Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Christmas Storm Is Over

The Christmas storm shut things down here entirely and had everyone holed up with all roads in and out of town closed. Today was cold but beautifully calm and sunny out with no wind. I decided to beat back my cabin fever and take a post holiday trip into the outside world again. I spent a lot of time fighting the iced up guides, but the pay off was worth it with active brown trout swiping at and taking the bugger the entire time I walked the water. One fish even left the water trying to slam the bugger from below but missed. He seemed to hang in mid air over the water an extra second staring back at me on shore. It was amusing and he got cautious afterward as I could not get him to strike again. The browns were quality gem size fish, but it didn't matter as I was just glad to get outdoors in the single digit temperatures and find some willing trout.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday On The Big Ice

I went out to meet up with George in the search for big trout or possibly perch if we stumbled on to them. We didn't see much of anything on the big water. It was slow except for a couple flashes on George's Marcum. His friend did manage a nice kokanee during the day but that was about it for action. Thanks to George for putting me up in his shack and the fun use of the underwater camera. We'll find those fish at some point.

George had been out early and decided to call it a day. I moved on to another lake to see if I could save the day with some action. Right away I was seeing fish come through the hole and muffed my first take with too fast a set. Then something happened that I had never seen before. A group of three trout came in zooming around the jig and they seemed to be battling over it. One quickly took it and I had a beautiful rainbow to save the day. Had another take and some lookers after that but it quickly darkened into night the day before the winter solstice and it was time to leave. I will have to head back and try some more on this lake as the fish seemed promising.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slow Saturday Ice

I made it out Saturday on the ice and Eric showed up for a while for a meet up and to try for some trout. We saw quite a few people out for the first time this year. They thinned out rapidly though as the bite was slow. Plenty of fish seemed to be coming through and looking but many had lock jaw. We did get a few hook sets on white jigs but not much else to do but watch them milling about under the ice and enjoy a beer.

A rare feeding rainbow on Saturday

Eric trying to coax a finicky trout

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Warm Temps And Browns

Today was overcast to partly cloudy but the temperatures were around 40 degrees. This got the brown trout moving around a little bit and some open water was available. I started out on my typical lunch beat and didn't find any trout holding in a couple of the normally rewarding deep holes. They may have been there, but just not interested in the bugger. Briskly moving upstream and working the good runs and pools finally produced a few swirling follows and then a couple small wild brown trout that couldn't resist slamming the stripped bugger. It was nice to find a couple trout after a few days of fishing withdrawal.

I had a nice swirling follow on this bend

First trout of the day

Another little wild brown from a plunge pool

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Icing With The Shoe And Drew

Shoe and his son Drew made the trip north to visit the plains lakes for some ice fishing on Sunday. We had a good time with Shoe's new Clam shelter and it held up well in the early part of the day when it was windy. Later in the day we abandoned the hut altogether as we weren't seeing fish come through anymore. Outside it was windless and inside we were getting very warm and uncomfortable. With the overcast skies you could sight fish outside anyway and we drilled shallower finding some more fish. Overall, we saw a ton of fish moving through and had some takers on our offerings. I was fishing a marabou white jig as usual and it was getting enough interest that I stuck with it through the day. I broke off a really nice one at the hole and was glad I had a second jig left in my box. I need to buy or tie up some more.

My first fish of the day was inside the hut

Shoe and Drew with a cooperative rainbow

Shoe with another nice rainbow late in the day

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Ice

I have been dying to get my early Christmas present out on the ice. I have a new 8 inch hand auger that has been patiently waiting for this big seasonal storm to subside so it could finally taste ice. Things worked out well today with beautiful weather and lower winds than I expected. I hit the ice in the afternoon and spent most of the time enjoying the heat of the sun on my black winter coat. There wasn't another soul around. I had it all to myself.

Baking on the ice was fun, I had a couple of beers and was in heaven, but a trout or two worth of action would have been nice as well.

