Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 World Youth Fly Fishing Championship Results

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Doug Freemann and the rest of the US Youth Fly Fishing Team, competed in Slovenia last week against 12 other International Teams.  Despite tough conditions on new waters, they finished with the bronze medal.  France took gold, and Poland took silver.  Congratulations team USA! 


As I write this, Douglas is beginning a new chapter in his life.  He just texted me that he is moving in to his dorm for his freshman year at Colorado State University.  Good luck, Doug, and make sure you study as hard as you fish!

Sharpen your hooks.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A One Fly Morning

When I rolled out of bed this morning, the room was very cool with wide-open windows letting in the 58 degree F outside air.  I went into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee and then walked out onto the deck and everything about the weather told me it was the rare, perfect August morning for fishing.   The air was calm, and high, thin clouds muted the early sun.  The cool night would have lowered the water temperatures to trout-comfortable levels, which meant I only had to travel a mere ten minutes to be on the water. (Typically, this time of the year in New Jersey, one has to travel 2 hours or more to find suitable water temperatures and levels for trout fishing.)   


I parked my car at Hoffman's Crossing bridge and walked the half mile down to the top of the Ken Lockwood Gorge, where I took the water temperature just to be sure it was good to fish.  The thermometer read 65 degrees F, and the water level was very good for this time of the year.  As I walked down the rutted dirt road that skirts the east side of the river, I looked for bugs and rises without much luck, so I tied on a size #17 Iris Caddis and then added a small split-shot about 8 inches above it, intending to fish the fly as a nymph.   I stepped down to the river and began casting the fly into a short, deep pocket.  It only took a couple of casts before I was into a 12 inch rainbow.

I took one more rainbow in that hole and then started to work my way downstream hitting every pocket and run that had some depth and a "fishy" look to it.  Over the next few hours of working my way downstream, I took several more rainbows and even a couple of small wild brown trout.  All of them on the same Iris Caddis I started out with.  


I did see a few other anglers as I made my way down river, but everyone was spread out and only a few times did I have to get out of the river to go around someone to leave them a wide berth.  The air temperature stayed comfortable and it was a pleasure to wade in shorts without waders.  The gorge is very rocky, and even when the water levels are low, you do need to wear wading boots with felt or studs to be safe.

I covered about two-thirds of the gorge before turning around and heading back towards the top, stopping at various holes and runs, and fishing them.  It was a hatchless morning, and during the entire time I saw only one rise. So I fished the same fly the whole time and did well, including catching a beautiful 6-7 inch wild rainbow just before calling it a day around 2:00 PM.      


A size #17 Iris Caddis tied on a TMC 102Y hook.


Sharpen your hooks!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The 2017 Youth World Fly Fishing Team Is Ready for Slovenia

Just a few short years ago I spent many weekends over a couple of years fishing with Doug Freemann, who at the time was fairly new to the sport. He was fascinated with fly fishing and wanted to learn as much as he could about it.  At the time, he was focused mainly on nymphing with competition style leaders and nymphs. We often fished the same pools near enough to each other that we could talk about the water we were fishing with respect to flows, holding water, and how best to cover it.  Fly tying also became a big part of his world, too (how could it not with my obsession). After a few months he started competing in the fly fishing competitions that determine the team members for the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team.   


As time went by he expanded his techniques to dry flies and streamers and  became proficient in all aspects of the sport.  He not only made the US Youth Team after a couple of years, he traveled to Spain last year with the team for the world competition, and the team took silver, and Doug was the top angler for team USA.  This year Doug will be going to Slovenia for the world youth fly fishing championship in about a week as the team captain. Not only is Doug a very good angler, we couldn't have a better young ambassador for our country.  I know I'm biased, but if you met him you'd certainly agree.  In the fall he is headed to Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO.  I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity in this life to have fallen into Doug's orbit. 

I would be remiss if I didn't include the rest of the team here, as although each angler fishes independently, its the team that they each truly fish for in the end.   All of these young men have worked hard over the last year to earn their place on the team.  In addition to being very good anglers, they also represent our country very well.

The 2017 USA Youth World Team:

Douglas Freemann, Captain
Grant Hawse, Co-Captain
Holden Price 
Seth Drake
Evan Vanek
Mike Komara

Kalvin Kaloz, Coach


The US Youth Fly Fishing Team (Team USA) is a carefully selected group of youth anglers from across the United States that has been associated with leaders in the sport. It was incorporated in 2008.

FIPS-Mouche, the world sanctioning body for competitive fly fishing has well defined rules of competition. All fishing is “catch and release.” Anglers fish five different sessions of three hours each, all on different rivers and “beats” of water. Scoring is based on the number and size of fish caught. Placement points are awarded for each session with the goal of scoring as few points as possible. A person catching no fish in a session receives the greatest number of penalty points and considerably jeopardizes their chances of medalling.

