Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Heat Wave Fishing Report

Possie Bugger nymph pinned this coastal cutthroat trout
Luckily it was sort of a short lived heat wave, but the weather was baking nonetheless..... Weather breached 100 out, and several other days a drop below the century mark. We survived, and luckily the fish have too for the most part. Rumors had it that the water temperatures down by the mouth of the Deschutes River was so high that fish were having trouble surviving releases. Luckily, where I fish regularly has water temperatures that are generally not an issue. Breaching the 55 degree mark in the McKenzie is very rare and the low 50's are the norm. The Upper Willamette River's temperatures generally hover in the upper 50's and lower 60's; so you do not have to contend with what the trout in Montana or the steelhead in lower Deschutes have to face.
A nice cutthroat decided to take the nymph on the "dry & dropper rig"
We are gifted with cold water, and relatively empty fishing for the latter portion of the summer and into the fall. There is a smattering of people who frequent the steelhead spots or fish for trout in the late summer and fall, but the general heavy burst of anglers that come out for the late spring and early summer are "over it". I am no longer seeing the masses out on the water, and it is the time where you can really enjoy and dissect the waters that I enjoy to fish so much. I do not have to peer around my shoulder as much; looking for the next boat to come down and trash the next spot we were looking forward to fishing. The fishing also has been picking up with the lower angling pressure, and the water levels are maintaining at a reasonable season low this year.
This fine coastal cutthroat trout took the subsurface nymph
Hatches are about the slowest this time of the summer as they will ever be for the warm months, but they will soon be increasing; since fall is nearing. You can see smaller pale morning duns, smaller caddis, a golden stone here and there, some hoppers, midges (which are not much of a food item here), and a pale evening dun here and there. Most of the "hatch-a-tivity" is going to be in the last two hours of the day, but on the overcast mornings there will be some bugs until the sun burns through. Fishing a large buoyant dry fly with a dropper nymph this time of the year is going to be the most productive during the non-hatch times, and then match the hatch when you see the fish rising.
Another pretty spotted specimen of coastal cutthroat trout
Steelhead fishing lately is best from first light to about noon since the heat wave has struck us, but that will change soon as things are cooling back off. Some days are slower with success being one fish out there; while other days are filled with action and you can get into several fish. Swinging flies has been the best method for producing fish, and the better the caster the more likely one is going to have better success. With low clear water the fish are spooky, and approaching them from more distance is better for success currently. Anyone who cannot cast proficiently over 40 feet should practice their casting skills, because you cannot have much success swinging up fish in crystal clear low summer water unless you consistently can cover from 40 feet on out. When the fall rains will come, and churn up the water so visibility is not so great, then things will get easier, but for now casting far will yield more chances for steelhead in the southern Willamette valley area streams.
The orange gill marks represent the cutty.....
Let's hope the weather pattern stays perfect like it has been for the last few days. When you are dealing with highs in the upper 70's with overcast mornings; you can't ask for much more for fly fishing. All you have to hope from there is that the fish are willing to play and that the "bite" is consistent. From here on out the steelhead fishing and trout fishing should get better and better; since what you can call the "summer doldrums" should be on their way out......
This chubby little rainbow took the swung softhackled wet fly

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mountain View Lake Vacation - Adirondacks Fly Fishing Report From Mountain View Lake

From the 1st of August through the7th, Nikki and I headed to visit her mom and dad at their home at Mountain View, New York. They live on the edge (literally) of Mountain View Lake, and the place is set up to be paradise for the avid fisher and lake enthusiast. The house is totally cute beyond belief with decks over looking the lake with magnificent views, and docks on the water with boats ready to fish or zoom around whenever you want. The lake holds bass that range from dinky to as big as they ever come, and they compete with pike that range similarly in size. Little Pumpkinseed Sunfish roam the close to the shors and shallow edges; while perch range all around the lake. Many types of baitfish reside in the lake providing for plenty of feed for the top dogs in the lake. Some of the baitfish can get rather large, like golden shiners; so the predators that hunt them also have to be really big to eat them.
fishing the lily pads for ambushing bass....
Nikki's dad Lance has a sweet little row boat set up with a motor to zip around the lake from spot to spot probing my flies and his lures into the likely fish holding areas. We woke up every morning nice and early to temp the fish with our offerings, and my goal was to get into some huge pike and bass. Fishing trips seem to turn out differently then you plan often, and I have learned that you have to role with what you get, and not have any expectations.
Small but beautiful perch - first perch caught in my life.....
The first few sessions proved to be super tough for me on my fly rod. I was getting some takes and action, but usually landing what most fishers call 'dinks". I was losing anything substantial during the first few seconds; while Nikki's dad Lance was showing me how it is done on his local waters. He would pull fish out of spots that I just worked hard with my fly rod. I was perplexed because I have caught my fair share of big bass in Oregon and Florida with proven fly fishing methods, but they were not producing well for me in upstate New York.
 Dropping a fly from the deck produced these "Deck Fishing"
Most of the fish I caught in numbers were little sunfish and perch from the upper deck while basically dapping my flies from 10 feet above the water. I would see little 5" or less bass climb all over my little trout flies, but the bigger bass were giving me the "fin" whenever I was officially out there in the serious fishing sessions. Luckily each session was progressively better, and the full moon that we arrived on was waning down and the weather was stabilizing each day also. One of the mornings I lost a giant pike which came off after a few head shakes along with another bucket mouth bass that came off after rattling its head under the surface spitting my fly back at me. I was seeing the potential trophy fish, but they were not coming to my hand; and more of them were sightings. We even had a huge mystery fish that pulled off the drag on a spinning reel to only snap the line in with too much weeds on it. 
View from Mountain View Lake
By the fourth day, I had landed my first monster bass, but it came on a golden shiner that took a softhackled wet fly. Basically a fish that smashed live bait that was on the end of my line while I was fishing and goofing around from the bridge 50' from their house. It was pretty awesome to see the predatory aggressive manner of these bass and pike; where anything that swims can be eaten as long as it fits in their mouth. 
This hefty Largemouth Bass took a golden shiner than ate my softhackled wet fly
The other thing that was really cool was not exactly knowing what you may catch next. One fish is a largemouth, then the next is a pike, and then a smallmouth. You can catch 5 species of gamefish in Mountain View Lake in one day, and also you can even catch incidental baitfish on the flies that would catch the sunfish. I never imagined catching golden shiners on flies; only to see a huge bucket mouth come and clobber it right from the dock in front of the house (that also happened).
This fine hard fighting smallmouth bass took a stripped conehead olive marabou leech
As the trip went on, the fishing seemed to get better each morning Lance and I went out. One morning my fly rod would seem to be a bit more productive, and the next day Lance's fancy rubber worms worked on a spinning rod would produce better. We were more or less kinda of doing the same thing working long leech like things back to us from deep in the cover, but it seemed that the presentations of the two rods varied enough to seem like two different things to the fish. One morning was fun because I ended up catching Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Northern Pike all in the same morning fishing session. You would hook up and wonder what you had, but the differing fish fight's often let you know what was swimming on the end of the line.
This second pike I caught took an olive conehead marabou leech stripped in between the weeds
The funniest day was the last day Lance and I went out fishing before we went to visit some of the family relatives and left Mountain View Lake for the remainder of the trip. Lance kept on getting fish after fish in the morning, and I was not getting a sniff of action on my line. I was wondering what I was not doing right to get any hits; while he would consistently either get a hit or another fish. We were using synonymous offerings even though he was working rubber worms and I was working leech like flies. The colors and sizes were close enough, but I was not getting anything. We just wanted to see a huge bass or a huge pike before I was going to head back home, and we figured it was going to have happened several times by now. 
One of many nice bass that Lance caught while making me feel like I couldn't fish.....
Frustration was going through my mind, as I though how many times you go somewhere and have expectations of some huge awesome fish you are going to catch on your fishing trip, but it ends up not happening. I have gone to many places and ended up never catching that trophy that you thought you were going to get. Lance told me he was going to zip to a spot that we fished a few days before and then we would have to head back to make breakfast. It was sort of the last ditch effort for him to get me into a trophy bass.
A pike that we caught right from the dock in front of the house.....
It ended up being the Hail Mary of football too because after I took two casts, I glanced over the front of the boat as I saw an absolutely huge bass swim up and park. I was freaking out as I saw it, and I told Lance it was there. Of coarse too, my fly line would have to be wrapped around my rods several times; so I had no better chance to blow it than anything else. I could not believe this giant largemouth was sitting there, and I was in the perfect spot to go for it, but my rod was in turmoil with fly line barber poled around it with limited time before this bucket mouth was going to spook off.
This brown flash-a-bugger took this bass while fly fishing off of a bridge
Somehow, I carefully swirled my rod in the right motion to free the line off of it, and then toss my Whitlock's Scorpion fly past this bass. I retrieved the fly back by it, and not even the wink of a reaction. I tried a second time and the fish did not even hinder a move again. Lance was busy fiddling with his setup for the moment, and I knew it was only a matter of a few more attempts before I would have to hand the opportunity over to him to try for this bass of a lifetime.
Hexagenia Mayfly Spinner on the deck in the morning
I threw my fly on the third cast straight in front of the fish, and literally gave my fly a small irritating jig like action inches in front of it. The fish then opened up its cavernous mouth, and the water flushed into its mouth with a giant inhaling gasp along with the fly. I saw that happen and waited patiently for the fish to turn before unloading the famous "bass master" hook-set. The fish exploded on the surface and then Lance's attention was caught as he blurted out a "WOW" what a huge bass!!! I was stoked as the fish was on and it was on solid. It could only break me off in the weeds or on the motor, and we were in a relatively good spot for the weeds. The fish did totally threaten me by coming right near the motor, but Lance raised the motor up simultaneously, and the fish yielded to me also. It was bigger than I thought when I landed it, and we both were totally stoked to see that happen at the last ditch effort. Just proves that you can never give up, because you can catch that fish of a lifetime when you least expect it.
This tub of a Largemouth Bass capped off my trip - biggest one of my life so far.....
The giant bass went 21" long, and seemed to weight somewhere in between 7 and 8 pounds. It was so big that I could put my whole fist into its mouth. I also caught the fish on a 5wt fly rod, and that is a very light rod for a bass that big. Fun times!!!
Fist in this largemouth bass..... that is one serious bucket mouth!!!
We had a totally amazing trip in Mountain View, and I cannot wait to go there again sometime soon. Upstate New York is totally wild, beautiful, desolate, and has some really great fishing to experience. We were very lucky since Nikki's parents live right on a gorgeous lake with boats. I highly recommend checking out upstate New York for anyone looking to go on a vacation that is far away from any of the crazy hustle and bustle. Having no cell reception and no fast internet was something that was extremely relaxing. Especially when you are staying at a place that is literally on the water's edge.
The fishing and fun headquarters, .... or home for the Bradt's

A loon patrolling Mountain View Lake for some fine food morsels.....

Fly Fishing (Fun Style) Tournament This Weekend 8-11 & 8-12

This weekend will be the first annual Carp-pocalypse Tournament at Banks Lake in Washington. Clear water, shallow flats, lots of fish, and plenty of sun make this a perfect place for everyone to get together and have some fun while helping our native fish. The tourney is designed to raised proceeds for native fish restoration. All while having fun fishing for powerful elusive carp. Click the links for more details. You can sign up at the NW area Orvis stores.