Sunday, April 13, 2014

Outsmarting Fish ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Now, first of all, I am going to tell you right off the bat, I'm not an expert in any means in "outsmarting fish".  But, recently, I have found a few new tricks that I thought would be helpful to some of you.  Well, at least those that are in the same learning mode as I am!!  In some way or another, we are all learning something on the water each time we go out.  That is a given.  And that is why we fly fish.  Because it is not always the same scenario each time we go out.  Water levels fluctuate, currents change, hatches change, etc. etc.... And so the adventure continues.  So, how do we "outsmart" those trout that lie beneath the riffles and pools of our stream?  

When there isn't a hatch going on and you can visually see the risers in front of you, we look for places that hold trout.  This is where reading the water is a necessity.  When I first started fly fishing, I was so confused on what to look for and where to find it. Five years later, I'm not an expert... but, I do know where they lie a lot of the time.  I just need to perfect that bug selection and set that cast a bit quicker!!   (I have lost way too many trout)   When fishing a river, I look for where the fast water meets the slow water.  Where the deep water meets the shallow water.  And where the rocks offer a resting place for the trout from the fast current. 

This past week, I had a fun experience.  I saw a tree and a lot of obstruction falling across the narrow channel on the side of the main river.  Boy, did I want to investigate!  The short riffle on top going into a deeper small pool in front of a fallen branch.  For sure, there would be a fish in there! Mainly because, he would think that no one would bother him and be in a safe haven.  This was a highly hazardous place for a fly to go astray and not come back.  Do you get my drift?  Drift... yes, that is what I needed to do.  Carefully, drift that fly across that deep spot and then pull the line up quickly before it got caught in the fallen branch. Can you see a "tangled line"???  And maybe only one chance if it was a spooky fish.

I'm definitely getting more daring.  What the heck, I reached into my fly box and picked two flies that I was ok in losing.  (Positive thinking, huh?)  My placement of the flies would have to be perfect.  I could so easily be snagged.  I had about three to four feet of water to drift.  I casted... I drifted right over... BOOM!!! Hello!!!  Up and out of the water he came and then down under that stinkin' branch.  I have lost too many fish lately due to pulling the line.  So, I waited and kept the line tight.  A minute later and he went towards the corner of the trunk of the tree.  Now, I could start stripping the line in a bit.  I worked him a few minutes and he was in the net!  Lucky?  Yeah, that I didn't lose my flies. But, not lucky that he was there.  It was just the perfect place for a fish nap. 

A huge grin appeared on my face as I released him back into the slow current of the river.  I "outsmarted" a fish and it felt soooooo good.   I cannot lie.  We will all have this experience sometime and will relish in what we have learned in our many journeys out to the water.  It makes it so worth it.  = )  Go with your instincts.  You will probably be right!!

How sweet it was...

Size 16 beadhead rainbow sow to lead and entice and a Size 18 purple zebra midge to bite on... 

Footnote:  I recently started tying and both were my poor ties.  But, fish don't seem to care.   Lol.

Sunday Tippet:  Trout fishing is challenging.  But if we find places that fish can feel secure, don't be afraid to try it!  Even if there is a bit of obstruction.  They will try to find a comfortable place where the current is slowed and food is pushed their way, as this channel was.  Trees, undercut banks, rocks (I know, bring a few extra flies) are usually great places to find Mr. Trout.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Brown Zebra Midge Adventure - Revisted

Also affectionately called "The Three Amigo" trip each year, this is a yearly return to one of my favorite rivers in Montana.  And this year, it was trout feeding on midges again.  The "three amigos" (RD, Maynard, and Ernie) had two extras come along on this year's adventure.  We will call them the "two habaneros" (or Lenny and Squiggy).  We had four fishing buddies and for a couple of days and five for a couple days.  It all worked out fine and we all enjoyed each other's company.  The camaradarie on the water is shown by taking turns in holes and us cheering on each other's trophy catch. Also sharing what was working and handing out flies if necessary. 

For five days, we searched and destroyed.  Another trip to "slaughter alley" proved that it was named that previously for a reason.  Although a bit slower in the catching than previous years, I held out hope that there were a couple big fish to be had.  And I was right.  Just have to be patient!!!

 And RD is assigned the river lunches,  What was it this year?  Well, how about pastrami, corned beef, salami, turkey, swiss, havarti, and sourdough bread.  By the 5th day, I thought that we would be tired of all that, so I threw in some croissants and chicken salad... which turned out to be my personal favorite.  Throw in RD's snickerdoodles and oatmeal chocolate chip scotchies... and we weren't hungry in the least.  Oh yeah, turns out the guys don't like grapes.  We will have to change that up next year.  All in all... it was another great trip with lots of time on the water and braving the weather conditions once again.  WIND, rain, sleet... Just plain cold and grey outside.  But, that is March in Montana.  We persevered and fought against the odds of a poor barometric pressure reading. (Yes, I still do believe in the pressure system)  We just couldn't get it over 30.  

The fog came in as we rolled out of town.  But, the one other constant besides the crap weather was serving up brown zebra midges in size 16.  They caught half of my fish probably.  I also had success on pink soft hackle sow bugs and olive hares ears.  And one of my favorite moments was when I decided to play the dry fly game.  Since I don't do it much, this was very gratifying to say the least.

Yes, that would be a high visibility griffiths gnat.  Something that I can see!!!  Only way that I can follow those little bugs...

