Category Archives: Fly FIshing

Your Membership has Expired

Your Membership has Expired

Did you get my message? It’s time to renew your TU membership. With your support, TU will continue working tirelessly to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain America’s trout and salmon habitat. Make your $35 contribution today and you’ll receive a new TU car decal and $30 off your next purchase of $100 or more at Orvis.com.

Oh, I got the message.

This one along with the other 20 or so I’ve got in the last two months through both snail mail and email.

No, I will not be renewing my membership. The primary reason being that there are no trout in Illinois and I don’t travel to try to catch them. I did make an effort to pursue trout over a decade ago in a couple of trips to Wisconsin. I quickly learned that the pursuit of trout bores me to tears.

But I kept renewing my membership.

Over the years I like to think I’ve done quite a bit to protect, reconnect and restore some of the rivers and creeks here in the northeast corner of Illinois. Why not support a group that is attempting to do that nationwide, if not worldwide.

Then a few years ago my interest in anything outside of my limited world here in the Fox Valley began to wane. I’m now officially not a member of anything. No groups, no clubs, no organizations. No more board seats for local organizations. Over the last two years I’ve let my guiding service die. No more fishing classes and just last year I turned down a handful of opportunities to speak to groups or clubs about fishing.

This self imposed isolation is twofold.

First, my spare time has become very limited and what little I have is extremely precious to me.

Second, I put this at the end of a recent post:

And with this, I am done with my Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Updates.

There will be no more.

I’m sure I will go fishing on the creek come March, I’m sure I’ll catch some fish, I’m sure I’ll take some pictures and I’m sure I’ll write something up about the fishing trip.

But I will no longer mention the creek by name. There will be no recognizable photos of the creek posted. As far as anyone else is concerned, it’s just another one of the seven or so creeks I fish that happen to feed into the Fox River.

This is going to be done for purely selfish reasons.

The interest level in fishing the Fox River and it’s creeks, at least in the areas I like to fish, has dropped off considerably over the past eight years.

I run into practically no one while out there fishing.

And I want to keep it that way.

I was going to expand on this a bit, it’s all in my head, but I’m going to leave it there.

I think that pretty much explains everything.

I will give it to you though TU, you almost had me. You almost had me renew my subscription and it wasn’t anything you did directly.

In a recent issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal, there was a photo essay. A couple of guys in Minnesota that went out trout fishing in the middle of winter on a small stream and they were using light spinning gear.

I don’t recall any derogatory remarks about their choice of equipment. A shot was included of a small floating Rapala. More shots of a beautiful little stream being walked by a couple of guys, with spinning gear. Mention was made of numerous trout caught.

There was even a shot of one of them lighting up what appeared to be a damn fine cigar.

I thought, there’s hope for these trout guys yet!

But it didn’t work. It didn’t win me over.

Instead, this year I’ll be out somewhere in the Fox Valley in pursuit of smallmouth bass during one of my 70 or so fishing trips. With spinning gear. Only, if anyone bothers to read what I’ll be writing, you’ll know I’m in the Fox Valley somewhere, but where?

You won’t even realize I’m out there fishing and observing and extolling the virtues of my surroundings and I don’t even have a fly rod in my hand. It’s an inefficient tool for accomplishing a simple goal, to catch a fish, so why bother with it and why even bother mentioning what’s being used?

As a tip of my hat to the world of trout though, I just might include some shots of me lighting up a…

Who am I kidding, I don’t smoke damn fine cigars.

As the wife calls them… your little shit sticks.

keng_2

Welcome to my world.

Carp on a Stick

So, what kind of stick were you using?

A common question I hear from fishermen.
Always curious about what was being used
to catch a fish.

It varies, but it could be just about anything.

Spinning gear seems to get used a lot.

The weight of the spinning gear varies,
but generally pretty light.

Yeah, okay, that might be a sucker.
On a Rat-L-Trap.

There are those that will dig out
an old fiberglass favorite
just to see if it still works.

Then there are the long sticks.
A Tenkara rod comes to mind.
Before they telescoped,
they were made of sticks.

Bamboo is a stick
made into a long stick
or short, depends.

Some get out light long sticks
for the challenge.

While others insist
on the perfectly balanced long stick.

Shit, wait, how’d that species get in here?

I’ve come across sticks
and other things that could be sticks
tucked into the shore
with line tied on the end
and trailing out into the water.
Big hook on the other end of the line
with a gob of worms
or rows of corn attached.

Then there are those
that catch a carp on a stick,
take them home
and actually eat them.

But no, this is carp on a stick.

Literally.

Bamboo — The Last few Pictures

Got the rod out to a pond and a creek for the last couple of days I got to use it.

Skunked it on the pond, but fishing was a bit difficult that day anyway.

Now to sit down and write something semi-coherent about the rod and the experience. The rod was a pleasure to use. Fly fishing? I have issues with it.

For some fly fishing may be a way to achieve nirvana, a method of fishing that lets you enter into some mystical state where you become one with your surroundings. Heaven knows enough have written about such things.

It may be an extremely efficient way to cast flies and hope a fish may appear remotely interested.

But to me a fly rod is a tool and in this case, kind of like trying to split logs with a hatchet.

But I digress…

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The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.

Bamboo — A few Pictures

Sadly, not a whole lot with fish.

Which figures, since I have this wonderful bamboo fly rod to play with.

A cold front came through a few days ago and pretty much shut down the fishing. It turned the water considerably cooler and on one creek, it turned it crystal clear.

Of course the fishing will turn back on as soon as I ship the rod off to the next user.

A week earlier the fishing was hot and heavy anywhere I went on the Fox River or any of it’s creeks. My trip to a creek proved it to be devoid of smallies except for one.

A far cry from the previous week when I stopped counting somewhere around 30 on this same creek.

I was looking forward to another banner day of fishing, the creek is beautiful and it would have been a treat for the fly rod.

I did get a rock bass to cooperate…

And a handful of crappie were eager to hit.

Not what I wanted or expected, but better than getting skunked.

________

I took the time to peruse the journal.

Definitely an enjoyable read with a bit of an artistic flair at times.

Also played around with the flies in the little traveling fly box.

Do you trout anglers really use such tiny little flies? Even the bluegills around here would scoff at that as an offered meal.

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Today was supposed to be a banner day of 20 or more smallies. It’s a go to spot, but nobody told me the fish had got up and gone. The bald eagle that floated around the area for a half hour gave me hope, but apparently they know as much about fishing as I do.

Did manage to avoid a skunking…

So I hung out near a boulder and tried to get a half way decent shot of the reel and some background. The fish weren’t biting, so I had to humor myself somehow.

Sunday, the ponds. This is where I salvage the week.

Unless they’ve all dried up since I was there six or so weeks ago. Hasn’t rained much in all that time.

If so, back to my initial plan…

Tying on a peanut and going for my wife’s trained squirrels out in the front yard.

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The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.