Just as important as the fishing, is the camaraderie and the cross-cultural connections that are made through the events. Team members are also involved in a number of other areas of fly fishing such as guiding, offering fly fishing tying clinics, participating in watershed preservation projects, and promoting environmental stewardship.

Please join me in wishing the 2017 USA Youth Fly Fishing Team the best of luck in Slovenia this August. 

Go get 'em, boys!

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Yellow Sally - The Summertime Stonefly

Last week I posted a photo of a yellow sally stonefly imitation on Instagram, and an observant viewer sent me an email noting that in the tying video I made with Tim Flagler, I did not tie in a tail like the one in the photo.  They wanted to know why.  


The answer is simple; I tie my Western version with the tail so it floats well in the big, fast waters that are found in Montana.  Here in the East I tie them without a tail as our waters not as big and fast as those out West, and a sparser fly tends to work better.  I will also carry some without a tail when out West for the spring creeks and fussy fish.  


The trout mostly see the egg-laying adults, thus the egg sac on the fly.


Sharpen your hooks.    

Monday, July 3, 2017

Stripers at the Cape

My son is up in Chatham on Cape Cod this holiday weekend and he's making good use of his time up there.  He's got a kayak and his fishing equipment and has been catching small stripers in the backwaters and sand bars on spinning equipment.  He tells me that now that he has found them, he is going to go to the fly rod today.  We'll let you know how he makes out.




Sharpen your hooks.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Another Weekend In the Catskills

Last weekend we headed up to the Catskills again with the usual characters.  This time though, after fishing Saturday evening, the four of us were joined in the evening by seven anglers from Rahway River Trout Unlimited, making for a crowded cabin on Saturday night.  It worked out great though with everyone pitching in with the burger and dog dinner, before we settled in around the fire and talked fishing, fly tying and music.  A few guys had to camp out on the floor in their sleeping bags, but no one seemed to mind.

Earlier, we fished a favorite pool on the Beaverkill, where the sparse hatches of sulphurs, caddis and tiny blue-winged olives brought trout and shad to the surface.  At dusk light cahills began hatching and in the dark we could hear quite a few fish working the surface.  We had a good evening with a couple of trout and two shad, one that was good sized and battled hard despite having swam over 300 miles up the Delaware then the East Branch before taking my Iris Caddis on the lower Beaverkill.


On Sunday morning everyone split up to fish their favorite pools on either the Willowemoc or the Beaverkill.  Vinnie and I went down to angler free pool on the lower Beaverkill.  The day was very warm and humid and we knew that by midday water temperatures would hit 68-70 degrees and put a halt to fishing.  The path to the river was thick with invasive knot weed thanks to the frequent spring rains - every year it seems to grow higher and thicker than the last. 


The river was clear and at a normal level, with only tiny blue-winged olives, some of which were hatching along with spinners falling.  A good breeze blew upstream. Trout rose softly to the little insects drifting on and in the surface film along the far bank where hardwood trees provided shade.  We split up each heading to where small pods of trout dimpled the water surface as they took in morsels that to us seemed way too small to be worth their effort.


I tied on a size 22 snowshoe rabbit foot blue-winged olive to the end of my 6x tippet and then slowly worked my way within casting distance of the nearest working fish.  I made a few test casts, found that my 12 foot leader turned over well, but the light tippet and fly were sent upstream at a right angle thanks to the breeze.  It would be one of those mornings when one had to time their cast to drop when the wind dies for a brief moment.  I cast to the working fish and when I got a good drift, it rose up, inspected my offering, and then drifted back down to the bottom.  This happened several times, and I think the issue was micro-drag thanks to the myriad of currents shifting from the many large rocks lying just below the surface.

After a short while and a few dozen casts over that fish, a trout rose about 25 feet above me in a fast slick.  I let it rise again, pin-pointed its locations, and made a quick cast dropping my about a foot above where it rose.  Almost immediately, the fish came up and sipped in my fly, and after a brief fight I brought the 11-12 inch wild rainbow to my net.  I admired it for a second, removed the fly from its upper jaw and then dropped my net back into the water where the fish swam out to safety.

I fished a while longer, getting more than a few refusals, and then backed out to shallower water where took the water temperature.  It has hit 69 degrees F, so I cut off my fly and reeled in.  Then I waded down to Vinnie and gave him the news, and he too, called it a day.  He had a few good takes he said, but missed them, which is unusual for him. It was a good day for both of us though; how often in late June can you find a pool on the Beaverkill with no other anglers and rising trout?

Here's the fly I have been taking the bulk of my fish on the last few weeks up north.


Sharpen your hooks.