Friday, September 12, 2014

Meanwhile on Tionesta Creek



 
Meanwhile on Tionesta Creek
September
 
 There was a steady breeze in the early afternoon. The white puffy clouds were moving along the sky as if the wind gusts were pushing them along. The creek looked inviting. The water flowed easily in the shallows, rolled with riffling effect as it narrowed and then rushed towards the outside bend. There it waved and tumbled near the bank till it emptied into a deep pool of water where submerged boulders laid beneath. The inside bend was calm, clear and flowed easy again.
My Woolly Bugger tried the riffling current. The first hook up was quick and hard. There was no easement in the quick current to guide my catch. The trout surfaced and the force of the surface current was too much as the hook found its way loose from the lip. The trout disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
  I cast out towards the deeper pool, after adding some weight. It searched for another trout without success. I moved to the calm water near the far bank and searched some more.
  Swinging and easing my strips I felt the swipe at the end of my line. This time I was able to gain better control of my catch in the slower current. It wasn’t long before my 9’ custom 4 weight fly rod was able to bring the trout to my net. A fine looking rainbow was captured.
 
Late summer trout are scarce in a stocked stream this time of year but the ones that are usually caught are much bigger than when in the early spring.
The breeze came and went as the smoke from my stogie showed its path and forcefulness. On occasion the sun peeked out and brightened the day. There were no mayflies about so I stuck with my Wooly Bugger searching for another hungry trout.
  The next trout took the Bugger as I stripped it in towards me. He flashed and turned outward towards the opposite bank. We wrestled until his strength eased and I brought another to my net.

 

 The afternoon was relaxing and calm. Seldom did a vehicle drive along the road disturbing the quietness of my surroundings. I had no where I needed to belong, time was on my side!!

 
 As evening came the sun moved behind the treetops upon the mountains. The sun rays bounced off the white clouds leaving plenty of daylight but shadows covered the bank sides. I lit another cigar and again continued searching.
 
 The long cast dropped my Woolly Bugger in the calmer water beyond the main flow of water midstream. Instantly I noticed the fly line dip below the surface quicker than expected. I stripped line back and reared back to take up the slack in hopes of getting a straight line to set the hook. I felt the resistance. At first it felt like I had a twisted heavy branch being pulled down creek with the current. I jerked the rod back enough just to make sure of the hook set. I felt the weighty fish arc with the line towards midstream, pulling and tugging wanting to take me down creek further. I knew right away this wasn’t a trout. It didn’t try to escape with speed but more trying to muscle his escape with weight and letting the undercurrent push him as he tried to stay at a crosscurrent angle. I gripped the cork tightly in my right hand with my left fingers tensioning the fly line as needed. Once I got the fish directly down creek from me I started to guide him towards me. As I brought him closer I held the rod with one hand as I undid the net from my belt and let it dangle in the water by the lanyard. The fish surfaced suddenly, splashing, trying to get away. There I seen he was a pig of a smallmouth. I reached to net him but he skimmed the surface water and headed back out midstream. I let enough line out, as the 4 weight flexed deep into the top third of its length, to settle the smallie down so I could get control again. I reeled line in until I had only a few inches of fly line extending from the tip top. As the rod arced the fish drew near enough I was able to scoop the big boy up.
“What a nice smallmouth”

 

 Was this to be my last catch?
 
 I fished for some time later making my way down creek some. I returned to the spot I caught the big smallmouth and decided to make my last few casts in the same area.
The evening started to cool as the sun lowered beneath the mountains making the shadows upon the water grow long. Even the creek water felt colder as it circled my hip waders. A few more casts I thought.
 I placed the bugger about where I had caught the smallmouth. I let the bugger sink a little longer before taking up slack and letting the slow current start to swing it down stream. I didn’t let it swing too far before I twitched the rod tip and started to strip the long length of line in with 3 second intervals. The line tugged, in between the strips, and I set the hook with a quick strip and yank of the rod. The force and speed of my captured fish took line quickly down creek. I knew this wasn’t another bass. Once I got him turned in my direction and calmed, I got him swimming in my direction with a lot of zigging and zagging. Once near he darted outward. I let him exert more energy hoping the hook wouldn’t come undone. Within time I got him close enough to scoop him up in my net. A fine rainbow completed the day.
 
