Weekend Walleye, Rain and Carp report.

28 10 2019

This past Saturday I made a quick walleye trip with a friend of mine.  It was going to be cold but it wasn’t supposed to start raining until the afternoon so it was now or never.  We started around 7:30 am in my usual spot.  Water was stained, no floating weeds and a surface temp of around 52 degrees.  Not much happened in the first hour but once the sun cleared the trees the walleye finally turned on.  It wasn’t fast and furious but we picked away at a two man limit for the next 90 minutes.  Actually, it did get kind of hectic a few times.  We ended up with several doubles that morning.  We even ended the trip on a double.  As one fish was being brought in I hooked one and landed it as well.  The smaller one went back and we were headed in.  Good thing too since the NE wind was starting to pick up and the skyline south of us was starting to darken up.  One other item of note was the amount of emerald shiners and and young of the year perch we were finding as we cleaned the fish.  The fish were all males and they appear to be gorging themselves on the available food source.

A river all to myself. Fall fishing is the best.

About an hour after I got the fish cleaned and the boat put away the rain started and it didn’t quit until well into the evening.  I heard that we were supposed to get about 2 inches of rain but I never did hear a final report.  All I know was that my rivers would be blown out so steelhead fishing the next day was out.

After I finished up with some family stuff in the morning I decided to go check on the rivers, just in case.  As expected they were really high and dirty.  As I was walking along I spotted a silt trail and saw a carp feeding in a flooded ditch connected to the river.  I slowly backed away and headed back to the car to get my carp stuff.  The carp were cruising around in shallow areas that were normally dry.  They were also on high alert and hard to sneak up on.  I did manage to spot one feeding on the opposite side of a log.  I cast my fly out past him and stripped it into range.  Once he saw it he spun towards it and sucked it up.  I set the hook and off he went.  I kept him as close to me as possible since he was in an area with a lot of blow downs.  Eventually he swam over a log and the fly scraped the log and came out of the fishes mouth.  Oh well, at least I fooled one when I wasn’t expecting to even see any.  I saw a few more after that but I couldn’t get any of them to go.  I may go back Tuesday and see if any are still around.  My hot spot was so flooded I didn’t even recognize it.  If the carp are still active I’m sure there will be a few in there.





Holy High Water

4 10 2019

I really  miss having a flow gauge on my part of the Huron river.  It was so nice to look up what the levels and flows were like before I went fishing.  Now I have to go old school and drive to the river to find out what is going on.  Even then it’s a bit of a crap shoot.  The section I have been fishing for carp is between two dams.  I have watched the levels rise and drop in a day even when we haven’t had any rain.  After a couple days of rain I really had no idea what to expect.  The river could have been blown out or just a trickle depending on if the gates were open at the dams.  I had a free hour so I decided to go check it out.

It didn’t take long and I had my answer, the river was up between two and three feet.  the water was so high that the carp were right along the shoreline with their noses in the grass.  Talk about an impossible situation to sneak up on them.  They were on high alert and I couldn’t get within 10 yards without spooking them.  The flows were so fast that if I made a cast the fly was by them or over their back before I could strip it into the sweet spot.  If I could find a pool, with no current, then I could get a shot.  In this current though it wasn’t going to happen.

My next spot was my honey hole.  I was hoping that it wouldn’t be flooded out and I might be able to sneak up on one.  As I walked in the water was over the bank and picnic tables that were high and dry were now sitting in about 3 inches of water.  The bright side though was the carp were there, everywhere.  I could barely see them but there had to be at least 2 dozen of them feeding.  Seemed like easy pickings but that many fish meant a lot of eyes looking for danger.  Spooking one could send them all back out into the main river.  Fortunately it was overcast so I wasn’t throwing a shadow.  I was able to sneak into range but the fish I was casting to were refusing my fly.  I was about to swap out flies when I had a smaller one take an interest in my fly.  I set the hook as he picked it up but lost him shortly afterwards.  That spooked every fish in the area so I left.

The next spot was more of the same.  Carp on high alert with their noses in the grass.  I tried a few more spots but the water was so deep and dark I couldn’t see anything.  I was about to head home when I decided to try the honey hole one more time.  I snuck my way back in and saw one lone carp swimming around.  I dropped my fly in the water and he swam right over it.  I lifted the fly out of the water and waited for him to turn my way.  When he did I lowered the fly into his path and waited.  This time he sucked it up and I drove the hook home.  He immediately headed for the main river and I put the brakes on him to prevent that.  I wasn’t dressed to give chase so I kept him as close as possible.  About 5 minutes later I got him in the net.

After that I packed up and went home.  I had some packing to do since I’m headed north to go duck hunting and hopefully catch an Atlantic Salmon or two.





Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

1 10 2019

Last night I wasn’t even planning on going out.  My daughter and I had to go grocery shopping and I figured it would be to late by the time we got done.  Fortunately for me my commute home was incident free and grocery shopping went rather quickly.  Even with all that happening, in my favor, my original plan was to just stay in and tie up some more flies.  I tied up two rather quickly and I liked the way they came out so much I just had to try one.

Twenty minutes later I was walking to the river to start my usual walk upstream.  Right off the bat I spotted a feeding carp but his nose was buried under some exposed tree roots and there was no way to present a fly.  I waited for a bit but not to long since I only had about half an hour of daylight left.  He swam off so I just worked my way upstream.  Levels were up from the other day but the water was still somewhat clear.  Eventually I made my way to the shaded prime feeding area where I have been consistently  seeing carp.  The lack of light and deeper than usual water made spotting one difficult.  I could see silt trails but I couldn’t see the carp making them.  Eventually I did see one in some shallower water and I made my way over to present my fly.  He really wasn’t working my way and started to swim off.  I was about to cast in front of him when I saw another carp coming into the area.  I waited a few seconds and then stripped the fly into his range.  He turned towards the fly and blocked my view of it.  I saw what looked like him sucking up the fly, it was hard to tell in the stained water, so I set the hook and the barb struck home.  Off he went into the main river and kept out of range for a bit.  Eventually I got him close to shore, once I did I soon realized I had just hooked my first Mirror Carp.  Now I got serious and I was probably way to cautious about getting him into the net.  A minute later he was in and after a quick pic he was on his way.

After that I was pretty much out of light but I found out what I needed to know.  The fly worked and their are Mirror Carp in my area of the river.  Once I got home and cleaned up I tied up a few more flies for my next trip.  My next time out to Schultz Outfitters I’ll pick up some more dubbing brushes in natural colors.  I may trim up a few of them to make them look more like a small clam or zebra mussel.  My OCD had a hard time just leaving that scruffy mess as is.  Then again, the carp don’t seem to care.

 





Stupid Is As Stupid Does

25 09 2019

Some fish deserve to be caught.  They do something so stupid and so against their normal behavior that removing them from the gene pool would be doing the species a favor.   This was the case last night when I ventured out to my usual fishing grounds.  Water levels were up and there was a bit of a stain to the river so I was hoping to find fish in the areas that are normally dry. As usual I managed to spook the first few and had one refuse my fly before he swam off.  I did spot a silt cloud in one of my high water spots but the fish was in an area between two blow downs and in a lot of heavy cover.  I figured there was no way I could sneak up on him, let alone land him if I could.  With a lot of patience and a bit of luck I was able to get into position and hook up.  It didn’t last long though, once he was hooked he headed for the nearest pile of branches and busted the line.  No big deal, I fooled him and then he fooled me.  We’re even.

The next spot was a lot of walking and a lot of refusals.  I managed to present my fly to about a half dozen fish and every one of them turned or just plain ignored it.  I was beginning to think that these fish were on to me and that I would need to find a new area (which I did later).  While I was walking along I saw a carp swimming towards me and he was followed by a small bass.  I cast the fly out in front of him and of course the bass swam up and grabbed it.  He started splashing around right on top of the carp but the carp never left.  Normally, at any sign of danger, a carp will swim off to happier waters. They are convinced that everything in the world is out to get them, even when they are in the 20 pound + range.  I’ve seen it happen dozens of times, except for this time.  The carp hung around and when the bass came free the carp swam up and grabbed the fly.

???

Of course once he did I set the hook and he wasn’t off to the races.  He just sat there, he never ran, he just stayed close by and slowly swam in circles.  The only reason it took me awhile to land him was because I was standing on a steep bank and I had to figure out how to land him.  I didn’t have my net so eventually I waded in and lifted him up and onto shore.

That was it, pretty uneventful and it really had me scratching my head.  This fish did the exact opposite of any carp I ever caught before.  It was like he just didn’t care.  After a quick pic I revived him and let him swim away to ponder his existence.  He had some very distinctive marks on him so I’m curious to see if I we will ever cross paths again.  Hopefully he will be a bit more enthusiastic next time.





Scouting

19 09 2019

Last night I decided to check out a new stretch of the Huron River.  I had been hitting the other stretch pretty hard, as of late, so I figured it was time to find a new area.  After doing some searching on Google Maps I found a few areas that had potential.  Only problem was that I had about an hour and a half of decent light so this was going to be a quick hit and run trip.

The first few areas I checked showed potential but I didn’t see any fish.  As a matter of fact I wouldn’t see any fish until the very last spot.  Even this area was very hit and miss.  At some access points the bank was 10 feet above the water and no way of getting down.  Other spots were so overgrown I wouldn’t be able to sneak in without scaring everything.  The last area was just about perfect.  Slow moving water, gradual decline to the river’s edge, a few logs and most importantly feeding carp.  I saw the silt trail of one feeding carp but I couldn’t get into position without spooking him.  He slowly swam away and as I was watching him I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye.  There was another carp, with his nose buried under the log, in full on feed mode.  As I got closer he stopped and started to swim away.  I quickly cast my fly out ahead of him and to my surprise he sucked it in.  I set the hook and off he went.  I had left my net back in my car so while I was letting him tire himself out I was trying to figure out how I was going to land him.  The last time I dragged a carp up on the sand with my fly rod, I broke the tip.  I wasn’t going to do that again.  Fortunately, the splashing fish attracted the attention of two other anglers downstream.  They walked up to see what was going on and one of them was kind enough to wade in and land the fish for me along with take a picture.  He was bass fishing but of course wanted to know why someone would actually be targeting carp on a fly rod.  After a brief explanation of how and why I thanked him again and headed back to the car.  I still have a few more miles of this river to check out but it will have to wait for another day.





A little rain is a wonderful thing.

16 09 2019

Originally my plan was to spend the weekend up at my Mom’s, take care of some of her chores and do a little squirrel hunting Sunday morning when the season opened.  Unfortunately it rained all morning long on Sunday so I just packed up and headed for home.  It had rained some at home so I was thinking I could get a couple of hours in Sunday evening chasing carp.

Around 6 I headed out with Orvis Helios 2 7 wt in hand.  I didn’t feel like putting my waders on so I grabbed one of my landing nets to save me from jumping in the water.  I really didn’t know what the water would be like.  I expected it to be somewhat dirty after the rains but I didn’t know how dirty or how high.  When I arrived I could see that the water was dirty but just visible enough to where I could see a carp peacefully feeding along the shoreline.  Easy picking, or so I thought.  I dropped the fly right on his head and he didn’t stick around to see what it was.  I worked my way up to a shaded area that is normally to shallow to hold fish.  Today it was about a foot deeper and full of feeding carp.  Spotting one was difficult but I was able to see some silt clouds and a few bubble trails.  I waited until I could see one working towards me and I carefully placed the fly in his path.  A few seconds later he was on it I slowly lifted up and once I felt weight I drove the hook home.  Five minutes later and the first one was in the net.

He pretty much stirred up the whole area so Once I let him go I moved on to another spot upstream.  The bank on this part of the river is a lot higher so I could see right down pretty easily.  As I snuck up there was a carp right below me, feeding upstream.  I placed the fly ahead of him and to the right.  Once he got close enough he saw it and sucked it up.  A quick set of the hook and he was off to the races.  Unlike the last fish he headed for the middle of the river and downstream.  I slowed him up to keep him out of the weeds and the logs.  I was able to turn him back upstream and keep him out in front of me for the bulk of the fight.  After about 5 minutes I was able to get him into the net.

2 for 2 in the first 20 minutes.  I was feeling pretty good but the next spot reminded me that getting to cocky can lead to a very humbling experience.  For the next hour I couldn’t do anything right.  It was getting darker and trying to spot the fish was becoming increasingly difficult.  Add that to the humidity, and my polarized sunglasses continually fogging up, and I ended up spooking more fish then actually seeing any.  I can’t complain though.  I was able to land a couple for about 90 minutes of fishing.  The last two years it would have taken me months to catch a couple.  Now I’ve caught more carp in the last 2 weeks then I have in the last two years and I still have a few more months left.  I’m learning more about catching these fish and how they react to the different water levels and clarity.  Next year should be epic.





Yet Another Carp

9 09 2019

I think I may finally have this fly fishing for carp thing figured out.  Last year I caught one.  The year before that maybe 6.  I’ve landed 4 in the last week and they have been the biggest ones to date.  I still have a lot to learn but I have a lot more confidence now and I know what to do to improve my chances for success.  Just wish I would have figured it out back in June instead of now.  In a few more weeks it will be back to Steelhead and the carp will have to wait.