Today we drove up to a family cabin to celebrate a cousin’s birthday (and do some fishing, of course). I don’t get much time to fish with my oldest cousin, so it was fun to get some time in the boat. Anchored the boat in three feet of water and caught a few nice bluegills and perch, along with a little bass. I had a decent topwater bite, and he bobber fished with worms.
kids fly fishing
This is a brand-new fly that I whipped out of the vice, hoping to try it on some pike at the cabin. I call it the Pike Monkey!
Here’s how to tie it…..Materials: Hook: #4 Mustad Big Game Tail: Bunny zonker, 1 plume of marabou, a generous amount of Flashabou Body: Palmered bunny zonker Wing: Rubber legs Head: spun deer hair
You can experiment with the colors and I think the crazier the better! I’m super excited to fish it on opener! If I can wait ’till then! :D
Here are a few pics of pike I caught on a fly…
I caught both of them on a Flash Bugger.
The stream we fished today has undergone heavy habitat improvement by the DNR and TU in the past couple of years. The river has a small wild population of trophy trout, with some monsters up to thirty inches! Thirty years ago, there were no trout at all in this stream due to development and poor land management practices, but now the trout have returned and are even reproducing. This shows just how important organizations such as TU can be. Almost all the stream is protected by special catch and release regulations. The stretch that we fished was part of a big project by TU that rechannelized about a mile and a half of stream that was previously a ditch. As you can see in the picture they did a great job.
There were tons of midges and caddisflies in the air, but oddly enough there weren’t any fish rising. Grandpa and I didn’t get any action with our nymphs, but Braden hiked upstream and caught a big 16″ brown on a #14 hare and copper. This is the biggest brown so far this season. It is really cool to see all that habitat improvement at work. It is a new stream.
Today we took a friend down to the Driftless Area in search of some trout. It was his first time fly fishing. It was a little chilly, forty five degrees, when we arrived at the stream at 9:30. It definitely felt like March today, unlike two weeks ago when it was in the eighties. I took our friend David upstream while the rest of the guys stayed back and fished another hole. Fishing was slow for the first couple hours. David was casting and mending pretty well by the end of the morning, but the fish just wouldn’t cooperate, so we headed back. Same story for Braden, Noah and Dad. I was hoping for a BWO hatch once it warmed up, but it stayed right around forty five almost the whole day.
However, some midges started hatching around noon, which got the fish active. David caught his first trout on a fly, a little brown that ate a copper john. It was such a cool feeling knowing that you put someone on their first trout! I tied on an ausable bomber followed by a hare and copper and a black beauty midge. Two small browns took the midge and a brown in the thirteen inch range came up and slammed the bomber. Braden had a few hits on a streamer, but couldn’t coax any to the net. The fishing slowed down after that, so we ate a quick lunch and headed to another spot. I fished this spot last fall and had some decent luck, so I was excited to explore more of it. Almost immediately David got into a nice brown right under the bridge.
This creek was quite sandy, and it took a bit of walking in between pools, but it was worth it. The bluffs made for some picturesque pools and runs cutting through the valley. The fish had moved into the shallow riffles and indicator nymphing worked nicely. I caught four browns up to around eleven inches on a hare and copper. I was fishing downstream when I heard David yelling with excitement. I turned to see his rod doubled over with a nice brown on the other end. Fly fishing is so much fun. Only about three casts later his indicator dove again and he was into a good fish. It gave him a good fight on his four weight. This was definitely the fish of the day, around fifteen inches, not bad for your first day fly fishing:) As Noah said, “I think he will be doing this again.”
This winter has been very mild to say the least. Although it is technically still winter trout season here in Minnesota, the weather is anything but that. Over the weekend, we camped at one of our favorite trout streams. Temps crept into the eighties, bringing out the trout and the bugs.
Braden and I were on the water as the morning sun crept over the bluffs. We headed downstream to a long, slow run where a few trout were rising sporadically to midges. Braden crawled out on a log jam and after several attempts delivered a difficult cast to a riser. The trout gulped his cdc midge, only to hopelessly tangle himself in the logs before Braden could do anything. That was about it for a while. While Braden hiked back to camp for some breakfast, I explored some water I hadn’t fished before. I found a great pool with some good cover and brought the first trout of the day to hand, a little ten inch brown that took a #14 hare and copper. I caught one more little brown in that pool and kept going downstream. My indicator dove as it drifted along a log, and I tied into a decent rainbow. The last rainbow we caught out of this stream last season was a fresh stocker that barely put up any fight, but this holdover had some nice spots and fought pretty well.
