Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evening on the Young Womans

Good Cigars and a Fly Rod
(Part 4 the end)
Evening on the Young Womans

 I stood on the sandy bank drinking a beer I traded for a half dozen dry flies. When I arrived at Young Woman’s Creek I met a couple of fishermen who were getting ready to drive up to Kettle Creek. The one guy said he did well in the lazy water I was looking over. He said he was using nymphs, though they both like to use dries but never could figured out what dries to use on occasions. They were from Altoona and came up north for a few days to relax and fly fish. In the conversation I showed them pictures of trout I caught on the Kettle and Cross Fork. They were interested in the flies I showed them I caught them on. I gave them about a half dozen but wouldn’t take any cash they offered me. When they offered me a beer, well, I couldn’t turn that down being I was down to one more bottle in my own cooler.
 Usually there are at least a couple of sippers beneath the overhanging branches in the shadows upon the far side of the creek. The one guy must have done pretty well for I didn’t see a rise the whole time I finished drinking the beer.

Back at the van I put my waders on and pieced together my 3wt Hardy rod. I laid my streamer box on the van floor, grabbed my last few cigars and straw hat. I sprayed my bare skin with bug spray and I was on my way.

 Upon the lazy water I sidearm cast a foam beetle under the overhanging branches in different areas but couldn’t make a trout rise. I figured they had sore lips already or scared to death. I decided to walk upstream a piece and work my way back to the lazy waters. When I entered the woods, along the path, I was met by those nasty pecker flies. Those tiny flies that dart in front of your face and pester the heck out of you. I tried to hurry and light up a Don Tomas Coronitas but before I got one lit one of them pecker flies flew behind my shades and into my left eye. Man was I pissed! I tried to do self optometry by rubbing my eye enough to tear up and than wiping my eye on a piece of toilet paper in hopes of getting the bugger out of the corner of my eye. Well that didn’t work at the time but I figured sooner or later I’d rub it out. Continuing on up the path, I puffed on the cigar and took mental notes of the creek flow and good pocket water along the way.
 I came upon a good section of water that looked fishy, went up creek and crossed in the shallow riffles. I tied on a chubby Catskill tied March Brown and slowly fished my way down creek. Casting upon riffles and against the banks I fooled a few slappers but only was able to hook up with two, one being a nice brown trout in deeper rough water run within the first half hour.

 As the evening progressed a few March Browns, small sulphurs and a few grayish mayflies rose from the waters. I didn’t come across any feeding risers but made a few more rise and hooked into a couple more. Casting my March Brown along a seam between the far bank and fast ripples is always a good bet sooner or later a trout would take notice. I learned to cast a few times in the same area before moving down creek. I figured a lone trout beneath just might not be ready for the first swift moving fly along the seam. The second time, it bobbles past, the trout are usually ready and willing to rise to it. It’s a quick wrist set upon the slapping rise with a good fight in the quick current flow.

 When I arrived at the lazy water I looked it over again but still no dimpling trout appeared. I tied on my favorite Gray Fox pattern and slowly fished it again. It was kind of disappointing I had no fish coming to inspect my fly but I didn’t give up hope.

 The sun just crested over the mountain top and the cool evening air began to be felt in the shadier areas. I rolled down my sleeves and pulled another cigar from my pocket. I lit up Cohiba Pequeno, though the pecker flies had abandoned me by his time, just for enjoyment instead of a smoky bug screen.
 I stepped slowly and cautiously positioned myself on the cement dam below the first ledge of water falls and sat on the heel of my wading boots to keep my profile low. The water fell again spilling over the wall ledge, I was on, and that crossed the creek before me. It bubbled upon entering the pool of deep water and riffled across the open water that was only about a few feet deep.

 The bottom was clear enough I could see the pebbly and submerged tree limb that lay on the bottom. I caught a glimpse of a riser in the slower tail out to my left but there was quite a bit of water I wanted to fish between us before casting a fly long line upon the clear water.

 The first taker rose quickly to my fly as it floated on the waves from the spill over. I was ready and got a good hook set on the riser. A short fight followed and I brought the beautiful brown to hand.

 I continued casting into the riffles and aroused a few more trout. One such was a nice fighting small rainbow and soon was followed by a frisky young brook trout.

