Fishing Journal - Week 27

August 23
Early Morning Hopper Muncher

This guy just had a mean look on it's face
Another Look

August 25
First fish of the morning
Big fish of the Morning
Nothing but net
A nice thick fish to cap the morning off



If Once is good, Twice is better

Thursday morning I caught a fish that had a familiar grin.  I have caught a lot of fish out of the same runs this year so I am sure I have caught the same fish several times but unless they have a distinguishing charateristic I haven't noticed.  Well this fish has a deformed jaw that turns up like he's got a permanent grin.  When I got home I compared the markings on the gill plate and am almost certain this is the same fish I caught a little less than a month ago in the same stretch of water, but with a different fly.  You be the judge.

Picture from July 28:

Picture from August 19:

Once I catch a fish twice I feel obligated to name it.  This one is obvious:  Smiley.


Fishing Journal - Week 25

August 10

No pictures but hoppers are still on the menu.  I actually had a frustrating day, landing only three fish.  I missed so many takes though that it was getting a little ridiculous.  Finally as the sun went down I started hooking them for keeps.  I did come away with a pretty cool fish story though.

I was fishing down a long narrow channel with my hopper, flipping it in under the brush along the far bank and letting it drift as long as I could.  Then when it reached the end of my line I would let the hopper skate out from the bank into the middle of the river.  I had many, many takes as the fly skated across the surface.  It was pretty exciting.  As I was approaching a submerged rock about 6 feet off the bank I knew it looked like a good spot for a fish.  I got a good drift along the bank then at just the right moment let my hopper skate out and it crossed the boil made by the submerged rock.  As soon as it skated into that area my fly was attacked.  I set the hook and it was solid but as soon as the tension came it released and my rod and line flew back over my head.  I examined my fly and found it had broke off on the hookset.  I took the time to tie on a new pattern, exactly the same as the one that fish had just taken and when I was done I decided I should maybe make another cast to that rock.  This time I let the fly dead drift instead of skating it and as soon as it drifted over the top of the rock the water exploded as a fish smacked my fly.  This time I missed the hook set though.  I was pretty sure it must be a different fish as the last fish that blew up on my fly in that spot would still have a pretty sore lip.  I was sure that little pocket was toast but decided to drift my fly through there one more time.  This time the fly did not even make it to the rock.  Right before it drifted over it the hopper pattern was sucked down.  I set the hook and it found a home this time in the corner of the fish's jaw.  Finally I landed it thinking there must have been three different hungry fish in that small little pocket, but as it turned over in my net I saw firmly lodged in the other corner of it's mouth my other fly.  Now I am convinced that all three takes were the same fish, and evidently it was hungry.

August 13

Friday the 13th was a good day.  I headed up in the morning and decided today I would see if hoppers work this early in the day as well.  Even though there were no hoppers out yet as I made my way down the trail to the river and the fish were up sipping small midges and trico's, they still responded nicely to a well presented hopper pattern.  It sure was more fun fishing a big foam pattern to these fish than straining to see a #24 trico spinner.

I ended up with 7 fish on the morning all on hoppers.  On average I would say it was my best day for the size of fish I caught as well.  All but one was over 18 inches and I finally taped a lunker that was a legitimate 20+ incher. 

First fish of the AM

20 inches of Brown Trout

The Hopper Juan in action.  This nice 18" fish says it works!

The lone small fish of the day was this 12 inch guy with shoulders far beyond it's years, and a bad attitude.
It's Black and White

The final fish of the day was sipping bugs in some slow, slack water just inches from the bank. 


The Hopper Juan

It's been a while since I have done a step by step tutorial here for a fly pattern, and since it is hopper season, I thought I would share my favorite pattern to tie and to fish this time of year.  The creator of this fly might disavow any connection to the abomination I tied up here, but I like the pattern a lot.  You can check out the tutorial for the original Hopper Juan from the creator of the fly himself here.  Here is my version with the main difference being some extra legs.
I use 2mm foam here for the bottom layer.  I usually would use that for the top as well but for this tutorial I was tying a yellow body and all I had in yellow was some thicker foam.  It's not as pretty but it still works.
Tie on the bottom layer first then at the tie in point I dab on some Krazy Glue.  Then stick on the top foam and tie it down.
After 3-4 securing wraps I dab some more glue on the hook shank then advance the thread to where I want the next segment.  I tie in both layers at the same time here.
At this segment I tie in the legs.  Here I am using Olive Medium Round rubber legs.  I take a strip of two adjoining legs and tie a knot in it.  Then tie it in leaving the long end towards the front as these will become my front legs.
Then I again dab some more glue on the hook shank and advance the thread to make another segment.
At this segment I tie in some Elk Hair.  Here I used Bleached Yearling Elk.
Then on top of that I tie in a few strands of Krystal Flash and trim them just a bit longer than the hair.
Then I advance to tie the final head segment by tying in the bottom foam fist then trimming it as close as you can get with micro tip sissors.  Then tie down the excess foam around the eye of the hook.  This is the hardest step to keep from crowding the eye (which I did not do a very good job of on this fly).
Next place another dab of glue on top of the bottom layer of foam and push the top foam down on it and tie it off at the eye.
Then place another dab of glue on top of the head of the fly and advance the thread back one segment.  Then fold the excess foam from the top layer back over the body of the fly
take one of the rubber legs forward from each side and tie it down at this segment.
Whip finish and then trip the excess foam going back over the body, and trim the rubber legs to the desired length and you are done.
What the fish see
What the birds see.

