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Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing’

A couple weekends ago my friend Jamie and I took our annual trip up to the Adirondacks and stay at the Hungry Trout Resort. I have wrote a few reviews on The Hungry Trout and they are all still spot on. If you are looking to fish the West Branch of the Ausable River it is the only place to stay in my mind. They will help you in every way they can to get on the fish.

I always say if you want to catch a trout on the Ausable go to the Hungry Trout Fly Shop and buy what they tell you is working. This year was no different. Even with 7 boxes of flies in my vest I took their recommendation and added a few more flies. As we hit the river the first afternoon trying out a spot we had never fished before I wasn’t so sure about the fly I had tied on. In the back of my mind I thought this thing is huge and is never going to work but they had suggested it so I was going to fish it. After quickly fishing one section I moved up stream and was surprised by a large brown trout that smashed that big fly only seconds after it landed in the water. I was no longer doubting the recommendation.

Over all our trip this year was very good. We avoided a lot of bad weather that hit around us. The one thing this years trip lacked was fish numbers. The ones we caught were nice fat trout but we just didn’t catch as many as we normally do. This left me wondering why and bothered me for a few days until I took the time to play out the 3 days over in my head. This is something I normally do when fishing isn’t what I thought it should have been. I want to figure out if it was just fishing or was there something I did wrong.

In this case I think it was both but more to my fault. When we arrived we took the advice from the fly shop and headed out to the river. Our goal this year was to fish some new spots rather than just going to the same spots we always fish so that was what we did this first night. The first mistake made was fishing too quickly. Many of my home water streams are smaller and only hold a fish or two per spot. This being said it is normal for me to hook or move a fish in a spot then move on if nothing happens in the next couple casts. On days when the fishing is really good on the Ausable this is fine as you will find fish that want to bite in every spot. When the fishing is slow you need to slow down change flies and fish each spot hard. I also need to remember that there is likely 20 or 30 fish in that deep hole not the 1 or 2 that would be in the shallow spot back home. Even given our rushed approach we managed to land a few fish and see a few more. Then mistake number two happened.

Since having kids I don’t do a lot of drinking. I don’t have a lot of time for one and for two I don’t want to feel like crap the next day. That being said the first night in the bar I proceeded to suck down 12 or so beers leading to a not so pleasant next morning. Not getting up as early as planned was OK because we were going to check out some more new water that took some hiking to get to. This was a beautiful stretch of water that I am sure held some very nice fish. I can’t wait to get back and fish it again with a clear head and a full stomach. We zeroed on this stretch of water and quit early due to wanting breakfast. Lesson learned. After breakfast that day we stopped by one of our regular spots and were shocked to see no one was in it. We then proceeded to put a hurting on a bunch of chubby brown trout which made us feel a little better about the morning. That evening I made the same mistake as the first evening and just fished too fast but found a couple fish to play.

We learned some new spots and a couple new techniques. One that was very cool and I am looking forward to doing again next year. Overall it was a great trip and in review I learned even more than I thought I did. The fish might have kicked our ass this year but we will be back for them next year if not sooner.

Again if you want to spend some time on the Ausable River give The Hungry Trout a call. Between great lodging, a fully stocked fly shop, excellent guides, and a Bar/Restaurant on site you can’t beat the place.

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As you know I don’t normally promote other guides on my page. However, seeing how Rocky is in Tennessee he isn’t exactly competition.

I had to travel to Knoxville for work so that meant I needed to look up the fishing opportunities. I came across a few guides that offer drift boat trips so I sent some emails looking for an afternoon trip if I could fly in early. Rocky emailed me back within an hour or two. There were others that emailed me back but it took more than a day. As a guide I always respond to emails right away so Rocky got my business. We set up the trip within an email or two and kept in touch over the next month or so until it the date arrived. He was always prompt and friendly when answering my questions and I had a lot of them.

The day of the trip arrived and of course the weatherman was actually right that day and the weather wasn’t looking the best. Due to the threat of some good storms we set up on a section of water we could motor up-stream and work back down to the ramp just in case we needed to run for cover. I was more than ok with that. I will fish in anything except lightning.