  I was having a good time creating rising trout to my imitations. Occasionally a trout would rise in the slower water upon the tail out to my left. I couldn’t get any to take my fly figuring they could see my tippet or didn’t like my choice of fly. I changed over to a Ginger Quill, on 7X tippet, and was able to make a few more rise to it that wouldn’t rise to my Fox Pattern. Casting into the riffling water again I got a trout to rise with quite a bit more splash on the take. My Hardy rod flexed a little deeper during the fight and I pulled in a pretty nice size brook trout.

 The long days fishing and lack of sleep was getting the best of me and I decided to call it quits. I had caught quite a few trout in this last creek of my two day outing and was quite satisfied. Back at the van I popped open my last beer and sat a spell on the cement wall, against the creek bank, enjoying the scenery.

 Somewhere out of Renovo, heading up the road through Sproul State Forest, I reached down for my three finger cigar case. I found one last Arturo Curly Head Deluxe to keep me awake during my drive towards home. Nothing like a couple of good day’s dry fly fishing and ending it with a smooth cigar on the way home. 

\ _________~doubletaper

Friday, June 17, 2011

Smoke'n on the Kettle

Good Cigars and a Fly Rod
(Part 3)

Smoke’n on the Kettle

 Nearing noon I was ready to fish the wide section of Kettle Creek for some long casting exercise. There’s a long stretch of water Jeff and I always visit when we are up this way. It’s always productive whether fishing beneath or on top. Entering the head of the stretch is choppy riffles that keep a good current flow throughout the long stretch of deeper water finally slowing to a calm before entering into another shallow channeled riffle.

 I parked in the grassy area and find a guy fishing the calmer water below. I case my small rods that I’ve been using and take out the 9’ G2 5wt. Scott rod. When I read the review of the G2, before buying it, it sounded like the rod I was looking for. It turned out just that. A medium action that casts small flies with light tippet delicately yet handles big flies all on long leaders with an ease in casting. It’s not for very windy days I’ve found but on calm outings it’s the relaxing rod I was hoping for. With weight forward line I was ready for some 20 yard casts, if need be, to rising trout along this section of water.

 I waded across the calmer water and walked up the trail to the choppy water that entered the straight stretch of creek. I found it void of fishermen which was great. I love fishing a section like this nice and easy at my leisure. Starting at the choppy water I’ll just slowly work my way downstream casting dries wherever needed.
 I saw a few March Browns about but the glowing noon day sun kept many other Mayflies from showing up. It wasn’t long before the pesky black flies found me. They started to buzz around and crawl on my bare skin and straw hat. I lit up an Arturo Maduro to keep them from my face area.
The water I was casting upon was maybe 5 feet deep or more. With the clear water conditions it would be easy for a trout to see a dry on the surface. I was sure the contrast, beneath the blue sky, would be pretty distinct of a March Brown silhouette upon the surface. On one such cast, out mid-stream, my imitation was attacked by one of these deep dwellers. He rose with a turn downstream as if the fly already passed him by. I was ready as he surfaced for the March Brown imitation. A quick lift and line pull upstream and the rod tip flexed towards him. The trout took deep with a good tug upon his swift get-away attempt. Using 6x tippet, in the glowing sun, I let him have line as the Scott G2 applied the necessary pressure. He pulled with the current for a short run fighting towards the distant far bank. Three quarters across the pressure was getting to him and he turned upstream. He stayed deep for a last run and I took in line as he swam out in front of me. I held the rod up and I could feel his thrusting surges trying to pull away with pulsating tugs. With each tug the Scott rod tip flexed downward more but returned up bringing the trout closer. He finally turned and circled in front of me as I got ready to land the brown trout.

 That’s the way it was going to be. Wading slowly down creek, casting out, down and in front of me and watching my drifting dry. I was using 10’ to 11’ of tapered leader in hopes not to spook the trout with soft casts laying the line down with minimal splash. Than came the first real challenge.

 I spot a rise across the midsection of water. I finally got a target to aim for instead of blindly casting upon the surface. I’m looking at 25 yards or so with not as much room behind me for an even length back-cast. I take a few steps towards the deep until the water reaches the thighs of my hip waders. I pick a spot between the trees upon the inclined bank, behind me, where I need my line to load without hazard. Pulling fly line out of the reel, my fly drags with the current down creek keeping tension on the line. I flip a few roll casts in front of me to get the line across the water instead of downstream. After my second roll cast I position the rod tip just above the water surface and start raising it for my next back-cast. My fly drags across the surface towards me flexing the rod tip down. With a smooth back forearm motion the fly lifts off the water towards me. I single haul with my left line hand, pulling line down through the rod guides, generating more line speed. I stop my back-cast around the 1:00 position and feel the line load behind me. Starting with a slow forearm movement I move the rod forward and lay out a long cast letting extra line slip through my line fingers. The loop unfolds and my fly falls short as I expected.

