Sunday, February 28, 2010

What A Great Winter To Learn To Tie...

I have probably heard that more this year than ever....with all the snow and bad weather its been that kind of winter. I think we had about five consecutive no fishing weekends, weekends where most folks couldnt get out and fish. We continued to do our guided trips, and we did have some great trips, but fishing in below freezing temperatures and snow more than ever.

And if ever there were fly tying opportunities there were plenty of those. I had several folks say..."why didnt you press me to learn tying this year? Would have been a perfect time." I guess my reply would be you get into tying when the bug gets the best of you. And one last thing, you wont get into it and save money....what a joke! You will probably spend more! Well, might as wel be honest....
"Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion"

This is Almost Unbelievable.....

This is truly amazing....the bird definitely uses everything at his disposal...this is absolutely incredible. I'm glad no one left a fly rod laying on the sand...

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Peachy Paradise.....

Until the past week I had not spent much time in this part of Georgia, regrettably I must say. It is such a beautiful place. Some of the most spectacular scenery you'll see anywhere, great hospitality, good trout angling from small streams to spring creeks to tailwaters, a little bit of everything.

And some monster trout in some waters. On a recent trip to the Soque near Clarkesville, GA and Batesville, GA the group I was with caught probably 30 fish over 20 was absurd. Huge fish, like we have here in our private waters. Fish that you'd more expect to come from Alaska and not the South.

This morning I told my wife that outside of a spectacular mountain range like the Beartooths in Montana, the Sawtooths in Idaho, the Tetons or Winds in Wyoming and the spectacular vistas that go with them we have really just as good fishing here and the fish are just as big and often larger. Its the Western experience that we are often after. But if its large fish.......we have those here!

Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Hand Feed a Pike....Well, not Exactly

This would sure get your attention. Here a gentleman is releasing a fish and an unseen northern pike almost gets a chunk of his hand while he's doing it:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dry Fly Fishing in the Dead of Winter.....Things are Very Alive!

Here's a video clip of my recent trip with Tom Wolff. I had mentioned to Tom that I thought our chances of getting into some dry fly fishing was pretty good. "Really? " I think that was what he asked. I knew that where we were headed it was a real possibility. Rare is the day when these fish don't rise. A high water spate is the only thing that limits it....and then the subsurface fishing is to die for. Simply put, in my book it is the king of small creeks. Compared to the Smith River this stream is a ditch by size comparison. But I dare say that one mile of this creek has more trout than any mile - - Yes I said any mile- - of the Smith River. And many rivers for that matter. And where else do you find a thirty fish dry fly day in the middle of winter when its 20F, heavy snow on the ground, and snow showers in the air?.......We are now doing trips here year round...Let's go fishing!

Here'a a short clip of Tom casting to a rising rainbow which he caught. A pretty nice feat, given that Tom is right handed and he's going at it with his left. Impressive!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dry Fly Heaven......? Pretty Close I'd Say...

Dry Fly Heaven from Jah Raven Creation on Vimeo.

Go ahead and get a towel, you are going to need one after the saliva this one produces. It is awesome.....a good dreamy video to help you make it through our winter doldrums.....Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Its Been That Kind of Winter.......

When we started the fall and thinking of all the heavy rains we have had over the past year, and how now we are getting that consistent "El Nino" pattern of storms, one right after the other, I remembered thinking last October on a guide trip that this year we could be returning to winters the way they used to be. The past several years have been so mild its hard to remember that what we have had lately is the real 'normal'...and that its been a while since it has been that way.

I mean we've had a snow here or there, including a 15 incher back in February of 2000. I remember that one as we were getting ready to open a fly shop and had planned to open mid February but lost two weeks due to bad roads and two large snows back to back. Lake Brandt Road here was impassable for four or five days, as 15 inches of snow became 7 inches of hard packed snow and the plows simply couldn't do anything with it.

