Tuesday, February 23, 2016
When I first started fly fishing -- back in the 1960s -- my outfit was pretty simple. It included a Wright McGill fly rod, a Montgomery Wards fly reel and an old band-aid box full of flies and leader.
The older I get the worse my memory has become. I no longer just throw some gear in the back of the pickup and head out for a fishing trip. These days I tend to make copious lists, double check them, and revise them often in the weeks leading up to a fishing trip.
I haven't been fly fishing in a few years and had to buy a lot of new tackle because I made the mistake of giving all my fly fishing gear to my daughter a couple years back.
In preparation for my coming spring attack on the Upper Owens River -- a place where I've had enormous success in the past -- I've purchased almost an entirely new outfit.
Here's my fly fishing vest checklist to make sure I have all I need when I'm on the river…
Fly Fishing Vest:
Orange dry sack – wallet and cell phone
Current fishing license
Dry fly Floatant
Dry fly box and flies
Streamer boxes & streamers
Extra leader and Tippets
Retractable zinger & nippers
Knot tying tool
Hook snare & holder
Hemostat/forceps - hook remover
Wet fly box
Lip balm and sunscreen
Flashlight or Headlamp
Lighter or Waterproof Matches
Water (and usually a sandwich so I can fish all day without returning to the truck)
First aid kit
Swiss army fisherman's knife
Net with magnetic release
Fly Fishing Clothing:
Gore-Tex paddle jacket (optional if rainy -- I usually carry this all day in the Sierras)
nylon rain pants (optional if rainy)
wool or nylon shirt
wool whipcord pants & web belt (or quick drying nylon pants)
Lightweight wool socks
Water shoes or gore-tex hiking boots
Fleece jacket (optional if cold)
Fingerless gloves (optional if cold)
Warm cap (optional if cold)
Cowboy hat with a full brim
Bandana for sun protection
Bear spray on belt (bear country)
Gerber belt knife
Fly Rod and Reel (sink tip line for streamers)
I also carry an extra reel (with floating line) in the back of my vest and keep a spare fly rod in the truck.
I hope you find something useful here. Happy Fishing.
Saturday, February 20, 2016
I'm not a very patient fellow, so still fishing from shore with a worm and bobber just isn't my style. I prefer to paddle a canoe, and to see the scenery and wildlife on any given lake or stream.
I've also learned that I'll catch more fish if I cover more water, so trolling is my favorite way to fish.
Unless you are on big, open, windy water a canoe has a distinct advantage over boats with motors and float-tubes. The slow surge and glide of a paddled canoe is quiet and gives your trolled bait an action very close to that of a swimming bait fish.
A canoe can also cover a lot more water than a float-tube.
Over the years I've learned a few basics about finding fish on a new lake.
1. Locate the bait that fish eat. I always fish a shore that the prevailing wind is pushing bait toward.
2. Find protective structure fish hide in. Look for logs, rocks and undercut banks. One sure bet is to fish old stream beds -- I always locate stream inlets and outlets, and fish a zigzag pattern between them.
3. Find water that is oxygenated -- locate feeder creeks, and especially springs. Often springs will be located at the bottom of rocky cliffs that abut the water you're fishing.
What To Troll
In the early spring and late fall I tend to fish pretty close to the surface. During those times of the year I use a light spinning rod with a spoon or crankbait.
Or, a medium action, 6 wt weight fly rod with streamers.
For my favorite streamers see: http://a-drifting-cowboy.blogspot.com/2015/12/sporting-classics-fly-rod-lures.html
My favorite spinning rod baits include Original Rapalas, Needlefish and Mepps Dressed Aglia Spinners.
In the warmer summer weather -- or if I'm not having any luck surface fishing -- I switch to a stiffer Kencor trolling rod with leadcore line and flashers.
For my leadcore trolling method see: http://a-drifting-cowboy.blogspot.com/2013/08/cowboy-wisdom-lead-core-trolling.html
No matter which trolling method you choose… ALWAYS turn around and fish the same water over again whenever you catch a fish. I caught these two trout -- a laker and a hybrid cutthroat -- five minutes apart within a 50 foot square area of water on the Snake River.
I've seen lots of photos of "tricked out" fishing canoes, but I like to keep it simple. Everything I need to go out on the lake -- including my 33 pound Old Town pack canoe can be carried on my back to the water's edge.
Since the photo above was taken I ditched the wood frame backrest for a lighter canvas model.
Finally, always tie everything down or at the very least keep it on a leash. You will eventually capsize any canoe.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Back in 1983, I was in Seattle on a business trip. I lodged at a downtown hotel, so after an early dinner I went for a walk and happened on to a Eddie Bauer store.
I had been looking for a travel fly rod for some time and Eddie Bauer had the perfect rod for my needs. It's a 4 piece, 8', 6 weight fiber glass rod in a 24" aluminum case.
As luck would have it I only had an opportunity to use it one time, so it has been in storage for more than thirty years.
A few years back I gave all my fly fishing gear to my daughter, but overlooked the Bauer rod. When I discovered it - I considered selling it on Ebay. I did some research, and learned it was made by premier California fly rod maker J. kennedy Fisher.
|The writing on these two rods leaves no doubt about who the maker is.|
After learning its collector value I decided to hang on to it just in case I might want to do some fly fishing at some future date.
This has been a long hard winter for several reasons, so I'm planning on doing a little fly fishing on the upper Owens River when trout season opens.
I even bought the perfect reel to match up with my old Fisher made Bauer rod. It's a 3 1/2", 6 weight, Hardy Brothers Princess from the late 1960s.
See you on the river.