 At the van I rewarded myself with a fine Nat Sherman mild cigar. I was surprised with the sweetness of the tip as I lit it.
Next stop was to be at The Kelly Hotel for wings and a couple of cold brews before heading home.

 
~doubletaper
 







 


 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Don't Count Me Out"

Don’t Count Me Out
8/31/14


  I look up and the sky is dull white as far as the eye can see. It’s like a painters canvas waiting for the artist to add color and beauty. The perception is, at this time, it isn’t going to happen. The rain falls from out of the pale skies in endless drops. Fallen raindrops spiral in the small puddles in the black driveway pavement. The day is gloomy and looks to be never ending.
“Looks like Jerry won’t be fishing today” I hear a familiar voice.
“Don’t count me out yet” I reply under my breath.

  I pack a cooler of drinks and put some extra clothes in my canvas duffel bag. Outside, in the light rainfall, I put the necessities in my raincoat including my Bugger Box, a couple of caddis dry boxes, nymph box and terrestrial box. In the rain I don’t expect to dry fly fish but one never knows. I piece together my SAS Scott rod and fit it with my Battenkill reel with weight forward line. I even knot on a Woolly Bugger. I make sure I have my camera and a few cigars and head north.
 
 As I cross the Lynch Bridge I notice one lone fly fisherman casting towards the roadside bank. I then realize that the rain had stopped. Down creek from the bridge a few people sit in lawn chairs overlooking the wide creek and a few youngsters are playing along the sloped bank where a few kayaks are shored. I turn right on rte. 666 and continue on. Sure enough campsites line the creek wherever possible. Tents of assorted colors are spread about the campsites with stone circled fire pits give off a cloud of smoke with a few flame flair ups. As I drive along the roadway I notice that the water is vacant of any human water activity. I can’t wait any longer to continue to examine my options and pull up to the guardrail leaving enough room to get my gear on.
  After suiting up I step over the guardrail and plop in the creek from the short sloped bank. It doesn’t take much time before I feel the coolness of the water around my ankles and calves through my hip waders. I light up a 55 sun grown and look up at the sky. The sky is now filled with stale blue clouds that only appear to move if I gaze long enough. I can hear a few birds chirping which gives me a good sign that maybe it won’t rain too long if it decides to start all over again. I can smell the wetness of the firewood smoldering in the nearby campsites along the creek. It’s peaceful and I’m the only fishermen in the vicinity, I like it!
  Once far enough from the brushy bank I start casting getting my timing and rhythm right. The water is pretty shallow as I’m making my way towards the deeper water beyond. As I am within reach of the deeper section I make long casts out and about. I move slowly and carefully upon the stony creek bed. I concentrate watching my fly line as it floats with the current while enjoying my cigar. I catch a flash across and down creek in what looks to be a deeper pocket.

 The water is no deeper than chest high this time of year and for now most of the water in this section might only get to be waist deep. The water is clear enough that I don’t need my polarized shades on to see through the water column. Besides that, as the humidity rises during noon time, having them on will only cause foggy lenses. I can already feel the heat beneath my raincoat.

  I take a few steps down creek and pull back for a long cast. I wait the extra second and cast the line forward with bugger in tow. The line straightens out in front of me and the bugger plops upstream from the deeper pocket. I take in a little slack and watch the fly line, upon the water, float with the slow current. I wait for a tug. As the bugger swings through the pocket I nimbly twitch the rod tip for a little more action. I feel a tug near the end of the arc and wrist the hook set. The surface water stirs down creek from the captured trout. He twists before struggling to take line further.
“He got a fish” I hear from the bank.
I give the trout some tensioned line, just enough to let him know he’s stuck. I move the rod up creek to my left and he follows as he tries to swim further out. I let the rod flex a little more towards him and he decides to struggle closer. I have my net ready as I lift the rod higher and he slaps the surface water as he enters.
“What is it?” I hear the questionable shout from the bank.
“A trout” I answer back.
“Looks like a nice one” comes a reply

The rainbow appears to be in fall colors. The gill plates are brightly colored red. Its sides are silvery and like a singular stroke of an artists brush a fresh coat of pinkish paint runs across its lateral line. Its fins are dark maroon, a fine colorful specimen.
 
