Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Best Fly Fishing Year Ever?

This has been probably my most productive fly fishing year since I started fly fishing.   I haven't fished as much as I did in other years but the times I did fish were productive.  I had a goal last year of catching at least one fish every month out of the year.  I kept that same goal this year.  I'm probably jinxing myself because I haven't caught one in December yet.  Even if I don't get a fish in Dec this has been a great year.  I've put a recap of some highlights from each month.   I had another goal of catching not only a fish a month but 12 different species that would measure at least 12 inches. 

I have never had very good luck in January or February.  This year was almost the same.  Literally the last day in January I was able to hook this bass.
The fish hit a white wooly bugger.

I had heard chain pickerel were active this time of the year but I had yet to actually fish for one.  It took two trips to the creek but I found a new species to fish for.  Pickerel are aggressive and slams flies with a vengence.

Nothing signals the start of spring as the white bass run.  I look forward to this more every year.  It is some of my favorite fishing.  It's tough to find a type of fishing where you can catch about 40 pound to two pound fish in 2hrs. 

I have been trying to catch a shad on a fly for a couple years.  These fish travel from the ocean hundreds of miles inland.  Their nickname is the southern salmon.  I was lucky enough to go with a TFF member who is a master at catching these fish.  He put me on them and I was able to catch my first shad.  I figured I had to get my fishing in since my son was going to be born any day. 

The 13yr Cicada's were coming out in full swing.  Some parts of the Triad were deafening with the sound of Cicada's singing.  The good thing was fish started to key in on these bugs.  Anything large hitting the water around this time was a meal.  I've gone after grass carp before but never had a chance to really hook one.   I was fishing a pond near my house for bass when I noticed some grass carp showing an interest in my popper.  Sure enough one inhaled it and I had my first grass carp on the fly.

Bluegill and bass fishing really heats up in late may and June.  I have been trying to catch a bluegill over a pound for awhile.  This gill looked huge and slammed a muddler minnow.  I knew it wasn't a pound but I thought it was close to 11 inches.  When I measured my reel seat later I found it was only about 9.

I have caught wild brook trout in the Sierra Nevada mountains but I have never caught them in the east.  My wife had a family reunion in the Shenandoah Valley and I jumped at the chance to catch a wild brookie.  I have to give a lot of thanks to the South East Fly Fishing Forum.  A member there gave me a tip on a good brookie spot.  It was by far the best place I fished the whole week I was in the valley.   The trout were beautiful and I got to really break in a new 3wt I purchased.

All I think of when I think of August is hot temperatures and catfish.  One week in August I caught 3 catfish in 3 different places.   All fish were caught with a dead drift presentation. When I say dead drift really I mean I cast out and did nothing.  Didn't twitch the fly or move it.  The fish slammed the fly a few seconds after it landed.   This guy was my biggest cat so far.

This fish had been avoiding me for years.  When I finally caught a roanoke bass I was in denial.  I took a few pics released it and figured I caught a really green sunfish or some crappie-warmouth hybrid.  When I finally got home and studied the pictures I realized I had in fact caught a Roanoke Bass.  It was a special day for sure.

It's great to catch different species but at least a few times a year I have to go after trout.  I love fly fishing for trout.  It's almost impossible to be in a bad mood while trout fishing. 

I feel really blessed that I have so many places to fish.  I've lived in NC for 5yrs and I've probably just scratched the surface of all the fishable trout streams.  I found a great new stream that is close to home.  The fishing has been excellent and it is a great place to take beginners.
This month hasn't been good to me.  I've fish a couple times with nothing to show for it.  This last trip I even resorted to..... gulp..... spin fishing.  I was striper fishing and the fish were down around 40-50ft.  My last chance will reallly depend on a lot of different factors.  Weather being one and my wife the second.  You can see from all these trips I have gotten time to fish and I have to thank my wife and family for tolerating my absence on weekends.    I'm hoping to get out for one day this weekend and go after wild brookies in VA.  If it snows I'm done.  If the weather stays above freezing I might get lucky.  We'll see.   The catches weren't the only thing to make this year great.  I also was blessed with a new baby boy.  My mother picked up fly fishing this year and it is fun to share our love of the sport together.   In the end  no matter what happens in December this has been with out a doubt my best year of fly fishing ever.


  1. Looks like you've had a pretty good year, thanks for sharing it. What part of the Sierra Nevada's did you fish?

  2. Good year for sure Kev. A nice selection of fish.

  3. It does sound as if it was a top year.
    Well done.

  4. Daniel, I fished near Bishop, CA. There are a lot of upper lakes and small streams.

  5. Awesome...good on you! And here's to another great one!

  6. Kev
    What I like about your fishing year is the variety of fish. I like you will go after anything with gills using the fly rod. Hope this next year is even better. Thanks for sharing

  7. It is really cool how you have a different species represented for almost every month. Variety is the spice of life. Really liked how unique this post is. Great photos!

    Home Skillet

  8. Looks like you've had a great year! I think this year I've had a great fly tying year And also getting down techniques pretty good. Next year I am going to try like you did and catch new species. Some of the top things I want to do are get a carp, something that's a good size in saltwater, and some of those strange fish in the eno.

    Btw if you are still wanting to try to get a fish for December you can come over to the pond neary house that nobody fishes but me and the crappie are still active and I have been catching them from 9-13".

  9. Kevin, if you count the fish that you helped others catch this year, your count would be tremendous! A lot of us really appreciate the time and effort you spend helping others.

  10. great year for you. I think I need to start exploring some of the fresh water like you have. I'm sure there are a lot of opportunities I've missed while focussing on the salt. Here's to another great year!