So, another "Three Amigo" trip is in the books.  Here is a quick recap of the events.  Enjoy in full screen and on 720 p HD (you might have to change it there on the bottom of the screen)... And now to get ready for Fish Tuesday...  = )  No, it never ends.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ode To Fly Tying

Yes, it's true.  The thing that I said that I wouldn't do, I did.  For five years now, I have run away from the inevitable.  Fly tying.  For those that are new here, the River Damsel has hemmed and hawed for years now about starting up that vise and creating those little bugs that can be bought for $2 a shot.  Now, I have come up with all types of good reasons not to do it.  First, the cost.  After buying the materials, are you really saving money?  Second, the time.  Isn't it much faster to stop in a shop on the way to the river than to sit down and tie a bundle up?  Third, satisfaction of the end result. Wouldn't a store bought fly look better than my poor duplicate of a YouTube video fly?  So, there are my excuses of the past.   Not even the Midgeman, Cofisher, or the PondStalker could talk me into it...  And I usually always listen to them.  Go figure... Maybe I was just downright scared.  

And then it happened.  I met a friend who said that he would teach me to tie a fly and promised that it was simple as simple to do.  I still had my reservations, but was willing to sit down and listen.  So, we will thank good ol' Joe for creating a fly tying maniac wannabe that can't stop looking up new recipes on the internet.  What made the difference?  I got past the frightening "whip finish" that gave me all sort of nightmares.  He made me do this part over and over and over again...  No exaggeration!  I can now do it in my sleep effortlessly... Ha!  It's easier than putting on the bead anyway... = )

So, I have started slowly, but surely.  First, midges.  Then scuds and sows.  Then it was a beadhead olive hares ear, as I am getting ready for an upcoming trip to Montana.  The one thing that Joe has taught me about tying is that you only need to tie up simple patterns.  They usually do just fine in catching trout.  No need to doll em' up with lots of fancy and expensive materials.  No, I'm not going to be clipping off dog hair off of my Shitzu.  Haha.  I'm just saying that there are cheaper methods to get by in a fix or to make a pattern work just as well if you can't afford what is called for.  Of course, there will be times that you might have to have that dreaded costly hackle or feathers... but, as I have shopped around, I have learned how to make things work a little cheaper.  And I plan on keeping it that way for now anyway!  Just having some fun and getting the basic things that I need ... (Is that what the gal who has 6 different fly rods said in the beginning)  Haha.

Every fish pictured in this post was caught on one of MY ties...  Now, everyone said that it would feel like the most special thing in the world to catch on your own hand made fly.  Ok.  So, it was a nice feeling.  Still wondering though, why in the heck they liked my novice creation, but I will take the end result!  So far, all my midges, sows, and scuds have been proven worthy.  Now, for the hares ear... it still has to be further tested.  But, have no fear... then end is not near!  Haha.  

Because my friend Joe believes in me and my tying abilities more than I do.  And has the patience of Job...  (He must)  So, I thank him for being a great teacher and I promise not to be too much of a pain.  Because this journey is now going to another level...

Catching and releasing fish from my own handiwork.

Who would have thought that the three reasons why I didn't pursue fly tying don't really matter now...  = )

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Used To Be A Blogger...

Four score and five years ago, I started a fly fishing blog.  Along the way, I have met great comrads and fly fishing blog buddies.  I've read about many trips, seen incredible fish, and looked with bewilderment at many fly creations on your vises.  My blog time has been squelched since Jan. 1st.  Many things in life slow things down and postpone your good intentions of writing a new post on your fly fishing blog!!  As I have struggled to put words and pictures together recently to bring you something worth looking at, it occurred to me that if I didn't hurry my a** up soon, I might even find myself in "Quarantine" over on Troutrageous's site... haha. Now really, that isn't a laughing matter.  You know that I couldn't let it get to that... So, here we go.  Let's call it Part 1... What in the HECK has RD been up to?  (Part 2 will be on Sunday Tippets.  I know...two posts in one week.  What is the world coming to???)


RD now wears trout nails... Just call me "Matchy, Matchy"...
Don't worry, the white tips will be back.

Brian Schiele, my photographer, tenkara, fly fishing buddy, starts the year off on the water with me... and he hasn't stopped catching fish since!  2014 will be your banner year, my friend!

The new year starts off with some new and old friends...

And some fish of a pre-historic Jurassic Park look about them...

And some fish that use a little bit of Oil of Olay...

Yeah, what's life without a little bit of brown trout???

Ok.  A lot of...  = )

Catching and releasing... my two favorite things...

Lastly, let's not forget Mr. Rainbow Trout.  He definitely deserves at least one beauty shot!!   And yes, "Matchy, Matchy"...

So, there's the fishy side of things this year so far...  For those loyal readers out there that I still have (Crossing fingers and toes)...  Come back to see what surprises Part 2 brings on Sunday Tippets!  Yes, the Sunday Tippet lady is still here too.  

I promise.  No more hiding...

Have a great week!  <"((((><<  

Monday, January 13, 2014

The RD Adventure Train 2013

Another year has come and gone.  But, not without adventure and dreams that became reality.  The River Damsel was on a mission of sorts.  To fish new water with friends, new and old.  To catch different species of trout and all sizes of trout. Indeed, we did that.  The "Adventure Train" rolled through beautiful and scenic places in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon. There was a ten fly gal weekend on the Henry's Fork, Id.  And even a Bachelorette river party weekend on the SF of the Boise in Id. The Damsel re-visited her favorite place up north in Montana and Yellowstone several times.  And my blogging buddies in Colorado and New Mexico even got a visit from the "Cookie Lady".  Then, to cap off the year, new fishing holes were found in my home waters of Utah.  All in all, it was a very good year.  Thanks to everyone that was a part of it from being there on the water to following along on the blog waves.  Trout dreams do come true if you have a sincere desire.

The River Damsel presents: