Friday, April 26, 2019

Thursday on YWC, Day 1

5 Days in Clinton and Potter Country
Thursday on YWC, Day 1

 I had 5 days off for my Easter Birthday vacation. No other plans were made but to do what I love to do and that’s fishing, camping and enjoying myself. This year I selected Clinton and Potter County to enjoy my Easter/Birthday vacation, fish a variety of cricks, camp out, drink and eat!!!
On Thursday I made a quick stop at DuBois Harley for some needed parts and stopped at Featherman Creations shop in Penfield. The owner was very helpful and very knowledgeable in fly fishing and tying. He plans on expanding his fly fishing equipment and tying material as his business grows. After that I was headed to YWC in Clinton County.
 The water gushed through the narrow channel between the near steep bank and the high bank on the other side of the creek. The water gurgled, complained and splashed as it flowed over downed logs. It quieted some before banking off the steep cliff it flowed into. From there the main body of water flowed to my left into a long stretch that opened up into a softer pool of water. Near me the water swirled into a whirlpool but the rest of the stretch was calm except the riffles along the steep rocky cliff under the pines on the far side. My second cast landed my weighted bugger into the swift water before the cliff. I had a lot of slack in my line to make sure my bugger dropped deep before following the current along the rocky cliff. As the arc in my line swung it started to straighten at the end of the swing. I stripped it towards me slowly and I felt a tug as my line twitched. I quickly yanked back on the 4 weight, seven and half foot Powell rod and my first fish was tugging and scurrying about on the taut line. Once in the slower current he was less aggressive and came in handily. I went to take a picture but found that I forgot to reprogram the camera with day, month, year and time when I replaced the battery. I let my first trout swim free. I went back to the truck to reprogram my camera and returned to the same spot.
I spent about 5 minutes trying to coax another one. On one cast, after the swing the line leveled out down stream. I was slowly stripping my offering towards me letting the weighted bugger sink deeper before stripping it in again. I noticed on the one slow strip the floating line sunk a little deeper and I felt a little resistance. I immediately pulled back on the line and lifted the rod knowing there was nothing to snag on the bottom of the deep back eddy. The rod bent near the mid section and the fight was on. The trout gave a left head shake and headed towards the swifter current near the cliff wall. I countered with switching the rod to my left and let some line slip through my tension fingers. In the swift current he turned down stream and into the slower flow. It was a bit dangerous for me to wade down creek with submerged branches near my feet so I moved the rod upstream to my right. He took that as an encouragement and sprinted into the current as if I gave him a green light at a drag strip. I quickly stripped in long lengths of line down in front of me as the trout passed me by. He settled in a deep seam between the faster current and slower current. I quickly reeled in line while pinching tightened line between my left fingers and cork grip. Once I got all the slack line on the spool I gave him a tug to make sure he knew I was still here and then gave a sharp right upstream with the rod tip. He head shook and started forward. I reared the rod back and he followed. I stripped in more line with my free hand till we were hip to nose. I reached down and netted him. He gave a couple of flips in the net like a pancake being flipped in the air and then settled in the bottom of the net. 

 I waded and cast the bugger along the cliff in the same manner to the falls below without another strike.
  From above the falls I casted the bugger into the tail out and stripped it towards me. I hooked up with rainbows often enough that kept me busy. They were taking my bugger for a meal like their numbers being called at a busy fast food restaurant. I’d miss one now and then but that just kept me from bending over to net them and that was fine with me.

 After an hour or two of that I went below the falls and started to drift a San Juan worm and sucker spawn. I’d cast into the tumbling water that fell from the falls and drifted my offering by me. I picked off a few more on the sucker spawn.

  After a while I decided to wade and fish down creek. The water was shallower and riffled with rolling waves. There were pocket waters here and there but I didn’t have any takers. I returned to the truck briefly and got a snack and a stogie.
After a while I decided to wade and fish down creek. The water was shallower and riffled with rolling waves. There were pocket waters here and there but I didn’t have any takers. I returned to the truck briefly and got a snack and a stogie.

