Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wetting a Line for the First Time in 2011

It has been awhile since my last entry.  My schedule remains busy as it is the peak of the show and seminar season.  A few weeks ago I was in Boise for the Confessions weekend seminar with Pete Erickson and Jeff Currier.  Although attendance was not what we had hoped due to the NCAA Final Four tournament and the last weekend of fishing before the annual spring closure we still had a group of enthusiastic students.

The head of this pool held lots of browns

On the Monday after the show Pete took me out to one of his favourite haunts, the Owyhee River.  The Owyhee is a tail-water fishery located roughly 45 minutes away in nearby Oregon state.  Some of you may recall an entry around this time last year when I had a chance to visit Owyhee for the first time.   A year ago flows were low and the rivers large browns and feisty rainbows were stacked up in the large almost lake like pools sipping tiny midges.  I tried in vain to join the ’20-20’ club, hooking a 20 inch or larger fish on a size 20 or smaller fly.  I shook hands with a few breaking them off in the process.

Pete demonstrates how to Euro Nymph

This year we were a month later, things were warmer and the river was running higher.  My goal with my previous year’s visit was to continue my Euro Nymphing education with Pete.  This year the conditions were perfect.  Pete is a master of this method using in on many occasions during his international experiences with the U.S. fly fishing team.  We began by fishing the head of a pool as the water from a large flat above spilled over what appeared to be a beaver constructed dam.  Pete went first demonstrating the correct casting techniques and rod position.  It was nothing short of amazing to watch Pete hook up and land an impressive number of browns between 14-22 inches.  He was a vacuum with a fly rod! So impressive that I will think twice about using a traditional strike indicator to nymph on faster flows!

Proof is at hand!

Using heavily weighted nymphs, a caddis larva on the dropper and a Vladi Worm on the point we cast upstream leading the flies through the run under tension, leader barely outside the rod tip, Polish style.  Most takes were felt as you were tight to the fly or seen as you focused on the ‘slinky’ indicator section of the leader.  Pete’s leader system consisting of a short butt section connected to 5-7 feet of tapered leader to the ‘slinky’ leader.  From there 4-5 feet of fluorocarbon tippet was attached to the bottom end of the ‘slinky’ section to complete the leader.  Pete’s system allows you to both fish the short line Polish system and the long leader Spanish and French systems.

Pete works to rising fish in the flat above
Later in the day we moved upstream to scout.  We spent a number of minutes watch large browns cruise, sip and route out nymphs in a shallow eddy below a small island.  Watching feeding fish is fascinating and provides an excellent opportunity to watch how they feed.  This knowledge is invaluable when it comes to catching them.  Small Baetis were hatching along with t a steady stream of midges.  Owyhee trout are no dummies and over the course of their life time see more flies than most fly tying companies.  Today was no distant.  I had a couple of half-hearted looks to my tiny #18 Baetis pattern.  Pete finally hooked one on a #18 or #20 gold bead Pheasant Tail Nymph.  It proved a short firm handshake as the 7X tippet Pete was forced to use separated within seconds of the strike.

A handful of Owyhee brown

I have attached a few images with the content of this entry the rest can be found in an album on my Facebook page. 

Winter is finally coming to an end here in the great white north I can finally see grass in my yard and the destruction left by a one year old golden retriever.  At the end of the month I will be in B.C. targeting the trophy rainbows Ruddock’s Ranch is noted for so stay tuned for that entry.  If I can I hope to sneak out prior to that.  We shall see!