Friday, May 22, 2015

Montana photos of the week

this is the half-hour drive up to the ranch

this water is just upstream from the ranch

this section is about a four minute walk from your bed; nice, deep, dark runs holding fish much bigger than you might expect

"might as well throw a couple more on your plate, you have a big day in front of you!"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

chasin' smallies around Kentucky

I headed down to Kentucky on Tuesday to chase some smallies with my friend, Alan.  First things first, we needed some lunch to fortify us before the work ahead of us.  Of course, Alan knows where all the truely authenitic Kentucky spots are and this one did not disappoint. 
Right when we walked in the front door, you could feel the history in every nook and cranny of this general store.  In the back of the store, amongst the hardware and field tools, there are a number of tables filled with farmers and locals.  We ordered a couple of sandwiches and stood out from the crowd in our fishing clothing.  The other diners knew we were not going to be putting in an honest days work. 
 Built in 1915, you only have to hang out here for a bit and then next thing you know you are in Walton's Mountain.

  Ok, know that we have the important things out of the way...let's get to the fishin'!
We drove down this road and then turned down that road and then headed down a holler in the deep woods and they we came upon the creek.  You could say that we would have the water to ourselves.

  We started working the water and hoping it would be a top water day.  Well, that was not working so I went to the tried and true fly I used on my last two outings, the bead head brown wooly bugger.  Fish can't resist this fly so I knew that I would start hookin' up. 

Well, that did not seem to be the ticket, so I got serious and put on the olive zuddler.  I worked the water hard and Alan and I came to the conclusion that the fish were going to win this day.  I landed five fish; all dinks.  This is when I started getting thirsty and we headed back to the truck.  While we sat on our coolers and had a coldy, we came up with all the reasons the fish were not biting.  The temp the night before had been 45.  It just wasn't hot enough.  We would try again in the hot summer.
this was the best fish of the day.  what a woopin'
 
OK, let's forget about Tuesday and head out Wednesday morning and hit the Elkhorn on the way back to Cincinnati.  I drove through Frankfort and had the Elkhorn on the mind when I came upon a sign that had me turning my vehicle in a driveway and taking a little diversion.





Well, that was well worth the hour tour and I had to let the water warm up on the Elkhorn because it was 45 again last night.  I even talked fishin' with one of the guys bottling some single barrel bourbon.
I headed out of the Buffalo Trace Distillery with the Elkhorn Creek and smallmouth on the mind.  I got my gear together and hit the water and man was it cold.  I started swinging the bead head bugger and picked up one smallie along the far bank.  I worked downstream for quite a bit and nothing else.  This was a section of the Elkhorn I had never been on.  I decided to work upstream towards a series of rapids.  I also thought I better switch flies and put on the olive zuddler.
  As I was working my way through the faster moving water I had thoughts of slow fishing on Tuesday, but then I started liking the looks of the water and my spirits lifted.  The look of the water wasn't so much smallmouth lookin' water, but very trout like.
If I am not going to catch fish, at least I like to enjoy the type of water I am in.  I picked up a couple of nice fish in the faster moving water and my hopes lifted.

 By the end of the day I picked up twenty fish in four hours of wading, with only three of the fish being dinks.  One of my favorite fish of the day took my olive zuddler in very fast moving water just below a waterfall just like he was a trout out West.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

D&H Fly Fishing Schools

As you can tell by the recent blog posts and our facebook page, the fishing season is here!  Whether you are new to the sport or would like to take your skills to the next stage, D&H has the right level of training for you.  Below are all of the details.  If you would like to see photos and current dates, please click here.


Friday, May 15, 2015

South Fork of the Licking River

big crayfish population; look where we found this guy



I have been thinking about fishing the South Fork of the Licking River for many years and just never spent time exploring it.. Ted and I decided to run down there yesterday and see what it is all about.  It is an easy drive from Cincinnati down 27.  We met up with Glenn Thaxton and he provided us with a canoe and transportaion and a bunch of local knowledge.

The stream has many islands that provide a lot of structure to fish.  The air temp and water temp was cool because it went down to about 47 the night before in Cincinnati, so it was probably even cooler out there in the sticks.  The day started off slow and I tried to get them to take top water with not much success.  I switched over to a bead head brown wooly bugger (the exact same fly I used on Friday at the Elkhorn).  I started to swing and strip this streamer with a bit more success, but still not the action I wanted.  I think the water was a bit too cool for any real action.  We stopped for a little snack at the end of and island and then we split up and worked opposite sides of a long, shaded island.  I had enough and switched to an olive zuddler.  No holding back; I brought out the secret weapon.  No mercy smallies!!

I picked up about four fish as I swung the zuddler off the bank in a somewhat tight channel.  At the top of the island there was a set of riffles; very trout looking water.  Above the riffles off to the left was a flat area I was going to walk through to cast to the "good looking water" beyond.  I remembered my rule of casting to the area before I disturb it and BAMMM...this big smallie SMASHED my zuddler the minute it touched the water.  Did I say BAAAMMMM!!!  It ran all over the place and then headed down to the rapids.  I turned him and horsed him in on my heavy bass leader and landed him.  Big fat 15" smallie.  Now that was fun!
The zuddler kept them busy for the rest of the day and I picked up 32 fish with maybe only five being smaller fish.

Montana photos of the week

if this is what a point-and-shoot can make this scene look like, just think what being there in person is like


discussing the plan-of-attack

you know that drop-off just in front of these rocks holds a big brown.  your first cast is your best chance, so make it a good one.  i think an olive zuddler will do the trick.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

St. Clair Flats Fishing and Scott Tidal 8 Review

Had a great opportunity to get out and fish the flats of Lake St. Clair.  I also broke in my new Scott Tidal 8wt.  I had never fished flats for smallmouth before.  It quickly became of my most memorable fishing experiences so far.  Between the three of us, we each landed plenty of fish.  A chartreuse and white clouser was the fly of choice for the afternoon.  Tidal review is posted below. 


Monday, May 11, 2015

first trip to the Elkhorn this season

Four us from the shop ran down to the Elkhorn Creek in Kentucky on Friday.  Water level was perfect, but I think the water temperature was a little on the cool side.  Fishing was fine, but the smallies were not slamming the top water.  I found that the biggest fish were hanging in the sunny areas along the banks.  A lot of my normal spots did not produce, but I had success in some new areas.
I landed about 25-30 fish, with only a few dinks in the bunch.  One smallie slammed my bugger the minute it hit the water.
I picked up eight smallies below this riffle section.  One was the nicest of the day for me; he was sitting on the bank in the bright sun.