I had drilled two holes in deeper water but the weed bed was too large to really take advantage of the depths. Later on, I moved in closer to the dam and drilled another hole over a sandier and open area. This time I actually saw a fish pass through the hole almost at once. He continued on, but five minutes later I saw a murky dark shape and my twitching white jig disappeared. Setting the hook produced one of my best brook trout of the year.

He swam back down the hole with a bruised ego, but none the worse for wear. This is only the second brookie I have caught in this lake but the few that are in here certainly are quality fish. That was it for action... I was more than satisfied with my first winter day out on the ice.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Post Storm Sunshine

I was able to finally get out and prowl the water for some trout. The frigid cold front has finally subsided and the ice receded enough to find a little open moving water. The wind was blowing with a frigid chill but the plentiful sunshine countered the gusts and made for some quality time outdoors. The water was a bit off color but I thought that would be a helpful development. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single hit today. With the temperatures still in the 20's I got to fight icy guides, but no fish. Perhaps the cold snap has them a bit too lethargic to chase the bugger. Hopefully with a few more relatively warm days to come the trout will get active again soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Finding The Kokanee

Fly fishing on Friday was not an easy task. Darren and I had planned a trip and were determined to hit the water, no matter what mother nature delivered. Our arrival in the parking area with -3 degree weather was not what either of us had in mind.

We pushed on through the cold morning and got on the river, anxiously anticipating the sun cresting into the canyon and the warmth it would surely bring. The fish were cooperative from the start. Darren was immediately into some rainbows and a kokanee. He knows this river well and the lie and structure of every hole and bend here.

I somehow managed to sweep the floor of the river clean by catching what seemed like every white sucker within a 10 mile radius. Fighting the constantly icy guides on the rod became second nature. It was no secret to Darren that I really wanted to try to get into some kokanee. So, I went over to the bugger knowing full well that I would have to de-ice more often, but hoping for a salmon payoff. My first fish on the bugger was certainly not what I expected. I had flanked a big carp that had to be on its last legs. He was all beat up and very lethargic.

The bugger did finally work as intended with some of the salmon getting aggressive enough to take it.

I decided to stick with the bugger throughout the day, as it was taking some rainbows as well. This paid off nicely as Darren was expertly working the indicator rig, I could offer something different as we worked down the river and we would both end up taking some decent fish along the way.

Here is Darren conducting a nymphing clinic on a pod of rainbows.

More nice water was around every bend of the river.

Darren took this beautiful brown trout still in its fall spawning colors.

Here is a rainbow that I couldn't resist a photo of with is colors and spotting pattern.

We ended the day with Darren and this nice male kokanee with its amazing teeth and jaw.

The temperatures never got above freezing, but later in the day it felt like a heatwave just to be in the 20's. The cold weather had given the river entirely to us for the majority of the day. A trade off I would willingly make on any trip to have good fishing and good company. Thanks Darren for a tremendous trip on some of your home water. I had a fantastic time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Cast Of The Month

December is here and I was anxious to get on the water. I headed out in search of my ever desirable brown trout quarry. There is a pool I have tried fishing a few times in the past that looks about as fishy as anything on the face of the earth. I have never managed a fish out of it. Today, I almost didn't bother with it but then decided I would start out at that pool and see what it held for me. You never know how things can change. The water was up higher than the past few days and slightly off color as well. On my first cast of the day, two short strips and then instant tension moving around the pool. I had finally found a brown trout hanging out in the depths of this inviting spot. My first fish of the month on my very first cast of the day. That made me warm inside, which I ended up needing as the temperature was dropping rapidly. The sun had hidden behind a quick moving cloud bank cooling things considerably. I had some great action the rest of the day with another brown landed and five or so follows mixed with short strikes. It was great to see the fish very active and interested in the bugger today. I think the cloud cover and the off color water both helped with the conditions.

First trout of December