Fall Fishing for Landlocked Salmon

Fall Fishing for Landlocked Salmon: Fall fishing for landlocked salmon is a hoot. Now I’m not talking about trolling lakes mind you; I’m talking about river fishing. During the fall, salmon drop out of their deep lake lairs to spawn, traveling either to the lake’s inlet or outlet. Their mission? To locate suitable spawning beds in an adjoining river.

Fall Fishing for Landlocked Salmon

The average landlocked salmon caught in Maine is 17″and weights 1.7 pounds, but as this photo shows bigger salmon are not rare. Since the landlocked salmon’s primary forage base is rainbow smelt, many fly anglers assume streamers are the only game in town. And while streamers do work, if you rely solely on them you’re missing out.

Why? The landlock’s second largest food group is aquatic insects. That’s right, from their days in diapers to adulthood, salmon are sucking down bugs. Caddis, mayflies, stoneflies, you name it. So nymphs, wets, soft hackles, and even dries can be employed to catch landlocks. In fact, in a river, sometimes these flies out fish streamers by a wide margin. Doubt me?  Look carefully in the upper jaw of the male salmon show above. See the small black wet fly?

Fall Fishing for Landlocked Salmon

Landlocks put a serious bend in your fly rod, trust me. And while they may not tear off like a Lamborghini, their aerial antics are spectacular, often leaping skyward several times. Its great action. Action that puts a serious smile on your face.

Fall Fishing for Landlocked Salmon

Maine has 303 lakes with landlocked salmon; New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts have landlocked salmon too. As a result, you have a plenty of places to pick from. Fall spawning runs start anywhere from late September to late November, depending on water levels, weather and water temperature – with early to mid October being about average.

Do some homework to find the right timing for the river you plan to fish. And above all don’t get frustrated if the salmon don’t show up on time. Local conditions play an enormous role in these spawning run. A low lake can even cause salmon to skip the rivers and instead spawn on shoals inside the lake. Yeah, fishing for migratory species is always a bit of a crap shoot. You have to pay your dues. Still its worth the price.

Fall Fishing for Landlocked Salmon

Can’t get away during the fall? Well most landlocked salmon fisheries have a spring river run too. These salmon aren’t spawning; they’re chasing smelt. Hence, spring landlocked salmon tend to be more aggressive, although leaner after a long winter in the lake. Lord knows, there is no shortage of streamers designed to imitate smelt. Be sure to have a few in your fly box. But once again, nymphs, wets and dries may steal the day. Don’t arrive on the river with out them. You’ve been warned.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, On the Road | 2 Comments

My Son Caught his First False Albacore

My Son Caught his First False Albacore: Yesterday my son caught his first false albacore. Always an exciting day in an angler’s life, especially from a kayak. Or let me see was it a Little tunny? Or a Little tuna? Or an albie? Or a Fat Albert? Or a hardtail? Well, take your pick. Anyway you slice it, this is the hard charging Euthynnus alletteratus, pound for pound one of the most powerful fish on planet earth.

My Son Caught his First False Albacore

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Fishing Far and Fine

Fishing Far and Fine: At this time of year many New England trout streams are running extremely low and clear. Which is especially true for those with smaller watersheds. As a result the trout fishing is often very challenging. The trout can practically hear you slam the car door. And they certainly can feel your foot steps along the bank and see you towering over the water. Its time to fish-far and fine.

Fishing Far and Fine

That’s the conditions I found yesterday on a small Connecticut stream. The water was very low, perhaps shin deep at best. And the air was still, making the surface like a sheet of glass. In fact you could see every stone on the bottom. Complicating matters, there was nearly no flow. All in all the angling situation was as tough as it gets.

If I sat quietly on the bank after a few minutes I’d see trout in the pool, but if I stood up and walked they disappeared. Wow. Obviously wading was totally out of the question. Stepping into the stream would scatter the trout to kingdom come. I was going to have to hunch over and do a slow stalk from the stream’s edge.

With my Kabuto 7-foot, 3wt in hand I began the task, armed with a floating line. On the reel was a 9 foot leader tapered to 5x. Quickly I lengthened that to 12 feet and 6x. Couldn’t find any 7x in my vest, or I would have gone longer. Then I tied on a size 16# soft hackle. They are typically a good choice in these challenging conditions.

