Friday, December 30, 2011

Enjoying the mild weather in Iowa

Fished a batch of Mr. Winona Fly Factory flies. His little white midge with blue wire was the hot fly on this day. Thanks Justin!
Carried the 3wt hoping to find some dry fly action... Saw one fish rise... ehh
Jammed to a couple new albums given to me over Christmas, The Black Keys. Good stuff. 

Can't get over how mild this Winter has been. 

The Christmas cookies I've stashed in my freezer are dwindling away.

Big blue green pools. 

A WFF Scud takes some browns.

Ditched the nymphs and slowly drug a bugger on the bottom of this deep run. You gotta try.

Or, the fishing over here is heavenly. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Be a Poet by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Kofa Desert

Dad's birthday today. Looked through some pictures to post to his facebook. These are some pics from a camp/backpack trip to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona 2006. Happy birthday Pops.
Perhaps the coolest campsite ever. This skull looking rock had a hollowed out core the size of a room. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Iowa's Urban Trout

I've been out a couple times this month tossing dries on the local urban trout stream. It's been fun using the 3wt I built last winter. Something nice about using a rod you built and flies you've tied. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pike video

Don't laugh. Or, go ahead and laugh. I've been messing around with video. It is pretty shaky and not too creative. But it gives you an idea what I've been up to. I didn't get any big fish this day, but a couple for the camera.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Iowa BWO's

I fished a nice BWO hatch a while back on an Iowa stream. The big browns were doing their thing in the shallows. The little guys were sipping dries.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iowa Driftless

It's been a mild November in Iowa. Pics from a recent outing. I love the driftless.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't underestimate the pheasant tail

Pattern on the left has been the champ
On a recent trip North for Steelhead I was drifting a nice bend without success. I switched my setup to a bead head pheasant tail and hooked up immediately. After two fish my last PT was shredded (pictured bottom left of foam). I was kicking myself for not having more of this great pattern. It's also the only pattern I've been able to fool the local grass carp with. It doesn't really matter what variation of the PT you tie. The point is keep a good supply on hand. It's rarely the first fly I throw but it's a damn good "plan B". 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Late Season Pike

There is a small backwater below my house. When we first moved in, it was less than 2 feet deep throughout. Last fall, there was a large flood on the Black river that ripped through the backwater, cleaning it out. After the flood there were places that were 10 feet deep. If you search through the archives of this blog, you'll see that we caught some nice pike last winter in the deeper holes. Well, they are back and they are taking flies, any fly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


My first taste of Chrome. Had an absolute blast with some friends up North. This was my second chance in 10 years at steelhead. Wish I lived closer to these awesome fish. Thanks Tim, Luke and Nate!

November Steelhead

"Where have you been?" I ask, curiously mixed with wonderment. What collaboration of instincts, what fusion of natural forces sends a hundred smolts to sea and returns to me this single adult? -Trey Combs

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October Fly Fishing

Fishing the local water in October. Looking for pike, carp, and bass. Not a lot to say -- most of the time I'm catching the skunk. Regardless, I'm loving the cool weather and fall colors.

carp flies

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wisconsin season end

I ended the Wisconsin season where I started it. I've done this the past two years now. I don't think there is a pretty stretch of water in the driftless. Some old habitat work, nested within a beautiful valley and a river that typically gives up some decent fish. On this day, some fish were rising to BWO's but I took mine on streamers. Just a typical day on a WI trout stream. Now, to Iowa.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Conversation at the Lake

A recent conversation with two bobber fisherman at the lake.

Me: How's the fishing?
Bob R: Pretty Good. What you fishing for?
Me: I'm fishing for carp. (they stare at my weird looking fishing rod).
Bob R: (long pause and puzzled look). You cut their bellies and throw em back, right?
Me: No, I'm catching them for fun and I'm pretty sure you can't do that. DNR will write you up for that.
Bob R: Hell no they won't! Them'r invasive species.
Me: You know if I killed the one carp I catch today it isn't going to put a dent in the thousands in this lake.
Bob R: (looks at me with disgust) You know there be walleye in this lake?
Me: Yep. But no walleye in this lake that will bend this rod over like a carp will.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fishing Maine's Roach River

The Roach river flows for six miles, starting at a dam on First Roach Pond at Kokadjo, Maine to Moosehead Lake. Moosehead lake is the largest body of fresh water entirely contained within a single state, so I'm told. Said lakes holds Lake Trout, Brook Trout, and Landlocked Salmon, to name a few species. Of these, the brookies and salmon ascend the Roach to spawn each fall, making them accessible to the willing fly fisherman. The Roach river is fly fishing and catch and release only.

Under normal to low flow conditions, I'm told that the Roach is considered a small river, easily fishable with a 4wt rod. Along the six miles of river, there are 12 'pools' in which most of the fish congregate during a typical fall. These pools can be nymphed, fished with streamers, or with a dry fly if the situation calls for it. The rest of the river is strewn with boulders and I think typically too shallow to hold a lot of fish. I could be wrong about this because I fished the Roach last week (late Sept) under very high flows. The high flows seemed to spread fish out a bit, and made it impractical to nymph given the faster water and boulder substrate, it seemed I was either hung up on a rock or floating along the surface. It didn't matter, because under these conditions, you'd be a fool not to be swinging a streamer.

I believe the locals call this the ledges. It was the best holding water I found. It was sweet.

First light on the Roach River. Most of the river looked like this, strong current, fish holding in the softer water (not shown)

I took a rental car from Bangor up to Greenville and stopped in at Main Guide Fly Shop. There I got some helpful tips, a couple of flies and directions to free a campsite near the mouth of the river.

One of the flies I picked up is called the Shufelt Special. It is just a simple attractor streamer: orange body with a white wing. It might resemble a brook trout fin, not sure, but it rocked.

The Shufelt Special, wet.

In a day and a half of fishing I landed a dozen brook trout and one landlocked salmon, all on streamers and nearly all on Shufelt Specials. I lost a couple of fish on small soft hackles (suggested by the fly shop). The salmon didn't want its picture taken and flopped away before I could snap a pic. It was a good 16-18 inch fish.
Most of the fish I caught looked like this:13-14 inches and fat.

This was the fish of the trip, a big bright male brookie that took a streamer swung right in it front of its face. I am a bit disappointed that it didn't take a better photo. But that's how she goes. I landed a couple of nice males in bright fall colors.

The Roach River is awesome. It is pretty remote and very hard to get around on, making it easy to find your own piece of water despite the fact that it is only 6 miles long with 12 pools. I'm not sure if I'll ever get back there, but if I do, I'll spend a lot less time searching for water and much more time fishing.