I hold the trout up for the bank side audience to see. Three campers look on as I release the trout back into the stream.
  Without much hesitation I cast again out towards the last catch. As the bugger swings into the pocket I feel and see the line move with a swiping take as if the trout is going to make sure no other has a chance at it. The arc straightens towards the far side of the creek as the trout motors with the stolen bugger. The rod is already flexing and I only twitch the rod back a bit to make sure the hook is set good.
“He’s got another” I hear from my bank side audience.
  This one is a little more playful and aggressive. He shoots up creek and away. With my side pressure he turns just subsurface, enough to swirl the surface water, before heading back down creek. I try to keep the trout from rising to the surface by keeping the rod tip down. The trout swings to my right and I give him a little line as he enters through a riffling stretch of water caused by big beneath surface boulders. I raise the rod to keep the leader from dragging against the boulders. He continues to swim to my right until he feels more pressure from the flexing rod. I take in line as he swims nearer. I take my net out from my belt and get ready to net him as I try to get him under control. He surface splashes as I bring the net up with him inside.
The rainbow trout is an artists dream. It almost appears artificial. The gill plate is heavily marked in rouge red as if someone just applied the make up. Its lateral line is a sparkling crimson red, wet from the water and it glistens under the brightened suns rays. Its silvery body is speckled as if fresh ground black pepper was just sprinkled upon it. The fins are a soft maroon shade, thin and translucent.

 
With a twist of the forceps the hook dislodges from its mouth. I tilt the net and the fish swims free.
  I catch two more beautiful rainbows before a rise occurs, a little further downstream, still within casting distance from where I stand. The temptation is too real and I decide to try for it with a dry caddis imitation.
  The first cast drifts near enough to his strike zone but he doesn’t rise. My next cast I drop the imitation well within his sight. The dry drifts a half a foot and the fish takes the dry with an arcing splash. I rear back quickly and feel the rod flex. He struggles below and than heads up creek against the surface. I could tell he isn’t as strong as the rainbows so I don’t give him much line. Up creek he circles around me as I hold the rod in one hand while reaching for my net. The brown trout raises enough for me to net him quickly.

 
 The brown trout isn’t as fancy colored as the rainbows. Big dark black spots cover its dark olive brown body with a few deep orange speckles scattered about tapering towards the tail. I unhook the dry fly within his mouth and release the brown trout in the flow.
  I fish for about another hour slowly making my way down creek. I catch two more colorful rainbows before heading back to the van. By now my inner shirt is soaked from the heat that is being stored within my raincoat under the afternoon sunshine. At the van I put my rod inside and hang my raincoat on the rod rack. Its 2:30 so I decide to drive down creek to Lynch Bridge and see if I can catch a few more.
  Within a half hour of slowly wading down stream fishing the Woolly Bugger I am outmaneuvered by a big boulder I come across below the surface of the water. I was wading down creek with short steps when my left ankle came in contact with the submerged boulder. I was only in just below my knee caps when it tripped me up. I remember trying to raise my foot higher, as my balance was already leaning down creek. Not being able to find the top of the bolder or a sturdy place to steady my foot I went down on my side. I dropped the rod out of harms way and was able to break my fall with both hands without a scratch. When the water reached my neck I lifted myself up quickly. After grabbing my fly rod I pulled out my camera. Though it looked only slightly wet I was sure it had a quick good dunking being it was in my shirt pocket. I had left the rain coat in the van. I waded out to the van and wrapped the camera in a paper towel after taking out the battery and film card.
  Back in the water I fished my way a good piece down from the bridge. I caught two more rainbows and missed one before the rain continued long enough I decided to call it quits. I was pretty wet all around when I got to the van. It was a good thing I brought dry clothes. I quenched my thirst with a bottle of Busch Beer as I changed. By now the gray and slate blue clouds converged above and created an off and on drizzle.
 On the drive home I lit up a Marsh Wheeling Stogie. Except for the dunking of my camera it turned out to be not such a bad day after all.
“Never count me out” I mumble to myself!!
~doubletaper

 





 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tailwaters







Tailwaters
8/24/14

How could any outdoor loving fisherman not love a tailwater fishery?
A river wide enough that even a novice kayaker or canoeist can maneuver outside a fly fishermen’s casting distance.
 
