Jun 21, 2011

Just Some Ramblings

I haven't been out fishing in almost two weeks thanks to work and my long "Honey Do" list.  The good news is I made some decent progress on the house chores so I just might get to spend a few hours on the water this weekend.  I'd like to hit the salt for some fluke or some striped bass especially after reading about the new Rhode Island state record Striped Bass that was just caught a few days ago.

This linesider was just a pound shy of breaking a world record and what was really amazing is that he also held the previous Rhode Island state record.  Kudos to him.

New RI state record at 77.4lbs

Make sure to check out the video of this fish at:  http://www.abc6.com

If that bass isn't enough to get he blood pumping how about a mountain lion hit and killed by a vehicle in Connecticut!  Yup, that's right.  Not a typo.  There is actual proof that a mountain lion was in our state.  Now DEP doesn't know if it is a wild lion or a released pet, but still there is actual proof.

Picture of the Mountain Lion hit by a vehicle in CT on June 11 2011

You can read the full story on http://www.greenwichtime.com/.

Of course the news of this mountain lion has spurred many more sightings with the latest one being in the town that borders the town I live in which is on the other side of the state from where the above lion was killed.  I'm not sure how I feel about this just yet. 

About 18 years ago I was driving home late one night from the fish and game club so take this into consideration as I claim to have seen a mountain lion cross the road in front of me but it was only for a split second or two and the only lighting was from the headlights on my truck.  Now I'm not the only one to claim to seeing a mountain lion around here back then but until now there has never been any tangible proof.  I'd like to see one in the wild, but I don't think I would like to know there are more out there as I am sneaking into my deer blind in the dark.  The boogie man is scary enough and I don't need to loose my focus on him while worrying about a Mountain Lion sneaking up to give me a look over.  What and amazing and beautiful animal but scary.

I know that today is the official start of summer as we enjoy the summer solstice and all, but Busch Pilot and I spent a hour discussing the up coming early goose season.  Less then 80 days til the opener and lots to do.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and getting time on the water and in the woods because summer seems to go by way to fast as we get older so get outside and enjoy!

Jun 16, 2011

They Have The Passion Weekly - Playing Catch-Up

I am way behind on my weekly THTP posts so I am going to highlight a few different folks this week.  I'm staying in my home state of Connecticut this time out and sharing the blogs of some fellow Nutmeggers.

Steve and his family creek side on a trip to Yellowstone last year

Steve Zakur from Sipping Emergers says he is a Fly fishing guide trapped in a Technology executive's life.  I'm no fly fishing guide, but I can sympathize with Steve on this one.  Steve's passion is fly fishing and his blog is filled with fly fishing reports, thoughts and and general fly fishing ramblings.  Steve does a great job keeping his followers updated on local and national happenings as well as finding a way to make us feel like we on the water with him when he tells a story.  Stop by Sipping Emergers and read some of Steve's ramblings.  I promise it is worth the visit.

Kierran with a Long Island Sound Linesider
Kierran is another fellow nutmegger  from The Connecticut Yankee blog.  Kierran has a strong passion for all things outdoors, but none greater than the pursuit of fish.  Kierran gets around and is definitely a skilled fisherman with a knack for landing big fish.  Right now you will find him along the shore chasing linesiders or picking clams but he is just as comfortable  with a big brown trout or carp on the end of his line.   He has also recently come across some incredible arrow heads during his outdoor excursions.  Stop by The Connecticut Yankee and see what Kierran produces from his next outing.

Savage Clamming
The last of my fellow nutmeggers are the crew from Outdoor Savages.   This crew is a small group of friends that have a passion for anything outdoors and Outdoor Savages is their place to share their passions and exploits with the rest of us.   They will share their adventure from land and water right to the table if the opportunity presents itself.   There just as comfrotable in a duck or turkley blind as they are on the waters of the Long Island Sound.  There is something for everyone over at the Outdoor Savages so stop by their blog and see what this crew is up to next. 

Jun 9, 2011

National Boating and Fishing Week

TakeMeFishing.org – National Fishing & Boating Week

I'm a little late here but there is still time to get out on the water and partake in National Fishing and Boating week sponsored by TakeMeFishing.org from June 4th - June 12th.    They are also sponsoring a Memories on the Water video contest on facebook with the grand prize being a trip for 4 as well as prizes given away daily.  Go to their facebook page and check it out.

Unfortunately our wonderful State of Connecticut does not have a free fishing day anymore, but many states do offer free fishing days and some even try to offer them during this week so check your local fish and wildlife division to see if they offer up free fishing days.

Now get out on the water and enjoy all that it has to offer and remember to Share the Passion while doing so.

Jun 8, 2011

Penns Creek 2011

Me, Steve, Brendan and Dad on Penns Creek

I just got back from our 3rd annual family fly fishing trip & competition where we spent a few days fishing Penns Creek in Central Pennsylvania with my Father, Brother Steve and Son Brendan.  My brother and I started this little trip 3 years ago as we spent a few days fishing with my dad around his house in the Poconos, but last year we decided this little get together needed to move around to different locations and get away from the house so it we made it happen.  We enjoyed Penns Creek so much last year, we decided to head back there again this year.  Once again we stayed in the apartment at Penns Creek Angler which certainly serves it's purpose as a place to sleep, get showered and even relax when not on the water.

