Sunday, February 24, 2013

Green Eggs & Hamlets... Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Yup, that is what they are serving up over at the San Juan River, Navajo Dam, NM.  And I'm talking about over at the river, not over at the Back Cast Cafe in town (Which I highly recommend for a scrumpious breakfast).  Yes, it was a few days of casting out little green chartruese eggs and bacon red larva.  I mean, this is where the  "San Juan Worm" originated.  But, the smaller the better on the red annelid.  28??? Ahhh.

 I had a full box of San Juan flies to test out, but when you get out to the river after a long day of driving (4 pm) and you throw on something quick to catch a fish...well, if they take it, why not keep throwing it for the time being??? 

I only had an hour and a half until sun down.  Racked up eight little stalkers stockers... a good way to start out my fishing trip.  Now it was time to rest up a bit back at the hacienda. Oh yes, a fine suite with a courtyard.  Heehee.

The luxuries of home.  Minus the internet.  Minus cell phone coverage.  TV?  Yes, old movies as I remember.  Don't ask me what I watched... It's all a faded memory now.

Every morning started here.  Very friendly and helpful crew at the main fly shop in town.  Got the latest reports and then headed across the street for breakfast.

Hey, it's Zorro!   One of the many Triploids, (sterile female rainbow trout) that are raised in hatcheries and planted in the San Juan... The plan is to raise trout that won't interbreed with the natives and compromise the ongoing efforts to maintain pure-strain native populations.  Well, I caught my fair share of them.  It was fun to be catching all day long anyway. (They did their stocking one week before we got there of  another 30, 634)  So, you do have to wait your turn for the "gem" to find its way to the net.   Maybe when I go back in a couple of years, some of those little tikes will be a nice, fat 7 lbs or more... At least that is what the Midgeman tells me.  They don't burn up energy reserves and can get huge, fast...  The next trip out should be interesting. 

The next morning was spent in the "Braids".  A diversion was constructed to direct more flow into the Braids area to increase the water’s depth and velocity.  
 The project as been deemed a huge success. 

 Past the Braids was my favorite spot.  The Sand Hole.  Boom!  I had a dozen 10-12 inchers reeled in the first hour before I could say, "Dang those mud holes, beaver ponds, cattails, and ice sheets!"   I was here now and lovin' it!! 

Then, my friend David from the fly shop comes over next to me and shows me how it's done.  Yes, there are bigger fish in the San Juan!!  Yeah, thanks D.  Oh, I know there are big fish.  You see, while I was netting my small bow fries, there was this big ol' 20 in brown trout staring up at me from two feet out.  He just looked at the River Damsel and laughed.  He knew that I couldn't get to him.  Well,...........hahahahaha.  SWOOSH!  My net couldn't help itself.  I had a half of a brown and a tail and back out.  But, it was a valiant try.  These San Juan brownies are not spooky in the least.  But, it was the rainbows that found my flies to their liking.

Jeri found a few nice bows closer to the Navajo Dam... We decided to venture upstream on Day 3.  A few larger fish and less concentration of the Triploid invasion! 

On Day 4,  I got the hits that I wanted.   Two nice, colorful "Rainbow Chaser" types.   And as the guide and his drift boat approached to see what was on the end of my bent rod and to give me "congrats"... My phone went krrrrr-plunk!   I think that I hid my embarrassment pretty well with dipping the net back into the water as my hand reached down to find the phone on the bottom of the murky water.  Yeah, right.   My sheer delight of seeing "real" spots  overrode the possibility of a washed up smart phone.

So, it was over to the bank to dry things out.  I had my fast dozen before we got back into the car to come home.  Pretty good I would say!  Got on the water at 9 and headed out at 10:30 am.  But, in the rush of it all... yes, there was a broken rod tip.  We won't go into that.  Let's just say thank heavens for a Sage warranty!!!  And to think that this all started out with Green Eggs and Hamlets...  

Sunday Tippet???

Every good fly shop carries it... Right.  Well, fortunately, Abe's Fly Shop is also a convenience store of sorts.   And after an 8 hr trip home, my phone was as good as gold.  It doesn't always work though... So, buying a waterproof camera is probably a better bet, if you really want to take pictures on the water...  = )

A special thanks to Mark Vibber,  who supplied me with some great flies for the trip.  Yes, I did catch on some of these special ties also.  Yes, those at the top... size 28/30... Wooohoo!  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Curing The Winter Blues

February... The winter months are almost behind us and Spring will be here before you know it!  But, the air is still bitter cold and the fish are still bunkered down for the most part.  How many times has RD been fishing this year, you ask?  Well, no different than summer really.  I can count 7 times out already into the new year.  Ok... I'm a glutton for punishment challenges.  Really, when else can you find icy ponds to cross, a foot of new snow to track through, and frozen guides to stop your line from time to time?   It's all part of the journey. 

