Sunday

November in the Land of the Giants

A quick dispatch from New Orleans and Plaquemines Parish.  After fishing in Florida, Texas, and South Carolina, it's become quite apparent that this region, hands down, is the best place to sight fish for enormous redfish.

My fishing buddy Ping and I always stay at the Woodland Plantation, which is the same mansion that was featured on the Southern Comfort label for many years.  The Southern cuisine at Woodland is outstanding.

The fried alligator and grilled oysters at Cochon (New Orleans) weren't too shabby either!

Our guide, Cody Cash, put us on some enormous reds.  Yes, I caught that sea turtle on a fly.  Long story.

On to the main event...

In a location Cody called "Donk Town", we were surrounded by hundreds of gigantic redfish and black drum quietly finning around the boat... A surreal experience punctuated by screaming fly reels.

We've already booked our trip next season in the Land of the Giants.


Autumn in the American West

Long overdue, but this recounts the my last remaining days as a "trout bum", with nearly two weeks spent plying the waters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake, Yellowstone Park, Paradise Valley, and the Madison River.  Autumn comes earlier in the American West,

The famous Railroad Ranch Section of the Henry's Fork.  I saw some bruisers in the weedy waters, but they were too wily for me.

A float trip down the Henry's Fork yielded some easier fishing.  Quite a few rainbows were eager to take dries and nymphs.  Nothing huge, but scrappy fighters as rainbows should be.

No fishing trip to the Yellowstone Park is complete without a visit to the Firehole.  The brown trout I caught were not notable in terms of size, but the strange geothermal environs were unforgettable.

The first meadow of Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park.

The cutthroat trout of Slough had definitely seen their share of flies- I watched one closely inspect and refuse a real mayfly!  After a few attempts, I found either a CDC or comparadun fly smaller than a size 18 would usually be effective.  A downstream and across presentation seemed to worked best.

A whitefish from the Madison River in Yellowstone Park.

After spending a few days touring Yellowstone with my parents, I met my girlfriend Michelle for some fishing in Montana's Paradise Valley.  The Yellowstone River was unfortunately muddied by recent rains, but it was still quite a sight to wake up to.

With the Yellowstone River blown out, our guide brought us to Story Lake, a private pond on the ranch of the Story Family.  For those who succumb to pop-lit, the Story Family's cattle drive in Paradise Valley was the inspiration for Larry McMurtry's novel Lonesome Dove.

Michelle with a fine rainbow trout, taken on a San Juan worm.  When the fishing gets tough, the worm still works!

The following day we fished one of the most famous spring creeks in the American West- DePuys.  Certainly one of the of the prettiest creeks I've fished in the US.

A small fly shop was located conveniently along the banks of DePuys Spring Creek.  I picked up some size 20 Sawyer Pheasant Tail nymphs, which did the trick.  This shop would be a great place to work.

The trout were actively rising to tiny emergers, but were tough to land on 6X tippet.

Michelle managed to land this nice rainbow.  I'm just standing in the background to pretend it's my fish.

On my final morning, I fished the Valley Garden section of the Madison River, near Ennis, MT.  This section is delightful to fish, as it braids out into much smaller channels that an East Coast angler (such as myself) can find easier to fish.  My final fish was this nice brown, which took a swung soft hackle wet.  It was a great way to end the trip.




Tuesday

Commonwealth State Fishing - Part 1

After waiting 14 weeks, we’ve finally received our much anticipated camper and decided to try it out in the Commonwealth state.  I’ve fished in small creeks of Pennsylvania before but never larger streams and the Pine Creek caught my eye during my research.

The name of the river is somewhat deceiving as the river’s width ranges from 100 feet to 200 feet wide.  It is also known for it’s prolific hatches all year around but I couldn’t find any hatch information for fall season so  prior to our trip, I’ve contacted the Slate Run tackle shop and spoke to Tom who is the shop owner to find out about the hatching information.  Tom graciously went over with me all the information I will need for the trip.  I’ve also scheduled one on one lesson for Patty so she can improve her skills as well.













We got a camping site at the Pettecote Junction Campground which is located right by the Pine creek.  Driving through very scenic country road made our 4 hours driving somewhat bearable.  Foliage wasn't at it's fullest but you can see and feel the season change through the Appalachian landscape.  After a few jack-knifing of the trailer,  we were able to settle in to our spot and as soon as I was done setting up the camper, Jack the campground keeper introduced himself to us and gave us the whole run down of the place including fishing tips as Jack had been fishing close to 50 years in the area.  He is retired computer programmer who is born and raised in the area.  This place is very popular amongst fishermen for obvious reason and I was surprised to find out that we were the only visiting fishermen for the weekend.
   
