Month – December 2011

Winter Gold

Last fish of 2011

Today we made the trek down to Iowa and spent the afternoon on some great streams. Winter trout fishing is much different than summer fishing. The trout are holding in the deep pools and aren’t feeding as heavily as they do in the summer months. Nymphs are the weapon of choice, although hatches of midges and early black stoneflies can bring fish to the surface. Ice in the guides can be a problem on some days, and cold hands make tangles and knot tying a whole lot more difficult.

After three hours in the car we finally got to the creek. It wasn’t very big, but it had some good looking water. There was a small midge hatch, and a trout would occasionally rise. We tried scuds, stonefly nymphs, midges, and tiny dries, but the fish were really hard, so we moved on. The second spot we fished was a different branch of the first creek, and supposedly had better fishing. It ran along a bluff and then snaked through a field. Typical of many Driftless Area trout streams, there was an endless series of riffle, run, pool. Braden still had a tiny dry on, and I had a scud with a early black stonefly nymph. The trout were very spooky. Walk right up to a pool and a dozen trout would shoot downstream, spooking the next pod of fish. After hiking a ways downstream from the parking area, I carefully started working the pools. Dad was fishing in a deep pool with almost no flow, and hooked two trout on a miracle midge, including a fifteen inch brown, but they spit the hook.  By this time Braden and Noah had stopped fishing and built a fire.

I lost my scud and stonefly in a tree, so I hiked further downstream into the field and found some trouty water. I tied on a Hare and Copper and started fishing. A riffle spilled into a run and then cut into the bank, forming a deep pool, the perfect spot for trout to hold. I knew if I was going to catch a fish it would be in this spot. I drifted my fly on the edge of the run. My indicator twitched, and I set the hook into twelve inches of winter gold. It was great. A brown flopped on the bank. I slipped the hook out and released the fish, possibly wild, the last one in 2011. I hooked two more trout, but they both spit the hook after a brief struggle. Even though we didn’t catch many fish, we had a great time exploring the Iowa driftless on our first winter trout trip.

Tight Lines and Happy New Year!

Conner

How to Tie a Hare’s Ear Nymph

The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (GRHE) needs no introduction. For many anglers it is a staple in their nymph boxes. Here are some different variations.

 
 

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

The original. We added hen hackle fiber legs and used hen hackle for the tail. Still catches tons of fish…..
Tail: Brown hen hackle
Abdomen: Hare’s ear dubbing
Rib: Gold wire
Wing Case: Mottled hen or turkey wing slip
Thorax: Hare’s ear dubbing, picked out
Legs: Brown hen hackle fibers

 

Step 1: Make a few turns of copper wire around the shank. Start your thread in the wire and wrap to the bend.

step 2

Step 2: Measure the hen hackle fibers to be half the length of the hook shank. Tie in the tail and bring your thread to the wire.

step 3

 Step 3: Tie in the copper wire behind the eye and bring the thread to the tail.

step 4

Step 4: Dub a spiky abdomen.

step 5

Step 5: Wind the rib forward and tie in the wingcase

step 6

Step 6: Dub the thorax.

step 7

Step 7: Tie in a clump of hen hackle fibers on the near side of the hook. Pull them forward so they extend just past the wingcase. Clip the excess. Repeat on the other side.

step 8

Step 8: Pull the wingcase forward and tie off. Clip the excess and build a neat thread head. Whip and clip. Go catch some fish!

Hare and Copper

A popular New Zealand pattern. My go-to nymph. Tie this one very spiky.
Hook: #8-18 nymph
Bead: Copper
Tail: Brown hen hackle fibers or pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Gold copper wire
Body: Hare’s Ear dubbing

Hare and Copper

Frost Bite Hare’s Ear

Hook: #8-20 nymph
Bead: Copper
Tail: Brown hen hackle
Abdomen: Hare’s ear dubbing
Wing bud: Cream antron yarn
Thorax: Gray UV Ice Dubbing

Frost Bite Hare's Ear

Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle

 
Hook: #8-18 nymph
Thread: Black
Tail: Brown hen haclke
Body: Hare’s ear dubbing
Rib: Gold copper wire
Wing: Brown hen quill
Hackle: Brown hen

Tight Lines,

Conner

Trout, Turkeys, and Tailwaters

Our family just returned from a week in the Ozarks, home of the legendary White River and some huge trout.