Standing in the tailwaters I roll up my sleeves and light my first cigar, a 55 Corojo perfecto. I could feel the cool morning breeze on my bare arms and upon my head through my woven straw hat. The dusty clouds move from mountain top to mountain top under the bright blue sky.
A few Caddis are already seen fluttering and diving near the water surface.
 
I tie on a Woolly Bugger and begin fishing while watching for any rises. I spot the first rise. I nip off the Bugger and tie on a matching Caddis imitation. 1,2,3 casts and a trout slaps at the caddis, the line tightens and the trout struggles in the quick current. The rod flexes during the struggle. The first trout comes to net. Not a big trout by any means but the chunky rainbow puts a bigger smile on my face.
 
The sun finds a gap between the clouds and more Caddis flutter about which causes more rising trout. Flycatchers fly from tree tops from one bank to the other, swooping down on the fluttering caddis. The river waves sparkle from the bright sun like wardrobe sequins under stage lights. Spotting my dry Caddis is at times difficult but the splashing rises are evident. More chunky rainbows come to net.

 
Time passes as I cast out into the open water time and again.
 Another cigar burns, another trout rises and another tight line and struggle resumes.

 
 
Ususpecting trout fall victim to long casts of Caddis imitations.
The workout of casting seems endless as do the trout!
 

 
 
Back at the van I quench my thirst with a cold sweet tea before lighting up a Counterfeit Cuban
for my long drive home.
The results of time spent is well worth my effort.
Another fishing adventure concludes with lasting memories!
 
~doubletaper
 
 
 




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Make'm rise

 
Make'm Rise
7/26/14
 
“Watch this” I said loud enough for Randy to hear me.
“See that undercut in the bank, I’m gonna to put the beetle right in there”
“There’s gotta be one in there!”
  I made a couple false casts to get more line out. When I felt I had my distance I single hauled my back cast and bent forward at my waist as I started my forward cast. The loop unrolled and I let fly line slip through my palm enough to pinpoint the drop zone before pinching the line with the rod extended. The beetle fell under the overhanging curved root and into the darkness of the undercut. The white parachute, atop the beetle imitation, was very much visible upon the surface water…


 
 
 
 It's always a joy taking a friend, new to fly fishing, and teaching him a few tricks. I felt kinda bossy when I told Randy to stand on a certain rock and fish from that spot. The reason was that I didn't want him to get any closer to the trout, that I knew were there, and spook them. This also made him learn to cast further out than he has usually been. I could tell he was anxious as he was overpowering the rod with his backcast and forward cast right from the start. Newbie’s think they must use lots of power to cast further. Most newbie’s end up dropping their rod tip down on the backcast and starting their forward cast too soon. This will lead to problems of course and with too much force causes a backlash at the end resulting with the fly ending up only a foot or so from the tip of the fly line with the leader and tippet lying in a bundle. It took a little advice and instructions but soon Randy relaxed and got in his comfort zone.
 The trout on the other hand were a bit picky. There were short gusts of wind now and than that shuffled the leaves of the overhanging branches so we decided to use terrestrial imitations on top. The sky was overcast with the sun peering out occasionally making for a delightful day. In time we got them to rise to our imitations. After the first few catches though the trout were more wary of our presence but we stuck with it. From late morning to the evening we spent making trout rise where there was no evidence that any even existed along the bank.
It was a time well spent on the river casting to finicky trout. Changing our imitations was a must to put more trout in the net.
 
