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Messages - Chris Puchniak

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So unfortunate what the virus has done to affect things.  But good call Todd.  Good giving everyone notice.

Analyze This... / Re: How would you fish this stream?
« on: March 26, 2020, 10:50:17 AM »
Really nice and small, but it has a fairly fast gradient and looks like some color.  Banks are wide open which doesn't give much cover, but it does allow for easy access without worrying about casting obstacles, etc... and there is no problem about not being able to cover all the water.  I suspect the fish in a tiny stream are going to be concentrated in the plunge areas that offer the best shelter in the creek.  Not much overhead cover.  But anything that is on the edges and clearer waters will spook very quickly, and all it takes is one spooked fish to ruin about 50' or water.  Being mindful of that is important.

Hoping it isn't private property and the guy in the building is going to shoot me...

Have to fish it from the bottom working up, and I am going to fish a single dry staying downstream about 40' as far as I can.  The fish can so easily spot you here, so you have to be extra careful and likely kneel your way along the edge staying as much vertically downstream as you can.  Then switch to a single nymph and fish up to covering what I just finished covering with the dry.  Then, go back to dry and repeat the process.

Small areas so if you hook a fish, force it downstream to hopefully not spook the other fish that may be in tight proximity.  It's not like a big run where you can fight a fish and not worry too  much about spooking the others.  Here if you hook a fish, if there are any other fish sharing the good lie, they are going to be spooked very fast as they have no where to go.

I will be going over the refunds to resend them back to those that paid in advance.  As Ian, the treasurer, is in transit and unable to make those changes.  This should be taking place on the March 18-20th.

Please bear with us for any delays as schedules are a bit muddled up currently for most of us in our work and personal lives.


Not sure precisely.  Last I heard they were booking flights and such and planning to head back Tuesday or so.

My understanding is that the Commonwealths are still proceeding, though I don't know how many teams are staying for it.

Amazing numbers by the groups.   We've never seen those numbers collectively on the local rivers!

I was told that Squirmy Worm material has an issue with passing through trout. Has anyone seen a study on this matter? This is for some research I am doing for a future article.

That was my understanding for part of the reason for banning the fly.  I certainly see fish break off the worm material and 'likely' swallow it, unlike most other fly patterns.  I haven't seen any studies on it though.

I believe that corn was sometimes banned (and still is in some regions) because it was difficult for a fish to digest and pass the kernels through the intestine, but I think this was old school thinking that eventually got proven as false (though I think the no-corn law still exists in some spots). 

I find it hard to imagine that fish would be troubled by a bit of inorganic material.  I assume they swallow the odd rock and stick without spitting them out too, and I think they live fine with that.  I would suspect that similar to snail and ant feeders (both of which are tough to digest), it might slow down their feeding as it does fill their stomach up.  Ant and snail feeders are know to stop feeding for long periods afterwards (though not just for the material being tough to digest).

I would be interested to see if there is a study on trout/bass/fish consuming scented eggs or similar inorganic material, which have been around a lot longer and used more regularly.  Someone must have done a study on those plastic eggs.

Analyze This... / Icy cold river
« on: January 19, 2020, 07:08:08 PM »

Medium Sized River.  Depth at this time of year in the area is 1.5 to 3'.  Clarity is very good.
Mid-January with sustained temperatures around 0 to -20C for the past 10 days.
River contains trout and whitefish, though the trout vacate this region over winter.
Any of the deeper, slower runs are iced over.
There are very minor black midge hatches, though perhaps too small to imitate.
It is the late afternoon, around 330pm, maybe 45 minutes before dusk.
There are small ice flows drifting downstream from the afternoon melt upriver.



Where I found fish:

It was very nice looking water, but I only had an hour or less to fish before dusk. The sizable ice chucks made it too hazardous for me to fish once light levels got too low because I just couldn't see the ice coming at me.  So I had to quit fairly soon. Knowing very few trout would be around, my focus was on the whitefish (though I'd be happy with any trout - duh).  This was not the type of water I'd think to find many whitefish in winter as they often prefer slower waters and larger pools at this time of year.  Occasionally though I do find whitefish moving into the faster water despite the cold, making it always worthwhile to explore waters you think might be faster than optimal for the conditions.  Regardless, with the recent cold-snap, all the typical 'good' water was covered with 6-12 inches of ice anyways, making anything but the faster riffles unfishable.

