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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Slow Day On The Water

I found some time to noodle around for brown trout today and had a nice strike and a few follows but nothing was really going on fishing wise. I was definitely glad to get out and walk the water's edge. We are above freezing today for a change and the warmth of the sun felt good on my back. Water conditions were crystal clear and I could watch some of the fish in a few deeper pools that typically are obscured.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nature's Palette

The spectacular colors on this brown trout are entirely from the natural light falling on its beautiful flank. I haven't enhanced or changed this photo at all other than cropping it. This was a most rewarding fish on a day that was pleasant out, but never got above freezing. Iced guides are a minor annoyance when given the privilege to tangle with this gem colored beauty.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Trout

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there chasing trout on such a beautiful day. I managed a couple hours of time on the water and had a few interested brown trout. A truly glorious day to be out and enjoying nature.

I did get high holed by another angler but he had more pressing needs so I left and headed downsteam. This is the only other angler I saw all day.

Downstream proved to be better action as I don't think the other fisher had put any pressure on this section. This brown was particularly aggressive. He took twice but didn't get hooked either time. I rested the hole for about five minutes and on the first cast following the rest, he hammered it again, this time hooking up to become my memorable thanksgiving trout.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Clear Water Hookups

The cold snap the last two days really dropped the water levels and cleared up visibility to crystal clear conditions. I stalked the browns as carefully as I could be they could see me coming more times than not. I hooked up with three small browns and scared out about 5 or 6 more fish from lies. I would work to them when I could but they were skittish. A large heron left as I walked down to the water's edge so they may have been getting other fishing pressure that was a bit more lethal than my small bugger. I was able to spot two muskrats and a couple snipe today as well. Snipe sure can startle you when you walk up on them and they flush!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Walking The River Ice

The river is quickly beginning to close up on the edges. Large sheets of edge ice were everywhere. I waded in and worked a bugger swinging it to likely lies and trying to find a few trout but none were willing. I didn't see another person on the river and having it all to myself was a nice solitary time to think and reflect on how lucky I was to be out on such a beautiful day.

I ended the day scouting the plains lakes to see if any were still open after all the freezing weather. Only the big player was still open. Everything else was solid. It will be ice fishing season soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Met A Nice Girl At Lunch

When we first met, she lashed out in a surprisingly vicious attack and we fought a twisted battle over a gold jeweled bauble. Luckily, I was able to win the fight and we parted ways. I was quite satisfied with the outcome, but I think she went away with her pride hurt and a little mad.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Muddy Lunch

The moving water around here is high and chocolate mud with the runoff from the melting snow. I threw a bugger to the browns for a while at lunch today and had one hook up that I got to see before he shook me and another two tugs. The conditions were tough for clarity. Hopefully the flows will clear up soon and make the fishing a little easier. The sun was downright warming and comfortable today and it really made for a nice day on the water. Feeling the pulse of a trout on the line is a good way to spend lunch any day of the week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leonid Meteors Overnight

I interrupted my slumber at 1:00AM to make an attempt at spotting the Leonid meteor shower as the peak was supposed to be occurring early Tuesday morning and I wanted to see if I could get one on camera. The skies were clear and I had a decent viewing location from the kitchen with a good angle on the constellation Leo, which was supposed to be the radiant for the meteors. I was shooting 15 second exposures off a tripod at ISO200. Unfortunately, my little point and shoot cannot handle any longer exposure than that so I was limited, but just kept firing away hoping to catch one on film. I spotted some nice meteors with a very spectacular one about halfway through the time I was watching. It was out of my camera FOV though. I retired at 2:15AM as I had only seen one in the last 15 minutes of my watching. This morning while reviewing the pictures, I did have one faint capture of a Leonid on the camera. It wasn't much but I was happy to have some evidence of their presence in the Wyoming skies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Open And Moving

Temperatures were around 15 to 20 degrees and I couldn't stand the thought of not getting out to fish another day. The storm had cooped me up with a little cabin fever setting in. After shoveling the drive and walkways, and realizing there was no wind to speak of, I decided to go hunt out some open water and throw the bugger a while in an attempt to tangle with some brown trout. I took minimal equipment, just a rod and four flies with a clipper and forceps set. There were no tracks in the snow at all with no one else crazy enough to bother fishing in this weather. Surprisingly, the fish were active and I managed one to hand and some other takes and swirls. The little brown I landed was a jewel of bright reds and golds. A nice gift from the stream on a freezing day. I did have to constantly stop and fight the iced up guides but it was worth it. Another wonderful day to spend in the high plains of the west.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tubing With Willi And The Shoe

Shoe and Willi headed up to the high plains to partake of some of the fall action on the local lakes around town. We had a quality day with consistent action and some decent weather. A little wind did come up in the afternoon but nothing terrible and certainly not at the forecasted levels. I fished the indicator rig all day with good action at the first lake and nothing to show for it after moving. Shoe and Willi had action on leeches and seemed to pick up the pace later in the day. Another quality fall day to be afield before the caps go on and ice fishing begins.

Calm tubing weather in the morning

My best rainbow of the day took a midge

Shoe out in the choppy afternoon waters

Horses grazing at our second stop

Willi and Shoe satisfied at the end of the day