Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Inner City Fly Slinging

  So... it's been about 6 weeks since my last post, and speaking with complete modesty, the fishing results from this time period have been mediocre. The long awaited trout season opener was on the third Saturday of April. and an hour after sunrise saw me casting to low, clear water that seemed devoid of life. After five visits over a two week period all I managed were a few "bugle trout" aka white suckers. The last day on the river I witnessed a large caddis hatch and in an hour of patient observation didn't see a single rise! It was refreshing to spend a few days witnessing the spring greening in that urban valley without  a single human encounter. The other benefit was that my local ponds were a short ride away.

 My quest for a carp on the fly was accomplished under bizarre circumstances that left me satisfied less than you might think. Much of the best carp water is surrounded by rushes and low trees, so casting to likely lies was achieved with rollcasts. After the retrieve I'd shake the rod tip to strip out the line for the next cast while the fly sat on the bottom by my feet. On this particular cast the line shot out but it appeared the fly was snagged on bottom. With a few choice words I resigned myself to the repeated task of disturbing the area by retrieving a muck encrusted stick, but after stripping in all the line the muck encrusted stick turned out to be a 20 something inch carp! I'd been wanting a good bend in the rod for a while but I've had better battles with muck encrusted sticks. That was the one and only carp so far this spring.

  The crappie bonanza from the last post seems to be a one time, chance occurrence. I can count on a few palm sized fish every trip, but numbers of larger crappie seem to elude me. One particular day I couldn't catch anything other than out of season largemouth. The regulations state incidental catches are to be returned immediately and if the fish continue to bite then you have to move on. Intentionally targeting them is prohibited. Oh well...bass season opens in 3 weeks from now and I'm confident in the flies I've tied and the capabilities of the rod and reel.

 Over the years I've been slowly gravitating toward ultra lite fishing and that's the reason for the 3wt rod I picked up over the winter. Everything I'd read on line and talking to the few fly fishers I'd met suggested a 3wt was only appropriate for small trout and panfish, but after battling a few 3-4 lb largemouth on a long line (40 to 50 feet) I'm truly interested in pushing the limits of what it'll handle. Amusingly, 3 months ago I traded a pocket full of flies to a local shop owner for a 5' ultra lite Lightning Rod which has yet to see water.

  Two weeks ago I was out on an errand and, as is my long standing habit, had to stop when crossing a bridge to check out the water. The downstream side had a series of pools that, from a distance, appeared to be full of fish up to a foot in length. The next day I returned, determined to find what secrets that tiny, urban creek held. I spent a half hour casting the first pool, to the amusement of the urbanite drones at the nearby intersection, cycling through the small selection of flies before finding the right pattern, a #12 bead headed nymph with pronounced red ribbing. Every other cast brought in a creek chub from 4 to 10 inches.

  I continued bushwhacking down the narrow ravine, highrises on one side, a community college on another and not a soul in sight. Every pool produced numbers of feisty chub but nothing else. A mile in and the creek merged with another I was more familiar with, easier to access and full of students smoking crack or whatever. The 90 degree temperatures, bushwhacking with a mountain bike and crackheads galore had taken a toll and the day out was over for me.

  So...in a 6 week period I've been out around 20 times, fished 6 ponds,a river and a creek and managed to catch 6 species of fish on the "new" rod, all without leaving the city limits. I really need to get out of town!


  1. Six weeks huh? Geez, you had two more to go before I considered you d.o.a.! This probably isn't a good time for me to complain about the crappy, schizophrenic weather here in Colorado? Not to mention that by the time the rain finally goes away we'll be in full run off mode. By the way, that's a mighty handsome carp you got there!

    1. Hey Howard
      I spend a lot less time on the computer this time of year, but it's nice to know I've been missed.
      You're not one of those "fair weather" anglers are you?

    2. John I'm sorry to say that since I reached geezerhood that I am. If there is the slightest chance of moisture I hide. I don't fish as much as I used to.

  2. Congrats on your first carp! You've gotta start somewhere. You'll eventually find one that will give you the bend you're looking for. Some great pictures here. I'd love to go wandering through all of those places.

    1. Thanks Justin
      That was the first carp on that rod only, there's been others this year. I'm constantly amazed how the wilder areas of this city are so under utilized.

  3. It's fun to see how light of tackle you can get away with, as the fight is always better the lighter the tackle. Pushing it to the limit runs the risk of losing, although if you catch enough of them I suppose that isn't to big of a deal.

  4. Hi Ben
    I've come to the realization that a 4lb largemouth loads the 3wt. the same as a medium salmon does to the 8wt, so no worries. I had a good sized one today go deep into the weeds and it took 5 minutes of alternately giving him slack and pulling straight by hand to get him out.