For the first half of the trip, we were a short drive from the Little Red River, a tailwater and tributary to the White. It once gave up the world record brown trout, and continues to produce trophy fish. A national fish hatchery sits on the banks, and the trout stack up below the outlets, where we fished for the day. There was no generation, so we enjoyed low water for the afternoon. I started with a Gormans Egg and a gray

scud for a dropper. Noah dredged a streamer and Braden fished an egg with a zebra midge dropper. Within a few casts I hooked a ten inch rainbow on the scud, my first Arkansas trout. Noah got a bite on his streamer, but after that the fishing slowed down. We moved downstream to the next outlet. This outlet had a steep drop off close to the bank, and held tons of fish, including some monster rainbows (25″). As I waded across I noticed some rainbows nymphing in 6″ of water just above the drop off. At this time I had a bead head Nuke Egg on and drifted it to the trout. When it was about a foot from the trout it got lodged in the sand, but the trout didn’t care. He swam right up in the shallow

Braden's bow

water and grabbed that thing off the bottom. He turned, and I set the hook. As soon as he felt the metal, he shot across the riffle into the fast water and made a few hard runs before he broke my 6x tippet. It was a nice fish too, around 16″! The trout were nymphing and occasionally dimpling the surface eating midges. They were very selective and refused a number of patterns. Upon the recommendation another fisherman, I tied on a blood midge, which worked for another 12″ rainbow. I was on the other side of the outlet when I heard Braden shout “got one”! I splashed across the outlet and net the fish, a respectable rainbow that also ate a blood midge. By that time it was almost dark, so we packed up and ended a great day on a great river.

Little Red River with Greers Ferry Dam in the background

We spent the next half of the trip on Lake Taneycomo in Branson,

My biggest fish of the trip. Look at the colors

Missouri. Before we hit the water on Wednesday we stopped at River Run Outfitters, a great little shop just minutes from the river. When we got to the river we had low water, as the schedule had said the night before. Trout were rising and I put on a tiny cdc bwo comparadun to try and match the hatch of midges or possibly blue winged olives. I spotted a trout rising steadily about twenty feet out. I waited for him to rise again and made a cast. A few seconds into the drift and the trout gulped my fly. Somehow the size twenty hook stuck. He made a few runs and came to the net. A beautiful sixteen incher, my biggest of the trip.

Back to swim another day

After I released him, I hiked a little ways upstream to a riffle that had  fish rising in it. Before I could get a good cast, I heard some splashing and shouting downstream. Noah had hooked a fish and it was splashing like crazy. Since I was the only one with rubber boots, I ran over to net the fish. I got the fish on the first scoop. It was another big rainbow, around 16″ (Noah thinks it was 17″). Noah caught it on a Zoo Cougar, the polar opposite of the tiny dry I caught my big fish on. I went back to my riffle and caught a small rainbow on a blood midge before the horn blew and the water went up, ending our day of fishing.

Lake Taneycomo

On Thanksgiving we went fishing with Grandpa in a small creek behind the hotel. We caught a few green sunfish and saw a pod of carp, but couldn’t get them to bite.

Noah's Bow

 

Grandpa went with us to Lake Taneycomo for a solid day of fishing to rising fish almost all day long. We stopped by the hatchery outlets but they were crazy busy. I mean like fifteen people fishing an outlet! It was way too busy for my liking, so we drove down to the boat landing and found a less busy spot. This time we had some higher water, but the fish were still rising. Noah

Braden caught this trout on a cdc bwo

caught the first fish, a healthy 12 inch bow. As usual, he was fishing a streamer. For the next hour or so, the fishing was pretty good. I caught a feisty little bow on the same cdc fly I had used on Wednesday. Braden caught his first two Taneycomo trout on the cdc olive fly, both decent fish. Then it was Grandpa’s turn. He made a good cast, got a great drift, and his fly was slammed by a 14″ rainbow. He played it well and landed a nice fish. There was a lot more current today, so the fish were on the current seams instead of scattered throughout the “lake”. Noah switched to an Adams and landed another rainbow. After that fish the trout stopped rising as steadily and appeared to be eating emergers. I switched to a Ausable Bomber dry fly and a blood midge dropper. I cast the flies to a fish expecting the midge to be eaten. Surprisingly, a bow rose and grabbed the big dry. I set the hook and landed another rainbow. Two more trout took the bomber and ignored the blood midge. It was awesome to see midging trout take the big dry. The trout started rising again, so I tied on the cdc olive. The fish were in a seam rising like crazy. I caught three more trout, all rainbows, on the tiny dry as the sun was setting. It was great to do some trout fishing in November.

Grandpa's big rainbow

 

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