I caught 4 fish in a 25 minute span divided amongst the 3 locations circled below.  Although I was using nothing close to the ongoing midge hatch, and certainly much larger (size 14), I found the fish were sitting in the slicks behind the large ice clumps that were attached to the submerged boulders and creating much bigger breaks in the current than would normally be found here.  I can only suspect that the whitefish had moved up from some of the frozen-over waters to the swifter riffles where the smaller midges were hatching (suspecting that the midges weren't hatching under the ice downstream as they had no way to emerge through the ice and it was perhaps too dark there to stimulate a hatch), and of course taking advantage of the generous current breaks.

I considered this a very fortunate day where I rad the water right and got rewarded.

Analyze This... / Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« on: January 13, 2020, 09:48:29 AM »

I ended up getting three fish in this section between where I am standing and the trees downstream, which is about 150' below (based on our results this day, that was a good result).  The fish were caught in the three orange circled areas.  I spent about 20 minutes in this section (as I had a lot more water to explore, and I knew our beats on the comp waters were going to be 500-1,500 meters long, so I wanted to get used to using my time carefully - besides, I had to meet Nishi back at the parking lot in about 40 minutes or else face the wrath of the Captain).  I suspect someone had fished this before my as I saw another comp angler come out from just upstream of this spot about 30 minutes earlier and walking along the road.

I was fishing a single dry on one rod, and then a pair of nymphs on the second rod.  There was lots of woody debris to snag up on (as you can see) so part way along I snipped off my top dropper to avoid a snag.  I started from upstream, even though it wasn't my preference, simply because the foliage was so bloody thick in the area and it was perfect conditions for tiger snakes... lol.  I expected there had to be a fish in this run, and approaching it from above might not be idea, so I would go cautiously and cover everything with a dry and nymph before setting foot in an area.

I started a little up further than I am standing (kneeling of course - the pic is taken afterwards) and drifted a single dry under the tree on the left, then down the center and into the pocket water, and lastly on the right above the woody debris.  Never further than about 30 ' down.  On the left, under the tree, I fished it very cautiously because I felt a fish HAD to be there.  Just before the dry would near the end of its drag free drift, I'd slowly lift the leader off the surface and sort of hop the dry fly back up, like a caddis hopping along.  In the pocket water I was less concerned about how I brought it up.  We weren't seeing many fish come to the dry fly this day despite an abundance of bugs coming off (some very pale caddis), so I wasn't too surprised when it didn't produce to start.  But you have to try that first.

Then I used a pair of nymphs on the left (under the tree) to drift down into the shadow area, standing upstream of the location, and giving slack just as the water deepened right where the shadows touch the water.  First pass and a brown trout took the cdc heavier nymph on the point (area 1), and I was able to pull it up away from the branches to net it.  I tried a bit longer there but without result, so I moved down about 20' to just before the rocks where they create the little plunge/pocket.  It was too tight to fish any further on the left (where the green foliage is), so I was focusing now on the right by the dead wood.  The sun was on my right, and that kept any shadows off the area I was casting to. 

I set my nymph rod down in the tree on the left and quickly dapped a dry around the spots I could access, but again nothing.  I set down the dry rod in the same tree and grabbed my nymph rod, taking off the top dropper.  It's tough to maybe see from the picture, but from that location it was not possible to cast well, but a bow and arrow cast was really good for the close range stuff.  I nymphed the center of the run fist, but nothing.  Then I slingshotted the nymph to the woody debris, starting against the two dead logs on the bank just even with the semi-circular snag on the right side of the picture.  First pass I snagged a branch under the water and I walked back upstream to get above it, and it came off with a little tug.  Then I went back to my position above the rocks, and after two more casts I caught another brown right at position 2.

