For some, the changing leaves and brisk mornings mean fall is coming. To trout fisherman in NC, it means trout season is near. Some fisherman still fish for trout in the dog days of summer. It is rough. From my experience, it's bad in late August. The water is warm, the days are hot. You have a lot of days where the word skunk not only describes the fishing, but also how you smell after a long day on the water. The signs fall is getting closer make me go into a trout frenzy. I start looking at my trout flies to make sure I have the proper ones for this time of year. The designated harvest streams are being stocked right now. Time to stock up on egg patterns, fat bead head hairs ears, big nymphs, and buggers. I've been watching Trout Bum dvd's, which only makes my fever worse. I started trolling through my bookcase looking for my John Gierach books. I even bought Trout Bum on tape so I can listen to trout info in my car and fully submerse myself in a trout obsession. I even have trout fishing dreams as the season gets closer. I have started watching the second volume of the Trout Bum movies last night, Kiwi Camo. It's interesting to watch the fly fisherman in this movie. In the first one, they seemed more like real fisherman, Kiwi Camo was their second movie and now they seem to have been poisoned by their own celebrity status. They act more like characters trying to be entertainig than fisherman. In the last movie Trout Bum: Mongolia-River Wolf, it's mostly about the journey. These guys are so damn lucky it's not even funny. They bought some military AWD trucks and have guides to drive them around to remote places of Mongolia. The movie should be called Trout philanthropist. These people are anything but bums. You want to hate them, because you are so jealous. Sometimes you want to turn it off, because you can't stand how someone could be put in a such a special situation, how do they deserve it? Yet you keep watching and are some what entertained enough to enjoy the fishing. The footage is amazing. I will probably be suckered into watching the next Trout Bum fish porn.
So back to my trout fever. I realized when I look at my trout flies, they take me back to my first time fishing with them. A flash back sz18 hairs ear makes me invisiion a log on the Watauga where I thought a trout would be and was suprised to be right. It was a little brookie. When I caught it, I started to get an idea that I might be getting the hang of this fly fishing thing. I had picked a fly for the right time and place. When I see my hopper patterns, I think of a flat pool off Dutch Creek. There was some tall deer grass hanging over the water. I imagined hoppers falling off this grass and tried to make my cast emulate the vision in my mind. I was able to follow through on my task and was rewarded with a 10inch brown smashing the fly. The bugger patterns, I have to smirk when I see those. For years I hated them. People swore by them, but I never had much luck. It wasn't until recently that I've became a fan of the bugger, especially white ones. My all time favorite and fly I have the best bonding experience with is your general run of the mill elk hair caddis. I love this fly. I like how fish react to it, never really inspecting it and almost always eager to take it, when it's presented right. I like the renegade and griffith's gnat too, but the elk hair caddis has to be the fly I go back to often. Especially when I use a nymph as a dropper. The new fly that's been filling up the outside corners above the beetle and ant patterns are some midges. I really have a hard time fishing these. One because they are so small, and a pain to tie on a small tippet. The second is that it's hard to sense hits even with a marker. I've found lately though, that I hook bigger fish with these flies. The hook sets are always suprising and usually I'm looking at another section of stream when I get a fish. I'll see some flashes near the end of a run so I start the case upstream I keep watching down at the end of the run and then my line stops. I lift it and there's a fish there. Last time this happened the fish was well over 15inches and started thrashing like crazy. All I could see in my head was this small size 20fly in the corner of its lip. Eventually it spit the hook and I was reminded again to watch my line at ALL TIMES. The last pattern I have fond memories fishing with is the San Juan Worm. Some fisherman feel using these patterns with fish egg patterns is cheating. They feel it's one step above using bait. Although if you talk to any fly fisherman long enough he'll tell you he's used them. The San Juan Worm also called SJW, basically looks like a red pipe cleaner. You'd never imagine it would catch anything. Many times the SJW has been the go to fly. Especially after it rained the night before and the earth worms come out of the ground and are washed into the creek. The last flies in my box are ones I bought to use at one time or another but never fished. I have a bunch of weird nymph and dry patterns. I might have fished some for about 20casts or so but if they didn't produce anything, I always go back to the same 5 flies. It seems that this is my trout fishing scenario....
I get to the stream, creek, or river. First I survey the depth of the water. Is it really deep, where I'll need weights to get nymphs down, is it really fast? If it is, I'll need a lot of weight and if it's rough, dries will be tough to fish. I look for fish activity. Are they hitting the surface or is the water dead? Are bugs coming off the surface, are gnats swarming near shore, do I see birds darting across the water snatching bugs. All these are signs of how I'm going to fish. If I see one rise, I start with a dry, I love catching fish on a dry, it doesn't matter if it's a trout or blue gill. If I don't see anything I'll use a nymph or a dry fly with a nymph as a dropper. It depends how lazy I'm feeling. It only takes a matter of casts for my dropper to become entangled around my leader. Once that happens the dropper is usually disgarded. If the water is high and fast with big deep pools. I dream about huge monsters lurking in the depths of the pools waiting for a streamer. This is when the buggers, clousers, and seducers make their rare appearance. This scenario always usually goes the same. The caddis usually for a dry, a bead head hairs ear or prince nymph as a dropper. Then later try a SJW, or bugger. Maybe a egg pattern with a nymph dropper. If none of these work, I'll try different nymphs, a stone fly, mabye a caddis pupa that I hate to fish. I've never caught anything on that. If everything fails, I go with a dry trude, and a hairs ear and fish both or either one for the rest of the day. This usually keeps the skunk away.
The trout fever is getting bad, on the way to work today I saw a dead fox. I love foxes. They seem like cunning animals and a wonder of nature. Looking at this dead one, obviously hit by a car. I couldn't help but notice how nice its tail fur would be for streamers or dubbing. When I think like this, I know the only cure is to go trout fishing soon. I'm doing something next week to hold me over. My friend and I have booked a guided Redfish trip near Beafort, NC. I've never fly fished from a boat with a guide before. I've never seen a redfish let alone targeted them with a fly rod. I'm pretty excited about this trip. Redfish are actually called Red Drum. They feed in super shallow water and do a behavior called tailing. This label came from the fish moving into 6inch water where parts of their tails literally stick out of the water. The fishing is supposed to be similar to bone or carp fishing. You see the fish from the boat, cast to them, hopefully not spooking the fish. Then make a presentation that looks like a crab, shrimp or something else they eat. Red drum can get up to 30inches. I'll be happy to catch anything. I'll definately have a report of this trip. I go next Wed. That weekend I might head to Boone and get rid of this trout fever.