  Back at the water I decided to try some dry fly fishing though there wasn’t a fish rising. There were a few mayflies in the air but as I said I couldn’t see anything rising. I positioned myself in the tail out in shin deep water. I knotted on a spruce moth hoping something would rise to it. I made cast after cast in the softer current between the rough water flowing at me. Sure enough one fish rose and I was Jerry on the spot. A quick swift pulling back on the rod and the line tightened. The fish reared towards me and shown it’s colors as it rose into the air. It splashed down and headed deep towards the falling water. I turned it around pretty easily and it headed to the bank in the shallower tail out. A couple of skirmishes and my first dry fly catch was in the net.
 Well that put a big smile on my face. I cast the moth a couple of times without any more risers. My stomach was growling for food so I returned to dry land and headed for the truck. Looking over the water above the falls it appeared it had dropped some. I figured I’d give it a couple more tries with a bugger.
  My cast was in the swifter current that exited the channel where I began my fishing when I arrived. In the same manner I let a lot of slack line out so the weighted bugger would fall deep. It skirted the rock cliff and leveled out far into the slower current. Something grabbed the bugger as if it wanted to rip the rod from my hand. I had a tight grip so that wasn’t going to happen. The rod arced into the mid section and I knew I had a good fish. It darted beneath the swifter current towards the cliff. From there it swam into the current with head shakes and weighted tugs. I held tight on the bent rod and let him scurry about and fight the arcing rod only giving him line when I felt too much tension on the rod. It turned down creek and some line pulled off the spool. I put a little more tension between my fingers and he turned up creek with a few more head tugs. He scurried about some more as I was bringing him towards me. Nearer me he gave a couple of trying escapes when I had the net in the water. I could feel the rod arc a little bit more but he was pretty tuckered out by the time I netted him.
  I held him in the water facing upstream until I felt a good tail swat and a push into the current. He swam away to be caught another day.
After dinner I took a walk up the road just to see the conditions near the bridge. There was a young fisherman nymphing the water by the bridge. We talked a bit before I headed back to my truck. Tomorrow’s another day. I was to meet Jeff Friday morning in God’s Country on Kettle Creek so I turned in early.


Friday, April 12, 2019

Green With Envy

Green With Envy
Early April 2019

 When I got down to the creek I saw the water was of a greenish tint. Not too dark that I’ll have to get my offering right in front of their noses but clear enough trout should be able to spot my offering some distance away. The creek was flowing on the high side and kind of fast but nothing to be doubtful of. I looked upstream and down the creek and, except for the couple about 150 yards up creek, I was the only one on the water. As far as I was concerned everything looked promising. I felt excited as a kid that just found a frog pond on the property he now lives on.

  The water flowed in a washboard effect clear across stream and with the sun shining down made a diamond reflection that sparkled the small rolling waves. The sky was sapphire blue as far as my eyes could see with cotton like cumulus clouds drifting calmly and at times throwing shadows upon the earth.

  There was a constant soft breeze that at times blew a bit harsh causing tree branches that lined the creek to rattle and fallen leaves to scamper along the forest floor like a nervous pine squirrel in haste.

  Upon the bank I threaded the fly line and leader through the rod guide and eyes. I adjusted the reel drag till it felt sufficient. I knotted on a Fas-Snap to the 4x tippet and clipped on a weighted bead head Woolly Bugger. I added a couple of twist on lead strips to the leader to make sure my offering gets down in the water column. I stepped off the bank in ankle deep water and I was ready to have some catching fun like that imaginary kid at the frog pond. I waded out till I was about thigh high deep. I steadied myself and made sure I had a good foothold before my fist cast as the current kept an even push against my thighs. 
  I remember I had three strikes in the first 5 minutes or so and wasn’t able to hook a one. I brought in the bugger and looked it over. The point looked sharp enough but I honed it a little with the small sharpening stone I keep in my pocket for such occasions. Within a few more minutes I was hooking fish on occasion. They fought well and it was a real challenge getting them towards me in the swift current. Once near me I had to maneuver the rod and net to get the lively trout inside. I suppose it would be like trying to net a bat in a belfry while trying to keep balance on a step ladder. Every so often the trout stayed hooked and I was able to net such a catch. 

 I fished further down creek but wasn’t having any takers so I returned where I started out. I added a bit more weight and thought maybe it might just get a little lower in the water column. Also I figured with the sun being out for a few hours could have warmed up the water a few more degrees and might have gotten a few trout to be more mobile and hungry.

 When the trout appeared to stop chasing the Woolly Buggers I decided to go to the darker side and started nymph fishing. Throughout the next few hours I nymph fished long stretches of creek. With the swift and greenish water my decision was to knot on a brighter sucker spawn for my top offering to attract a curious trout. If they weren’t interested in the bright spawn I had a nymph or San Juan worm for my dropper which could look a little more natural in the water. I had to change colors and nymphs often to get the picky trout to take but I believe it was my boondoggle idea that kept me busy enough catching trout now and then.