I knew we were fishing for big fish when I was handed an 8 weight rod with a 350 grain sink tip and a medium size streamer tied on the end. I say medium-sized because we fished much larger later on. I was pumped. I don’t get a chance to fish this way often. We motored up to the low head dam and started back down. The first pass down stream I connected with a nice feisty Rainbow Trout that found its way to the net. Not the huge fish I was hoping for but a good start anyway. Over the next few hours we found a some more fish that wanted to play but my ability to connect with them and put them in the hoop was lacking. The weather also was constantly changing. The skies cleared and the sun shined bright. Not exactly what I would call good trout fishing weather. Overall the catching wasn’t great but the fishing was excellent. I will definitely be coming back for revenge.

Rocky is a professional guide with top quality equipment. It was my first time casting a Orvis Zero Gravity rod and now I want to buy one. Everything from the boat to the reels were in excellent condition. A condition that isn’t always found on a guide boat even though it should be. It was obvious that he has a vast knowledge of the area waters and how to fish them in various conditions. I would highly recommend anyone coming to the Knoxville area to give him a call and set up a trip.

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The fishing is very good for brown trout, king salmon, and steelhead.  The lake has been producing good numbers of browns and kings out of Oswego. From what we are seeing so far the fishing this fall is going to be excellent on the river again.  Charter captains are seeing good numbers of fish hitting the deck each trip out.  The Walleye fishing at night has been excellent as well. I have some openings for Walleye trips.

The Salmon River is still running at 350 cfs and has steelhead top to bottom.  I floated Altmar to Pineville Monday evening and couldn’t believe the number of steelhead up that high still. There are also large numbers of small stocked trout.  Try not to abuse these fish as they are the future of this fishery.  We made a couple moves Monday because in some spots we couldn’t keep them off the hook.  The smallies are starting to enter the river as well.  A few very nice ones have been caught so far and it is only going to get better. I will be offering Smallmouth Bass float trips all summer. These are spin or fly fishing trips.

Salmon season dates are almost full if you want to get on the river with me this fall you better call with a deposit very soon.  I have September 8th and 9th open. Last year we were getting them up river with no one around on this weekend.  This year if they aren’t in the river yet we can troll the lake or fish the estuary in my recently purchased Lund. This boat opens up a lot of options for the early season. These dates won’t last so call soon if you want them.

 

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You often here people talk about fishing destinations and how they are “bucket list”.  These are places people dream about fishing and hope they will make it too before they die. Many times they plan to go when they retire, when the kids move out of the house, child support payments end, and so on and so on.   I have a big problem with this.

First off you don’t know how long you are going to live.  You could die tomorrow, year or in 50 years.  No one knows how long they will live.  If you put a trip on your bucket list and then kick the bucket before you get to go what was the point.  No one shows pictures of places people wanted to visit at their funeral.  They do however often show pictures of extravagant places people visited while they were alive doing things they loved.  Think about when you have seen these pictures. Chances are you thought about how they may not be with us anymore but at least they were able to do things they loved in cool places. This likely brought a bit of a smile or a bit of relief to you during a sad time.

The second problem I have with bucket lists is you don’t know what kind of shape you will be in when your retire or whatever excuse you are using to delay trip of life time happens.  You might not be physically able to make the trip or may experience an unexpected financial hardship at a time in your life you aren’t able to make that money back up. So here you sit wishing you had taken the trip when you were younger. Again you never run into an old man in the fly shop talking about the trips he thought about going on. You will often see that old man telling you all about the places he fished when he was younger though. He will smile the entire time too.

This is why I say take that bucket list and turn it into a F it list.  Go now while you can. This doesn’t just include fishing trips. This is anything you have wanted to do. Find a way and do it.  Don’t have the money?  Find it. Sell some stuff you haven’t used and no longer need.  Get a side job. Take a loan if you have to. That is as long as it wont take food out of your families mouth that is. Now if you are single and it means box mac and cheese dinners for a few months I say go for it.