 
... Randy chuckled, as he watched and commented “that should do it”
The beetle didn’t sit there more than a couple of seconds when a swirl made the beetle disappear.
“Got’m!!” I shouted. We both chuckled out loud as the line tightened and the rod flexed more into the shaft.
The trout came darting out from the undercut and I could feel this wasn’t the norm for the day. He went straight up towards the colder creek water that flowed into the river. I watched the line slice through the surface water like a sharp fillet knife through fish flesh. He gave a jolting tug before turning back towards the river. A few more darts and his high energy exertion soon slowed to a controllable calm. The beauty of a brook came to the net.
 
~doubletaper


Here's a good sample of some of the nice brook trout Randy and I caught on the dry and one on a Woolly Buggers when times got real slow.

one on a beetle
 
One on a hopper
 
Randy showing off his catch
 
 
 
 
This one chased a bugger

You never know when one will take a Humpy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Evening Hoppers

 
Evening Hoppers
7/28/14
 
 The river flowed true, now abandoned by boaters and swimmers. There was a chill in the air as the dark gray clouds blanketed any brighter clouds above. The clouds moved in bundles intertwining with each other as they appeared to wonder about. Occasionally a sun beam would lighten the river momentarily until the next bundle moved within its path. Water waved more erratic over the shallower section before calming some in the deeper water down stream. Aside from a few chirping birds and gurgles of conversion currents the river was quiet and looked peaceful. Mist still lingered down the river valley from the recent stray down pour.

 
 From under my raincoat I take out a Cuban Counterfeit from my shirt pocket. The 1958 figurado is firm to hold and as I take a long whiff of the outer Ecuador wrapper it has a woodsy aroma with a touch of sweetness. I cup my hand and light the end of the short stogie. A cloud of smoke appears at the end of the barrel much lighter than the gray clouds above. One puff told me this was going to be a good medium full smoke to enjoy the outing.
  I look down the bank-side and ponder how to approach the shallow water where the trout lay. The mountain creek water that empties into the warm river is much colder. As it flows along the banks, trout will inhabit this cooler water away from the warmer river temperature. These trout are wary and with the water being clear are suspicious of any uncommon water wave or shadow that is cast their way.
  I step into the water and immediately feel the cooler creek water absorb into my socks through my wading boots. My ankles and than calves feel the flow as I wet wade, keeping my distance from the bank-side flow. I stop and I move with caution as to not attract attention to my presence. I already have a length of 4x tippet knotted to my 9’ 4x tapered leader I was using for casting streamers the other day. Knowing I will be using big grass hopper patterns later on I take the chance and knot on a foam beetle, hoping that the trout are not line shy. With the darkened sky it may not be as noticeable upon the surface.
  With ease I take my first cast and the beetle drops short of a bank-side boulder that lay against the shoreline. The beetle slowly flows near an overhanging leafy bush. I watch as it drifts aimlessly beyond the bush without a taker. My next cast is just this side of the same leafy bush. It plops for recognition. There are bubbles and small debris that is also flowing with the current so I hope that the audible plop will attract some attention. Within seconds a rising swirl appears to my beetle. With a quick yank I miss the take. Three more casts, in the same area, produces another take and I feel the resistance. The water stirs with activity but within seconds the hook frees and another trout finds freedom. I tie on a small caddis pattern after a few more casts. Drifting the caddis produces a swirl but the fish doesn’t take the imitation. I leave this small area after a few more casts and wade down river to a deeper looking pool. I tie on hefty hopper pattern and proceed.
  The hopper drops onto a flowing seam, bobs with the subtle waves and slows upon the deeper pool. I see the flash just before the take and yank the rod upward. The surface water erupts with the hook set and the trout takes deep with my tight line. He pulls line as he heads for the far bank. Not worrying about my 4x snapping I keep a good grip on the cork handle and let the trout bend the top section of the rod. He turns down river and scurries with sharp tugs. He makes an arc down stream and than angles to the wavier water behind me. I take in line and soon he is within 16 feet or so from me. I coax him back into the slack water and bring in more line until my fly line reaches the tip top. I pull my net out, from under my belt, and get ready to net the trout. Raising the rod he draws nearer, pushes outward and than comes closer to my leg. I scoop him up and my first brown trout is captured in my ghost net.
 