As soon as I finished unpacking all our stuff, I made a short stroll over to the river.  Immediately, I’venoticed trout not rising but jumping out of the water.  They seem to be going after small bwos hovering above the surface. I tied smallest BWO pattern I can find in my fly box and started to cast.  After a few casts, I was able to hook a healthy looking brown which I found out later that it was one of the German Brown they stocked in the spring.
I've fished about an hour and went back to the camp site to do all the fun stuff that campers do.
 














Next day, we met with Jules who is Patty's instructor at the Slate Run Tackle Shop.  We also ran into the participants for Casting for Recovery who are breast cancer survivors being sponsored by Orvis and Jules also is involved as an instructor for the group.
 
Our introduction to the river started at the delayed harvest regulation section slightly downstream from where slate run enters the river.  The water level was very low and the sun was bright as it can be. We also saw three bald eagles either perched on tree branches or  hovering  around us cascading a huge shadow over us.  Even with these less than optimal conditions, trout were rising everywhere.

 

Patty and Jules found a spot to practice casting and I found a spot at nearby riffles.  Based on Jules suggestion, I tied rusty spinner pattern off of a  slate drake.  Trout were being very selective and the dead drift was absolute necessity.  After a long acclamation of water flow and seams, I was able to hook an acrobatic brown who showed it's entire body out of the water when took my spinner.  As I was releasing the trout, I heard Jules and Patty's laughter. When I looked over to see what was going on, I saw Patty's rod bent over with tight line at the end. The way Patty handled that fish was a beautiful sight.
 
 
We fished a couple of more spots and able to catch a few more trout but more than anything it was great to see Patty improving her skill. Jules did an amazing job with Patty. At around 5pm, we called it quit and headed back to the campsite.
 
 
 
 
 
When it was all settled at the end of the day, I was laying in the camper next to Patty thinking LIFE IS GOOD.

Summertime Blues, Lowcountry Reds


Summer days in South can be hot and long... The past ten days down in the Lowcountry were certainly no exception.  I decided to bring my new little skiff, a Towee Calusa, down to the marshes of South Carolina to hunt some reds.  The fishing was fairly challenging— high tides were high enough to flood the spartina grass, but no redfish were seen, and strong winds hampered us for the first few days.  We eventually found a backcountry creek that was absolutely packed with reds— the fish were so plentiful that you could feel them bumping the hull and pushpole as they moved past the boat.  Fishing the low tide was key and the most productive flies were black, flashy patterns that could be seen in the muddy water.  We also found ladyfish chasing shrimp around the dock lights at night.  These fish were tremendous fighters and were eager to take down a small Gurgler stripped through the light.


My trusty little skiff.


"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."  -Kenneth Grahame


The thrill of the hunt.


Low tide creek fishing.  My buddy Ping hooked this redfish on a Keitech swimbait.  Killer lure.


The fruits of our labor.


The redfish we found were all in the 6-8 lb range.  They put a nice bend in an 8 weight.  Or a 5 weight if you're like my friend Ping.


Using the green night-light wasn't particularly effective, but we set it up a bit too close to slack tide.


Night fishing along the docks, however, was easy pickings for the "poor man's tarpon".  I honestly don't know if a baby tarpon can fight better than these... Amazing jumps, runs, and stamina.


Sunset in the Lowcountry.

Friday

Pic from Steve


Steve Lee just sent me a picture of his recent trip.  He will post his trip soon and can't wait to see the rest of the experience...

Tuesday

New Member















A while back, GF posted a story about Steve who visited Korea to fish with him.  Steve was working at Hong Kong at the time and now he is back in his home town which is not too far from my house.  Steve contacted me to fish together and we decided to fish the Gorge.


It turns out that Steve is a small creek junky.  He started to fly fish at tender age of 14 years and his casting reflects his experience very well.  Steve never fished gorge and I thought it will be a proper reintroduction to his home ground.



We met at the parking lot early in the morning and hiked into the gorge.  It was a perfect day to be out.  The water level was on a low side but helped us wade in and out of the river.  There weren’t much hatch activity.  A few caddis and small bwos were fluttering around but not enough to bring trout to the surface.


After a few switching around of flies, both of us were able to catch some browns although most of them got away before I was able to take some pics. 


As a routine to the gorge fishing, we veer off from the main river to the small feeder creek.  As expected, the water level was very low which limited us to fish only handful of the pools.  Watching Steve cast in a tight environment was a pleasure to watch.  Surprisingly, we caught more browns than brookies (actually we only caught one brook trout). I’ve never caught browns on this creek and it is somewhat disturbing if the native residents are being forced out of their habitat.






It was a pleasure to fish with Steve and looking forward to our next trip.  But more than anything, we now have a new member to our club.