Friday, March 23, 2012

March Madness (and its Not Basketball)

The unusual spring continues here in Vermont… two days in the 80’s has things happening well before they normally do. I spoke with Shawn Good, a Vermont fisheries biologist, yesterday and he told me that in many places the pike spawn is indeed over. He also told me that in some survey work they have found spawned out female largemouth bass. Spawned out bass in March… totally insane! That should not be happening for at least another 2 months. This is another indication of global climactic change happening. I won’t get into an argument about it, but I will say that scientists and industrialists all agree that it is indeed happening and it is just a few politicians that lead the charge that it doesn’t exist. But hey, remember, it was similar people that once told us that the world was flat and that the Sun orbited the Earth.

Of course I have been taking full advantage of this weather and hitting a few marshes near Lake Champlain for the early risers that are out. Big pike are on the prowl; I mean BIG ones. I had a 40+ inch fish looking at my fly before it spooked. I also had one on that took the fly and went gangbusters through a bunch of floating muck and dead weeds. I kept letting it run as I pulled the line out of the crud that got caught on the line. Unfortunately during one of these episodes the line wrapped around a stripping guide and the fish popped off. C’est la vie!  I have had another couple on so I am confident that I should be landing a pike before too long.

I saw a fish sitting in a clump of weeds and I suspected it to be a small carp. I put a nymph in front of it and got it to take. It ended up being a tench. I am seeing a lot of tench this year. They are becoming more and more numerous. They are interesting fish and a tough fish to get to take a fly so it is a shame that they are an invasive.  I will be putting up more information about them soon.

Bowfin are doing their thing now too. Good told me that they are finding males in their turquoise spawning dress already. I am not surprised. The backwater areas are 65 degrees right now. Yes, 65. That was not a typo. I am finding a lot of them around and I managed to get into my first one of 2012 yesterday. Not only the first of this year, but the first time have I ever caught a bowfin in March. I predict it likely won’t be the last with the climactic changes we will be seeing over the coming years.

Here is the weird thing about this bowfin: when I saw her (it was a female) I saw another fish beside her. It wasn’t another bowfin, it was a northern. Never before have I ever seen anything like this. It is like the Ghostbusters line I quoted in my last post “Cats and dogs living together”. Were these two fish involved in some cross species love affair? Highly doubtful since they are in two separate genera. Not only that, they are in two completely different Orders of fish (the bowfin are in Amiiformes and the pike in Esociiforms). The final nail in the coffin is that they have completely different spawning styles- the pike are a scatter spawner while the bowfin are nest spawners. But I must admit that the idea of a stocky, highly aggressive pike that can breathe air is rather appealing. Come on Sci-Fi channel, there is an idea for you… the pikefin is born (or should it be the bowke?).

The largemouth are in full swing too. I found dozens in this one area. They were rather spooky but more than willing to take a fly. Definitely the earliest I have ever caught one myself. Now to get one of the REALLY big ones that is out there…

One last thing- I am available for anyone that wants to get out. I have decided to get my guiding season started. Things are happening at a rapid rate. I am free on weekends and in the evenings for anyone interested. I will put up some specials soon too!  Please let me introduce you to warm water fly fishing and possibly to a new style of fly fishing!

1 comment:

  1. Drew,

    I follow your site as I find your style engaging abd that I also am a geographical piscatorial nut, I enjoy reading of other places and flyfishing. While attending college in Northern Idaho years ago a pal and I were fishing a small pond connected to Lake Coeur d' Alene and he hooked a very bullish fish that turned out to be a tench, a very large one also. Fascinated by fish since a small boy I knew what it was. They were stocked in the 30's I believe as a commercial fishery attempt. That same connecting stream had spawning cutthroats, so their effect good or bad I do not know. The bowfin story was interesting, very cool you saw that!