Fishing Far and Fine

The opposite bank was in deeper shade and trout were favoring the that side, lying wherever the water was a touch deeper. But they wouldn’t look at the soft hackle? And worse yet, sometimes the mere presence of the fly line cast over the water could cause the trout to disperse. So I had to wait several minutes between attempts.

It took me over an hour to do it, but eventually, I got a trout. I had to tease that fish up with a terrestrial – a red ant dry fly. The brown trout was 11″ in length, and in the photo above it has just run out the left side of the image. Still I was happy to hook it and release one. Long casts, long leader and a bunch of patience did the trick. Fishing far and fine.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater | Leave a comment

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum: In the previous post, we visited Roscoe, NY -Trout Town USA. Well nearby, on old route 17 in Livingston Manor, is another spot you’ll want to check out.  The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.  It’s a “must-see” when in this neck of the woods.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

Originally located in Roscoe, it opened its doors in 1981 as the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum. A year later it moved to a piece of property in Livingston Manor where it changed its name and has grown in size and scope ever since.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

The exhibits run the gamut from great old photographs, to art work, fly fishing gear, and fabulous fly collections. Its easy to spend some serious time here. Plenty of well thought out displays, and a mammoth amount of information on the history of fly fishing in the Catskills and beyond.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

Along with its annual dinner, CFFCM hosts special events every year. Among them are Opening Day Celebrations at the Junction Pool on the Beaverkill; Rod Maker Gatherings including the Cane Rod Makers School; the Summer Fest which includes an Anglers Market, The Hardy Cup, and the TU Beamoc Pig Roast; the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame inductees ceremony; and the Catskill Legends Ceremony and Dinner. Did I miss any?

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

I’ve given you plenty of good reasons to pay a visit to this fine place. So next time you’re up this way, whether fishing the Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Neversink or the Delaware, be sure to take a ride over. You’ll find them about 5 miles south of Roscoe at 1031 old route 17.  And if you have any trouble locating the CFFCM or just want more information, reach for your cell phone and call 845-439-4810! Or email them at office@cffcm.com

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

 

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, On the Road | Leave a comment

Roscoe NY: Trout Town USA

Roscoe NY: Trout Town USA   Been up in the Catskills for a few days. Naturally I had to swing into Roscoe NY: Trout Town USA. Ever been there? If not you’re missing out.

Considered by many to be the birthplace of fly-fishing in America, it’s neighboring waters have been drawing avid anglers for well over a 100 years. And many of those anglers were instrumental in the development of the sport including Theodore Gordon, AE Hendrickson, Rube Cross, Art Flick, Lee Wulff, Joan Wulff, The Dettes, The Darbees, Poul Jorgensen, and too many others to name. So deep is Roscoe’s connection to fly-fishing, the late great sportswriter Red Smith said “To fish opening day on the Beaverkill is like celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem.” Amen, brother.

Roscoe NY: Trout Town USA

The most notable waters near town are the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc. Two rivers filled with fly-fishing history, they join at the Junction Pool. Be sure to wet a line there. Why? In this pool resides the legendary Beamoc, a two head trout known far and wide. If you’re lucky enough to hook the beast, let it go! Otherwise the town folk will tar and feather your arse.

The Two Headed Trout

To my eye the town looks largely same as when I last saw it 25 years ago.  One exception is the Antrim Lodge which has yet to reopen after many years. Hopefully the Antrim will be back in business soon. The other exception is the sad closing of the “Little Store”. In business since April of 1945, this variety store carried everything from clothes and boots, to archery and ammo, to muzzle loading supplies, fishing supplies, gifts, books, toys and camping gear. An amazing cornucopia. Perhaps someone with vision can bring that place back to its former glory. The “Little Store” was an amazing Catskill gem. No trip to Roscoe was complete without a visit there.

Roscoe NY: Trout Town USA

There are still more places in town to buy fly gear than bread. True! In fact there are 3 fly shops on the main drag, and the famous Dette fly shop around the corner on Cottage Street. Founded in 1928 by Walt and Winnie Dette, it is the oldest family run fly shop on Mother Earth. Eighty-nine years and going strong.

Dette Trout Flies

Always a treat to pick through the Dette fly bins. Believe me, great fly selection, great place, great people. Bought a few nicely tied soft hackles, one of which ( see photo below) hooked a heavy fish later that day on the Willowemoc. By the way, if you’re coming up this way the shop offers an invaluable daily river report.

Soft Hackle from Dette Trout Flies

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, On the Road | Leave a comment