Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good Ole Rocky Top...

I just got back from my biannual trip to Tennessee where I enjoyed 4 days of sleeping in a tent on the river and some fine tailwater trout action. What follows is basically a slide show of pics from the trip with a little video thrown in. I wish I had gotten some more video footage of the action to make this a little more interesting, but I guess I was too busy fishing. Anyway, I hope it's not too horrible for a first attempt at a video report. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bears and Brook Trout

After a Saturday filled with college football watchin' (Go Hokies!), I decided to make one last trek out to the Park for some brookie action before the spawn starts. Next weekend, I'll be in TN chasing big browns on the South Holston and after that, the spawn should be in full swing in the mountains. That means it'll be time to give the brookies a break so they can make some babies. Marty was of the same mindset and we headed to our mutual favorite crick bright and early this morning to try to go out in style.

We got a nice surprise on the hike in as we rounded a turn and came across a black bear out for a leisurely morning stroll. I fumbled around and managed to get the camera out in time to snap this crappy photo before he bounded off up the ridge on the other side of the creek. What a cool way to start the day.

We fished up through the first section picking up a few small fish and came to the first big waterfall and plunge pool on this stream. The pool is nice and deep and looks like it should hold some monster brookies but I've never even managed a fish from this spot on all of my previous trips.

Today was a different story as it yielded my best fish of the day. Check out the colors on this fish - definitely dressed up and ready for courtship.

We continued upstream enjoying the fall scenery and picking up fish on dry flies in almost every pool - nothing huge but plenty of plump little brookies were in the mood to feed.

Working our way up into the canyon.

I was tossing a yellow stimulator most of the day and when we found a fish that didn't like the looks of that, they were still willing to eat a parachute mayfly pattern. There was no need to go deep today.

Finished off the day way on up the hill and decided to make our way back down to the parking lot with plenty of light left in the sky. On the way out we talked of new streams to try out this winter - I can't wait.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Statler and Waldorf's Most Excellent Epic Adventure

On one of the fly fishing forums that we both frequent, Marty and I were recently likened to the 2 crusty old farts from the Muppet Show. Remember those guys, sitting up in the balcony, cracking wise and making fun of everyone? I think the guy who made the comparison meant it as an insult, but I definitely took it as a compliment - I mean, those guys were funny!

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be Statler or Waldorf but I guess it doesn't really matter. Anyway, we decided to visit an East slope SNP crick today that was good to us back in the Spring. It didn't disappoint today either. We arrived fairly early and since we had the whole day ahead of us, we decided to jump in at the bottom, right at the Park boundary. I took the opportunity to steal the first pool while Waldorf relieved himself on a nearby tree. It turned out to be a good decision because on the very first cast (no lie) this beast inhaled a Tellico nymph.

It was the best kind of day to be in the Park - comfortable temps for wet wading, really nice water levels and the leaves were just starting to turn.

Cooperative brookies were a bonus. We fished big bushy dry flies most of the day. The takes were kind of a slow roll on the fly and I missed several nice fish before I got the timing down.

I did have to resort to the infamous 'Pink Weenie' in one hole that was too deep for dry flies.

Waldorf got in the act with several big ole brookies too. And he even used his own flies this time.

I still didn't see any redds or fish paired up but it shouldn't be too long now. I hope they give us one more weekend of fishing like this before they start doin' their thing.

We are definitely lucky to have a place like the Shenandoah National Park so close to home. I can't think of a better way to escape the daily grind and dodge the curve balls that life occasionally throws our way - or as Marty once so eloquently described the thought - it's a solution to the daily armpit stink of life.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some guys are just downright rude!

After sharing countless fishing trips over the last year and a half, I thought I knew my good friend Marty pretty well. But then he shows up to our latest epic adventure without any flies and has to bum them from me - and proceeds to outfish me about 8 to 1 with my own flies! Now, I'm not usually much of a fish counter and I don't get very competitive with fishing, but you tend to notice stuff like that.

This Sunday, we decided on an old favorite crick that holds a mix of brookies and browns in the hopes of getting into some of the larger pre-spawn browns. Based on a tip about some hawgs that reside in the upper reaches, we took a new route that put us on the creek well above our normal starting point.

The water looked good and conditions seemed prime but I couldn't seem to buy a strike. Undeterred by my ineptitude, Marty was landing fish after fish. I don't even think he felt bad about it...

I finally managed to land one lonely, half decent brookie from a deep hole by dredging the bottom with tungsten and lead under a bobber:

I thought things were lookin' up there for a second but that was about it for me as far as half decent fish go. Marty continued to catch fish in almost every pool, and I think the count ended up something like 27 to 3 (not that I was counting).

So I guess I'll continue to fish with the guy but we'll just see if he ever gets any flies from me again. I'm quite sure he couldn't outfish me with his own flies...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let's liven things up round here!

The past week's rain and the stunning weather forecast meant it was time to get back out to the Park, so I loaded up the truck and headed West bright n' early this morning. After a short hike I put in at this lovely spot:

And promptly hooked up with this feller who was dressed in his finest in preparation for the upcoming freak fest:

Took advantage of the underwater feature of my new camera to get this shot of him sullking at my feet after the release:

Couldn't have been a nicer day:

The water was way up, a welcome sight, and I had to go deep with big heavy stonefly nymphs for most of the fish but I found a couple who were willing to look up:

Another underwater shot. I'm like a kid with a new toy:

And the mother of all brookie holes. It was generous again today:

Summer spring creek fishin' is fun but it sure was good to get back out to the mountains. Let's hope this water holds up and they have a good spawn this year.