Monday, June 27, 2011

Success, finally

I've been struggling the last week or two.  I have taken quite a few evening trips out to a couple of local ponds with not much success.  A couple friends and I hit up a local spot that holds bass among other creatures of the deep.  We all came up dry, although two of the other three guys did get some bites.  Since then I've also been out carping a couple of times for a few hours each.  I also went out for bass again on my own, friday after work.  I got a couple of bites but no success.

So naturally, I was feeling the need for some gratification this weekend.  I went out Sunday evening and this time I went all geared up.  All my bass gear and spinner rod were in tow as well as my fly rod and box of carp flies and other random nymphs.  About two hours of unsuccessful bass fishing finally lead me to pull out my fly rod and put on a small nymph.  I went over to a place where, last time I was out here there were a number of carp cruising around.  This time I wasn't so lucky, but I figured I'd cast out there anyway because there appeared to be some activity from smaller fish.

Finally some fun.  It was typical of spawning bluegull, because I'd would get bites almost instantly on every cast.  I pulled in at least two dozen, mostly really little guys in about 30 minutes before sufficiently disturbing the area to slow things down.  But during the wild mess I managed to land a couple different species, the first of which I think is the coolest.  Enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Victory is theirs.

I am apparently hooked on carp fishing (horrific fishing pun intended).  After success Friday evening, and after wasting some time to discover the rivers in Oregon are pretty high right now, I headed back out to the local ponds to chase carps.  It didn't take long either.  After about 10 min of walking around and spooking a couple carp in the shallows, I found one rooting around in the dirt within casting distance.  I made a cast and pulled my olive bugger right back in front of his face.

The problem with carp fishing is that they don't eat then run, so you can't feel the bite.  And if you can't see your bug there's no way to know when you get a bite.  Nonetheless, I was lucky enough to get a bite and somehow got a hook set on him.  Instantly, he darted out into the deeper and extremely weedy water.  The feel of him on the end of the line went from wiggly, to sluggish, to solid and unmoving.  Then my line started coming in to me slowly and I found it covered in weeds.  He had pulled my hook straight and I had lost him.  Sad day.

Oh well, at least I still had my magic fly.

And a few minutes later I found another carp feeding.  After couple casts, fish on again!  Again he shot out into deeper water, but this time I was ready for him.  As he got closer to the weeds I pulled harder and harder until.... snap!  This time I had broke him off and I lost my magic fly.

For the rest of the afternoon I managed to only spook sitting carp, and wasn't able to find any feeding.

Carp 2, Tim 0.

And then again this evening (sunday) I decided to head out again after the drizzle started.  I had/have no idea if rain is a good thing or bad thing for carp fishing, but it seemed like something worth trying.  All decked out in rain gear, I headed out to my new favorite spot to stalk my new favorite prey.  Immediately I saw a few tail sticking up out of the water surrounded by clouds of dirt.  Good sign!  Feeding carp!

No dice on the first one.  I think my line drifted over him and he felt it and took off.  That was ok, though, because I could see a few other carp in the area so I just went over to the next victim.  I snuck up slowly to him because he was close to shore.  There was a nice big bush of poison oak that I hid behind (pictures of my rash will surely follow later this week). 

I made a few casts and finally got a good one just beyond him, and slowly stripped the bugger back toward shore and through the cloud of mud he was kicking up.  All of a sudden, a tug.  Fish on!  He turned to run, I tugged back, and fish off!!  Apparently my blood knot was not tied as well as I thought and the bottom length of tippet any my fly were now hanging from that carps mouth.  On to the next feeding behemoth.

The next guy was just around the corner and there was a nice tuft of reeds or grass for me to hide behind.  I put my first cast just beyond him and started pulling the bug back through the cloud of dust he had created.  I kept slowly stripping in, and he slowly turned to follow.  In retrospect it's sort of a trout following a drifting dry in super slow mo.  Anyway, he followed the fly straight in toward me, slowly coming up higher and higher as the bug came up.  Then suddenly he turned.  I figured he either lost interest and I should recast immediately, or he took it.  So I gave a quick hookset, and fish on!!  Fish off!  Apparently it wasn't a good hookset, and off he shot into the weeds and left me to dig my fly out of the brush behind me.

The rest of the evening involved finding feeding carp, but not managing any more bites.  Sight fishing sure is a ton of fun, though.  I think I'll be doing this again this week.  Maybe tomorrow!

On a totally unrelated note, while writing this I began wondering why I refer to carp as "him."  I think it's because carp are pretty ugly fish, and thus they must be male.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Victory is mine!

After work this evening I decided to head out to a local pond to chase some carp around.  I had visited this pond a few weeks back in search of bass (unsuccessfully), and noticed quite a few big and even monstrous cruising around.  So, of course, I made a mental note to come back here.  I had intended to spend some lazy afternoon bait fishing, but earlier this week I had a stroke of genius. Coop, a friend of a friend of mine, is an avid carp on the fly guy, and on his suggestion I have tried this before and never had any luck. 

Carp on the fly is not an easy thing to do.  It's a purely sight fishing sport, so you walk around until you spot a carp cruising around within casting distance.  Then you have to be extremely stealthy to he doesn't see you, and once you make a cast the fly has to swim within a couple inches of the fish's mouth.  Even with all that done, the carp has to see the fly and decide it looks tasty.  When all that works out (which is not that often), you then have a 5-30lb feisty fish on the end of your line!  That's the fun part, but also an equally hard part.

But anyways, back to my outing.  I was out at these local ponds and walked around for about an hour without spotting any carps.  I spotted one bass who seemed to be protecting a nest and I watching him circle and circle and circle for a while.  But that was the only fish I saw.

Finally I spotted a nice carp cruising in some shallow water very near shore, and lucky for me I saw him before he saw me.  Spotting him first was somewhat amazing and extremely fortunate.  It was a cloudy day, so even with polarized sunglasses there was a serious haze on the water that made seeing into the water near impossible.  But as I walked within sight of him, I was behind a patch of tall weeds.  I pulled my sz16 olive wooly bugger out of the rod's cork handle, yanked ten feet of line off the reel, and threw a quick cast past him.  As I stripped it back in.....nothing.  I pulled the fly up, and with one false cast put it right back in the water a couple feet beyond his mouth.  This time as I stripped the fly by him I saw a quick jerk of his body, god save the queen, and SET!

He was hooked and took off!  The drag of my reel was way too loose so I tightened it up as he shot away from me.  He got about 50 feet away before slowing down.  I reeled him back in 15 feet, then he shot back out 15 feet.  I reeled him back in 20 feet and he shot back out.  I reeled him in more and he ran again.  This continued for five or ten minutes before I finally got him in close.

And that was the point where I realized a net would have been handy.  Instead I got my shoes and jeans went and walked out into the water a few feet.  I fought him for another ten or fifteen minutes to tire him out enough so that I could get a hand on him.  With a small grunt I picked him up out of the water to placed him in the grass on shore.  I had to toss my rod alongside his body for a little perspective since I didn't have a tape or scale for a measurement.  After the fact, my guess is he is around 28", and I have no idea what the weight would be.

Not bad for a first carp on the fly!  I think I might have to go back and do this again.

Weight estimates welcomed!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Check off another

Its not an interesting or fun goal, but I'm going to check off goal #8 for the year.  No, not the 8th goal I've checked off.  I'm not nearly that far along.  But goal #8 is to compile a list of "must fish" places near by.  Here is my list:

Twin Lakes – Marion county, near Mill City.  Supposedly good brookie lakes.  4mi hike from Elk Lake, trail 544.  Best fishing late in the year. Access only after June due to snow.
Welcome Lakes – Marion county near Mill city.  Supposedly good brookie lakes.  3.5mi hike from Elk lake, trail 559 to 554 along welcome creek.  Access only after June due to snow.
Trail Bridge Res – 90acre res on Mckenzie, rainbows and some cuts and brookies.  14mi NE of Mckenzie bridge
Vivian Lake – near salt creek falls, float tube handy
Lopez Lake – nearby Vivian Lake and stocked with cutts.
Tumble Lake – 3mi north of Detroit lake, forest roads galore!
Timpanogas Lake – middle Willamette headwaters.  Other area lakes nearby too.
Marie and Rockpile Lakes – near Detriot Lake, supposedly hold big fishes.

Mckenzie mid river
Foster/Green peter lakes – check out the tributaries
Mollala river – late winter steelhead run! Near Portland
Layng creek – near row river
Fall Creek – Near Dexter, heavily stocked
Blue River – Should check this out but probably won’t catch much.

Specific plans:  In order to check off another goal I do intend to hit up Twin and Welcome lakes over a long weekend out.  I think I need to either do this very soon, or wait until early fall to avoid the bug and mosquito frenzy.

By the end of the year I'm sure I'll cross off most of the rivers and a decent number of lakes.  Each one will come back to you guys with a report and review.  And since it's me going, I'm sure there will be tons of fish caught!

Monday, June 6, 2011

E for Expensive

As some of you know, I spent the last couple weeks traveling.  The second of the two weeks was spent in England, where the home office of the company I work for is located.  In typical English fashion the sky was overcast and there was an occasional drizzle.

I had arranged for a guide to take me out for a day over the weekend to a lake for some pike fishing on the fly.  This would be the first time I've ever fished for pike so I had really no idea what to expect.  I assumed it was going to be like fishing for bass that have big teeth; I was pretty much right.  The guide took me out on a boat and he slowly rowed along as I hucked a big streamer toward the bank near weeds and overhanging trees in hopes of coaxing a pike from his hiding place.  The rod was a 9wt with sinking line and I could tell very quickly that I'm not used to casting something with that much weight.  I could adjust my technique to manage, but my muscles were lacking and that's not easy to adjust on the fly.

So I threw that minnow-like fly in and around weeds and trees for a couple hours with no takers.  Remember, I hired a guide for this and paid too much for this day of fishing, so every cast is like putting a dollar bill on a hook and tossing it out there only to see it come back to me empty.  But finally I got a look by a fish and a little excited flutter hit.  As I was stripping the fly back in to the boat a medium-sized pike shot out of his hiding place and went for the fly but missed.  He slowly turned around and headed back to his hole and I pulled the fly the rest of the way in, picked it up, and as quick as possible tossed it back over the pike.  I started stripping it back in and this time the pike hit it and took it.  After a quick fight he was in the boat for a quick pic.

The rest of the day was equally if not more slow.  One more fish was nice enough to me to hop in the boat but that was it.  It made the cost per fish ratio extremely embarrassing and depressing.

And so, of course, I had to spend the next two days trying to recoup my fishing prowess.  I only spent a few hours the next afternoon fishing the lake behind my hotel and managed to do some good.  At least as good as eight hours the day before.

Here is one small pike that I caught near some reeds.

Not too much later I was surprised to catch a nice big perch.

As you can see there are no further pictures, thus I caught no more fish.  I actually spent a large portion of memorial day stubbornly sitting beside the lake in the rain trying to catch pike, perch, and I even did some bait fishing for carp.  Nothing.  There were a few other people there fishing the lake and no one caught anything while I was there.  The fish must have been sleeping or maybe they were waiting out the rain for the nice weather that followed.

Now I'm back in the states and will be doing some fishing this upcoming weekend.  I don't know where or what i'll be fishing (for), but I'll be out there.  Hopefully it provides better material for this blog.