A Plan and a Whim

A Plan and a Whim

On our last day, we made plans to fish a small and somewhat difficult pond to reach. On the drive there, we had the pleasure of seeing a cow moose kneel down right beside our truck to drink while her calf (a young bull with knobs on his head) whimpered like a dog. He was more concerned about our presence than she was.

Cow Moose Drinking with Baby Bull

Cow Moose Drinking with Baby Bull

That was quite a sight, and it was a great way to start our morning. Now on to that remote pond. It would require carrying the boat and all the equipment over a fairly steep, rock-strewn and root-covered trail.

Heavy Lifting

Heavy Lifting

As usual, Tony did most of the heavy lifting as we dragged his 15-foot canoe and all the necessary equipment to the pond. And thanks to the cold, wet spring we had, the black flies were mixed in with the mosquitoes, even though it was Father’s Day weekend, not Mother’s Day weekend when you’d normally see black flies.

We made our way to the brush-choked shore. It was worth it almost for the view. It’s a gorgeous little pond, even by Maine standards. We were anxious to get started.

Can't Beat the View

Can’t Beat the View

The weatherman had promised an overcast day and maybe even a little drizzle. No such luck! As soon as we launched, the sun broke out of what turned out to be a cloudless sky, and the temperature shot up; not exactly the prime conditions we were hoping for.

We did as well as could be expected, catching my first creek chub, and a few small brookies–both stocked and native.

My First Creek Chub

My First Creek Chub

We lunched on the porch of the only camp on the lake.

A Rustic Camp

A Rustic Camp

It was a throwback in time in its structure and what passed for furniture and equipment. The only access is by boat or across the ice. It looked like it had not been used in several years, but one can only imagine the many wonderful days and nights spent there by so many hopeful hunters and fishermen.

A Hopeful Fisherman

A Hopeful Fisherman

Of note was the cardboard cutout, which was often done back then so you could eat your catch, of a 17-inch brookie with the date and name of the lucky fisherman and the fly. After lunch, we left our respite and headed across the pond to our truck to make ready for an evening of fishing.

After a hearty supper, we started to head for one of the more famous rivers when I once again got a whim. I turned to Tony, as we passed a stretch of a river that looked great and suggested that we drop the canoe in there.

It is one of those places that is very difficult to wade, and it is almost impossible to cover all of the good water with a fly rod.

So we dragged the canoe down yet another steep, rocky bank, and we launched. This worked out great. The darker it got, the more fish rose, and we had a great night of dry fly fishing.

Landlocked Salmon

Landlocked Salmon

We landed five salmon and one brook trout, and one rainbow trout, along with the odd fallfish and smallmouth bass.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Again a whim paid off!

WLAGS

Debbie’s New Fly Rod

We set out to our favorite fly fishing only (FFO) pond on Friday morning. No need to get up early as the weather and the moon were about perfect.

Our Favorite Fly Fishing Only Pond

Our Favorite Fly Fishing Only Pond

This particular pond has always fished best on cold, wet days with a wind anywhere between east and north. It was perfect with the wind out of the northeast at between 2 and 5 mph.

Debbie was using her brand new Fenwick fly rod for the first time—a 9’ 5-weight. She had the first hit not five minutes into our day, followed by several short strikes as we made our way down “Tiger Alley,” so named for the stretch where we catch many of our tiger trout, a hybrid cross between a male brook trout and a female brown trout.

Rainbow

Rainbow

As we reached Eagle Rock (you can guess why we call it that), there were dimpling trout everywhere, no doubt feeding on emerging nymphs. I was into four fish very quickly. Debbie was undeterred and was soon into a big fish. She fought it for several minutes, and just as it was coming into view, the fly pulled out. Now she was deterred! She buckled down and proceeded to kick the trout’s and my butt nine ways to Sunday.

We were sharing the trout with several other fishermen, namely an eagle, three osprey, a great blue heron, a merganser, and three loons. All seemed to be doing as well as Debbie.

As we headed for the launch, we were about even at 13 fish apiece. Two older gentlemen were putting in, so at Debbie’s suggestion we stayed out of there way and fished out front of the boat launch until they were done.

Well, in the next 30 minutes (because she didn’t want to leave) she proceeded to catch six more, including the biggest fish of the day—a fat 16” rainbow, to my one.

Debbie's 16" Rainbow

Debbie’s 16″ Rainbow

It was the perfect end to a perfect day, and a great way to break in a new fly rod.

Selfie

Selfie

PS: All of the fish were taken on either my Grampy’s Copper Flash fly or my Village Pond Special fly, which this time I tied with rust brown and copper crystal flash.

Grampy's Copper Flash (What's Left of It)

Grampy’s Copper Flash (What’s Left of It)

WLAGS

Fishing in Mass. with Marty

These photos of Marty and I are from a Monday fishing trip to Comet Pond in Mass.

Marty with a Brown

Marty with a Brown

Despite steady winds from 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph, we had some success.

We were using my VPS (Village Pond Special) flies in light olive and dark brown in sizes 12 to 14.

Another Brown

Another Brown

We caught five browns and four rainbows. Most were about 14”, and the two biggest were 15”.

A Rainbow

A Rainbow

Not bad considering the wind.

WLAGS

First Day of Trout Fishing 2014

Tony and I made our way to Cape Cod on March 29th to finally get our trout season started. This is a trip that we often make weeks before this, but winter lingered a little longer this year, even on Cape Cod. They actually got several inches of snow this week, and there were patches showing all along our trip.

We arrived before the sun cleared the treetops, and saw a flat-as-glass pond before us. We knew it wouldn’t stay that way for long as rain was in the forecast.

The Pond Looked Like Glass...at First

The Pond Looked Like Glass…at First

We had trouble locating the fish at first. The water temperature was about 42. Finally, after an hour or so, we figured that the trout were very shallow in the pond, which at its deepest is 62′. Most of them were in water between 5′ and 10′ deep. We also figured that as cold as it was, they were there for both food and temperature. We determined that they were most likely feeding on dragonfly nymphs and an occasional caddis nymph.

Caddis Nymph with Pine Needle Camo

Caddis Nymph with Pine Needle Camo

So we did our best to imitate the dragonfly with our secret weapon. It worked. Not that they were all over it, but they hit it with enough gusto to tell us that we were on the right track. The water was a few degrees cooler than usual, so we knew that they wouldn’t be very aggressive. By that I mean that they would not go far or fast to take our offerings. We needed to put it right on their noses, so to speak.

Once we put it all together, after more than an hour, we started to get some results. The first fish hit with a surprising amount of energy and took high into the air several times. It was Tony who hooked it, but because it was behind him, I had the better view. I said to him as it jumped that it was either a smallmouth or a rainbow. I said that because of the length and girth of the fish and the height of the jumps. After a few minutes, it was obvious that it was a nice fat rainbow–14″ and more than a pound. We took some photos and released it.

14-Inch Rainbow Trout

14-Inch Rainbow Trout

The next fish Tony caught a few minutes later was an even bigger brown–15½”.

15.5-Inch Brown Trout

15.5-Inch Brown Trout

In all, Tony caught four nice trout, and I caught one rainbow.

13.5-Inch Rainbow Trout

13.5-Inch Rainbow Trout

Not the best or worst first day we ever had, but very much appreciated.

Like the loons that swam near us, still in their winter plumage, and the hungry osprey overhead, we were all just loving life this spring morning.

Osprey Fishing Overhead

Osprey Fishing Overhead

WLAGS