Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eastern Fly Fishing May/June 2013 Issue Now Out!

Everyone needs to rush out and grab a copy of the latest issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine!  I wrote a great article about the warmwater fisheries available to fly anglers on Lake Champlain! I have been published in a major magazine! I am pretty excited! Kudos to Kurt Budliger for his amazing photography once again! Couldn't have done it without you brother!

The time is now to book for summer! This is going to really get things busy for me and then there is what is going to happen on May 12... More on that on May 12... It is HUGE...

Hit me up- muskyflies@gmail.com to book a trip. Dates are already booking up for the summer. Things are just heating up right now.... 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Photos: A Killer Multi-Species Weekend in Spring

As soon as I put up a picture of my big carp from over the weekend on Facebook I was hit up by  the Godfather of the Orvis News Blog, Phil Monahan. He asked me if he could have the picture and the story for their website. Being an offer I could not refuse, I accepted!  Take a look!

Photos: A Killer Multi-Species Weekend in Spring

Big news coming soon too! More on that tomorrow and in the coming days... If you want to book a trip with me this summer, better do it fast! I am booking up quickly!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Quest for Master Class Perch

So I have been working on the Vermont Master Angler Program now since its inception in 2010. It is a great program designed to showcase the variety of fishes available to anglers in Vermont. I have been working on getting as many species as I can from the list- all on the fly too. Up until yesterday I had 20 species out of the 33 in the program (I will give a complete listing at the end of this post). It is now 21 as of yesterday with the species I have put the most time into getting- the yellow perch.

I have been on a quest for a Master Class yellow perch for 3 years now. A 13" perch on the fly is not something that comes easily. Yes, it does happen, but not with regularity. I have been all over the state looking for these fish. I have caught thousands (yes, I mean thousands) of yellow perch in that time period. I have been on small ponds, I have been on Lake Champlain, I have been all over the place. I have talked to so many people about where to do this. I have put an extraordinary amount of time into fishing for these fish. I do enjoy it- they are not the best fighters but they are a pretty sweet looking fish with that lemon yellow broken up by olive, angular bars with hot red/orange fins.

I wish I had a good story about the fish. Honestly, I don't. It was the second trip to this pond. The first time was on Tuesday. I had a couple nice fish on and I blew it with both of them. Yesterday was different. I was tossing a size 4 olive and white Clouser Deep Minnow. The first fish was 13". I only got one picture because as I was getting ready to set up the self timer the fish spined me and it went over the side inadvertently. No crazy story. 

The cool part of the story is that I didn't get a perch under 11 inches yesterday. In the past if a fish was close to 11 inches I got super excited. the 11 inchers almost got annoying because I wanted a bigger one. All the fish I got were males. How do I know? Well, let's just say that it is in the middle of their spawn and each one of them was a milt squirt gun when I held it... (yea, I was covered- it was gross).

21 species in the Master Angler Program. I want to get to 25 by the end of the year. I have plans... stay tuned...

Here is the list so far-

Chain Pickerel
White Sucker
Lake Trout
Brown Trout
Brook Trout
Landlocked Salmon
Longnose Gar
Rock Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Largemouth Bass
White Perch
Freshwater Drum
Yellow Perch

Friday, April 26, 2013

All the Signs are Here...

Another gorgeous day on the water yesterday. It was a fantastic day. The trees are all budding
(sniffle, cough- allergies kick in) and the sun is shining. Water temps are coming up. 

I looked around for the signs I had been waiting for. Then the first came in an unexpected manner; I got a text message. Oh the wonders of the modern world! My buddy (and fishing guide extraordinaire) Jesse Haller of the Middlebury Mountaineer shot me a photo of a mayfly and the note that Hendricksons are coming off. Very nice! 

I sent him a pic back a few moments later as I found one of the things that I had been looking for. The mottled leaves of the trout lily (Erythronium americanum) were all over the place but I had been looking for the little yellow flower that is its bloom. When the Hendricksons are around the lilies are blooming. But that is not what I was thinking about...

As I tossed a streamer tight against the bank I saw what would look like a rock to most observers. I knew otherwise. I worked the pool carefully without moving anything. Another cast near the front of the hole got me stuck on bottom and gave me the chance to investigate further. AHA! I was right! It was one of the other signs I had been expecting. A wood turtle (Glyptemis insculpta for you other geeks out there) was sunning itself. I walked over and picked it up. The concave plastron (bottom) of his shell gave away his sex. A few pics (and some hissing and snapping from him!) he was on his way. A while later I saw a pair of them fully engaged in their vernal reproductive ritual. I felt like a bit of a voyeur so I moved on...

What do all these signs add up to? Good fishing is soon to be here. I would give it inside of a week, maybe a bit less. Their slinking dark shapes will first show up in pools in the deeper end of river bottoms. They will hug the bottom tight and the first few bites will be furtive, almost hesitant. The fight will be more of a bulldog battle rather than the acrobatic show that is provided as the flows warm. Those first few fish tend to be heavy bodied females, ripe with eggs; the next generation of pugnacious fish more than happy to take a fly. 

Yes, it is that season...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gimme Some Lip!

The Eggi-Juan Kenobi doesn't try, it just does
I have had the week off and with such nice weather I have put a lot of time in on the water. I have been out after pike, bowfin, trout, perch and suckers. Things are still a bit slow around here but that is going to be changing very quickly! More time on the water to come! At least the next 4 days... and then as much time as I can find after that!

So one of my rites of spring is to hit the annual sucker run. I love suckers. They get big, put up a great fight, are willing to take a fly and they are a native fish. I am all about the natives. I went to a local stream most known for its steelhead run (might I point out that steelhead are a non-native species in Vermont- all of eastern North America for that matter). 

I walked the water before putting on my waders. The place was fairly trashed. It had been worked over a whole lot and there were a number of people drowning worms, as is the case in most places where anadramous fish are stocked around here. I knew that the game was afoot when I looked at the tail of a pool and saw a portly brown fish hugging the bottom. My next thought was "I'm gonna git you sucka!"
First sucker of the year!

After gearing up I headed down to the river. I have to say that I take great glee in using a fantastic trout rod, the Orvis Helios Ion 7'9" 5 weight, to chase suckers with. I love this rod and it fishes very well. It really warms my heart that there are some trout snobs out there who would look at me with shock and horror to see me using that rod to catch Mr. White. 

I found a pool where they were stacked up. It was rather humorous because they were stacked up underneath about 30 or so stocked juvenile steelhead. I went to my go to sucker fly- the Eggi-Juan Kenobi (thank you Dave Hise!). It works like a charm and within 5 minutes of getting the right weight so that the fly was right on the bottom, I was into my first fish- a respectable 20" buck sucker (should that be bucker?).

I ended up catching 3 before calling it quits. I could have stayed and fished more but the numbers of fish weren't there and I felt like heading home and enjoying the rest of the gorgeous day we were having. 

23 inches of Catastomus commersonii- a true pleasure this time of year! (and my first Master Class fish of 2013)
So this spring when you are out fishing and see a pod of suckers don't be afraid to give them a cast. They will put a nice bend in your rod and a smile on your face if you let them. Remember that they are native fish (and the trout that you are fishing for likely are not) and to treat them with respect. Don't behead them and toss them on the bank like so many of the rednecks on that little steelhead sucker stream do.

Obligatory dropped fish self timer pic...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Flies

Tandem Sculpin- the Hawg Dawg is born- and it had some good takes yesterday!

Buggers and Clousers... trout, bass and perch look out!

Clouser Half and Halfs- pike yummies

Pike Bunny Bugs