Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Trip Of 2012

A final trip to end the year, on the ice with George.  We saw a few nice rainbows and caught a couple as well.  George even found a small kokanee as well.  A slow day but a nice finale to the end of 2012.  George's cinnamon roll baking on his propane heater was something to behold.  Delicious.

My last fish of the year, a good way to end 2012.

George's famous home on the ice

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Three Weight On The Stream

I took the light rod out today to walk the stream.  Unfortunately we had wind gusts to 65 mph.  It wasn't too bad along the water with a little shelter from the banks and I was able to drop my casts in close to where I was aiming most of the time.  The fish were fairly active and swirling strikes or refusals occurred at almost every good pocket, hole, or undercut bank.  The leech was working well enough that I didn't switch flies but I thought about going to a hopper with the high winds.  I may have to try a hopper on another day very soon.

Beautiful stream brown trout

Nice narrow undercut bank section

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rebirth Of A Lake

This morning was the TU Adopt A Trout program in cooperation with Wyoming Game & Fish.  We had 42 fifth graders out on a field trip to the stream to learn about stream ecology, fish telemetry studies, fish tagging, macro invertebrates, and fly casting.  I had a great time helping the kids on the fly casting station. [I'll get more info on the Adopt A Trout day up on the LVTU website soon.]

Ten fifth graders casting in the Wyoming wind
In the afternoon, I took off for a lake that winter killed this past winter.  I had heard a tip (thanks Derek) that the spring 7 inch stockers were running in the 16 inch range and that fall hunger was resulting in some good action.  The wind was blowing well, but I was able to get it at my back and cast the sinking line, covering a lot of water on each cast.  I was able to connect with quite a few of these rainbows and managed to land six in a short session of wading water deep enough to reach the top of the chest waders.  They were super hot fish, running, jumping, feisty and strong.  The sinking line was the ticket today.  I couldn't believe the bend these fish were putting in my six weight.  A great ending to a fun day with a focus on trout from start to finish.  The big question here is will we be able to get this lake through winter this year without another kill?  Spring of 2013 will hold the ultimate answer on that front.

A view on the lake

Rainbow from this year's spring stocking

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just Before Sunset

I did a quick evening trip to a lake I hadn't been to since June.  Only had to share the lake with the wind and some geese.
 Landed a pair of these 12/13 inch stockers on the short 3 weight.  Really more of stream rod at 7.5 feet but I hadn't taken it out for a while and felt like swinging the light stick.  Stripping a leech got me a little action.  They felt great on the light rod and fought well.

 I ended up staying about an hour and a half and was rewarded with a beautiful fall sunset.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Evening On The Dam

I headed out this evening after things warmed up around here.  We had a bit of snow this morning and rain, then managed to get into the mid 50's around 3pm.  So I went out and threw the sinking line near the dam. The weather was decent on arrival and I was on the water about 4pm, a little wind but patchy skies and even sun now and then.

 No apparent schools of any kokanee visible that I could see tonight.  I had a couple hits then a huge brown breached out of the water in casting distance.  Within a couple casts of seeing that brown, I ended up with a kokanee following my bugger and leech combo and take the leech within rod tip length right in front of me.  Never did find that brown, it was the only leaper I saw too.

After this, the winds came up strong and I was surf fishing.  These were much higher waves than yesterday. I had to cinch down my wader top drawstring as they were crashing up above the edge of my breathables.  Sometimes I would jump as the roller came in to stay above it.  It worked and I stayed relatively dry.

The storm was approaching as I worked back across the dam. If it hit quickly I could make it to the vehicle fast enough to avoid the drenching that Shoe and I took on Friday.

 Finally I struck a trout, a nice hen rainbow that fought well and finally came to the net.

Once the drizzle started I was up the hill in a flash and headed for home.  Here's the approaching storm that proceeded to wet down the Pokes as they lost by 1 point to AFA.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day With Shoe

We hit the road early and got some good water time in on Friday.  Shoe did well throughout the day hitting some nice browns and had a 3 species day.  I had it rough most of the day with only the one nice snake river cutt landed and had several other fish on but just couldn't seal the deal.  It was fun to get out and fish with the Shoe though. I hadn't seen him since spring and we had as good a time as we always do. 

Here are some shots from the day:

Early morning calm

Shoe with his third or fourth fish already 
Another brown - lake still calm

Shoe fighting in the float tube

22 incher

Snake River Cutt
At the end of the day, we finally got a "little" chop.  Shoe working the white caps.  This was a little before the rains started.  It was already raining in every direction around us.  We called it a day once we both were drenched.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1st Trip

My April 1st trip is a tradition I started when I moved to Wyoming.  It is a good day to set the trip clock to and gauge how things are going to shake out for the Spring.  This year we are already well underway with the record high temps melting the ice and getting the season started early.

The winds have been howling and I thought my classic April 1st tradition might not happen this year with the 50 mph gusts.  As early afternoon crept in, I decided to just brave it and go out where I could get the wind at my back.  It paid off as I managed to land three decent fish on the leech and hook up with a few more fighters as well.  The leech was the ticket tonight and the takes were hard hammering lightning strikes up the fly line.

