Friday, April 22, 2016

Back in the Saddle

Hi Folks, Finally got my rear end on the water yesterday.  Been a long winter at the ski resort. I am now finally wrapping things up on the hill and begin my guiding schedule next weekend.  Yesterday and fellow angler and myself visited on e of my old stomping grounds in the Champlain Valley.  We targeted northern pike with the fly.  Bright sunny day with air temps. exceeding 70 degrees.  A slight south west breeze.  Does look like a cool down is in store over the next few days.  The pike are finished spawning as was evident from their stretched out bellies.  Post spawn northerns can be pretty aggressive as they are attempting to replenish their bodies from the rigors of reproduction.  We focused on newly forming weed beds, downed wood and boulders in those areas, and the first significant drop off from spawning bays.  We had 12 pike come to the fly and we landed 7 fish between 24" and 28".  Also a had few large smallmouth whack our big streamers.  A 3/0 black and white bunny bugger prompted a lot of interest.  I cast a 9wt. sinking pike line from Rio and let the fly sink to the bottom.  Long slow strips seemed to get the fish chasing.  Always fun to watch an olive torpedo accelerate onto the fly.  We saw almost every take which is exciting when sitting in canoe.  The fish we missed and lost was due to lack of strip striking.  The pike hit the fly sideways and often the hook would not penetrate their mouth without a strip strike.  A good opening day for me and with the wacky weather, things seem to be getting going sooner than normal.  Will be visiting the kingdom this week to catch a lake run rainbow/steelhead.  I hear that the steelhead run has been very good with some large fish being landed.  Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home.  Have Fun, Willy