 Calculating distance I immediately start another back-cast with a straight line in front of me. As the fly starts to drag in front of me I yank line through the rod guides again, as the dry lifts off the water, and I feel the rod tip flex forward with all the line tension. I back-cast and again bring the rod forward. Line shoots through the rod tip eye and I watch the line loop towards my target. Letting more line slip through my fingers the fly drops, softly, in the zone of the riser. The water flows constant across the creek so my fly line and fly flow evenly, drag free. With my rod tip pointing forward I’m ready to lift it quickly to take in line to set the hook. It takes only seconds for the unsuspecting trout to surface splash at my March Brown Parachute. A quick pull of line and rod lift, sets the hook as planned. I feel the resistance on the other end as he splashes once more before disappearing beneath for his underwater antics. I feel he isn’t a huge trout as he scoots downstream but with 6X tippet and the water undercurrent I’m not in any hurry to get him in. He fights within the midsection on the creek staying deep. When he decides to swim upstream I’m able to take in a lot of line. With him in front of me, and rod applying side pressure, he only tugs a couple of times before swimming towards me.

It was the action I was hoping for. A long cast, hook set and getting a good fighting trout to the net completed my wish.

 I continued fishing my way down creek towards the flat water. The whole time I spent puffing on a cigar trying to frustrate the pesky flies in to leaving me alone. At times I’d feel them find their way between the holes in my straw hat and crawl around on my head. This was annoying enough to get me to take my hat off and shake them away. For anyone traveling the road above, upon looking towards the water, it probably appeared as if a steam boat was slowly drifting downstream as the smoke rose upon every puff of my cigar.

  Down creek, in the shallower flat water, dimples of sippers were visible to the trained eye. The water rippled a bit from time to time with the passing of a slight breeze. This gave enough time to drop a well placed Gray Fox or Ginger Quill pattern upon the water without line glare.

 The pattern would glide with the rippled surface water causing a possible fluttering effect. A nose would rise and a quick reaction 90% of the time caught a portion of the sippers lip. Only catching lip skin often caused a released fish before bringing him to hand.

 Occasionally I’d hear a splash and turn in time to see the ring and bubbles from an aggressive riser. One such rise came against the grassy sloped bank partially shaded by brush. I could have gotten closer, in the knee deep water, for a shorter cast but I was comfortable where I was and didn’t want to make waves.

 My first cast, towards him, drifted my Gray Fox dry a few feet from the bank, in the sunshine glare. He evidently didn’t want to move out of his comfort zone within the shade. My next soft cast landed the dry upstream within a foot of the sloped bank. Sure enough he rose and sucked it in just like a natural drifting by. I reared back on the length of line and he splashed top side with the hook set. He darted beneath, down creek, with a brook trout fight. He zigzagged trying to get loose as I let line slip through my fingers towards him. By the fight and force he created I knew he wasn’t a small trout. He turned with lightening speed and I kept the rod flexed and line tensioned to my liking. Nearer me his beautiful colors came into view as the sunshine reflected off his yellow spotted sides within the clear water. I took hold of him, by his body, and after a quick picture unleashed him. I watched as the wide tailed brook trout eagerly swam away.

  After knocking off the ash of my cigar and a few flies from my bare skin, I continued casting to sipping trout. Most of the sippers were against the bank or under an overhanging tree shading the surface water. I spent another hour or so under the hot sun wading, puffing and fishing my way down creek. When a good breeze would blow upstream I’d grab and shake my straw hat trying to rid myself of some of the black fly passengers in hopes they would get caught up in the wind and just blow away. Some still hung on or where strong enough to withstand the breeze and returned to hitch an unwelcome ride downstream. There was no way to get rid of them so I lit a Cohiba Pequenos when the last one was no more than a stubble between my fingers, again to keep these pests from my face!

