October 14, 2017

One more trip...before the storm

I've heard that autumn has not yet come to a large part of the country. But it has in my neck of the woods. The tree colors have come and (almost) gone. We've had our first dusting of snow and the temperatures have dropped significantly.

Yesterday, after getting some last minute yard work done, I hit one of my local creeks for some pre-storm fishing. It had been forecast that we "might" get some snow overnight, and I wanted to fish before I had to change to winter mode.



The creek I fished is small and very tight. Last winter wreaked havoc on the creek, as the heavy snows from the winter of 2016-17 brought down a lot of trees. Many of my favorite pockets and pools were not fishable, due to lots of snags in and out of the water.





Still, I was able to find some reaches that were open enough to cast and catch a few fish. Here are a few of those fish and their lies.



***





***





***





***





***





***








I'm glad I went fishing yesterday, as this is what I woke up to this morning!  A good solid 4 inches on the deck railing. Winter has begun!










September 30, 2017

Headwaters

It seems that the latest buzz word in tenkara is "headwaters". I always thought they were just called small streams and creeks, but I guess since they feed into larger riverine systems they are actually headwaters.



Many of the waters I fish are headwaters to the Snake River, which in turn feeds the mighty Columbia. Other waters I fish feed into larger rivers, which in turn drain into the Great Basin.  Either way, they are headwaters.



I have found, however, that just because these waters are small and often overlooked by other anglers, they are still a crapshoot when it comes to frequency of catching (the fishing is always good, the catching can vary widely), fish size,  and fish count per mile.  Some of these creeks are just plain amazing! Relatively large trout in every lie and hold. Other creeks are just a bust. For instance, I was fishing a stream near the Tetons the other day, which I had never before fished. I hiked in a couple miles and found a beautiful, pristine creek. The water level was pretty low but there were plenty of holds. I hooked 4 trout -- all under 4 inches. As I worked my way upstream I scared a few that looked to be 6 inches, at the most. Although I had an enjoyable time in the wilderness, the section of creek I had fished was less than satisfying. I hiked back to the pickup, drove less than 5 miles to another creek coming out of the very same mountains and which had similar characteristics as the first, and hooked a 12 inch cutthroat on my first cast. Some creeks are winners, others not so much.

Here are some pictures from one of my creeks or headwaters. I fished it with my modified Zen Suzume rod at about 280 cm and used a 7' line (plus 2 feet of tippet).  First the fish, then the lie where it was caught:



***

These next two came out of the same lie. In my creeks, that is unusual. 




***






***







***


This brown was taken in lie number 2. I worked the fly in lies 1 and 3, but nothing.



***



Last one...






Anyway, I love headwaters, or small streams or creeks -- whatever we are calling them today.








September 22, 2017

My Favorite Gloves

Catch as release has been around for a long time and, I suspect, is practiced by most of us. Catch and release recommendations over this time have sometimes changed as new data come to light and studies review old recommendations. One of these newer recommendations is the use of gloves.

While many promote wetting your hands before touching the fish, it has only been relatively recently that using gloves has been found to be better at keeping the fish wet. The material of gloves, as long as it's not terry cloth, can stay wet longer and protect the slime layer next to the fish's scales. They also help you hold the trout more securely with less overall pressure. This harms the fish less.

That said, I wear gloves mainly as sun protection. I have worn a few different sun gloves over the years and have found ones I like and others I don't as much.

Kast Inferno UPF Glove

This is my favorite glove. They fit well and are made well. And I really like the silicone palm. For me they just work better than the other gloves I have used. They are easy to get on and to get off, even when wet. They have also held up over time really well.







Buff Pro Angler 3 Gloves

These are my second favorite gloves. They fit well when new, but the synthetic leather palms tend to get stiff after repeated use. To get them less stiff you have to get them wet (that's the point anyway, so it's not that big of a deal).






Aqua Design Fly Fishing Fingerless Camo Gloves

I like these least. The design of these gloves make them hard to get off and the sewing is very poorly done. Mine (two different pairs) unraveled after just a few uses.




As always, it is best not to handle the trout unless you have to. If you do, try to minimize harm to the fish. Keep it out of the water less than 10 seconds, use gentle pressure in holding it around the belly, and keep it wet. I've not always been the best at these recommendations but I've gotten better over the years. These gloves have helped me in this goal.

Hint: Gloves can get pretty smelly after just a few fishing trips. You can wash them, but they will still stink. This is due to bacteria in the fibers feasting on the fish slime proteins. To fix this, soak them in plain Original Listerine for 10-15 minutes before washing. This kills the bacteria in the synthetic material that are creating the stink. Don't use chlorine bleach, as it will break down the synthetic fibers and bleach out that really cool camo pattern!








September 13, 2017

Oni School 2017

This was the third year that I was able to attend the Tenkara Guides, LLC Oni School near Salt Lake City, Utah. As with years past, I was unable to stay all three days, due to my work schedule. But I did have a great time and learned a lot from Masami Sakakibara, as well as others.  And I was able meet and fish with many new and old friends from the tenkara world.

We fished the Provo --  upper part of the middle and lower canyon sections on the days I was there.

We first met at the Fly Fishing shop at Sundance Resort. After registration we had casting lessons on the grass field followed by casting demonstrations by Oni at the Sundance pond.






Eric and John of Tenkara Guides, LLC introducing the curriculum. 





Chris Hendriks, a tenkara guide from Norway, practicing a specialized side cast. 



We then drove to the middle Provo, just below Jordanelle Dam, and fished it for the better part of the day. As in other years, each participant had the chance to fish with Oni and as to shadow him as he worked his kebari through various spots. 


On stream instruction.

Some fun at lunch.

What you can't see here is the 20 mph wind. Despite this, Oni placed the fly where ever he wanted.


Hooking a large brown in fast, shallow water.


The fish of the day!







This is his method of teaching. The translation is mostly clear but not always. I found it easier to learn new techniques by just watching him fish and work various sections of the stream.



Oni sketching how he approaches a certain part of the river.


The second day we met at Sundance again and then quickly relocated to lower Provo canyon for more fishing and one on one instruction.  

As with past years, this year was excellent! The Tenkara Guides, LLC put together another fantastic program full of didactic and practical instruction. I plan on attending as many years as they keep offering this amazing tenkara school.