Around nine or ten some bugs started coming off and the trout started rising. Braden and Noah came down and got in the action. Fish were holding in faster water and steadily rising to the now thick mayflies. A#16 quill gordon was a decent match. Braden pulled in a nice brown, the first on his new rod. Noah caught the biggest brown of the morning, a nice fish around fourteen inches. I caught six on the morning, not bad for St. Patricks Day.
On of the best things about the weekend was we got the river practically to ourselves. I saw only two other anglers way upstream. The water was more like it is in the middle of summer or the fall, not high and stained like it usually is this time of year. The high temps definitely kept the trout moving. Anyway, Noah and I hit a slow section in the evening hoping for a hatch or spinner fall. A few trout were rising, but not like we were hoping for. I caught two little browns in the last light of the day.
The next morning found Braden and I on the water early again. I was fishing with a three fly dry dropper rig consisting of a #12 Ausable Bomber dry with a #14 hare and copper and #20 black beauty midge dropper. A few trout were rising to the hatching midges. I was nymphing the head of a deep cliff pool when the Bomber plunged into the depths. I hooked into a good sixteen inch rainbow, one of the best fish of the trip. Unfortunately, the camera battery died so I didn’t get a picture. Braden switched to the same rig and we headed upstream with Noah and did quite well with the shallow water nymphing. Most people overlook this water with the deep pools nearby, but it holds lots of fish, including some bigger ones. A lot of the fish took the midge, but a few ate the hare and copper. Braden and I combined caught nineteen trout, mostly browns in the ten to fourteen inch range, and another good rainbow I caught in skinny water. Noah caught two, one on a cdc dry and the other on a hare and copper. With a bit of help from me, Mom caught her first trout on a fly, a healthy twelve inch brown. It was her first time fly fishing, and she improved alot over the morning. It was great to be camping and fishing in mid March!
Spring break this year was a blast, although the fishing was a bit tough. Over forty hours in the car brought us to the Smoky Mountains, South Carolina, and Florida. I wish I could say we caught tons of fish, but it was great just to go fishing.
For some reason, ever since I started fly fishing I have wanted to fish in the Smoky Mountains. The videos of brookies smashing dry flies, and the pictures of small mountain streams with pockets and pools just begging to be fished captured my mind. When we drove through them I just had to stop and fish, even for just a few minutes. The weather was not on my side, as it rained almost all day, just enough to prevent fishing. However, there was a brief window of opportunity when the rain lightened as we drove by a stream. A small bead head tempted one small trout in the fifteen minutes I had to fish, but he popped off.
South Carolina brought saltwater fishing in tidal pools and creeks adjacent to a jetty. Redfish would go into these creeks and pools at high tide to escape the dolphins. One problem. It wasn’t high tide when we had time to fish. There were still some fish, but it made for a tough day that ended without any fish caught and only a small pod of reds tailing at the other end of a pool for a few seconds.
The fish gave us the hard treatment again on our second day of fishing and kayaking in a salt marsh, but it was not as harsh as last time All three of us tried dredging the creeks and channels with no luck, but I did manage to hook into a hard fighting redfish. I was dragging a rabbit pattern along the bottom of a pool when all of a sudden the line came to life. A strip set later the reel was screaming with a refish on the other end. However, my luck was about to change. After two minutes of runs and hard pulls the line went limp just as I was tiring the fish out. Nothing seemed to be going our way.
The next time I picked up a fly rod was on a brackish lake in the Florida panhandle. Braden and Noah chose not to fish, but to hang out on the beach and I can’t blame them. The coastal “dune” lake connects to the ocean for part of the year, but had been closed off for some time. Near the ocean the water was brackish, but it became fresh as it got farther inland. Dredging flies near the outlet didn’t pan out, so Dad and I drove farther inland to try another spot. A deep, narrow channel bordered by shallow flats and partially submerged grass greeted us. This looked good. After an hour of fishing various flies the only action was a lazy swat at a small popper. Things were looking grim. At this point I was desparate. Even a small bass would be awesome. I tied on a yellow deer hair bug hoping to catch one. After several casts along the weeds I was rewarded with an explosion on the surface. A frisky one pound largemouth had inhaled the bug. It wasn’t the redfish I was hoping for on this trip but it sure beat getting skunked.