I release the hopper attached to the side of its mouth and the trout hastily escapes from
my net.

  This first take gives me a good feeling that the hopper is a good imitation and being easy for me to see I continue with confidence.
  I catch another closer to the bank. The swirl was obvious as the hopper disappeared. It is as if the trout knows, once a grass hopper falls into the water, it has no way of escaping. They rise and take the hopper like a helpless insect on the water surface.

 My cast drops the hopper directly, forward, of the deep pool down stream. With a twitch backward, of my rod, puts slack in my fly line before my hopper touches water. I watch as the hopper slowly drifts upon the surface. A trout rises to take a closer look but disappears beneath. Within seconds he rises again and slurps the hopper. With the hook set he too angles towards the far bank, turns down creek when he cannot pull any further, and arcs below. He swims towards the open water. I turn and angle the rod up river. He swims within the current as my tight line follows his movement. I take in line, swing my rod towards the slower current and bring him to the net.

 Time passes and fish take my hopper at any given moment. I enjoy the smooth medium bodied cigar as I fight fish on the Winston 6 weight.

  With a tight loop cast out and across from me I watch the hopper flow slowly with the current. The fly line begins to pull the hopper down creek and I watch as a trout rises and follows the hopper. The waves he creates, as he draws near just subsurface, pushes my hopper down and away. He swats his tale and lunges for the hopper before it gets any further down stream. With the rod already angled down stream I yank downstream as the trout grabs the hopper. The hook sets into its jaw and another battle begins. He splashes subsurface trying to release the hook before diving deep. I can feel he is a weighty fish and I let him take line as he aims for the far bank. He tugs line with head shakes just before darting down river. I give him more line as I swing my rod down and behind me. He rises down river and dives deep again. I cautiously bring in line as he fights for freedom. Closer I can see I hooked him by the beak. He shakes his head to free himself to no avail. The beautiful brown comes to net.

 The hopper over wing gets torn so I decide to snip it off. I also nip off the short piece of 4x tippet and knot on another longer piece. To this I pick out another hopper and knot it on. I cast about but without another take in the deeper pool I wade down river further.

  There are two boulders that sit up against the far bank. Water flows against it and wavy current appears as the water continues to flow at a faster pace. I lay the hopper just short of the boulders and watch as it enters the stream and drifts up against the boulders. The hopper drifts out from the seam and a trout swoops on it for an easy meal. I pull back the long length of line and feel the resistance. Another good battle ensues. It’s a battle of wits as he fights in the faster current. His energy weakens and I get him closer. Another fine brown trout comes to the net.

 As darkness hovers above me rain drops start to fall upon the water. I close my raincoat and cover my hat with the hood. I take out another stogie and light it. The stogie is much lighter than the last. I cast a few more times and wade back up river hoping to fool a few more trout before a big rainfall.

  I catch a couple smaller trout and decide to call it an evening. Once I get to the gravel bank I notice risers up river in the more open water out from the creek water that enters. I decide to give it a try. The rain stops and the evening brightens. I nip off the 4x and tie on a section of 5x. I knot on a caddis and cast it towards the latest rise. Without a take I short cast into the stream of water entering the river. A big swirl appears as soon as the caddis hit’s the water but I’m surprised and late on the hook set. I give the caddis a few more minutes and without a take I knot on a small parachute Adams. I cast this about and a trout takes notice. A quick rise and this time I’m ready. The frisky trout darts about causing swirls in the shallow water. I net the frisky brook trout.

 A few more casts and I hook another brook trout. One more brown takes my Adams imitation before I decide to call it a night.


 At the van I dry off and change into street clothes. Darkness closes in as I head for home. My 4 day vacation comes to a close with a big smile on my face and a smooth cigar between my lips.