 I landed a rainbow and a couple more brook trout with a few misses before returning to my vehicle. By then I was all smoked out and felt like a smoldering ash fire struggling for fresh air, to fill my lungs.

Next stop was Young Woman’s Creek before heading home.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Patience on the Fork

Good Cigars and a Fly Rod
(Part two)

Patience on the Fork

There’s a good possibility that if one fishes Cross Fork Creek with patience it will pay off. The fish always seem wary of the presence of strangers. Maybe it’s the clear waters that they reside in every day and the amount of pressure they receive throughout the year. Accurate upstream casting will yield more risers in many confined quarters. I find if I work it alone, without being hurried, I have a better chance of hooking up more often. To the fisherman’s advantage is the fact that the trout have to eat, be it, they know your present or not.
 With the abundance of mayflies, from midges to drakes, the trout will take advantage of a meal at their leisure. On flat open pools of water they’ll sip midges or slap at fluttering mayflies trying to ascend off the water. In riffles they’ll let it pass before turning on it and excepting the consequences if they are fooled. They hide near crooked submerged branches along the bank or under over hanging brush waiting for a bug to draw near enough so they can quickly strike without exposing themselves too long from their hideouts.
 At times the creek is like a candy factory. The many different bugs and mayflies drift the current like flavorful candy on a factory conveyer belt free for the taking. Midges are like tiny gum drops, fluttering or drifting, from Chocolate Duns to tiny Blue Wing Olives. Mayflies from creamy Cahills, lemon color Sulphurs and Orangeish March Browns. In the super size category are Green Drakes and Slate Drakes.
 It gets frustrating at times seeing fish rise, dimpling on top or flat out whopping a bug in uprising flight, and you can’t understand why they won‘t take yours. You’ll finally catch a trout and think you figured out the right pattern, than you may catch only one more on a bunch more casts and wonder why other risers are ignoring yours. You’ll switch patterns and maybe get a rise out of one, not saying he’ll take it, but rise for a look see. What you’ll find is that while a few might be taking Chocolate Duns others rather like the flavor of Sulphurs. Some will only rise to fluttering Drakes or a clumsy March Brown drying his wings. I found switching patterns and sizes often yields more risers. A good drift and light tippet will help out immensely.
 From above you can see the bigger trout suspended near the bottom from 16” to 20”. To get one to rise is a question I’m sure many have pondered. Trying to drift a nymph from a distance that they can’t see you or the splash of the entrance upon the clear water to warn them is a matter in itself.
 It all requires patience. A little razzle dazzle like twitching the rod tip enough to get your dry imitation to ’flutter’ upon the surface makes it look more realistic. A plop of a beetle hitting the water surface, before the fly line or leader, among a group of hungry trout will cause a rise or two as they compete for the next visible morsel. Yet sometimes going against the grain, when the trout seam to be cautious, and casting a #14 odd color Sulphur to see if it just maybe….

