The Rats Nest

Monday, April 19, 2010

Making The Most Of A Short Window Of Opportunity...

So here I am, got about 2 hours to fish, the Farmington westbranch TMA is exactly 12 minutes from my door.  So theoretically speaking, less than 2 hours in all actuality, but who's counting right?  Being a bit sick and tired of the same old same old, you know, throwing weighted and unweighted nymphs dredging, dredging, dredging. 

Knowing that the insects are really starting to crank now, and the whole river is open, I opted to fish a locale not to far from the TMA, but outside of it nonetheless.  Leaving the 10 foot rod in the truck, I opted for my go to dry fly stick for this particular stream, 9 foot 4 weight Winston BIIx, the perfect stick in my opinion.  Knowing of a couple places where bigger fish can rise up for a surface meal, I made a B-line to my target. 

On the water were olives, blue quills, quill gordons and a steady flow of male hendricksons pouring down the river.   As I channeled my efforts on one particular area, I managed to see what I had come for.  There she was, a much more robust specimen sporadically feeding in about a foot of water, sliding side to side every so often to intercept a dun of her liking, in the meanwhile, pushing water like my buddy Mike would say.  After about three rises in succession within a 2 minute span, I planted a nice cast about 4-5 feet upstream of the last rise form.  As the fly drifted into the "zone", it disappeared in a very large barrel sized flush.  I waited a second and then set the hook, and the pool came alive. 

I knew the fish was good, but I had no idea she was as thick as a torpedo.  After about 3-4 minutes on a 5x tippet, and a size 12 cripple rusty spinner she came to net.  After I slipped her out of the net, I threw her on the tape for a quick measurement; 22-1/2 inches on the nose, and very thick.  Pictures don't do justice to the size of this tank, but check her out anyway.  From past experiences, this is the time of year when some of the bigger fish, and most notably those who've been in the river for a while,  have a tendency to look up.  If you know where to look, you can have a shot at fish like this and bigger. 

Needless to say, after this fish I snapped a few pictures solo, (a feat in and of itself) and then grabbed a few insect photos for the library and headed out.  Only took 35 minutes to accomplish this mission, the wife was really happy when I strolled through the door early.....

Monday, April 12, 2010

First Housy Float of 2010

Watching the flows like a hawk, and Josh eager to get out, we crossed our fingers and picked a day to float the river.  Figuring that things would be at a nice floatable range taking into account that hopefully we wouldn't get struck by another large batch of rain, and the recent unseasonably warm air temperatures, we figured why not, things should be full speed ahead.  Especially with the reports that Hendricksons were hatching, we figured we would take our changces.  Josh opted to make a full day of it, so we met streamside at about 8 AM.  Things looked very promising right out the gates as the air was filled with Hendrickson spinners.  Thousands of them were swarming about 15-20 above the water, and we were both eager to get the boat in and get started.  Things started out really slow, no rising fish, even when the spinner were dropping and on the water, as well as dancing stoneflies all morning and afternoon.  Nothing seemed to be interested in a streamer, so we grabbed the nymph rods and locked into a few bows.  The standard stonefly and hendrickson nymph rig was ticket throughout the day, but not a single fish touched the Hendrickson nymph.  All fish taken on nymphs fell victim to the shimmer stone, either golden or brown, even some really robust smallies as evident in the picture.  Around 3PM the smallmouth really woke up, and Josh managed a really good flurry of fish on some streamers, well I should rephrase that, a streamer.  As usual the dirt dart struck again.  As we rounded out our day, it was long and fun, but it was really upsetting to see a heavy hatch of spinners and nothing but fisherman lining the banks waiting for the fish that had no interest in rising.....

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