But, I won't lie.  I have had a few skunks along the way.  And I was getting a little frustrated recently until this past week.   Even thinking about hanging it up for while...

But, RD took hold of herself, shook it off, and got back out there.  But, with different flies, different water, and a different attitude.   Yes, you see... I got a nice little fly box from the Back Country Fish Nerd, David Goodrich.  We exchanged cookies for flies.   Now, this is really not something that I do all the time.  I'm really surprised that he was so excited about it!  Yes, he realllly liked them!!  (I did kind of put a lot of tape on the package.  Ha.)  And those flies, they are gorgeous!  I sure do love the blogger flies that people send to me.  Such talented tiers out there.

So, I got bundled up in my fleece.  Put on the 3 layers of clothing and headed out.  It was a beautiful day and the sun was peaking through the clouds.  To my amazement, this new water seemed to even have some of my favorite little riffles coming out of large runs.  Tied a few midges on and 15 min. later, had my first brown trout on the hook.  Now, that was more like it.  Ahhh... Time to sit down and meditate about what I did different!  Was it the flies, was it the water, or was it my attitude?  Or all of the above...

My first fish of the day... A nice brownie.

And my last fish of the day...
A gorgeous rainbow.  This one was especially sweet.  There aren't too many bows on this river.  So, I had a nice surprise!  Of course, I still love my brown trout...

A great ending to a turnaround kind of day.   And a fond farewell to the skunk that had crossed my path the week before.  = )

Next Up...

Fishing in New Mexico

Oh yeah... I'm ready.  Sunshine, 50 degrees, and rising fish.  

I can smell fish, not skunk!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Caving Into Fly Tying

There is a reason why I haven't tied flies...  Ok, there are many reasons!  But, I have run out of excuses.   And I am so tired of paying $2.50 for every midge that I lose.  So, I am now signed up for a fly tying class in March.  And I have now organized and packed items out of a room downstairs and moved them into another storage room.  So... A whole room for "anything fly fishing".  Gear storage to tyin' table and vise and all that good stuff.  My fingernails even will be shortened.  But, not all the way.  = )  Unless I have to.

Will it be worth all the preparation?  We will see.  But, first I needed some ideas on how to set up a fly tying play work station.  So, I went around to some friends and asked them if I could post up a picture of their home work benches.  Now, I have a better idea of what I need and how I'm going to organize the room.  Batter up!! 

Well, you know who's work bench this is...  Well, wait a sec.  It could be anybody's!  Don't we all have a T! sticker lamenated on something fishy?  Yes, this is Troutrageous Mike Agneta's tying area... Nice little setup for his Tenkara flies. The lamp is way cool.

Here we have Brian Schiele, mtbbrian... Tenkara fly fisherman and Holga photographer.  Brian has a very "fishy" feel to his cave.  I especially like the trout poster!   And looks like he has all the light he needs.... = )

Whoa!  Now wait a minute here... Can I order one of these gizmos?  No, unfortunately, it is a fly tying table that Matt David over at FuncFish built himself!  It's got most everything right within reach... Even a toothbrush!

This is Howard's Corner.  You know that guy over at Windknots and Tangled Lines.  He has quite the fishy room with tying materials, books (Did you know that he likes to read?), fish on the walls, and even a fish clock!!  Nice.  Can I order one of those? 
Do I see a river map to the right?  Can't be...

Next up, Dub The Thorax... Mike Volensky.  Kind of looks like his setup is on a baby grand piano... = )  From markers to bins to spools... And even a waste basket for the clippings!  He has thought of it all.  Oh, wait!  I know that there is some kind of sound system across the room... there has to be! (Ok. T! gave that one away)

Now, Ben Smith over at AZ Wanderings, bring us a pegboard with all the goodies attached.  Geez, it looks like a fly shop wall!!  I personally like the fur lined TV set.  = )  Kind of gives it an outdoorsy feel, don't you think?

Here we have Jim Browning, who you can find over at Two Guys ~ Wet Waders
and Flies... I will take the bulletin board idea to heart.  Then, I can put up "my favorite things".  By the looks of this set up, he just might enjoy tying as much as fishing!   

Ok...this is getting serious.  Grant Bench at OversmartingFish, has a comfy cabin setting along with...yes, a twin bed.  What does this say about fly tying?  Eh?  No, he swears that it is rarely used.  Really...  = )  And the chair looks pretty comfy for late night tying sessions.  I think that I will take one of those!

There you have it... The many different looks of fly tying caves and all that extra stuff that goes in them.  I'm sure that I will be taking an idea or two out of each of these photos.  I used to be a big time craft lady... It's been years though since I sat down long enough to make something crafty with my own two hands.  Maybe that is why I have delayed learning to tie flies.  Because I know that it will become something that I like to do and I will spend too much time in the Damsel cave!  Well, here goes nothing.   The next phase of my fly fishing journey will begin in a couple of weeks.  The class.