November 26, 2010

Black Friday? Looked Brown To Me...

The infamous black Friday is here! I'm not one for big crowds but my wife seems to enjoy the gauntlet. She left the house at 4:30 am with some friends and I got my gear together and set out on another adventure to the Weber. I met up with my friend Joe who taught me how to fish this river last fall. We arrived to the river with perfect fishing conditions. OK, to be honest, there was almost a foot of snow and the temperature was -3 degrees when we started out. There's just something about breaking the ice out of your eyelets after every cast and having your reel freeze up that just adds to the fun, right? Despite the bitter cold we ended up having a pretty good day of fishing. I caught a smaller 14 inch brown on my first cast and then nothing for any of us for the next hour or so. I then hooked the biggest cutthroat I've ever seen on the Weber! It typically would have been easy to land but there was ice I had to steer him around. I got really excited as I worked him around the ice and he was all but landed. I get him within reach and the trout gave me one more hard head shake and off came my jig! AHHHH!!!! I was so close! That was my day in a nutshell. Not only did the cutt get away, but the biggest brown I landed today slipped out of my hands and swam away as I was getting the snow off him before I could get a picture. It had a lot of color and would have made a great picture.
Joe on the other hand started out really slow and ended the day with some real beauties. He landed some of the nicer looking browns I've seen. They ranged from 20-23 inches and were thick! All-in-all, it was another successful trip and I'm happy to say that I finally have all the feeling back in my hands!


Joe's first and biggest catch of the day.



Typical brown trout from the Weber.

Joe lands another brute!



November 19, 2010

Steelhead On The Fly And Other Firsts

November has turned out to be a great month of fishing. I've had a lot of great adventures this month but this one tops any of them! I made the trip back to Boise to try and catch my first ever steelhead. My brother told me that Idaho fish and game dump steelhead in the Boise River that they caught in the Hells Canyon area of the Snake River. Steelhead once made their run to the Boise River from the ocean but the many dams along the way had made it impossible for them to continue. My brother had fished for the released steelhead in years past and had good success catching them. He told me before I came up to be prepared for other anglers as well. When we made it to the river it wasn't so bad but by the time they dumped the fish there were people everywhere. It was a different experience to say the least.
On one hand, it made it a lot more difficult to fish but on the other, I got to make some new friends. There were several guys there that fish the steelhead dump every year and it was fun to hear some of there stories from trips past. One guy had brought some smoked steelhead that he had caught the week before and it was some of the best tasting fish I've ever had. Once the truck showed up, it was complete mayhem for the next few hours. There we lots of hang ups with other anglers but everyone seemed to have gone in knowing the battle plan. They dumped a little over 100 steelhead and there were several caught by all. My brother also invited one of his friends to come with us that had never caught a steelhead. We all caught fish using purple egg sucking leeches and I saw others using black wooly buggers. It was so fun catching them on the fly and the steelhead I caught was the biggest fish for me that I've landed on a fly. The fish I saw caught ranged from 23-30 inches.
Earlier in the day my brother had mentioned some bass ponds that Robert took him to wear they had great success catching them on some dry fly patterns. I asked if he had ever gone night fishing and he told me no. I bet you can't guess what we did that night..... We got to the ponds around 10 and started fishing. We were excited to try the mouse pattern that we both had but had never used before. I have heard of angles catching monster brown trout at night using this pattern and figured why not a bass? typically I've found that when the cold weather sets in, the bass stop biting and we weren't sure if we would even have a chance. My brother made several casts using different retrievals without any luck but about 30 minutes into it he figured it out. we couldn't really see the fly when it was out on the water and you would just do short fast strips and pause. After that do a few more and Slam! I couldn't believe the fish were hitting so hard this late in the year. The water would be dead calm and out of no where there would be an explosion on top of the water! My brother landed several and had a bunch get away. It's tough fighting a fish in almost complete darkness. I would shine my head lamp once we had a fish on which made it a little easier. My brother lost a couple that I bet were bigger than the largest one that he landed based on the few times I could get a light on them before they got off. I was also able to land some which was another first for me on this trip. I had never caught a large mouth on the fly and it was an absolute riot! I'm also happy that I can now say I've caught a fish on the mouse pattern. We left around midnight very content with the fishing day we had!
As I made my way back home today, I stopped in Hagerman to check out the fish hatcheries they have there. They had lots of ponds and lakes you can fish during the fishing season but the season ended November 1st. I got to see some sturgeon which was cool and I also got some fishing tips on where and how to catch them from one of the hatchery guys. I plan to make a trip up there next year and try those tips out. I also got to see Thousand Springs. They are springs that look to come straight out of the cliffs and drain into the Snake River. I'm always amazed at the beauty and diversity of this great land! How truly blessed we are to be able to enjoy it!


Can you say combat fishing?



Robert's first steelhead.

Jason's steelhead.

Fish on!

My first ever steelhead.

First largemouth of the night.

My first largemouth caught on the fly... or should I say mouse?

20" Largmouth. This was the biggest one landed.

Stergeon at the state fish hatchery in Hagerman.

Thousand Springs near Hagerman.


November 16, 2010

Mixed Bag On The Jordan River

I had a few hours in between running around so I grabbed my ultra-light rod and headed down to the Jordan River. It's a quick 5 minute drive from my house which makes it nice when you only have a little time and have to get rid of that fishing itch. The river is really low this time of year which push most of the remaining fish into pools. By this time most of the better sized fish have been taken by the countless fisherman that hit the river the first second that the water levels drop. I wasn't planning on catching any trophies but even the little guys can be fun on an ultra-light rod. I caught 5 different species of fish in the hour or so I was there. There were a few I caught that were no bigger than the spinner I was using. I used a few different colors of Mepps and Roster tails and they seemed to like them. I think you could throw just about anything in there and catch a fish. Other than the mud, it would be a great place to take the little ones for some catching opportunites. You never know what you might pull out!


Bluegill

Perch

White Bass
Black Crappie

Largemouth Bass

November 6, 2010

Jarbidge River, ID

My brother invited me up to fish a river I had never heard of for a species I knew little about. That combo almost always gets me interested and so I was off on another adventure! The Jarbidge River is found in southwest Idaho in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness. The river is more known for its treacherous rapids that rafting enthusiast's test their skills on. For my brother and I however, it meant going to a place that is seldom visited by anglers. We were going to go after the redband trout (a subspecies of the rainbow trout) and bull trout that are said to inhabit this river. You only have a few months in the year when this river is low enough to even fish and we were lucky to be able to get out there this late in the year. This river is literally in the middle of nowhere and you could definitely feel the remoteness of where you were. We were able to see some sage grouse on the way out which was a first for me and also some antelope and big horn sheep.

We made our way down the steep ridge to the canyon floor where we put on our waders and began to fish. My brother was first to hook into a fish and landed it in no time. He was using woolly buggers and the fishing was really fast. I was using a gold spinner that the redbands absolutely loved. We landed well over 100 fish that day that went as big as 13 inches. Redband trout do not grow very big but it was fun to catch a new species none the less. We never did see any sign of bull trout which was a bummer but they are rare for the area. It was a neat experience to fish under sheer cliffs that shot strait up from the hole you were fishing. It was a trip unlike any other I've done and the scenery was just as good as the fishing.



What a view!

We were greeted by desert big horn sheep.

Jason fishing one of the holes.

my biggest redband.

I'm the tiny dot in the lower right.

Jason with a nice redband.

Flyfishing at it's best!












We saw lots of antelope.