I still had my raincoat on though the rain had ceased an hour ago. The sun had popped out for the time being giving the gray streaked sky some promise. I was standing alone in the creek with dimpling and quick rising trout about in the gin clear water. I already, patiently, fooled a few 9” to 12”rs on small midge patterns when 2 gentlemen joined me. They took up a stand, one on each side, leaving me with plenty of casting room and area to cover. It wasn’t long before each one hooked up with a small brook trout. After that the creek went cold for them as I continued to change midge patterns and made a few more rise. The guy downstream from me noticed what I was doing and he began to change midge patterns also. This in turn caused a few trout to rise to his new imitations. The guy upstream gave up and disappeared upstream only to return later with no trout story to tell.
 As the evening went on there were still occasional risers with very few visible bugs about or spinners upon the water. We had been fishing #18’s and 20’s with some but little results. After another hour of this I decided to go against the grain and toss out a hearty #14 Sulphur Dun. 4 casts under the bridge caused two rises but no take. It was watching a trout rise, swirl beneath the imitation and than drop to the bottom again without a taste. Even the guy upstream commented when he seen the trout rise the second time beneath my offering.
 There had been two or three sippers near the far bank directly across from me all day. I tried for them with midges and beetles but none came up as my dry would drift by. There was a rock just below the surface causing just enough wavy riffles to prevent a good drift on the calmer water towards the bank where the few fish rose. When I thought I got a good drop the trout only had a second or two to take the dry before the riffling current started to drag the pattern quickly downstream and out of sight.
 I took a few steps out from the tree lined bank and false cast in-line with the creek flow. After my backhand back cast loaded downstream I looped the rod tip high above me and forcefully moved the rod forward aiming at the far bank. The fly line followed the rod tip arc in the air and shot the peach color 444DT line across the creek. I purposely overshot my target area as I watched the line and fly unroll before me. I slightly snapped my wrist back on the cork grip and this caused the rod tip back. This sent a slight draw back on the line and the Sulphur dropped upstream a bit from the occasional risers with good ’S’ bend slack in the fly line. I lifted the rod some and took in some slack as I watched the Sulphur drift in the zone. A big slurp was heard as I yanked back line to set the hook as soon as I seen the surface splash. The two fellows turned upon hearing the slurping take.
“Got’em” I called out joyfully.
The downstream fellow commented that it looked like a good size trout by the bent rod and swirling fight. I knew it from the force in my hands and the bending of the tugging rod. I was using 6X tippet so I knew I couldn’t horse him towards me. One mistake could cost me and I’d have to tell about the ‘big one’ that got away. He fought momentarily between the bank and riffles caused by the subsurface rock. Seeing he wasn’t getting any looser with his shenanigans in the calm water he torpedoed down creek and I gave him tensioned line as the rod flexed downward. He crossed mid stream and than exploded out of the water like a fresh steelhead. His rainbow body came completely into the air with tail flapping. I’m sure the other two guys, like me, were in awe never expecting a 18” or so trout to be fooled this early in the evening in clear conditions. After splash down he charged upstream keeping his distance as I let the 4wt Powel rod apply the needed pressure to keep him under control. I countered with every quick forceful maneuver he attempted. When I felt he had less energy and went to pause for a breather I took the offensive. I moved the rod like sword play and now forced him to out maneuver me. He surfaced twice with twisting splashes with force exerting lots of energy. I kept good tension on him and gained line thus closing the distance between him and I. he eventually gave up and swam reluctantly towards me. It took three attempts before I was able to get a good grip on the neck of his tail. The fellows congratulated me simply by commenting on the big fish and nice catch. Patience was rewarded!!!

After I released the brute I pulled out an Arturo Curly Head Claro and smoked it like a prize fight winner!

Later that evening a spinner fall had me fooled as I couldn’t figure out the right fly to get the fish to rise for me. I was sure two or three surfaced for my spinner imitation but it was hard to tell in the failing light. Frustrating in the least!

 The next morning I returned but three other fellows got there before me. I gave them plenty of room as I fished upstream from many of the dimpling trout near them. Eventually they continued to crowd towards me as the fish began to surface nearer within my casting range. Enough was enough when, after I gave them plenty of room without my interference, they began to fish over the same fish I was. I ventured upstream and was rewarded with bigger trout than the midge sippers they were fishing to.

Overall it was an all right morning on Cross Fork. I was know ready for some distance casting with the Scott G2 on the Kettle and I knew just where I wanted to be around noon!!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Foam Beetle Tute

It's getting into terrestrial time.
Here's my favorite terrestrial pattern and easy to tie.

  Foam Beetle tute
hook; Mustad 94838 #12 2x short
thread; black 3
shell back; black closed foam 3mm
legs: black hackle palmered 1 gauge shorter than hook gap
body wrap; maroon polycryolin or substitute
head; black closed cell foam

1. Cut 3mm closed foam strip and trim front to a blunt point

2. Thread wrap hook shaft and measure foam strip as shown. leave plenty of room behind eye of hook

3. Tie in foam not too tight as you want bulk in the body. you can tie it down tight at the bend and towards the eye.
3A. Than tie in black hackle

4. tie in polycryolin or body material

5. Wrap or dub body

6. Palmer hackle

7. Fold cell foam

8. Tie in foam strip behind eye tightly and cut foam strip overhang. Leave excess strip over eye

Top view

9B. Whip finish and trim head.
I like to trim the bottom of the hackle tips just short of the hook point. This will prevent the beetle from rolling over.