As far as fishing the last real winters I remember, or should I say real bad winter, was the winters between 1991 and 1993. In fact, during that time the famous mountain 'blizzard' of 93 was a historical event. 24-28 inches of snow in the high country and over 30inches on top of Beech Mountain...I remember that one well. That was the year it was so cold that everything was either frozen totally and unfishable or the TVA tailwaters were generating..and there was no fishing anywhere for almost six weeks. I almost went crazy.

I can remember at that time the game saver was the blackfly hatch at the Jackson River in Covington, VA. That once blue ribbon jewel below Gathright Dam held thousands of trout. I have seen bitter cold days with hundreds of trout rythymically rising as though they were rising to a sulphur hatch in May. I have fished it on days when the air temp was 9F -11F and caught rising fish on dry flies. Wild, stream-bred rainbows and browns up to 20". Air temp was that cold, the ground was covered with anywhere from 12 to 20 inches of snow, and there were 8-10ft long icicles hanging from the cliffs that bordered the canyon like walls of the river gorge. Simply, it was one place the sun never touched from late November through March. It was the coldest place on earth ....or at least it seemed.

So how much more winter do we have? If its like most years like this we still have four to six more weeks of it............Can you stick it out?

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Last Resort For the Really Desperate Angler...

Okay, maybe not what you were expecting but here's what the last month and half has served up to us weather wise..... a fairly good snow in early December, followed by a doozy storm. We got almost 10 inches here, the mtns got between 14 and 22" depending upon elevation. In fact, on the 22rd of December Allen Allred and I were on a trip and we trudged though 2.5ft of snow to get to the river....he caught 20 fish and made a great day out of it. Then the mountains got a damaging ice storm Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Hwy 16/163 confluence near Glendale Springs looked like a war zone with all the downed trees that fell under a heavy burden of ice and snow. Big 18" in diameter and larger.

Then came another snow, then another, then another, and then the snow of the past weekend that dumped about 11 inches here and 10-12" in the mtns....and it would have been one of those 18-20" snows here and a "two footer" in the mountains had a warmer layer of air at 5500ft not sneaked into the mix and changed the snow to sleet, which accounted for about 6 -8 inches less snow than we would have gotten. Then two days of 45F weather and a big melt, then last night's snow of about 3-4 inches, followed by a quarter inch of ice....and almost two inches of rain/freezing rain during the day.....and we are still waiting on the changeover back to snow and the inch or two that might be left for us once this storm exits our area late Saturday.

Could it get any worse for fishing....any type of fishing?...Probably not. Well, maybe fishing in an aquarium isn't such a bad idea after all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Desperate yet? A lot of people are......I love winter and love winter fishing...but hey I am getting there too. We have had two big snows, a sleet/freezing rain event, and two huge rains (deluges!).......if you were to come up with a forecast full of dire or din I don't think you could do it.

I could hear the snowplows today on our street finally exposing pavement for the first time in almost five days. We have had about 3 inches of hard packed snow and ice, what was once 8 or 9 inches packed as tightly as it could much so that scraping or plowing had been a joke...until today. I walked outside and the first thing I noted is how pleasant the temperature was, and how much melting was taking place. I walked to our backyard and even took a gander at our small rock pond (pictured above). I thought to myself, I am almost desperate enought to take a few casts into it......hey, what if the neighbors see me I thought for a moment...... Of course then I thought again, maybe seeing me casting in the street and yard for years confirmed my mental state to them already. But when I looked at the pond I thought " know, that's not much less of an opportunity than any we have had lately with all this snow and ice. I mean right now it would be just as productive as Lake Brandt....and Brandt actually has fish in it."

Well, I pondered it a bit.......but didn't cast. Guess I will save this fishing hole for the weekend just in case we get the next storm coming through and the 3-5 inches of snow some are calling for....which is, in case you haven't yet heard, exactly what they are calling for!

On second thought, I think I'll go grab the rod and take a few casts into our rock pond........