Sunday, May 30, 2010

Return to Kamenice

The wet and cold days of the early season seem to be past now, what a relief! This weekend I ventured out north to investigate a new fishery that promised an opportunity for wild fish in wild places.

The river Kamenice has a special meaning to me, as I have fond memories (as shown in attached video :-) of it from my whitewater kayaking days.

This time of the year the waters were low and clear, with the rocky bottom clearly visible, and overall looking much tamer. But it was the same river none the less.

The white butterbur flowers were in bloom on the margins, and some grayish mayflies and small Bibios were on wing. Local Brownies were picking them off the surface and could be tempted on a dry fly. The fish were on the smallish side, but obviously locally bred and beautifully colored. Plus they attacked the fly with zest and fought with an attitude.

The color of the fish matched the color of the stream bed perfectly and upon releasing seemed to disappear immediately, despite the seemingly bright yellows and reds.

Later in the day I moved to slower parts of the river, where the brownies were joined by Grayling.

At around 5 o'clock the hatch intensified, and I suddenly found myself standing knee deep in a river, surrounded on all sides by rising fish, oblivious of my presence. Quite an experience! The heavier hatch brought up also the bigger fish, some of them over the 30 cm / 12 inch lenght, making them "decent fish" for the water.

All of my catches were on my Owl and CDC mayfly. It is my first choice for imitating medium gray mayflies, and since it performed so well I found no reason to experiment.

The tie:
#16 Hanák 130BL hook (or any other lightweight dry fly hook, e.g. Tiemco 103BL)
8/0 UNI thread Tan
tail of barred Coq de León fibres
body of a herl from an Eagle Owl feather, reinforced by counter wrapping with the finest copper wire I could find
wing of CDC feathers, spun in loop and wound as hackle, trimmed to size and shape

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Střela in time of Ice Men

Messrs. Pankrác, Servác & Bonifác are traditionally referred to as the three Ice Men, as the period around their name days (May 12th, 13th and 14th, respectively) usually coincides with a time of unusually cold days in the Central Europe. This year was no exception, only with the addition that the weather was not only cold but rather wet as well.

In this time I was having a visitor, Fran Friesen from Vancouver, BC, to whom I promised a close encounter with the European Grayling. For this purpose I selected river Střela, where the chance for an off season grayling seemed the most reliable.

My original hopes for a caddis hatch were quickly brought to reality at the sight of the river, which was high and muddy after a recent rain. No hatch was going on and the situation clearly called for a nymphing approach.

Fran introduced me to the Tenkara fishing, which seems to be the next hip thing on the other side of Atlantic. I was rather surprised how easily the rod converted to Czech nymphing tactic - perhaps not what the samurai fishermen intended initially, but very effective.

Later in the day the water cleared a bit and the temperature increased somewhat (to whopping 8°C), which brought up a hatch of smallish mayflies. This allowed us to drop the cumbersome CZ nymphs and start catching grayling as they were meant to be fished - fine and far off on delicate dry flies.

By the end of the day the two of us caught and released some twenty fish, most of them on the dry fly. Given the challenging environment I considered this result a success. The best producing fly turned out to be my Hare's Mask Emerger mayfly imitation.

The tie:
#19 TMC103 BL hook
tan UNI 8/0 thread
three strands of orange Krystal flash
body of Hare's dubbing
#16 UNI Mylar tinsel, color gold
2 smallish CDC feathers
thorax area lightly dubbed with scruffy hairs from Hare's back

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Return of the Whitefish

I returned to the Bohdaneč fishery & distillery three weeks after catching my first whitefish ever, curious whether my encounter with this unusual fish will be repeated. The spring has proceeded mightily since my last visit, with both apple trees and rapeseed fields in full bloom.

The waters were a slightly muddy from the latest rains (we had an unusually damp and cold springtime this year) but buzzer fishing seemed to be the correct approach. Interesting thing was that the resident rainbows were more interested in light olive buzzers on dropper fished more actively, while the whitefish liked the black buzzer on point fished static, close to bottom.

The sight of the fish had me again wondering what sort of bream had I caught, but strange as it seems the whitefish is indeed a member of the Salmonid family.

The tie:
#10 Kamasan B110 Grub Hook
8/0 UNI thread Black
UNI Stretch Light Olive
Orange Flexi Floss
Two layers of clear varnish

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Opossum & CDC Caddis

As the waters in rivers slowly subside to level that allows dry fly fishing the first caddis flies are starting to appear. They are eagerly met by hungry trout, which are slowly lured by the rising stream temperature from deep pools to more shallow runs and getting more active.

The tie:
#10 Hanák 130BL Hook
8/0 UNI thread Tan
UNI Stretch Light Olive for tag
fine gold ribbing
Homemade dubbing mix - natural brown Opossum + violet UV flash
3 CDC feathers for wing
1 largish CDC feather spun in loop for hackle

The fly can be tied with more contrasting tag - orange, chartreuse, pink - but in this case I decided for a more subdued look. This is however not the only option and especially orange tag should be seriously considered (it works!)

The CDC hackle is intentionally tied from feather with very long fibers - the splayed mess of CDC "legs" creates lots of movement once on water and constitutes a major trigger point.