  Polycryolin material and a few beetles. I tie some with gray and brown bodies also.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good Cigars and a Fly Rod

 Good Cigars and a Fly Rod
(part one) 6-04-11

I usually go up to Potter County and fish Kettle at least once a year. Because of all the April and May rain the creeks up that way weren’t well suited to fish. I’ve been watching the water gauges for Kettle Creek and Young Woman’s Creek the past week and noticed the water level was dropping. Friday it looked fishable so I made a last minute decision to fish them over the weekend.
I woke up at 5:00am Saturday morn. I had everything already packed the night before including the cooler. That morning I loaded the van and headed east on I80. After a fuel stop and fast breakfast food I was back on the road. By 8:00am I was in the Fly Fishing Only section of Kettle Creek tying on my first dry fly.

“How was the fishing?” I asked the older gentleman that was slowly wading towards me from downstream.
“Not bad” he replied as he stood taking a break.
He was using the wading staff more like a cane as the water he was wading through was only shin deep and sandy.
“We caught 6 to 8 trout each, between the three of us” he added.
“On top?” I asked
“Nymph fishing. We only seen a couple rises so it wasn’t worth putting on a dry” he replied and started to cross behind me. It was obvious he was headed to the vehicle I had parked next to. Soon after his other two buddies followed walking through the overgrown lane on dry land.

‘Nymph fishing’ I thought, as I cast the dry into the unproductive run of water before me. ‘If I wanted to nymph fish I would have stayed home and fished the streams back near home.’ I was tired of chasing suppose to be hatches wasting fuel only to find more fly fishermen than rising fish. Whether there were many fish rising or not, up on the Kettle or surrounding creeks, I was always able to make’em rise and I felt this weekend wouldn’t be any different!
I made my way down creek to the glory hole and found the big leafy tree, that provided shade to part of the hole, had fallen upon the water. From the tail out, of the deepest part of the hole, the water ran between the branches and green leaves and continued on with no new further interruptions. There was a guy on the opposite bank nymph fishing the deepest part along the edge of the bank. Below the tree, a few yards, an older guy was standing mid stream, high stick nymph fishing a section at a slight bend. I walked behind him and noticed a slight rise in the riffles downstream from him. While he was tying on another nymph I cast a few times towards the one time rise hap-hazardly. I wasn’t sure if the older guy was drifting his nymph that far and besides that I hadn’t a good angle for a good drift.

 At the first set of man placed boulders, for a deeper water break and diversion, I stood looking over the water. I knotted on a parachute March Brown and cast a few times over the rippling white capped water that flowed between a couple of big boulders. I kept my rod high trying to keep as much line as possible from catching the cross current. A dark form rose from the deep quickly but I missed his attempt of taking my imitation. After 4 more casts I couldn‘t get him to rise again. I continued to the backside of the pool and flipped the March Brown up towards the boulders in the softer water flow. I took in line keeping an even drift with the current. On my second attempt the fish rose for not as quick as he had plenty of time to look it over. He turned away without a grab seeing something that wasn’t right I suspect. The good thing was I found a dry fly that was interesting enough to cause this one fish to rise. Down below the second set of boulders I made another fish rise and after a short battle in the small pool area brought in my first Kettle Creek trout of the morning.

  After releasing him I decide to walk up and give the first riser to my fly another try. From the tail end of the pool I cast up towards the right side of the rougher water and my March Brown falls near the big boulders. It hesitates some in a slow back eddy before it catches the edge of the current caused by the faster creased flow of main current. Along the seam I watch the March Brown bob as I take in slack waiting any moment for a take. Without notice a heavy splash spurts water out from the waves and I lift the rod immediately for an upstream hook up. I feel the resistance and feel the fish take out line as it slips through my tensioned fingers. He fights deep as I move towards the side of the bank getting out of the faster current. He does his battle dance beneath, head throwing and jarring tiring himself out. I keep good tension on him and finally feel him starting to draw towards me. In the shallower water he knows he doesn’t want to be there and tries to turn and take out line. I give him a little with the bent rod than angle the rod downstream and he follows. A beauty of a brown comes to my net, my March Brown hanging from the brown trout’s lip!

After releasing him I take a moment and reward myself with my first cigar of the day. I pull out a fresh Cohiba Pequenos from the tin and light it up. They arrived Thursday on my door step just in time for this adventure up north

I know the creek very well being that I’ve been coming up here for the past 20 years or so. I know enough where trout hold up in deeper pools and runs and some places a few have taken up home in shallower water against the banks. The water was running a little on the quick side and a little higher than what I’m used to seeing. The sun was out and just cresting over the June tree tops throwing rays that sparkled the wavy water. The gray skies looked as though they might overcome the sunshine at some time before noon but thus far the sun put a nice medium on the land with its rays of brightness. The green leafy trees glittered from the light and made for an enjoyable bright morning. The song birds added their voices like an early spring morning whistling and singing in top form while other birds chirped in quick response. Even a few butterflies were about fluttering their big wings looking for a place to rest.