One of the prettiest rainbows of the spring

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Aggressive Rainbows

More lake resident rainbows.  Caught all males today and they were all fairly aggressive takes.  I was able to see the take from the last fish on the egg pattern as he cruised past me in the shallows.  Here are a couple of the better fish on the day.  Winds were pretty rough but I managed with quartering casts into it.

Still a dink by Willi standards

Male that turned on my egg and crushed it

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Big Fish Willi

Met up with Willi and Steve this afternoon for a couple hours of action.  I found a lot of 12-16 inch fish today and had good action slow stripping buggers but Willi continued his big fish whispering streak of late with this fish while I was there to net and photograph for him.  It was nice to see these guys out doing their thing and I always pick up some good info on technique and patterns from Willi.  He always seems to have things dialed in perfectly.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rainbows In Cruise Mode

An after work trip this evening paid off with some good action on rainbow trout actively searching the dam for food and spawning partners.  Leeches and buggers were taken with about equal frequency.  I was just dead drifting them under an indicator waiting for cruisers to stumble upon the fly.  Mostly 12-15 inch fish were found but I did get into one better male this evening.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Breakup Doldrums

Things are still opening up.  I met up with Eric for a couple hours and also hit some other lakes with just a small bit of open water.  I couldn't get much going today but at the end of the evening finally found some small rainbows that wanted to chase a bugger on a sinking line.  The fish just weren't active today.  Things should pick up as the ice continues to leave and the water warms a bit.

Eric working the ledges

Not much open to fish yet

Skunk busting stocker

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ice Break Up

Things in the valley are cracking up on the surface and open water season is just about here in full force.  I took a couple hours to chase trout on some ice ledge casts with the leech.  A nice brookie hammered it after dropping off the ice edge and to the lake bottom.  It was a good way to start the evening and my first brook trout of the year.  I shot some short video and will try to update with that once I get time to do some editing.

Here's the six weight in action from tonight.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Open Water!

Stillwater beckoning in January
Finding open water on a lake above 7000 feet during January in Wyoming can be a bit difficult.  Warm weather and heavy winds can quickly change conditions on the plains lakes and with the right combination, it can be worth heading out and scouting around for any fishable water.  I took off and drove a circuit of the plains lakes, finding open water on a couple but it was too shallow to fish or too hard to get to without extreme effort.  Some lakes were still 100% capped as well.  My luck prevailed though, and my last chance stillwater had a wide swath of open water on the north side of the lake.  The wind was howling but I quartered my casts into it and managed to get some decent drifts with the nymphing rig.  I was day dreaming a bit when the first strike sent lightning back up the line and I missed the hookset on the first active trout.  After that jarring take I paid better attention to the indicator and started to pick up fish.  There was no mistaking their strikes as they were cruising through the open water and actively feeding.  Long underwear under my waders and pants prolonged my ability to stay and wade but finally I could take no more of the high winds whipping up white caps on the sliver of open water.  I headed back to town thinking about the coming spring and the inevitable open water it brings with it.

A healthy brown trout to start the day

Ice ledges ringing the lake

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Little Winter Gems

A meandering walk searching the holding water and deep pools with the fly rod produced a few gem sized brown trout this afternoon.  Trout like this warm the soul of an angler in the short light of a January day.  Every day is one step closer to spring.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dawn On The Ice

Moon shining through the sunrise
George and I hit the ice early this morning in search of lake trout.  Sunrise on the ice was beautiful to watch and we had a good day with numerous rainbows, browns, and even a sneaky cutthroat in the mix.  We didn't find any of the large macks we went searching for but enjoyed ourselves in the ice shanty nonetheless.  I brought home a few rainbows in the 16 inch range for the grill in the evening and they were delicious.

Sunrise on the ice

First cutthroat of the new year

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Browns

There are a few brown trout to be had out there on the seams this winter.  The three weight and a leech makes for a nice walk on the moving water this January.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Icy Guides And Brown Trout

I managed an afternoon-to-sunset brown trout stalk tonight.  The fish were fairly skittish in the low, clear water and I spooked out a couple on bungled approachs.  Finally, the sun faded away behind the mountains and things turned on as the relative safety of darkening skies got the browns interested in chasing the leech.  Another fun evening slinging the three weight.  The only drawback was 20-25 degree temperatures had me chipping ice out of the guides often enough to remind me it was still January.
Sun fading on the water
A brown trout with a beautiful spotting pattern

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Trip Of 2012

Even as woefully behind on the blog as I am (expect some coming historical post to catch up on the fall season), the draw of a new trip in the new year was too much to resist.  I was out the door and scouting water on a day that felt down right balmy for January.

I managed to nab the sometimes elusive first fish on the fly for the 2012 season.  A nice brown trout.... hopefully a good omen for the new year.
First fish of 2012
The first two fish hookups on the day I managed to LDR.  They were nicer browns and hot dancers on the three weight.  It was just an all around beautiful day to be out and about - sunny, windless and 50 degrees.  I missed a few other strikes and of course spooked out a few fish here and there.  It felt like April and all I could think about was the coming of spring.  There will be more winter to come, but a few days like this sprinkled in amongst the storms will help me bide my time until the inevitable blossoms of spring.
Another pretty brown trout on the hot head leech