Green Drake - these things are huge!

Put the rod down for a bit and this Green Drake stopped for a rest
Last year's trip was just late enough for us to miss out on the famed Green Drake hatch and water levels running really low with hot dry weather.  This year we found a different Penns Creek with much more water then we needed and covered in Green Drakes.  I wasn't excited about the 1000cfs plus flows, especially seeing Penns offers difficult wading even at normal flows below 400cfs, but I was extremely excited to see the Green Drake for the first time ever and what a site it was.  Many of the Central PA trout streams are known for their prolific and variety of hatches and Penns Creek was no different.  At times we were just covered in Green Drakes as well as Sulphurs with some caddis and gray foxes thrown in for good measure.  With all these bugs hatching and creating just a mess for the angler trying to match the hatch, what was even more amazing was very few fish rising with any consistency.  There were a few that were consistent but knowing that there were many more fish in the water than what was showing up on the surface, I just kept nymphing away and picking up fish.

I've read so many different opinions about fishing the green drake hatch from suggestions on ignoring them completely to running up river with it and fish the heck out of it.   My normal fishing style is nymph until you die or until fish are rising consistently and you know what they are feeding on.  So we all pretty much nymphed away with the majority of our fish coming to net that way.  Matter of fact
most came on a stonefly nymph of some sort with a black stone being preferred, while a few came on green drake nymphs and a couple on a frenchie nymph made from partridge and turkey tail with a fire orange hot spot.

My dad and brother were using a typical indicator type setup for their nymphing.  I stuck to my Euro Nymphing setup of a 10' 4wt Greys Streamflex with my Jan Siman bicolor slinky style indicator.  My son was a different story.  Last years PC trip was his first time ever fly fishing and it started with a crash course in the yard the day before we hit the water.  He enjoyed the fly rod so much he kept at it last summer and once again he decided to use the fly rod for this trip but he didn't want an indicator.  His method resembled more of a high sticking method and it paid off for him as he caught the most trout out of the group, and he did so using all my gear.  Dang kids.

This little guy had a lot of fight in him

Brendan was the first one in the water on Day #1 and the first to hook up.  I was down river when he hooked up so I made it to shore and ran up river to get a picture of him with his fish and give him a high five.  It was a little wild brown that looked like a small toy football as it was short and chunky in the middle and narrow on the ends.  It had shoulders as it put up a good fight and I'm sure the raging water helped that fight.  We got him in the net and took two quick pics and back in the water he went.  Matter of fact, all the fish we caught were released to fight another day and at least one did as I caught him two days in a row.

First Fish of the trip

Brendan with the first fish of the trip

I hooked into a good fish for about a minute or two and then off he came but he still had my flies with him.  I guess I tied a crappy knot.  I was not happy but little did I know that this fish would make a difference in the end.  But that is okay I redemeed myself with a nice little brown to tie things up.

Later that evening my brother Steve lost 3 fish in a row.  Not sure what he was doing wrong, but I'm sure he wasn't setting the hook good enogh.  My dad was up there on the bank giving him the business, oops I mean instruction, and he hooked a fourth and finally landed that one.  It was his first ever Penns Creek trout - he got skunked last year - and no one up there had a camera.  Amazing..    My dad was 0-0 on day one but as Brendan put it "If he wasn't sitting on the bank playing Penns Creek greeter and in the water fishign he might have caught something!"  Well put son!

Steve and Dad taking a break on the bank

After a late night meal at the bar next to the apartment we got cleaned up, watched a instructional nypmhing dvd because it was obvious my dad and brother needed it, then off to sleep for an early wake up.  The alarm went off at 5am, I got up turned the coffee on and waited for the rest of the crew to start stirring.  I can be up and out in less than 20 minutes but that isn't the case with this crew.  We didn't make the water until 6:30am which was a little later than I wanted but still good enough.  We stuck to the same plan as the day before and spread out along a long run and fished away.  The water was still high but Brendan and I found a place to cross the night before so we headed across and back to working the same water as the night before.  I had watched a nice fish rise a few times just behind a rock the night before so I nymphed my way over to his hiding spot and just two drifts through there he smacked a stonefly nymph I had on  and the fight was on.  Not a hog by any shape of the imagination but he was a good one and turned out to be the biggest of the trip.  We banged a few more fish before the green drakes exploded around 9am.  We had little bug activity and then we were just covered up in Drakes.  It was really something to see.  Around noon we headed back to the aprtment to get some lunch and take a nap.

He should have stayed hidden the night before

Brendan getting his game on

That evening we were back on the same run nymphing away.  I hooked into a fish that turned out to be the same one I hooked the previous day.  Now that put a smile on my face.  The evening hatch was sulphur heavy but the drakes were lighter than the previous evening so I tried playing the dry fly game with no success.  I did get to watch two guys come in and hammer the fish on top using a large coffin fly.  By the time we left they had manage a dozen trout easy.  Lesson learned.