 Some trout were more active than others. The bright sun rays reflected off their bodies as they went air born but only for a split second before they plunged back into the swift current to do battle beneath.

 Come the early evening the bite really slowed down. The wind had picked up some and it was a bit more difficult to get my cast where I wanted it to go. With the sun still bright though, there were a few black stoneflies fluttering about. I figured maybe the trout, without sore lips, were keying on the nymphs. I knotted on a Picket Pin with a black stone dropper but couldn’t get a hit. After another fifteen minutes I called it a day and headed back to the truck.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Fishing the Lee Side

Fishing the Lee Side

  Waves crashed against the mounds of ice stacked up along the shoreline spraying water in every direction. Gusts of winds blew in from the lake and distorted any casts at the time. The tall leafless trees that survived the winter, lining the creek, were now going to have to survive the fierce winds. Even the strongest tree limbs bowed and swayed with the gusts as smaller branches clanked together sounding like an old working corn conveyor feeding a silo.

 Nearer the creek mouth ducks swam and played upon the wrinkled water away from the calamity of Lake Erie.

  We spent a few hours with the boys casting into the darker deeper water that flowed along the bank. With sized boulders, overhanging branches and submerged limbs one would think steelhead would be holding waiting for food to pass by. It was if we were trying to hand out samples of brussels sprouts next to a green bean stand at a local farm market. We couldn’t get any fish to commit to take any of our offerings of the assorted colors we picked out of our fly boxes. 
 After the boys had left with Jack, John and I stuck around. We knew there had to be fish here so we decided to keep at it.

  John had swear he had a strike or two at times but wasn’t able to say for sure as nothing actually bent his fly rod. It wasn’t till I reared back, on a possible take, that a sure thing took off, spun the spool, arced the rod and pulled line through the eyes that shot some excitement through our veins. I stood with the butt end in my gut to steady the rod as I held the cork grip with both hands letting the steelhead fight both the reel drag and rod pressure. It shot up creek, surfaced with angry head shaking, splashing water about, and submerged in a matter of seconds. It then U-turned and raced down creek as yellow fly line cut through the water like a swift samurai sword through a cantaloupe.

  As I felt the energy of the steelhead subside I started backing up towards the bank while putting more tension on the line. The steelhead gradually came in my direction with more tugging and yanking of the line. When the fish got into the stony shallows it shifted on its side and finned away like a stingray not wanting to touch bottom. The rod bowed a little more but flexed back with the turning steel in tow. At the bank I dislodged the chartreuse sparkle spawn from the inside of its mouth.

  The second hook up was a bit down creek from the first. It took the dropper spawn and wreaked havoc like a confined rooster let loose in a circle of young hens. I could tell it wasn’t as big as the first but was a lot more frisky. It shot up and downstream and quickly came towards me during the skirmish. I raised the rod high and reeled in as quick as possible to keep a tight line. Near me it swerved to keep from hitting my legs and turned out toward the deep. Line shot out of the guides as the fish headed toward the mangled limb debris against the far bank. I lifted the rod, with my left hand holding line, preventing him from going any further. My knots held up and the fish quickly turned and unwillingly came my way. I landed him and released him unharmed.

 Well, after that catch I took out an Alec Bradley Sun Grown and made the steelhead fishing experience a little more enjoyable.

 There appeared to be a long lull in the action. John couldn’t buy a hit and I was trying to figure out just what the fish may want. I knew there were suckers coming in the creeks from the pictures I’ve seen on PA. Fishing sights. I decided a cream sucker spawn might just get more fish interested than the last colors we showed them. From then on you would have though I was passing out fresh sweet pea pods to the remaining food fair goers.

Within a few cast it was a sudden stop of the indicator that drew my attention. I yanked back and the slack line on the surface quickly came off the water and tight lined towards the indicator. I gave a holler to John that I caught another. This fish was just as frisky as the last. Tugging, running and surface splashing trying to get free. When I finally got him to the bank I seen that the cream spawn was hooked right at the tip of his lower lip.

 I had caught a few more after that one before we called it quits. One looked to be an older drop back which was a lot more darker. I didn’t get to land any of the last 3 though. My line broke from the top spawn after one fight and the others were just able to unhook themselves during the battle.

Back at the truck we got out of our waders and couldn’t wait to get out of the windy conditions and into the warm truck. We headed over to the hotel to meet up with Jack and the two teenage boys he brought along from Kentucky. We enjoyed a meal with them before heading homeward.