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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Salmon Slammer

It's winter; we woke up to three inches of new snow this morning. It's snowing again right now. That makes it a great time to tie flies! Here is a fly I have tied for some years. Oh, I should mention, the fly works extremely well for Pink Salmon. Pinks are also called Humpies because the males grow a large hump when they migrate to their natal streams to spawn.

I start the body of the Salmon Slammer near the point of the hook. I leave more bare hook towards the shank than I might otherwise on another fly because the Salmon are very toothy. Those teeth just really beat up flies. I also counter rib the fly with wire, again, because the fish are so hard on the flies. For the Salmon Slammer sparse is good.

In Washington the Humpies run almost exclusively in the odd years. I'm hoping for a stellar year of fishing for them this coming fall. Just about the time I am starting to wind down on my Carp fishing the Humpies will wind up. It's time to stock up on several dozen Salmon Slammers.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas at a Carp Fisherman's Home

No trip, no weather, no wind, no sun, no clouds, no flies, no casting, no fish (at least not real ones anyway) no pictures; I guess that means this isn't a fishing report. What can I say, it's Christmas time. I have been fishing since I was 4, that would be 1954, and I have been fly fishing since 1971. Awhile for sure. But it is Christmas time not fishing time.

The weather forecast called for some snow yesterday; not exactly fly rod Carping weather. I worked yesterday, tied a few flies and listened to Christmas music. I have worked some today, tied a few more flies and am listening to Christmas music again.

Katy and I both enjoy the Christmas season. What it involves for us has evolved through the decades as we moved from being newlyweds, to parents of young kids, parents of teenagers, and now empty nesters. Its all good. Christmas can be a stressful time of year but we both still enjoy it. Part of the fun is decorating our home and visiting with friends and family.

Decorating a Carp fisherman's home for Christmas is no different than anyone else's home. You just decorate.

We still put up a Christmas tree every year though we have long since given up cutting our own. This is a nice artificial tree that gets people to ask if it is real. Of course its real; real plastic. (Notice the fat little snowman on the hearth next to the poinsettias.)

Our real, plastic Christmas tree has 8 strings of lights and some regular ornaments on it. Here is a regular snowman ornament just like you would find at a normal person's home. See, it's Christmas time, not fishing time.

A traditional red and green ornament like this would fit at anyone's home. Like I said, its Christmas time not fishing time.

And here is a snowman ornament that could fit at anyone's home too. No, wait, that snowman fishes. Now how did he get on that tree?

Three pictures up what was that bell shaped ornament next to the snowman's face? From the time our kids were little we gave them each a Christmas ornament every year. One year I made the ornaments, one for each of our three kids along with one for Katy and one for me. Looking back at that snowman head ornament there is another "fishing intruder". There is one of the ornaments I made back in 1995 I believe. It has a fly suspended in it. The fly is a Charlie's Special. It is one of my favorite trout dry flies. Fished wet, it is also one of my favorite Steelhead flies. I tie the fly, including the head, exactly the way I was shown way back in the 70's.

What the heck is that next to and below the fly ornament? Oh good grief, it looks like a Carp; it's funny colors but it's a Carp.

Here is the Bass ornament.

And here is the Trout ornament.

Here is the fishing vest ornament.

And here is the fly reel ornament.

Okay, so what, maybe it's not like a normal person's home but it still looks like Christmas.

We have villages set up on two bookshelves in the family room and on the hutch in the dining room. One would hope I could keep the fishing out of the villages.

There is a guy catching lobster in the hutch village but I don't think that exactly counts as fishing does it...

Okay, this bookshelf village doesn't have a single thing that has anything to do with fishing. There we go; just like a normal person.

This is a nice looking village on the other family room bookshelf. What is that in the center?

Well, will you look at that. It's a guy fly fishing at this pond and the best thing of all is that the pond has two fish--a Koi and a Carp.

In the first picture next to the poinsettias on the floor is a fat little snowman. I'll be darned, he fishes too. Can you believe it.

And best of all is that the fireplace hearth snowman has caught two Christmas Carp. What a clever snowman!

Merry Christmas readers and a Happy New Year! I wish all of you peace and the joy of the season. May your lives be filled with the warmth of friends and family.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monkey Forks

Having fly fished since 1971 one would think that I would have fished Monkey Forks Creek many times. After all, it is right here in Washington where I live and it grows some lunker Rainbow trout. I have listened to people talk about it, seen pictures of big fish, day dreamed about it, hummed and hawed about it, and driven by it. A few times in the past 15 years a buddy and I have stopped at Monkey Forks for an hour or two. We only did it as an afterthought on the way home from some other spot. I don't know why I have never made a serious effort to fish there. Maybe its that the creek is so small you can cast all the way across it. Maybe it is that Monkey Forks has jillions of ticks. Maybe I have been distracted by so many other places. I just don't know why I haven't fished it.

Did I mention that the Rainbow in Monkey Forks can get real big? They eat and eat and eat. Scuds, Mayflies, Caddis, Chironomids, Damsels, Dragonflies, and some terrestials (when the wind blows) all help to fatten these piggies up. And they do get fat. And long.

Some of the time the fat Monkey Fork Piggies will even take a dry fly. I'm not sure why that single thing has not been enough to get me over there for at least one trip a year, or heck, at least one trip in the last 39 years, but it hasn't. Maybe I just have it in the back of my mind that a 5 pound trout in a small creek wouldn't have anywhere to run. I don't know. I really don't.

At the beginning of 2010 I set several fishing goals for the year; one of them was to make a trip to Monkey Forks Creek in the spring. I meant to spend two days there and fish only the creek. My friend, Gary, has fished there many times so I asked him to go with me.

I suppose me blogging about Monkey Forks is kind of like me going there. It took me a heck of a long time to plan a trip there and I didn't get around to writing about it for 9 months. Maybe Monkey Forks makes me lackadaisical. It's not my fault I never planned a trip to a creek that has multi-pound trout in it and it's not my fault it took me so many months to make a blog post about it. It's the creek's fault. It's a bad influence on me.

Gary and I went in the middle of March. The weather was cool but still very manageable; virtually no wind was also a nice plus. We fished floating lines the entire time. Dead drifting small nymphs is a favorite technique at Monkey Forks.

It produced this beefy boy.

The most satisfying fish for me was a porker that fell for an adult May Fly on the first afternoon. He rose about 40 feet from me near a cut on the opposite side of the creek. The distance on my first cast was just right and the fly landed about 5 feet upstream from the fish. The fly drifted casually over the holding spot and just like that the trout picked the fly off the surface. The fish was actually into the backing before he stopped and headed back upstream towards the very spot he had been tricked. You'll just have to trust me that the tape is stretched out to the fish's tail. The fish was flopping in the grass and I didn't want him out of the water any longer.

Gary and I caught fish but apparently not at the pace he is used to. The fish pictured above is the only one that took me into the backing. For their size I'm not sure the fish I caught fought all that well. Maybe that is because of the time of year and maybe the fish in Monkey Forks are just not "hot" fish. I will have to go again to do some field testing on that to make a determination.

In town things are pretty relaxed too. Here is the line at the espresso stand.

Oh, and one more thing. If you look for Monkey Forks on a map or do an Internet search for it, you won't find it. A couple days before we left for the trip I was talking to a loan rep I work with. His name is D. R. I told him I was going to fish Rocky Ford Creek and he misunderstood me. He asked, "Monkey Forks Creek? Is that in Washington?" I liked Monkey Forks better than Rocky Ford so I have just kept calling it that since then.