Feeling confident that he couldn't be beaten

Saturday morning was our last morning on the water and we planned to get out around 1pm, so we got up early again, packed the truck and hit the water.  At this point I was one fish behind my son, with my brother and dad way behind.  Brendan decided to leave me and move up river by himself and dad and I head down stream and Steve stuck to his comfortable spot in the water.  It paid off for all of us as we all caught fish, most of use caught trout but I promised my dad that I wouldn't mention that all he got was chubs.  Brendan was first to hook up and that put me two fish down.  I worked hard to catch up but I just couldn't.  I did roll one and land one but it wasn't enough to catch the kid.  Steve lost another but then landed his second PC brown trout and we got a picture of it this time because he made dad run up to the truck to get a camera while he was fighting the fish.  Good thing the truck was close by.

Steve with his second Penns Creek brown trout
We called it a trip around 1pm and got out of our fishing gear, repacked the truck and had a quick bite to eat before heading back to my dad's house.  There was a lot of snoring going on in the back seat of that truck and it was being done by the two youngest of our crew.  Dad and I were talking about catching an evening hatch near the house while these two were snoring away.  Amazing.

Lunch of champion wild brown trout fisherman everywhere

We landed over a dozen beautiful wild browns while losing about another half dozen or so.  We did get to see the famed Green Drake hatch which was worth the price of admission in itself.  We had plenty of laughs along the way and ran into a few characters, one of which was definitely my dad's doppelgänger .  We had way too many laughs and of course the country side is just incredible.  We did see deer, turkey and even a small hawk that my dad almost ran over as it struggled to lift its meal of dead squirrel from the road.

Dad almost getting taken out during the Kayak hatch!

With over 35 miles of creek to explore, I'm sure we will be back to fish Penns again in the future.  Matter of fact I suggested we make next years trip a week long as that will give us more time to explore all those wonderful Central PA streams surrounding Penns Creek and there are some beauties like Spring Creek and Big Fishing Creek that we have yet to explore.  I wish I lived closer.

Last fish of the trip
Dad presenting Brendan with the pin for catching the most fish

Got to finish off with a flower shot
They claim the only thing guaranteed when fishing Penns Creek is leaving frustrated and taking a bath during wading.  Well I didn't end up taking a bath, but my brother Steve did - twice.  I also didn't leave frustrated, but at times I was frustrated.  We did leave a little wore out from the wading, but nothing we won't recover from.  A good trip for me is not about numbers or even the fish itself, instead it is
about time on the water with friends and family so this one goes down as an award winner in my book.

Jun 1, 2011

Willimantic River TMA outing 5/29/11

I had the pleasure of fishing  the TMA on the Willimantic River with none other than JT from JT's Fly Shop Saturday morning.  We met at the abutment pool at 6am with a plan to get a little time on the water before the family woke up and the honey do list took over.  JT and I started out swinging wooly buggers with me at the top of the abutment and JT at the end.  The wall of mosquitoes was brutal but we fought through them and made our way into the water.
Had this stretch all to ourselves

There were plenty of bugs around but no signs of fish until one popped up out in front of me which was his first mistake.  The second was him taking the olive/brown bugger that I dead drifted his way – Fish on.  I LDR’d this brown but it felt good to get back at it seeing it’s been almost 2 weeks without fishing for me.
JT quickly hit his stride and had a fish on which turned out to be another brown.  It wasn’t long after that and he was locked again and a river dace came to hand.  Hey a fish is a fish, right?!    I hooked into another fish and once again I lost it during the retrieve.  What the heck?  While I was contemplating what I was doing wrong, JT continued to bring fish to had.  yup he caught a blue gill and a calico bass before finally catching another trout which turned out to be a nice little rainbow.  We got thinking and figured he only needed a small mouth bass and a brook trout to round out his catch.
Willimantic River Brown Trout

I picked up one more brown trout at the Abutment before we both decided to head down stream.  JT decided to switch over and do some indicator nymphing while I stayed stubborn and worked my buggers.  JT headed down to the pool just above 84 and I worked from the abutment down to him.  I picked up a couple more dace and rolled a couple of trout one of which broke me off.  This was the second break off in two weeks within a few feet of each other.  I now have 2 trout with my buggers stuck in their face.  I want my buggers back!
I made it down to JT just in time to see him lock up on a another brown.  He was working hard for that SMB and Brookie but he just couldn’t produce.  IT was now 10:30am and it was time to head out.  It’s amazing how fast 4 hours goes by when you are on the water and no one is around.
JT Working over the Bridge hole

The Willi was in good shape this morning however a little low for me.  Temps in the mid to upper 50s and fairly clear with a little color.  I did see a caddis or two come off but that was about it.  It was good to get out and on the water especially with the man himself.  JT definitely had the hot hand this mornign and I’m sure he will be manning the counter at the shop bragging about his skills and the spanking he gave me.    That’s ok because I plan on sending him a picture next week of a large Penns Creek wild brown trout.

Now it' off to Central PA to fish some of those famous limestone creeks.  According to the reports the flows are high and looks like we will get to witness our first Green Drake hatch.  I hear it is something to witness.

Tight Lines!