Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Watering Hole

The Watering Hole

 The clouds moved slowly over the valley in which I stood. I found the coals were still warm from the campfire the campers left behind giving off a charcoal woodsy aroma. The trees were full of green leaves that shook with the occasional gusts of wind. The water flowed quickly over the rock formation that ran the width of the creek. This produced unpredictable current flow. The only steady straight stream of water was two thirds cross creek where the water waved and tumbled into the big wide deeper section down stream.
 I stood knee deep contemplating the situation. I was tired of nymph fishing and I didn’t care to streamer fish as I had done earlier in the day. I didn’t really care if I caught fish or not. I bought a new fast action 5 weight and I was going to see how it performed casting dry flies for distance. It was a bit windy which may make the performance more challenging. Looking over the water the sun rays glistened the water surface when it was able to break through the clouds. With the wavy current and distance I will be casting, a white post should show up well. I knotted on a March Brown parachute and juiced it up with some dry fly lotion.
 After a few false casts, to get line out, my March Brown landed half was across the creek. The white post was easy to see as it drifted and bobbed upon the gun metal gray surface water. In the pocket water it slowed until the faster current pulled the slack in the line downstream followed by my skating March Brown.
 I heaved back on the rod for my back cast and pulled the fly line, with a short tug, to gain speed. After the line loaded the 9’ rod I cast forward and the line shot forward overhead. The long length of line looped above the water heading across creek. Just before the dry fly straightened the line I backed up the rod tip. The March Brown dropped upon the wavy current two thirds across creek onto the wavy stream. The fly line fell to the surface water in ‘S’ bends upon the cross current flow. This would give my dry offering a nice natural drift on the wavy current before the cross current pulls the line and than my fly unnaturally downstream.
 The dry didn’t drift more than a couple of inches when a trout slapped at it with a splash. I yanked back the long length of line and had a rainbow battling me and the current on a tight line. I wasn’t surprised that a trout grabbed my offering, though I hadn’t seen any risers as of yet, but I didn’t expect it to happen on my first drift through. As I was trying to net the trout the hook came loose and the rainbow swam to freedom.
 About the forth cast later, in the same current flow two thirds across creek, a trout porpoised at my dry and I had another rainbow on a tight line.

“Hmm” I thought, “This could get interesting.” I reached into my shirt pocket and pulled out a Nica Rustica rolled by Alec Bradley. The brown veined wrapper looked tempting and the light up was pleasing and sure to be a good smoke while I serve the trout.
 After releasing the last fish I made shorter casts trying to raise trout. I cast in pocket waters and cross currents mid stream without any takers. When I made another cast onto the wavy current two thirds cross creek another trout grabbed the dry and another battle ensued. 

 It was if the trout were lined along the seam and waiting to wet their whistle in turn at the just opened Watering Hole. Time and again I made trout rise to the March Brown.

  For the heck of it I tried a couple different patterns but they didn’t want anything to do with them. Back to the Para-March Brown brought them to the surface like friends sharing a bottle of cheap whiskey. One of the trout, I noticed, appeared to have been bullied before as its mouth looked like it got punched in a barroom brawl.

  Overall the rod performed well with the weight forward line making the long casts with ease. The dry fly cut through the wind well and didn’t steer too far off course in such conditions. I continued to make trout rise in the same wavy current for the last hour before the thunder and sprinkles of rain showed up.
 When I got to the truck Jeff pulled in. He said he also had a great time making trout rise to his emerger patterns a little upstream from where I was fishing. We changed out of our waders just before it started to rain harder. From there we headed to the Kelly Hotel for dinner and enjoyed some cold brews and a mess of chicken wings!

 It was just another unforgettable day on Tionesta Creek making trout rise on our own fly patterns.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Mix'n It Up on the Kettle

Mix’n It Up on the Kettle
Snippet from Kettle Creek

 After cleaning up camp we both agreed to fish a section of water we hoped there would finally be rising trout. It has appeared the Mayflies have been increasing each day. We were hoping the cooler weather Sunday would bring a heavy hatch we could fish over.
 Jeff helped me with bringing down the canopy and I told him to go on ahead and I’ll catch up.

 I parked next to Jeff’s truck along Kettle Creek and put together the Icon II rod one more time.
 I’ve been meaning to get a fast action 5 weight 9’ rod for some time but just haven’t pulled the trigger. Allen Fly Fish had a half off sale on their Icon II rod. I have two of their reels and never had a problem with them. With a 30 day test drive, I can send it back if I didn’t like it, it was hard to pass up. It’s been a great rod so far in the windy conditions.

 I waded up creek and by the time I got to Jeff he was casting dries in the fast riffling water. He said he caught 3 trout so far on top so he was sticking with it. I knotted on a March Brown and also tried to raise a trout. We fished for another hour or so but no hatch came about and the air was void of anything flying. We decided to drive down creek so we fished our way back to the trucks without any catches. When we got to the trucks Jeff decided to head home. We said our good-byes and I was now on my own.