It's trout candy during hopper season.

This one got munched pretty good this morning...
...but it will still fish!


Fishing Journal - Week 24

August 4

After taking some time off for a family camping trip in the mountains it has been back to the grindstone this week for me. Finally I felt recharged enough last night that I thought I could handle an early morning wake up call and a trip out to my favorite spot on the river. It turns out I didn't fall asleep until well after midnight but I refused the temptation to reset the alarm and just skip it this morning. I arose bright and early and headed off to the river despite feeling a bit like I had been run over by a Mack Truck.

It was later than usual when I finally got rigged up as I had to do some reconfiguring of my set up when I arrived at the waters edge after fishing some still water on our camping trip. Finally I was ready to go and the fish were rising like crazy. I tried a new midge pattern I tied up last night and gave it what I thought was a pretty honest shot over some actively feeding fish but they gave me the cold shoulder. I switched it up several times but still no luck. Things were not going so hot at this point, and the fish were definitely kicking my rear.

Sometimes I just have to move on, and that's what I did. Up ahead of me there was another pod of feeding fish so I waded up river and into position. The midges were hatching like crazy so I went with a pattern that had been an old favorite but I haven't used in a while here, an adult CDC wing midge. On my first cast to these fish I was rewarded with a feisty little football of a fish. That was more like it.

A few moments later I landed a little bigger fish on the same fly.

Then things shut back down for the midge pattern again. Fish were still rising in the area but I couldn't get them to even sniff it. At this point I switched over to a spinner pattern and went to work on a nice fish I noticed feeding right off the bank. As my first cast fell a little further upstream than I intended and the fly line landed a little close to where the fish had last rose I was sure I had probably spooked it. But as the fly drifted lazily along the bank it was suddenly engulfed by the big snout I had seen rising before. A few moments later a fat buttery 19 inch brown was in the net. Ah yes this river still delivers.

Soon after landing this fish things really shut down so I called it a morning and drug myself out of the river. Back to work.

August 6

The sky was on fire and so was the fishing in the evening.

I went out twice today.  Once in the morning, and once in the evening. 

The morning was a bit of a dud.  Fish were eating Trico's and I had the pattern they liked but I couldn't keep them hooked.  In fact I couldn't even start to get them hooked.  Many, many takes that when I brought the rod tip up the fly pulled free.  It was a bit frustrating, but it was still nonstop action.  Finally late in the morning right before I packed it up I had a decent fish take a very small olive Sparkle Dun, the closest thing I had to match a Trico adult, and I finally landed one.  Early in the AM they had been on the black male trico spinners, but as the morning progressed they looked more and more to the lighter colored female duns that were hatching.  It was fun to try and figure out another hatch but also was a bit frustrating to only come away with one fish in the net for my efforts.

Later in the day we headed up again.  Having heard rumors of fish smashing hopper patterns Kelly and I had to get up there and see for ourselves.  Sure enough the rumors were true.  I think I only landed 8 fish but had so many fish smack the hopper that I didn't hook and just as many more that I did hook and fought for a while before they popped off it kept things very interesting.  Kelly found similar success in another run up river from me as well.  It was a blast throwing some big foam flies for these fish. 

It doesn't get much more extreme than that.  Throwing a #24 Trico spinner pattern in the morning and switching to a #6 big ugly foam hopper for the evening session.  This river often demands small patterns though so it was nice to get out and fish some big bugs for a change. 

Here are a few photos of the evening.
The longest fish of the evening    

The spunkiest fish of the evening.  Not the biggest but it sure was fiesty

Another smaller fish that smashed the hopper   

Hopper down the gullet.  Yes this fish squirmed right as the camera went off.  It was the last fish of the night and it was the fattest fish of the night.  A very heavy 19 inch fish.  I didn't get a better picture because right after this my camera battery died.   


No Sports Allowed Vol. II

I just like to watch fishing videos, and this one is pretty good.  Near the end there is some pretty good stuff with the kids fishing.  I got a chuckle out of it anyway.

NSA vol. 2 how we do... from Marc Crapo on Vimeo.


The Purple Princess Rod Strikes Again

The Battle at the Boat
Not too sure what to think of that wiggly thing.  My little girl's first trout.