Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Twenty Four:Fly Fishing for oregon coast steel

Here it is folks! although the season isnt quite over we gave up a little early ( i might go one more time with this rain) the fishing is not like last year,and the small amount of rain and clear water has made it hard since this is only my second year,i am just now figuring out low water steelhead.We had bites,a few hookups,but not alot landed. Even with a lack of fish for this film sam put it together and really put in perspective why we chase steelhead in the small streams of the oregon coast range,it is just awesome.We will be back and more ready than ever next season. For more on sam's videos click the "lone wolf productions" tab
Twenty-Four: Fly Fishing for Oregon Coast Steel from Sam Brost-Turner on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

First trout of 2013

     Recently i was invited on a stillwater trip with a friend of mine, and without any second thought i said yes. Excited for the first stillwater trout trip of 2013 i packed my gear and we headed into the cold snowy hills.A few sausage egg McMuffins and fish stories later we arrived at the destination,a beautiful piece of water i have never been to.

          As we get out i surveyed the water and saw fish on the top right away; "Should have brought some dry flies" i said as i eagerly unpacked my float tube and gear.As we chat and start to unpack i casually glance at the water and notice the action steadily picking up on further exciting me to launch and get after them, but i knew it would not be quite that easy.

     About an hour in we had 3 fish total between us but according to my fishing partner it was quite slow; especially with how many fish were rising, but we later found out it was due to rising water levels.Eventually hope prevailed; after a while of rising the water began to drop back down and the bite picked for us;yielding a few strong whities, some beautiful rainbows, and a few special bull trout (a first for me).The bite was on and off the rest of the day bringing us a few more fish to hand; but there were quite a few missed opportunities i could not capitalize on.The trip was a success and we hit a sweet pizza joint on the way back and talked about the up and down type day that we had experienced.

What a way to start out trout season!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hidden farm ponds:an early spring gem

           Spring has sprung; much earlier this year than in years past, probably because of the very mild winter the Pacific Northwest has had. Steelhead season is slow; trout season hasn’t opened on most local streams, and it is 57 degrees and sunny for the weekend, but there is hope early this spring. I made my way to the locked rusty gate at the farm ready to roll; my fins, rod, and tube in tow; my 4wt rod rigged with a possie bugger nymph for some bluegill action. 

        After making my way downhill the small pond becomes visible,the sun above the trees beating down on it. Upon launching my tube I realized that fishing may be a bit tough, nighttime temps got down to the mid 30’s and chilled the pond making the fish lethargic and less willing to eat a fly. I worked my way to the northwest corner that had the most sunlight and began to slowly work my fly at a drop off; soon enough there was a wiggle of hope on the end of my rod, a bluegill splashing around on the surface signals the start of a good day on the water. After catching 4 gills I made another cast tight to the drop off and slowly worked the fly until it suddenly stopped and my line went tight “snag” I thought, though I set the hook and pulled up; only to have what I thought to be a snag start moving and shaking its head, I knew I had hooked a bass, but the question was, how big? For the next three minutes the fish pulled all over the place and bent my 4wt in two; then it finally surfaced, a large bass had somehow found my size 12 nymph appealing. I chuckled, took a few pictures and released the fish in hopes of catching another; and it so happens on the very next cast I hooked into another strong bass, but this time smaller.
Very healthy early spring bass

Small bass taken on a possie bugger nymph
After the bass bonanza I caught a few nice gills,then another one of those "I think I’m snagged on a log hits" but knowing there are no logs where i was fishing i assumed it was yet another bass, as this fish went wherever it wanted and bent my rod almost as much as the large bass I caught. I yell to my friend” I have another big bass”, only to have a huge bluegill come to the surface...in shock I grab the big gill and admired its size while taking a few pictures, then released the beast. Content with experience I caught a few more bluegill and headed home. It just goes to show you never know what Mother Nature will hand you on an early spring day.

Huge bluegill almost broke the pound mark

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Early warmwater fishing-figuring things out

       I have not been on the water much lately,admittedly from a lack of trying,but also because less than ideal steelhead conditions.So after taking a look at the 10 day forecast for here in town i noticed a very unusually warm 63 degree day.I had that thought in the back of my mind that maybe some bluegill will be taking advantage of the warm weather to come up into the shallows and feed; but i was unsure because in years past,i have never been successful targeting warm water species until the end of April.I was bored and caught up on school work;and i really wanted to give it a go so Friday evening after i had everything done i made the trip to a small local pond.I expected it to end in a skunk,but i still tried to remain confident.
     Upon arrival i noticed the sun did not break through the clouds,kind of scared me along with the very very murky water that seemed so lifeless..it was way over its banks but made for good wading opportunities
Searching for winter gills

I was rigged up with my go to spring setup for bluegill, my 8'6" 4wt rod with a 5wt line,and a 9ft 5x custom built leader with a size 12 possie bugger nymph tied to the end of it.Simple rig,easy to cast,and very effective.The technique is just a very slow pull type strip,just to keep tension on the line;this makes it easier to detect any small strikes that are common when warm water fish are not very active.After 15minutes of fishing it became obvious to me that the fish are up in the shallows feeding,and probably have been for some time now,this is probably due to the unusually dry and warm winter we have had this year.
Winter bluegill caught on a possie bugger

      I was successful at catching many fish,including a bass that didn't want his picture taken.I was shocked at how consistent the action was,even though the bites were lite.I fished for about 3 hours and ended on a high note with 24 gills and one bass landed.Most of the fish were pale and lean,but a few like the one below were starting to look more like the bluegill in flats/coves in april and may.Big,fat,and colorful.

One of  the many healthy gills that put a large bend in my 4wt

Though i hate picking weeds off of my gear and cleaning all of my stuff after getting home (which is common when fishing warm water ponds) i think the prize outweighs the time i sacrifice into cleaning my gear; in fact, i had so much fun i decided to bring my cousin down and meet a friend for another day of fishing to see if the fishing held up in colder conditions; how cold? about 7-9 degrees cooler than the previous day,enough to make me bite my nails and only hope it doesn't kill the bite.
Wading on a cool later winter day for pesky bluegill
Many things were different from the previous day besides the temp,we arrived 3.5 hours earlier than i had before,there was more cloud cover,and it had rained overnight;But soon after arrival the fish once again assured me they were in shallow water,they were hungry,and the cooler weather was not forcing them into deeper water,i even had a few fish take my fly like the water was above 60 degrees! there were a few less fish,and we had to work harder for them,but they were still active and shallow.
At one point we had made it all the way around the pond and returned to our starting point.We all hooked up at least twice;and once again i ended up with a small bass.This fish was about half the size of the one i had caught the day before,but in the same exact spot;this fish didn't mind being posted on my blog unlike the other one
Small bass on a possie bugger
It was an excellent two days;this fishery might keep me occupied for most of april,the time i call "down time" because it is in between steelhead and trout season..figuring things out has been easier than i thought.