 I drove down creek and parked along the road. I got my gear back on and was determined to keep on dry fly fishing trying to raise a trout.
 I was alone with no one around when I got to the section I wanted to fish. I knotted on a March Brown Parachute and looked around for any rising trout. Not seeing any I decided to fish the fast current leading into the deeper section of the creek.
 I cast up creek and the March Brown fell upon the oncoming waves. While bringing in slack all of a sudden a trout rose and I was Jerry on the spot. A quick lift backwards on the rod tip and my first trout was fighting the current with my hook secured in the trout’s mouth. He swung around and headed for the deeper water to my right. We had a short brawl but I won out and brought the brown trout to the waiting net.

 In time I noticed a few grayish flies coming off the water ¾ the way across creek on the far side of the wavy current before me. All of a sudden there were at least two trout picking off the gray looking Mayflies.
 I made a fair cast, upstream from the risers with the March Brown and watched as it drifted into the feeding zone. It passed by. I worked the March brown a few more times hoping for a hook up but it didn’t happen. The trout were still rising and the only thing I could figure out is they were rising to the grayish flies I seen from the distance.
 I looked into my fly box and picked out a dark Hendrickson. I knotted this on and juiced it up with some dry dope. A few false casts and I dropped it midstream between the risers and me. A couple more false casts, while letting more line out and I pitched a cast across creek. The Hendrickson fell upon the water like a snowflake upon the surface. I took in slack line watching and waiting for the take. It didn’t take too long before a quick splash occurred on my fly. I pulled back the long length of line and the line tightened with an energetic trout scuffling below the midstream current.

 Well, that was easy enough. I dried off the Hendrickson and reapplied a light coating of dry juice. Another far cast and again I watched the Hendrickson move upon the current. Another splash and I had me another scrambling trout trying to free itself.

 I used the Hendrickson for about a couple of minutes but couldn’t get anything else to rise to it.
 There was one trout in one spot I had missed earlier on the March brown. He didn’t take the Hendrickson either. I tried a Sulphur but couldn’t get anything to take a swipe at it. I decided to knot on a Yellow Sally and give it a whirl.
 The second cast dropped the Sally onto the wavy surface water. It flowed with the current right towards the area that the early missed fish was around. The trout hit the Sally hard with half its body popping up from the surface. I chuckled at the eager take as I set the hook. The trout submerged but shot skyward immediately with a headshake. It took a little longer to get this trout to the net but I managed without him getting away.

 I spent another 20 minutes and went to nymph fishing a deeper section before leaving. I had wanted to fish around the Leidy bridge area before heading home.

 There were quite a few fishermen fishing just upstream from the bridge so I followed the creek up further to a section I have fished before and found rising trout.
 There was one guy getting his spinning gear together when I got to the creek. I pulled to the side and parked watching where he was going to fish. He walked down to the creek and was going to fish the slow deeper water below the wide section of fast riffles. I got out of my truck and got my gear on and hit the creek. I knotted on a March Brown parachute so I could see the white post easily in the faster wavy current. I waded out only a short distance giving me enough room for a safe back cast from the bushy bank. I made a short cast in front of me and BAM! A trout porpoises towards the oncoming dry. I lifted the rod for the short hook set and the trout took off like stray cat being released from a box trap. He torpedoed directly upstream than took to crossing creek. About midstream he turned and flexed his muscles with headshakes and body language heading down creek. I got him turned around after a squabble and had him coming towards the net. He made a forceful trying escape that pulled hard enough that line slipped through my fingers. I tightened the line after letting him take a short sprint and turned him back towards me. He wasn’t too happy when I netted him as he splashed awhile in the net.

 I dried off the fly real good and juiced it up again. I blind cast the March Brown to nowhere in particular unless I saw a trout rise. Than I would key on the rise. 
 I was having fun making trout rise to my dry fly in the fast riffling water. Sure, I missed a few but consciously noted in my brain where I missed the trout. Maybe it was near a couple visible under lying rocks or a nice stream of short wavy water caused by a rock just below the surface. I fished around and come back to try to hook him again. If he didn’t rise I’d tie on a Sulphur or something else trying to get him in the hunger mood. Sometimes I’d just move a bit and try for him at a different angle. Sometimes that made all the difference.
 The brown trout I hooked fought wildly in the riffling current and I lost a few trying to net them. When it started to sprinkle, and I wasn’t able to make any more rise for some time, I called it quits and waded out to the truck.
 After changing clothes I headed home munching on chips and peanuts to curb my appetite. Somewhere around Driftwood I took out an Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto. The wrapper had a nice bold aroma to it. The light up was a bit bitter but once the cigar heated up it turned out to be a good bold, but smooth smoke, for the drive home.

 Maybe Jeff and I didn’t come across any major hatches like we had hoped while we spent the 4 days fishing but we did have our times. Times when we made them rise with consistency with a mixture of dries and emerger patterns.