Now what I mean by a F it list is take that list of places you want to go and prioritize it. Now figure out a way to check one spot off each year.  My personal list has places that are expensive and places that won’t take much money they just require actually going.  My plan is to do an expensive one followed by a year or two of less expensive trips so I can recoup from the big trip. This spring I am going to Argentina to fish for Golden Dorado. To be honest I had no idea what a golden dorado was until I heard about this trip.  I found out a details from my friend Mark and said F it I want to go and I am going to go.  Fly fishing in South America is something I have always wanted to do. I had just planned on going for trout but only because I didn’t know about golden dorado.

I am also going with my family this winter to Mississippi to visit my brother in-law. This will mostly be a family trip but will include fishing for red fish and sea trout. Something I have also always wanted to do.  My wife has wanted to go visit her brother for a long time as well so we are saying F it and going this year while we can.

Many of us has places or types of trips we have wanted to take that are close by we just don’t take the time to do it.  It is time to change that.  Go do what is is you have dreamed about. As my boss always says this isn’t a dress rehearsal, if there is something you want to do you need to do it.  So many people die at young age before getting to do the things they dream about. Don’ t let it happen to you. Turn that bucket list into a F it list today.

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As I look back on this years salmon season I can’t help but think about how blessed I am to have such great customers.  This year was with out a doubt my best year as far as guests go.  I sent out a few messages to past customers in August and filled most of my open dates in just a few days. It is a great feeling to have people come back year after year.  The remaining dates were filled by September by new customers some of which are now repeat customers as they have already booked future dates.  In this business you never know who you are going to get. Every guide has stories of people they couldn’t wait to get off the boat.  This year I never had a trip where I felt that way and it was great.

We spent the season casting or trolling lures and baits even when others said it was to warm to get them to snap. Day after day we proved them wrong taking plug bites on 70 plus degree days with water temps in the high 60’s.  When we got to the ramp we may not have had as many fish on ropes as others but we didn’t snag ours.  The only way the snagging mentality is going to change is if it starts with the guides.  I know for a fact I changed a few peoples outlook on salmon fishing this season and I am happy I could do that.

Overall the Salmon River was crowded most of the season but 99% off the people were friendly and moved out of the way of the boat. There are always going to be the guys who hate the drift boats but I think the number of them is getting smaller.  Most people are realizing that it’s not that big of a deal to wait or take a few steps back while the drift boat goes through. They are also realizing that many times the boat gets fish moving around and they hook up right after the boat passes.

2017 Salmon Season was my most fun season by far.  The only problem I had was that my son is now old enough to realize that dad is gone all the time.  This really hit me hard when he told my mom that dad couldn’t play with him because he works all the time.  There will be some changes next fall continuing until the boys are old enough to understand why dad is working 7 days a week for 2 months.  I will be running less trips and spending a few more days with family.   That being said I have already been booking 2018 salmon trips so if you have dates you want to fish with me I would recommend getting them booked soon.  I will be blocking off dates on my calendar on http://www.fisherguiding.com as they are booked if you want to see what is available. This should be done by the end of the week.

If you were a guest of mine for the 2017 Salmon Season thank you for making it awesome and I hope to see you again in 2018.

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You have just landed the fish of a lifetime and you want more than just a picture to remember it by. Taxidermy is the first thing that comes to mind. You would love to see a mount of the fish on the wall.  The question is who do you take it to.  This is where it can get complicated.

If you already know someone who does taxidermy and you like the work they do then your choice is easy. However, if you are out of town or don’t know any taxidermists then you need to make a decision.  The first decision is do you want a skin mount or a reproduction. The big plus to the reproduction is with a few good pictures and measurements you can release or eat the fish and still put it on the wall.  Once that is decided now where do you go.

