Sunday, April 6, 2014

Beggining of the Clarion River season

    It has been a not so bad start to the season so far.  Water temps are still pretty cold but on the good cloudy days with stable flow conditions decent fish have been caught.  The first couple trips found that most of the fish were grouped up in their prime wintering spots.  Slower currents, deep water, and lots of structure.  As of late, the fish have been spreading out.  More are being caught in the faster current and shallower water.   A few bugs have been present.  Black stone flies and midges mostly.  Not enough for consistent rising but enough to make a trout attack once in a while.  

    We have been fishing mostly streamers so far.  Big and ugly has was the ticket early but a slimmer, shorter profile has been working best as of late.  We have stopped and ran some nymphs in some of the primary riffles with moderate success.  I am sure that a little more time and effort would produce more fish on nymphs, but I must admit that when they are chasing streamers and you get to see the entire follow and take, that I would much rather cast the big stuff. 
Warmer temps this week should help get the fish a little more active.  Hendricksons are right around the corner.  As much as I love streamers, I can not wait to cast a dry fly to a big rising brown trout.  More clients are starting to book trips now that the weather is breaking and I can not wait to spend more days on the water.  Hopefully this will be the start to a great season.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Escape From The Cold

I love the snowy months and I love ice fishing but man, what a winter!  Little did I know when my family and I booked a trip to Belize last fall, for the following March, that it would be a much needed vacation to escape the grips of the bone chilling cold that our area has experienced the last few months. We certainly had plenty of ice and an extended season this year, but it comes to a point where enough is enough.  When March finally got arrived was definitely time to go.
            The morning of the trip was here and after driving though a not so unusual blizzard on the way to the Buffalo Airport, it was time to head south.  The flight out of Buffalo left at 6:30am and by 2pm it was time for shorts, sandals, and my favorite fishing shirt.  And oh yes…it was 85 degrees in Belize City.  Another short yet very scenic flight from Belize City Airport found the final destination on the Island of San Pedro, also known as Ambergris Cay.
 Reservations had been made at a luxury resort called Victoria House, and upon arrival on the island their limo and friendly driver was awaiting my family and I.  This is however not your traditional limo.  This limo was one of the nicest 8 person golf carts that you have ever seen.  The primary mode of transportation on the island is either golf cart or bicycle.  After checking in, it was time to make sure that the fly rods had not been damaged during travel and my mind quickly geared towards fishing. 

Now, this trip was more of a family vacation but I was able to get my fair share of fishing done.  There is a nice sized lagoon just a short walk from the resort that I had had some good luck fishing in past trips to this island and it would not disappoint this year.  In fact, the lagoon fished better than it ever had.  Blind casting big streamers tied with rabbit strips from a point protruding out produced snook, baby tarpon, and even a big barracuda.  The lagoon would be my every morning routine.  Get up at 5:20am, fishing as it breaks daylight, and back to the Victoria House for breakfast with the family by 7:30am.  The only problem with fishing by yourself early in the morning is that there is nobody around to take your picture when you catch a nice fish.  I managed to land my first ever tarpon on the second morning and was just hoping to flag down a passer by to take a picture for me to no avail.  After settling for a nice picture of it laying next to my fly rod, I returned it to the brownish off-colored water of the lagoon.
After a few days of seeing the sights, snorkeling, and eating some great sea food, it was time to hit the flats for some bonefish and anything else that may present an opportunity.   The first day I spent with my brother, who had not cast a fly rod since we were kids. Which means it was 15 years ago, and on this day it was very windy.  Not a good combination for your first flats fishing trip.  After big brother (myself) landed a couple, it was now little brother’s turn.  We got back in behind some mangroves and out of the wind.  With a little coaching, my brother (Dan) was able to hook up and land his first bonefish.  He managed to hook 4 other bones and land a couple more on a day that turned out to be more for him than myself.  I would not have had it any other way. 
The next day I was on my own.  I was not really concerned with bonefish so my guide and I looked for some permit and tarpon.  Now, I have never caught a permit.  Nor have I had any very good opportunities at any.  This day would be no different.  After a pelican spooked an entire school of permit before I could make a cast, we headed on the hunt for tarpon.  The tarpon were around but none of them seemed to be very interested.  They were moving very fast and acting very spooky.  The day was ended with a few bonefish before heading back to the resort.
Besides just the spectacular fishing, it was a great trip and a much needed break from the cold weather.  Belize has much to offer such as fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, Mayan Ruins, jungle tours, cave tubing, and many other activities.  This was my fourth trip back and I guarantee that it will not be the last.  Great fishing, great fun, and above freezing!  After this winter in the southern tier, it was a great way to break the cabin fever.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fishing The Hardwater

     First trip on the ice this year.  Temps were in the negatives with the windchill for most of the day.  Fish would freeze before you could get your tip-up back in the hole.  We had a great day on the walleye along with a few nice perch and a couple pike.  Caught on nice walleye that measured almost 23 inches that I released.  She was a very fat female and it was evident that she was full of eggs.  Always have to look out for the future and let the big females go once in a while so that they may spawn.   I'm looking forward to getting back out on a little warmer day but do not see temps above the teens anytime in the near future.  Until next time!