 I was now looking down creek at the deep pool of water I was hoping no one would be fishing. Road fisherman only stop at the nearest, easy accessible, pools and don’t seem to journey much. They’ll catch a trout or two and stick around hoping to catch more without enjoying the stream. I on the other hand….
 I was just casting aimlessly anywhere that looked where a trout would hang out if looking for food in the rougher water. I was anxious to get down to the big pool around the bend but thought there might just be one where one least expects it.

 The March Brown parachute drifted along the wavy water time and again with each cast when Wham! A quick rise and slap on the water and I was Jerry on the spot. A quick lift and hook set and a wild fight erupted in the stronger current. I’ve said it before there is nothing like fighting a strong current holding rainbow when he’s on the end of your line. You can see the water splash about as the ’bow’ darts and swims from side to side. Occasionally you’ll see his back humped above the surface water before a tail splash and he quickly disappears in an unforeseen deep pocket. You know you got a good hook hold when the rod bows and you feel the tension between your fingers. I stroll towards the bank cautiously wading my way subconsciously feeling every step I make on the stony creek bed. The rainbow, as I suspect, still wrestles the line moving towards shore downstream from me. It’s a good fight and I prevail to land him.
I make it down to the bend without another fish and look the pool over puffing on my stogie clinched between my lips. I watch for any risers about but none appear. I had no doubt that I could make at least one rise in the general area. I plan my strategy, take another conscious puff of the Cohiba and concentrate on the task at hand.
 From the bank side I cast the March Brown upon the wavy rough water and watch it bob and flow with the fast current downstream. In front of me the water calms to riffled waves and I hold the rod up taking in some line to keep a good dry drift. Just subsurface I see a dark object rise from beneath and porpoise as if it had been waiting any moment for a nice big morning meal. I set the hook and a good fighting fish puts a good bow in the 5 piece, 5wt, 8½’ Kettle Creek Riffle Rod. I let out some line to let him swim into the back end where the water is calmer. After a short battle I walk down shore some to a shallower part of the shoreline and bring him to my net.

Throughout the morn I work the pool area catching quite a few trout on dry flies. When it started to sprinkle I went beneath with a wet March Brown and March Brown nymph. I caught two on the nymph; the biggest fish was a beautiful sized brook trout who took the Nymph on a slow deep drift.

I switched over to a Prince Nymph and caught one smaller rainbow before I heard thunder in the distance.
I wasn’t wearing any rain gear and headed to the van before the downpour. It was time for lunch anyway and a cold beer sounded good about now before heading to Cross Fork Creek.

And this was just the morning start of a two day excursion!!!!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy

 After fishing the small creek of mountain laurel and pine banks, in the early morning, I took off to get some arm exercise with fishing the Little J. Word was the Little J was receding from all the rainfall within the past week or so. When I arrived I found small hatches of sulphurs coming off but also found the milky water and high, faster current was too be much for any rising trout. I managed to hook up to a couple trout beneath but failed to get them to the topside to get a look at them. By noon the sun was beating down and the water wasn’t getting any clearer. I was hoping to get some dry fly fishing in so I decided to return to the small creek I fished the evening before hoping for some top water action.

