As a fly fisherman, any type of travel always seems to have a day or two added in just for wetting a line. There are trips that are solely for the purpose of getting one’s feet wet and there are others where sneaking a rod in the luggage pays off. Most of our family traveling seems to include a day without dad as I sneak off to fish somewhere nearby.
As one travels, it’s nice to make new fishing friends along the way. With all of the technology surrounding us it’s easier to send out a late night note that says “hey, I’m headed your way. Let’s fish” to a long lost pal.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to connect with my old friend Steve Wascher up on Lake Erie. You may know him as the world renowned fly tier. I know him as “that other big loud guy.” I was visiting family and told him I was stranded with no vehicle but was free to fish; what a mooch! He told me not to worry and we’d figure it out. After an all-night drive up to Erie, PA, I grabbed a few hours of sleep and was waiting in my in-laws driveway with 4 layers of clothes on. Hey, it’s a big change going from 100-degree days in Washington to 55-degee mornings up north!
After an education on trolling motors, (hey, I’m a trout guy, I know nothing) we were off to the lake. We didn’t get far before we started seeing fish on the surface. We cast and cast to a giant school of spotted gar (I insisted they were bass) for a while until Steve started hooking Sheepheads! Having cut my teeth fishing Midwest rivers with my father, I knew that this beautiful fish was in fact a prized sport fish. Many a fly angler has hunted the elusive Sheepsheads for hours on end, only to return home having brought none to their net. Steve wasn’t so sure about their prize-worthy-ness and for the next couple of hours I hooked and lost a few while Steve continued to haul in slabs of zebra-muscle-encrusted-gold. I was pretty jealous but I eventually got mine when a school of white bass busted around us. I could still catch fish! Whew. Not to be outdone by some kid in the back of HIS boat, Steve put me to shame with a double on his dropper rig.
It was a great morning spent telling jokes and burning my, normally wader covered, legs and feet out on the waters of Lake Erie. I returned home to receive the same lecture I get every time I hang out with Steve regarding the use of sunscreen. I can’t wait till my next trip up north to connect with my fishing buddies to hear about all the adventures they’ve had this summer. Hopefully it’ll be before steelhead season. Thanks for taking me fishing Steve!
The sulfur hatch is finally going up on The Big Gunpowder Falls. Fishing has been great in the afternoon and into the evening hours. Comparaduns and wet flies are the ticket when the fish are being shy. Fuller style patterns that you can skate on the surface will get you the takes when you see bigger splashy rises. Watch for more on our new favorite rods from from Mystic in the shot below.
SWEET new 10’3″ 4wt from Mystic – this rod is perfect for swinging wet flies on the Gunpowder.
I got to spend Friday morning fishing with first rate angler Tim Worrell, of Timothy Paul Carpets and Textiles , out on the Potomac river for smallmouth bass. Now that the weather has warmed up and the flows are down, it’s the perfect time to wet-wade and soak up some sun. We had a blast swinging Clousers and even flinging a few poppers. To say the fish were hungry would be an understatement. We caught so many fish I lost count! If you’re headed out, look for flows below 6,500cfs on the Point of Rocks gauge. The river is still dropping but there’s a lot of volume and a slip can mean a swim; I proved that one yesterday. Leave the cell phone in the car in case of a swim. Wading boots, swim trunks and a big hat will make the day.
If you need to get out and aren’t sure where to start, give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call. We can help you hook up and get those lines stretched out. If you’re just starting out, throwing flies to bass on the Potomac is a great way to get a feel for casting and stay cool.
Keep your tip on the water!
The Dog Days of Summer are here; it’s a good thing I really like dogs. I’ve spent a lot of weekend mornings teaching fly fishing and casting classes at the Bethesda Orvis store and, now that those are mostly wrapped up, I’ve got my weekends back and can hit the water early and had a free Saturday to get out and do some fishing myself.
Just warm enough for the smallies on smaller creeks.
While the local chatter is all about how hot things are and how the fishing has slowed, the fish are still feeding. What most anglers miss is when conditions change, so should your tactics. The smallmouth hunt is no different than fishing trout and observation is the key to hooking up. Matching the “hatch” is the most important even if the hatch is baitfish and or crayfish. Smallies are piled high in shaded and cooler feeder creeks and getting fat on bait that’s had a few months to grow and school up in eddies. Getting out in the mornings before sun-up or after sundown will help your chances and help you beat crowds of tubers and canoeists.
Remember, if your friends tell you to stay home and watch fishing DVDs you need to find some new friends to talk fishing with.
When the bite slows down call 'em up from the deep with poppers.