~doubletaper

 
 
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Unprepared on the Clarion River

 
Unprepared on the Clarion River
7/04/14

  I hadn’t been out fishing for awhile being I had a couple of Cycle rides planned for overnight stays. The dry fly trout fishing hasn’t been the best this year being the heavy rain during the weeks made for high water and unfavorable conditions. I’ve had been tying smallmouth patterns for a friend the past couple of weeks after work and this has been getting me anxious to fish the river for smallmouth. For myself I tied up some popular poppers and sliders I’ve used with great success in the past. The green frog poppers are a killer.
 
Along with these I tied up some Clouser patterns also. I don’t use Clousers as often than I probably should in the river but I splurged for some painted barbell eyes and decided to give the tying a try on my own. I didn’t think they came out too bad. With a few crawfish patterns and Hellgrammite pattern I was ready for some smallies.

 
 
With that I was anxious to get out on the river over the 4th of July.

 
Friday morning I got my smallmouth patterns together with my last year stuff and combined them in a few fly boxes. I put some extra dry clothes in the sack and threw them in the van. I was planning on wet wading so I didn’t need any waders and left them at home. Usually the river is wadable for the most part and where it is not a weight forward line on a fast action fly rod will get to 98% of the river. I packed a cooler for the day and just in case the river would be higher than expected I threw in my float tube.
  Well, when I got down to the river it was high and brown stained. The further I drove upriver the cloudy it appeared to be. My first thought was to keep on driving and spend the next 45 minutes or so driving due north and trout fish the tail water of a dam. The problem was I didn’t bring any waders and I knew the tail water was going to be quite cold. At least I brought my float tube and not wanting to give up decided to give it a go anyway.
  I stopped at my favorite smallmouth fishing section and pumped up my float tube. I had discovered that I forgot my short flippers that help in the deeper sections. Not only that, with the stronger current it’s going to be difficult to ’steer’ the tube in the direction I may want to go! I loaded up the tube, put a fresh 3X tapered leader on my 6 weight Winston and headed down the bank.
  The water was colder than I expected as I stepped into the knee deep water. The late morning was overcast and the cool breeze didn’t help warm my upper body very much. I didn’t bring a warm long sleeve shirt so I was hoping the sun would stay out and keep me a little warmer than without it.
I started fish before the first set of fast riffles that was usually calm rolling waves. After that I sat in the float tube and away I went. I constantly searched to the river bed with an extended foot so I could stop and fish now and then. Occasionally this happened but I was never able to get to fish the opposite rocky slope. The cross wind didn’t help any when I cast across creek either. The only thing that was pleasant so far about the day was the stogie I was puffing on the whole time and even that was burning quickly in the windy conditions. It got to the point, even though my lower half got used to the water temperature, I was actually shivering at times.
  I got stopped, mid-river, just to the side of tumbling water over an uprising boulder. I planted my feet firmly on the river bed and let the float tube, roped and clasped to my belt, float down a few feet from where I stood. I attached a Clouser to my fast-snap and started to cast into the pocket water behind the boulder and slower current that followed. This looked like a nice spot to fish a weighted Hellgrammite pattern so I attached the heaviest barbell eye pattern I had. The second cast, upriver, behind the boulder the pattern didn’t tumble very far before I got a hard bump. I though maybe I had a snag but to my surprise I felt a fish fighting the line in the heavy tumbling brown stained water. I got it circled around and was surprised of the brown trout I had hooked.
 
 
This got my confidence up for sure. I continued fishing this section for some time with the current beating against my thighs and shivering half the time before I decided to continue down river. I did manage one more brown trout before I vacated the area.

 
 Later in the afternoon I drove down river for a place I could actually wade and fish without the float tube. Being the forth of July there were many fishermen out so the pickings were slim for a fly guy that wanted some room to cast. I came upon a milder section and parked before someone else showed up to swim or fish.
 Down in the river I started fishing Clousers, bugger and the Hellgrammite patterns. There were occasional canoes and kayaks that passed by but they kept their distance in the wide area so they weren’t a problem or a hazard. I spent a couple of hours and only caught 1 small smallmouth for my time spent with one of my Clouser patterns.
The day wasn’t the most pleasurable adventure but I did manage a few fish. Next time I’m sure I’ll be prepared for conditions or at least bring extra fishing gear for a plan C!
~doubletaper