May 22, 2008

A great outing today. Started off the day hooking a monstrous muskie in the river. I fought the fish for well over a half hour, trying to land it near shore (without a net) countless number of times. I finally had the fish near the rocks, almost within landing range, when the line went limp and the hook landed near shore. I only got to see the rear of the fish; it was an enormous red tail with an emerald green body. I only got to see the rear portion of the fish, up to the dorsal fin, and that was two feet long. This fish was easily in the 50" range. I'll meet up again with him some other day.

I caught a chunky buffalo shortly thereafter, easily 20-30 years old. I also caught a bunch of golden and silver redhorse, as well as a white sucker. These fish were considerably smaller than the ones I had been catching earlier in the month. Their numbers were down too. One of the goldens had milt dripping off of his anal fin. For the most part, it is approaching the tail end of the spawn for these fish. This correlates with my finding last week with the shortheads nearing the end of the spawn. With that said, the channel cats are gearing up for their spawning period. One section of river I was fishing was lousy with them. They were on a feeding frenzy, with quite a few fish surfacing. It was quite annoying to have to weed through a lot of small fish, so I packed it up and headed up to the backwaters.

I was hoping to find some tailing fish. No dice. So surface activity either., It's still pretty early though. I threw half a crawler on and lobbed it into the middle of a small pool off of the backwater slough. I was hoping to have enough time to rig up my fly rod when carpzilla hit. Not having to fight any current, I was able to subdue this fish rather easily and landed it on shore. This was a beast; it was a pinch longer than the section of my rod from the butt to the first guide, so about 33". It still had quite a bit of fight left in it, and the fish proceeded to splash me silly. I snapped a few pics and released the fish to swim another day. This was likely a virgin fish, as it is unlikely that anyone even fishes these sloughs.
I loaded up another half-crawler and pitched it out, hoping that this time I would be able tie on a rubber legged antron nymph on my 8 weight. As I was cinching down the non-slip loop to my fly, my line went taut. I had another fish on. Not quite as big as the first fish, but not bad.

I ended up blind nymphing the fly for about 10 minutes, before putting it away and breaking back out the garden hackle. I caught another half dozen carp, as well as a few bullheads. Nothing like catching one bruiser carp after another, every 5-10 minutes. This was some good action!

After spending 7 hours on the water and nearly exhausting my supply of two dozen crawlers, I packed it up and headed home. Every single one of those carp I caught splashed clay silt all over me. I was filthy. You could just tell by looking at me that I had a good day.

Brownlining at its finest.


  1. Wow, that sounds like a fun day! What did the muskie hit? I assume you weren't targeting them yet, and you don't really use large flies for what you do target. I didn't realize muskies were in that river.

    I'll likely be in your area starting somewhere between the 14th and 16th ;)

  2. The muskie hit, of all things, half of a crawler on a size 4 octopus hook. I only had 6 lb test on a ML rod. And no I wasn't targeting them, but rather the redhorse.

  3. A crawler? That's funny. Surprised you could even set the hook such that it'd actually get in there.

    Would you recommend I bring my stiff 7 or slightly more noodly (and significantly more delicate in presentation) 6? I also like the Nautilus reel on my 6 a lot more than the old Gunnison on my 7. Of course, I'm also bringing two 9s.

  4. Dude, I got skills. I can set the hook on anything that swims :P