Sunday, April 18, 2010

Springtime on Střela

Having spent the 2010 Opening day on a put and take stream, which turned to be a disappointment of sorts, I teamed with my friend Vlado and drove to our beloved river Střela for the weekend. It is a smallish stream in what counts in relatively densely populated Central Europe as hard to access area and it supports a healthy population of both Brown trout and Grayling.

We knew from the online peg that the trip will most likely end up in a disappointment, as the heavy rain in the week immediately prior to Opening day caused the river to rise substantially, but the weather forecast promised a warm sunny weekend and we both suffered from a serious case of cabin fever.

The river turned out to be as unfishable as we had expected, and even though we assaulted it with flies of the Heavy Metal kind (Tungsten beads of 4 mm plus some lead) it refused to yield a single fish. The waters were high, muddy and cold (about 7°C). The fish were sensibly hugging the bottom in the deepest of deep pools and refused to be tempted with any of our flies.

After trying for a couple of hours we conceded defeat and turned out attention to the streamside to fully appreciate the beauty of early Springtime in the country.

And despite the fact that we got what we expected and not what we hoped for fishing wise we had a wonderful time, confirming the old saying that what matters is not the quarry, but the chase.

In any case, here is a toast to the successful 2010 season, wherever your fishing might take you - Cheers!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Opening of the 2010 Trout Season

The adverse weather and water conditions forced me to rethink my plans for the opening day of the 2010 Trout season. My initial plan to start at a wild and remote stream, casting to wild and native fish had to be scrapped due to high water. Plan B called for a civilized stream close to Prague, full of sickly stockies and spin fishermen eager to catch the full bag limit.

Since the alternative would be to sit at home on April 16th, which seemed unthinkable, I decided to go and fish on Kocába.

The stream was as full as I expected: lots and lots of fishermen - and I did not start at 6:00 AM as the local custom dictates - and still some Rainbows from stocking earlier this week, who somehow survived the onslaught. I killed one and headed home, no sense tarrying.

The good part was that - since C&R makes little sense on this river - I was able to end the day in a festive manner, with a grilled trout and a glass of fine Veltliner.

The Recipe:
1 Rainbow Stockie of appropriate size
3 sprigs of Rosemary and a little butter inside the belly
a sprinkle of Lemon Pepper and a little salt
enough Bacon to cover the fish (about 2 to 4 slices)

Grill till fish until the bacon is done (it should take about a 1/2 an hour or so), serve with grilled vegetables (mashed potatoes are also fine) and some Grüner Veltliner :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Whitefish in Bohdaneč

With still 3 more days to go till the trout season starts on rivers I headed off to my favorite stillwater fishery in Bohdaneč.
It is my favorite because it has on its banks a distillery of fruit brandy (also called Slivovitz) - a very potent drink nourishing both body and soul, that for some strange reason happens to be unpalatable to persons of other than East European upbringing.

For a time I tried fishing at surface - with shuttlecocks and foam buzzers - but that turned out to be just a case of wishful thinking. The air was cold - about 10°C - and the water colder still. After an hour or so of fishing a light rain started to fall. At these conditions no fish could be tempted to strike on the surface.

However, when I switched to a team of small dark buzzers I learned that the proprietors of the fishery prepared a surprise for me by stocking Whitefish (Coregonus peled). This is a pretty uncommon fish in the Czech waters and it was my first time I caught one on a fly (my initial impression was that a huge Bream had inhaled my fly).

The Whitefish seemed not to mind the weather and once I figured how to approach them I had an easy time catching several. The right way seemed to be with a smallish black buzzer fished almost static on a floating line and long leader (about 12 ft). I fished a 3 fly cast, but the fish almost always took the point fly (the only exception was one fish on mid dropper). I killed a couple and examined their gut - they were feeding heavily on small buzzer pupae, probably picking them off the bottom.

The tie:

#10 Kamasan B160 Hook
UNI 6/0 Thread black (builds the thorax faster than 8/0)
UNI Stretch Black for abdomen
UNI 1/69" Mylar Pearl for rib
UNI Floss Neon Hot Red for cheeks
2 - 3 layers of clear varnish