Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"The Vermont Experience"

I woke up just in time to catch the sunrise at one of my favorite spots on the way to Vermont.

No alarm needed. The addiction was burning, and my brain was craving for what I call "the Vermont experience". Every fall over the past few years, since I discovered some of its amazing fishing locations, I tried to get at least one day of fishing there. I am still discovering new spots, but still enjoying some of the old ones. What is so special about Vermont? Well, on some of its rivers you get as close to the inner peace as you could ever be. Everything narrows down to the fly on the water and nothing else matters. And in the exact moment a fish hits your fly, the time stops and all the worries are gone....If you are a fly fisherman, you know exactly what I'm talking about, if not, well......it's not too late yet.....

  I came for the wild fish that breed  in those waters. Prepared with nymphs, especially in the cool October morning....

But little I knew....BWOs were in full hatch and the very first cast brought the first fish to the net...on a dry.

The rest of the day was just as good as I expected. Vermont is one of those special places where the beauty of the landscape is only matched by the beauty of its fish. I am already dreaming about next fall....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hungry like a wolf

     I heard about similar episodes before, but now I witnessed it myself and it still seems pretty amazing. Here's the story:

      I had a couple of hours at sunset and headed to one of my local spots for some dry fly action. White perch was getting ready to spawn and this is one of those times when you can catch a bunch of them on a dry fly.  This is one of my little spring treats, a very relaxing type of fishing. They are easy to spot by the rises and put up a crazy fight once hooked.

      Matching the hatch was not too hard, among the the tan caddis the mayflies were visibly targeted by fish and birds and soon the fish started to find their way to the net.


Yellow perch were in the mix too

 And some chubs/fall fish

     A minute after I released the last 13 inch fall fish, I spotted something silver moving on the bottom in front of me, in 6 feet of water. It started to get dark so I couldn't figure it out first, it looked like a half of a fish, but it was still moving. Then it got closer to me and I realized it was a fall fish, perhaps the one I had just released, in the process of being swallowed by a  chain pickerel (essox niger). The things were not going in the right direction for either one of the fish. The fall fish was screwed, two thirds in the unforgiving jaws of the pickerel. But the pickerel's situation was not rose either. The pray was too big to swallow but also to big to spit out. Pickerel's teeth were doing too good of a job. Its gills were wide open but there was no water flow through them because the mouth was completely blocked. The predator and the pray were both heading for a slow death.

     I stopped fishing and started watching the action. The pickerel was barely crawling on the bottom and the current slowly brought it closer and closer to me. I removed my net and once they got within my reach I tried to pick it up, despite the fact that I was in 4 feet deep water.

      First attempt only lifted the struggling fish off the bottom a couple inches  without even triggering the normal flight response. The second scoop was successful (not for my phone though, which needed a hair drier treatment and couples of days of rehab in a rice bag to return to function). I also got some water in my waders but it didn't matter. 

      Once in the net, the pickerel was able to wedge the fall fish out of it's mouth within seconds. I measured them: 24 inch pickerel trying to eat a 13 inch fall fish. More then half its length and wider too. Doable if you're a python or an anaconda. Not doable if you are a dumb greedy pickerel. 

The pickerel was lucky, didn't need much resuscitation. The fall fish was barely moving its mouth and after 15 minutes of effort I gave up. The herons probably had a good breakfast the next day. I'm wondering if the pickerel learned something from that or died the next day with another oversized dinner stuck in its throat. I know some people who would do the same....

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spring has sprung: Canada trip part 2

The next day we moved north, looking for something that has eluded me for a while, I wanted to catch my first steelhead. I knew I can do it, I had some pretty good local intel and support. My guides taught me the technique, put me on fish, what else could I hope for?  Meanwhile they did a little fishing themselves. Sotto got the first one on his spey rod:

 Then Hari's turn to land a beauty:
The fish were surfacing all over the place  but all they had on their mind was the spawning, not the food. They were even trying to get into a tiny brook to spawn. Finally, after numerous casts, I could feel the perfect swing and my first steelhead became more then just a dream

Last day of this dream trip was very short. I had a plane to catch so for a couple of hours we chose a nearby creek that had some little ones hanging around

 And some a little bigger:
 The big brown managed to stay hidden from us in the morning, but Sotto found it in the afternoon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spring has sprung: Canada trip part 1

    It took quite a bit of work to coordinate 4 guys into 3.5 days of fishing together on some of the prettiest rivers of Ontario. But when passion is involved, things happen. Friday afternoon I was treating patients at my busy clinic and Saturday morning found me chasing wild trout in the wilderness of Canada. Tungsten beads and fishing equipment stuffed into my carry-on luggage raised an eyebrow at the airport check in scan but I made it to Detroit on schedule for the pickup.

  Signs of spring everywhere, although winter was still showing its presence. First river looked absolutely amazing and was a disappointment not to have even one strike between the 4 of us in a couple of hours of fishing. The view compensated for it though, one of the prettiest rivers I ever saw.


Candy was in the river, but the fish were nowhere to be found.

 Then change of location, off to another gem of a river. This one reminded me of some of our romanian rivers, long time ago, before "green" energy fever hit them.

    Only the little ones stayed for the photo ( the biggest one got away) but Sotto managed to scoop a couple of feisty browns from their hiding places.

Dangerous living, those boulders were not there last fall:

The second day brought some meat in front of my camera. In the afternoon we finally hit the jackpot. It started slowly but then the hell broke loose.


 Or should I call it heaven?...

Then in the end, Sotto hit the prettiest rainbow of the day:

 And the fish we caught continued to grow through that night, beer after beer.

 Here's his side of the story


Awesome first 2 days, we are heading north for part 2, stay tuned...