Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn Bronze

Summer is officially over, and for the last month or so everybody, including us, has been getting all wired up about fall fishing (which around here means trout!).  We've had some good recent floats chasing rainbows, browns, and brookies on the Upper Andro. The bite is on, the flows are good, and fall color is going to light those mountains up shortly.

Even so, we still like to sneak out for a late season bass float every once in a while. Leave your poppers and floating line at home. Bring your sink tip and the meat locker- that fly box loaded up with pattern's that look like half of a dead chicken and small furry creatures. With water temps around 60 degrees, they've got the feed bag on.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Upper Andro Two Fly

2011 Team Patagonia

Did somebody hit the FF button? The 2011 Upper Andro 2 Fly is in the books and team Patagonia represented this year, in a big way. No, Scott, Mike, and I couldn't fish due to other commitments, so Emily, my wife, and good friends Amy and Brett Trefethen stepped up to represent (last year they fished as Team Hardy). 

First, Brett won the Drift Boat Rodeo on Friday. That's right, there is a new champ in town and he has the plaque to prove it. Top prize, $150 cash and $50 gift card to Kittery Trading Post. Brett is a long-time whitewater and fishing guide, and I'm sure this was the first time he made that kind of scratch rowing a drift boat for 7 minutes. Congrats Brett! 

Emily, took second place in the largest fish category. A 14" rainbow was all it took. Emily took her fish swinging a black rubber legged bugger on a sink-tip. Her prize... a sweet Perception Manatee Angler Kayak, complete with all the bells and whistles,  generously donated by LL Bean. 

I heard the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Mr. Chandler Woodcock, took the top spot for "Smallest Chub." Tough break sir! Maybe next year redemption will be in store. Jokes aside, its great to see some positive attention being garnered to this outstanding event and to the Upper Andro Angler's Alliance for working tirelessly to rebuild this fishery to it's potential.


Yes, they are serious, you can keep it.
Dust off a spot on the mantle; another trophy from the 2 fly!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Summer in Southwest Montana

So many fish, so little time. That became my mantra for a summer spent in southwestern Montana.

Arriving in Dillon on May 15th after a 2700 mile trek with Clacka in tow was the start of a trout fishing adventure I could only dream about prior to retiring. A job in a local flyshop was the touch point for this endeavor.

Montana had incurred the most severe winter in quite a number of few years. There was at least 10 feet of snow pack in the Pioneer Mountains threatening to blow out most of the rivers in this region of Montana. The potential for this event caused a great deal of angst amongst local guides and outfitters. Heavy rains contributed to this dilemma. The drought in Montana was over.

It began to become apparent that the fishing season would lag the normal time table by at least two weeks possibly three. For those out-of-state anglers who had planned trips around the various hatches this would be disastrous.

There was one bright spot in all of this weather related impact on the Montana fishing industry. The Beaverhead River. This tail water emerges from Clark Canyon Reservoir and became the go to spot in the southern tier of Montana. Although, the reservoir was essentially completely full the lack of need for downstream irrigation enabled the Army Corps of Engineers to establish a river flow rate that was easy navigable by wade anglers and those anglers in drift boats.

The Beaverhead starts at the reservoir and flows to Twin Bridges where it becomes part of the confluence of the Jefferson and ultimately the Missouri River. My fishing efforts were concentrated from Buffalo Bridge to Henneberry takeout. I waded and floated both these stretches numerous times and was never disappointed by the size and fight of the wild Montana trout.

There were many go-to patterns used on these stretches of water. Primarily small nymphs and streamers were the order of the day. I wasn’t in Montana long enough to see the fish start looking up in great numbers. I will remedy that in the near term. One surprisingly effective subsurface pattern I had never used in Maine was that of a Crane Fly larva. These huge bugs were as long as your little finger and just as thick-they were a huge bite and a deadly combination with a small PT Cruzer or Flashback nymph.

The amount of aquatic insect life found in the Beaverhead was amazing. I would kick up some bottom sediment into my sample net and the Yellow Sallie nymphs would literally swarm off of it. Being the geek that I am I filled numerous sample bottles and took them to the shop to show the visiting anglers the types of bugs they needed to match and what would work best. The enormous Crane Fly larva were always good for shock value.

If you get the chance to fish this amazing river you should. You will not be disappointed at the size or the number of trout.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 12, 2011

In Full Swing

September streamer fishing is in full swing.  Streamers ruled on a recent outing and will continue to produce on most days for the rest of the month. Don't be afraid to throw big and ugly-  bigger and uglier than you might think. Don't be afraid to throw tandems, as in two streamers at once. It gets you that much closer to dialed in, that much faster. 

When throwing doubles I like to use a couple of different approaches. One set up is big and meaty as the lead with a slim and sexy as the trailer (think #4 Hemorrhoidal Sculpin followed by a #6 Wood Duck Heron or a Gray Ghost- a.k.a. New School vs. Old School).  Another approach is black vs. white, as in a white streamer followed by a black streamer. And then there is bright vs. subtle. Lead streamer is bright (white, chartreuse, yellow) followed by something more natural (like a natural tan/gray/olive Slumpbuster or Zonker). I always run the larger fly (a big bite they may be willing to chase) ahead of the smaller fly (which might be a little less intimidating to eat). Throw a sink-tip, use fluorocarbon, tie no-slip loops, and space your dropper about a strips distance apart from the lead fly. If you put the lead fly in front of him and he doesn't eat, one strip later and there is a second offering right there and waiting.

Now go support your local fly shops and buy some new streamers.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Switching Gears

The busy summer season and the bulk of our bass trips are winding down as most of the summer visitors are heading home.  There is still plenty of really good smallmouth fishing to be had, and as usual, they have been getting a little more aggressive as the water temps start to recede. I'm sure their instincts say "EAT" before they enter a half-frozen state of suspended animation. We had a great smallmouth season- saw some old friends, made some new ones, and caught a bunch of fish!

It's time to switch gears for the "second season." Crisp days, bright fish (with adipose fins!), and the hills on fire in an autumn glow. Fall is the reward for rowing 10 hour days under a blazing sun with temps and humidity in the 90's.

Bring your A-game and get ready; it goes fast from here on out.