Thursday, April 22, 2010

Great Fishing!

Here is the latest report from our friend Chris. This came from last weekend.

It seems like every time I go down to the North Fork of the White the fishing gets better and better. The fish god's have shined on me on recent trips. Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking my friends Melvin and Deborah from Jefferson City. Each year I donate a trip in my drift boat for the Capital City Fly fishers Banquet. This is the Mid Missouri FFF chapter. It's my opportunity to play guide for a day with some good friends and raise money for a good cause. Thanks to the generosity and hospitality of Sunburst Ranch, this trip went off without a hitch. I was debating on floating the upper or lower and decided on the lower to get away from crowds. Turned out to be a good choice. We put in at Patrick 9:00 AM and floated until about 6:00 to James Bridge. Overcast skies and flows were around 750 CFS. The day started off great on Pat's Rubberlegs and didn't stop all day. Pat's were the MVP and quite a few on Shop Vac and RU Experienced Caddis Pupa patterns. We nymphed all day and caught more fish than I have ever boated before on the NFOW! The fishing was unreal, it seemed like every likely spot was holding at least one fish that wanted to eat. Melvin and Deborah had multiple doubles throughout the day. One of the lessons from the day was that on lower flows which I would classify 750 as beginning to be "lower" fishing can still be great but overcast skies are the key factor. At the end of the day when the fishing was over, I told Melvin and Deborah that the good news was that we had an Epic Day but the bad news was that it may not happen again for quite some time. Tight Lines,Chris Gates

The only way to have days like this is to get out and try. When you come down please listen to my advice, not that I am a pro, but if you are not experienced on this river you will struggle (like I did when I first started) if you don't do things a certain way! I will share anything I can with you so please ask.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2.06 Inches of Fish per Minute

Remember that you heard it here first. The new Sunburst System for reporting fishing success. I have come up with this system which takes fish size as well as the number of fish caught and puts them in an easy to understand format for determining fishing success, expressed as inches of fish per minute. This system won't get me rich or famous but should soon be taught in schools along with the Dewey Decimal system, and New York's public transportation system. You may ask how this system came into existence, keep reading and you'll find out.

It all started yesterday at about 15:45. My mowing was done, Amy and Molly were in town and I found myself with 45 free minutes before the school bus was due to arrive with Eli. I could either relax and catch the last half of Dr. Phil or sneak down for a little fishing in front of the house. Fishing it was! I quickly donned my waders, grabbed my rod and camera and headed to slippery riffle for a few minutes of chucking and ducking. I entered the water at around 15:55 and on my third drift hooked and landed a 12" brown. At this point it was 15:58 and I was off to a blistering pace of 4" fpm. After a quick release I continued nymphing down this quick run and several minutes later was brought to attention by an explosive take. Now I have caught hundreds of trout a few over 20", but this fish hit like no other I can remember. It took the fly with such force that I immediately looked down to make sure I didn't have my fly line wrapped around anything and as I did so I heard a thunderous splash. With fly line cleared I looked up to see a tsunami headed my way. Granted, this was not a large tsunami, but anytime a fish throws a wave like this when it jumps you must have something good. Wishing I would have seen the creature jump, my mind was racing wondering what was on the other end of my line. Lime green fly line tore off my Galvan reel as my quarry once again showed itself. Shooting out of the water like Shamu at Sea world was the biggest brown trout I had ever seen hooked to my fly. As the fish entered the water it once again took off peeling line as it went. In typical brown trout style this fish settled in the deepest swiftest current and bulldogged it's way around slowly taking back line that I had worked so hard to gain. After a few minutes I fought the fish onto the shallow shelf where I was standing. She quickly showed that this was not where she wanted to be, once again taking off like a bonefish on the flats, again shooting out of the water in an attempt to free herself. This tug of war would go on for what seemed like an hour, and with no net several attempts at grabbing the fish were met with disappointment. Eventually this athlete tired, as did the fish and I was able to bring her to hand. I luckily had a tape measure and camera in my waders and quickly snapped a picture and took a measurement. My worthy opponent, a beautiful female brown trout, measured right at 23" and while I didn't get a girth measurement she was fat, looking like a rugby ball each time she lept from the river. My fishing officially ended at 14:12 only 17 minutes after the trip had started, half of this time spent fighting the biggest trout of my life. Catching 2 fish while waiting for the bus didn't seem that impressive to me, but catching 35 inches of fish in 17 minutes did. While I don't plan on getting a patent for the Sunburst System I hope this blog will make it's way to the history books in the near future as the story that popularized a new way of measuring fishing success.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Big Stones = Lots of Fish!

Took a float in Steve's drift boat with Amy and the kids on Good Friday, and absolutely wore the fish out. I think I even commented to Amy that the fishing was "off the hook" whatever that means. Doesn't seem to be a good phrase to be used when fishing. We put in at Patrick Bridge at about 1200 cfs and Amy had two fish by the time we reached the big island above Riverside. Stopping there for lunch I grabbed a rod and immediately brought in a 13" brown. Two drifts later a beautiful par marked "wild brown" was landed, and within another 10 minutes I had caught a total of 4 more browns up to 15", with several others spitting the hook. The fishing slowed and I decided to eat a sandwich. As I played in the river with the kids we started flipping rocks to see what bugs might be around and under the first rock was a large stone fly larvae. I showed it to Amy and the kids, and we commented on how this must be why the fish were so turned on to the large stonefly imitation we were using. I put the fly back in the water and soon was wishing I would have taken a picture. Not long after, Eli asked me to come over because he had found a "crawdad or something". It was another big stonefly and this time we took the opportunity to get it on film. After an hour or so of playing on the island we set off amidst a flotilla of canoes. Wondering if the canoers would spook the fish we soon had our answer as Amy caught several nice browns drifting in front of Riverside. Battling 20+ mph gusts I worked to row and Amy worked to cast, but every 10 minutes or so our efforts were rewarded with fish after fish falling victim to the fly. By the time we reached James Bridge Amy had boated at least a dozen browns and two rainbows, with many others coming unbuttoned before we could net them. The kids had fun netting a few fish and Amy had fun catching fish after fish. Overall a wonderful day on the river with the family, who knows how many fish we could have caught if fishing had been the number one priority.