I was standing where a majority of the fish were.  The center of the stream was a torrent of rushing water.  The fish were not out there, that would take way too much energy to maintain.  I'm going next weekend, high water or not.  Here is what I'm thinking for tactics, any of your ideas would be appreciated.  I haven't fished these conditions often so I could use some help.

I'm going to forget about dries until the water comes down. I am not, however, going to forget about emergers.  I think a lot of hatching insects just get tossed around in water like this.  I'm not going to go for the just below the surface film emerger type fishing.  I'm going to fish a two nymph rig with a small bead head (maybe with an extra split shot if the water is really moving) and a soft hackle emerger about 16 inches off the bend of my nymph.  If insects are hatching off the bottom I really don't think they could get up too high without getting swept down stream.  Plus, I doubt many fish will be darting out into that current very often.  We'll see how it goes.