August 31, 2009
Brother Drew of Stream and Brook Fly Fishing recently got in touch with the roughfisher to let all you fine folks out there in brownlinerland know that roughfishing is alive and well in the Green Mountain State.
If anyone is out in Vermont and interested in pursuing roughfish with one of our finest brownwater brethren, consider Drew's Big Game fish hunts. Check out this client's stellar greater redhorse.
You can catch Drew on Vermont PBS pursuing longnose gar, carp, bowfin, or monster sheepies on Lake Champlain, or perhaps over at Nectars chasing some french fries and gravy down with a nice cold Long Trail.
Looks like another stop has been added to the 2010 Roughfisher East Coast Tour.
August 29, 2009
The rare and highly elusive Blue Sucker, Cycleptus elongatus, captured courtesy of 2500 watts AC at 300 volts. This was one of several specimens electrofished for display at the Minnesota State Fair. I could not pass up a chance at viewing this clandestine fish; this species still remains off my lifelist and will likely stay that way. A true uncdercover brother.
Metro Fisheries staff seining Pond 6: the roughfisherman's wet dream. This pond houses the State Fair fish, and is home to several nice specimens of lake sturgeon, shovelnose sturgeon, paddlefish, and greater redhorse. For you haters out there, there are a bunch of gamefish species in there as well. The resident 60 pound flathead cat mysteriously vanished over the course of the year. Foul play is suspected.
August 28, 2009
Scouted some new water. Had to hit a different drainage system since the Otter Tail has been a major bitch this summer with its high flows, so I hopped over to a system within the Minnesota River drainage. For a change I figured on fishing a river that drains south. Change is good.
Arrived at a nondescript slough, tucked in the midst of prairie, CRP and ag land. Jumped a doe and a fawn who were bedded down in the reeds and tallgrass down by the waters edge. I scanned the waters surface for any activity. At first glance I saw nothing, the thick chocolate milk flowing by. I got up to a higher vantage point and examined the water more closely; underneath some submergent vegetation I made out the silhouette of a tail. Spotted! I can see you but you can't see me.
I got my fly ready and my rod poised awaiting any ghosts that happen to drift by. On the edge of the cattails I spotted the shadow of the ghost and stealthily lobbed my fly just in front of the fish. Not being able to see more than an inch deep, I counted down to three in my head and watched for any movement. I saw the fish turn 90 degrees and change its position. I set the hook. Money.
There's something satisfying about sightfish caught fish; the hunt, the chase, the reward. There is a sense of affirmation that confirms that you successfully convinced a fish to take your fly. Perhaps the only thing more satisfying than a sight caught fish, is a fish that you sight cast to partially blind. What I mean by this is that you can see the profile of the fish and it's display, but can't see the actual take.
There is a major leap of faith at this moment, a one shot deal. Strip the fly too soon and you've spooked the fish. Wait too long and the fish spits the hook and moves on.
Sometime it's a stroke of luck that you've timed the set right; other times it's an educated guess. Success is extremely satisfying, like you got inside the fish's head and psyched it out. I hooked up with one more sightfished carp, before moving on. The pool was played out.
I moved over to the Otter Tail to see how flow conditions were. Flows dropped considereably over the past few days, down from around 700 cfs to 486 cfs. Better, but that is still above the 80th percentile for this time of year. Water was still turbid, it always is, though lower river levels will help reveal more fish. Major schools of carp were not present, but they will be back. I know this.
Tried casting to a pod of carp when some usurping sunfish came in and took the fly. Seems to be a common theme as of late. Also nabbed a black crappie out of the area before moving on.
It's been so long since I've held a carp that I took a hero shot of a cookie cutter carp. Bad form.
The catch of the day, another victim of encroachment. A little runt smallmouth bass thieved my fly while I was targeting some shorthead redhorse in a riffle run. Bastage. Damn near qualifier for the Flyfish Journal's Smolt of the Month.