 The water of the small creek was also running a little on the high and fast side but the dark water was clear being it was the tail waters of a dam and flowed through the forest and not developed land masses. When I got to the creek there were more fisher people than I expected. Being the creek is bush lined most were fishing the more accessible areas than the narrower runs. I drove downstream looking for a wide pool in hopes of enjoying a few hours without the tormenting creek banks. I parked off the dirt road and ventured down a path, through pines, to see where it led. Sure enough I found a good flow of channeled current that entered a nice wider pool of small wavy tea color water. A few caddis and early Mayflies were about but not near enough that I could catch and get an examination of them. I figured if I stuck around long enough I might find some top water pickers if the hatch gets heavier. I went back to the van, grabbed my three weight Hardy, gear and a few cigars.
 I avoided the horse crap along the trail under the pines. The path opened up to a nice flat area along the creek so there was a little more space for my back casting. Upstream, and between the overhanging bank laurel, a narrow channel of white capped water emptied into the larger body of water before me. Along the far side the water riffled just out from the branchy laurel lined bank and finally smoothed into the tail end. The center of the pool looked deeper as it moved nicely in a slower current wave. I could see the stony bottom of the pool within a few feet from where I was standing. The pebbles and rocks stood out, from the sun, shining like gold and crystal gems within the tea colored water. The odor of fresh horse manure got intense when a breeze blew through the pines so I lit a Don Tomas coronitas in hopes of screening the stench.
 I already had a Triple Threat attached to the 5X tippet from fishing the morning. I didn’t want to disturb the open pool of would be risers so I cast a few times into the rougher water entering the pool. Three quarters across the channel the Triple fell into the water and I quickly threw an upstream mend. I kept the rod tip up keeping as much line off the water as possible. The Triple drifted beneath a few feet and I noticed the fly line no longer flowed with the downstream movement of my rod tip. The line tensioned and I lifted up and away hoping it wasn’t a snag. A good tug was felt and I knew I surprised a fish. He turned and took line towards the front of the pool. I took in line hurriedly with my line hand until there was good tensioned line on the fighting trout beneath. I kept him from going any further into the deeper pool as he fought beneath the rougher water across creek. The three weight held its ground and succeeded in turning the trout to my side of the bank. I stepped into the shallow shoreline and lifted the fine looking rainbow with my net.

 After releasing the ’bow’ I stood looking over the pool as I drew on my cigar. I saw my first rise just out from an overhanging pine bough near the tail out of the pool. I grinned as if to say “Your mine!”
 I knotted on a piece of 6x tippet to the 5x and than tied on a #16 caddis. With a quick forearm wrist cast, only coming up to the 12:00 position, I flipped the caddis ahead of the rise. The caddis drifted into the zone but he didn’t rise. I tried a few more casts in the general area but still no rise. On my forth cast I let out a little more slack in the line and let it drift further into the tail out. A swirling rise came beyond the pine bough and I quickly pulled up and set the hook. The trout went under as the 3 weight flexed with the force. I coaxed him towards me as he fought the 6x tippet as if he felt he could break me off. I played the energetic rainbow to my feet and with a quick twist of the hook, the fish flipped around and disappeared into the dark waters.
“One down” I thought as I dried off the caddis imitation and applied a little dry fly dope to the body.
 I changed shades and wing color trying to coax the first riser to rise again but he evidently wasn’t too convinced of my small imitations.
 “Maybe he wanted something larger” as I saw the first March Brown rise from the middle of the pool. While tying on the #14 March Brown I occasionally glanced up hoping to see another rise. After a few more drifts in his location I produced nothing and began to cast about the pool in hopes of coaxing up another.

 The slower water between the laurel, on the far side, looked as if it would be a good location for a trout in the lazy current. I sidearm cast the March Brown towards the far bank bringing the rod tip to a stop as the imitation looped towards the far side. Before I let it touch down I let line out of my line hand while slowly swinging the rod tip upstream. This creates an upstream arc in the fly line as it falls upon the surface of the slow moving current. I watch as the March Brown drops against the far bank in between the laurel. I raise the rod tip and follow the arc in the drifting fly line. A trout slaps at my convincing imitation and I raise the rod upstream. The pull on the arced line is enough to set the hook and I yank line in swiftly with my line hand until I feel the line tension and the resistance.
“Trout on,” as I feel the little fellow fight frantically towards me in the deep pool. A brookie comes to hand with a mouthful of my fly. As I release him I wonder if I can produce a brown trout, out of the same pool, to complete the trifecta.

I spend a little more time teasing the first riser with a caddis dry and finally succeed in making him rise, getting a good hook set, and bringing the frisky brown trout to hand.

 Evening was approaching and I elected to drive up creek, stopping now and than, looking for more risers. I decided to fish the pool, I fished in the morning, to finish off the day. Seeing no risers in the faster moving water, I tumbled a bicolor San Juan worm beneath and caught my last trout of the day before returning to the van.

 I drank a cold brew as I changed into driving clothes. In the drivers seat I head up the dirt road towards the dam. Stopping briefly I check out the flat water before the dam for any late risers. Seeing none I light up an Arturo and head onward for the long journey home.