Friday, January 14, 2011

Prospecting for Trout, Tactics ( Part 1 )

(Bill Budge, Rio Traful, 9.5 lb rainbow)
One of the aspects of trout fishing that I have had the pleasure of pursuing, is prospecting for trout in new waters. We have all experienced the feeling of standing streamside on a river that we had no knowledge. The unknown of what size trout we are pursuing , along with, where they hold, and what they eat, are three  factors that make, wading into, or, walking along side a new stream or river extremely exciting .
  I began to Fly fish new waters when I was in high school, back then I was just beginning to learn about dry flies, getting "dead drifts", and fly fishing in general. Everything was new , not just the waters that I had not fished pryor. Trout were something new as well, I was raised fishing for small steelhead on the Eel river in Northern California. We fished "wet flies", Silver Hiltons, Comets, Burlaps, and a number of  Japanese tied flies , that were tied with very bright colored feathers, yellow, orange, and  blue most with red collars in a wet fly style, and sold for .10 cents apiece. Fly fishing was a big sport along the Eel River, most of the small general stores sold flies near the cash registers, and most of the owners had a good idea of which flies were working due to emptiness of some of the fly bins.There were always a few local tyers who would sell their  flies, usually for .50, these were more traditional fly patterns for steelhead. This was back in the late 1960's and very early in the 1970's, the Eel was considered one of the top steelhead rivers on the west coast. There were two runs, the Fall  1/2 pounder run that had a good # of  first  year  fish with a mixture of 1st and 2nd year steelhead that ranged  from 12 inches to a big one being maybe 22-23 inches.The average seemed to be 14-16 inches, of  bright steel, very hard fighting small fish.The other run started in November and December, this was the famous "winter run", with big Steelhead, fish of 10lbs were not considered trophies, but were common. People would come far and wide in hopes of landing a "dime bright" steelhead of 20lbs.
I did not fish the winter run of  fish until I was in high school, and had a jeep to make the trip out to the Fortuna-Ferndale section of the Eel. The weather always played a important part of puzzle of the winter run , It seemed like there was too much rain , or, not enough rain to bring the fish into the famous pools around  Fernbridge.  I did not spend alot of time out in the rain in pursuit of the great steelhead, but did catch the 1/2  pounder  run  for a number  of years  and learned the "down and across" method of getting a swing.

(Fernbridge California) Eel River
The first trout that I ever saw were in the lakes and rivers of Trinity Alps of Northern California. In the lakes were some nice sized hatchery trout that were perfect for somebody just learning about Fly fishing . This is where the brightly colored Japanese flies really seemed to shine. These high mountain trout seemed to prefer the exotic colors of the less expensive variety of flies we presented. After high school I headed north in pursuit of higher learning and trout, I was on my way to the University of Montana ( Trout U ). Tomorrow...
stay in tuned @ http://www.aguasdelmundo.net/ ( DALY BLOG)

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