If you are fishing with a guide there is a good chance they will have someone they recommend. Personally I recommend people to Anglers Choice Fish Mounts as he does excellent work. I have not seen a fish he has done that didn’t look good.  His prices aren’t the cheapest but also not the most expensive and you get what you pay for. Actually sometimes you don’t get what you paid for and that will leave you with an ugly fish on the wall ruining the whole memory of the catch.  The last thing you want is to pay top dollar for a mount and be unhappy with it. This brings me to my next point.

If you aren’t with a guide ask your fishing friends or a local tackle shop for a recommendation. Many tackle shops are drop off locations for taxidermist.

Even if you have been recommended to someone look at their work first.  Make sure the fish they do look good. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to fish mounts. Make sure the work they do matches what you like. If possible go to the shop in person and look at the fish they have there.  DO NOT just agree to have your fish mounted with out seeing work first. I know of multiple people who have had fish mounted and were unhappy with the results. You want the fish to look like it did when it was caught.

Price is normally a concern when it comes to taxidermy. I am all about shopping around and comparing prices but only if you are happy with the quality of multiple peoples work. DO NOT compromise quality to save a couple bucks an inch.  Remember most likely you aren’t getting fish mounted that often and it is going to be hanging on your wall. You want to be proud to show it off to your friends.

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Everyone has different levels of experience and abilities.  There is no getting around that. When planning an outdoor adventure you need to remember this and be honest about it.  You also need to remember you might not be as good as you once were.  This is true for many aspects of your trip.

When you set up a trip with a guide they may ask you questions trying to judge your abilities. Based on the answers you give them they then plan out said trip.  This is why honesty is important.  Any good guide is going to have a plan b and probably a plan c. However, if you weren’t honest on the phone plan b and c might not be any better than the original plan.

This is especially important if your trip includes fishing back country out of the way waters and you have to hike to get to them.  You might have had no problem hiking for miles fishing in your younger or lighter years.  If those days have gone by and you don’t have time to get back into shape be honest. Tell your guide if you have trouble getting around or if you have knee problems.  Ask them if they can still put you on fish with out long walks to the water. If you don’t you may arrive and quickly find out you are not up for what the guide has planned.

This recently happened to me. I was told by a gentleman that him and his sons were used to hiking 3 to 6 miles in search of wild trout.  They wanted to fish somewhat remote areas where they wouldn’t see many people if any at all.  I was excited to book this trip as it is one of my favorites.  I started planning months before they trip and had 4 streams mapped out for the two days they would be fishing with me.  One of these streams required some bushwacking as there are no worn down trails and the other included a half mile walk from the truck followed by multiple waterfall climbs.  After fishing these two spots on day one I knew that my plans for day two were out the window and it was time to scramble and come up with a plan d.

The original stream for day two involved a few miles of step grade and big boulders.  This left me scratching my head as I needed easy walking wilderness fishing.  As you probably already know those don’t go together that often.  I scraped together a plan and we did our best on day 2 actually landing the biggest wild brook trout and wild brown trout of the weekend.  At the end of the day I was left feeling like two of my four guests weren’t happy with the results of the day.  I don’t like that feeling at all and of course went home and tried to figure out what I could have done different.

The answer was nothing. If had taken them any where that was easier walking it would have involved stocked fish and/or an urban environment.  Two things they didn’t want. In the end given correct knowledge of their ability I could have planned out the days a bit different as to not beat them up so much on the first day. I could have also explained ahead of time that I could put them on some big fish with easy walking on day two but we would be fishing in the middle of town. If they were honest with themselves that might have been alright with the idea.

Here is a list of some of things you should be upfront about when talking to your guide before the trip.

  1. What time you are willing to get out of bed. – Many guides want to be on the water before sun up.
  2. Your physical ability – Can you hike all day or would a boat be a better option.
  3. Your fishing ability – Don’t say you can cast an indicator rig 70 feet unless you can. This will come out very quickly.  A good guide will put you within your casting range of the fish.
  4. What you are expecting to catch. Make sure your expectations align with what the guide is planning to fish for. If you want 20 inch wild brook trout in a small stream it’s probably not going to happen.
  5. Any food allergies. Especially if the guide is providing food.

 

Just be honest with yourself and your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip.

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