I knew there had to be more fish by the dead wood, but I tried a few more casts rotating flies and couldn't get a good drift beyond where I caught the second fish as there were too many branches under the water.  I was more concerned about spooking fish now and wrecking the rest of the pool, so I erred on the side of caution.  I grabbed the dry rod and again drifted that fly downstream without success before I moved another 10' down.  I picked up nothing either left or right on dry or nymph, so moved another 10' down such that I was almost even with the patch of whitewater on the right - I was crouching mid-river though.  Dry again first - nothing.  Then with the single nymph, after getting nothing on the left side or below me, I nymphed through the whitewater and along the soft water below it where I got a third brown trout about 3-4' off the edge of the brush.  Position 3 orange circle.

I continued down one more stage (which I considered the end of my beat) but touched nothing.

Most of my nymphing was even and downstream of me bow and arrow casting.  Most of the fish took at the end of the drift as the fly lifted.

If this was a comp, I would have come back to this spot and tried again after resting it, but in practice we didn't have as much time to do that.  With more time I would have tried a small streamer too, especially under the overgrown banks.

Stillwater Patterns / Possum Emerger
« on: January 09, 2020, 03:59:24 PM »

We often don't get access to Possum fur like they have in Tasmania/Australia in general (it is not like North American possums, and Australia is not able to sell it outside of their country - though sources in NZL have a similar product - maybe not as dense - and I believe can export it), but this material allows you to tie wonderful surface patterns, and as the name suggests, good emerger patterns. But the material works for any nymph or dry fly you want to have that floats amazingly well and is durable beyond belief.  In many ways, better than CDC (which sinks a little too easily for some applications) and deer hair (which is far more fragile than the fur).  It is similar to snowshoe hare and seal fur, but easier to work with.

This pattern is suggestive of a mayfly emerger and can be tied in sizes 8-16, depending on if you want it for lakes or rivers.  However, it can be suggestive of anything that struggles in the surface film, or is moving in the top 6 inches of the water.  This is one of those flies that can be pulled fairly fast, fished slowly, or almost fished static.  Similarly, buggy nymph and parachute post flies can be tied as well.

The Possum emerger can be tied a couple of ways, but the general pattern involves a possum fur tip tail, a possum fur dubbed body, a possum fur thorax, and a possum fur wing case/loop.  In most cases, you can make use of one clump of fur off the tail (between 1/8th and 1/4 inch thick) - use the tips as the tail; use the underbody as the body/thorax; and use what is left for the wing loop.  All you have to add is thread and maybe a rib of floss, spaniflex, or wire.  Patterns vary a little bit with respect to colours, but brown, black, and claret are very nice.  The general colour of possum is from light brown to black, and often one of those natural colours is best.  Claret fur is difficult to find (and subbing in seals fur can help there).

From the two patterns shown here, the variation sometimes comes from where you place the loop, whether it is over the front or the middle of the hook,  I have found that either position of the loop works, and only seems to make a difference in how the pattern sits in the water when not pulled.

The fly is so simple that I think is doesn't even need a materials list or instructions beyond what I have already rambled on about!

Analyze This... / Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« on: January 09, 2020, 03:05:03 PM »
I'll add my approach later, but the real pressing question is: ARE THERE ANY TIGER SNAKES IN THE BUSHES AND TREES???  :o 8) ;D

That's a big question always!  The legs are ok in waders, but its the ones swimming up to you or on the branch or rock you grab that are freaky!

Analyze This... / How would you fish this section of river?
« on: January 09, 2020, 08:17:07 AM »

How would you fish the above section of river in Tasmania?  This wasn't a beat section, but was a practice area for us and others.

- the river is about 30-40' bank to bank, varying slightly
- you are facing downstream and it is not viable to start the beat any further down
- this is the bottom of a practice beat (maybe the bottom 10% that extends to just below the last overhanging tree) that you want to cover
- depth where you are standing is about 1.5' deep (probably the shallowest spot) and of slower flow (as you might see from the picture)
- depth is from just below the knees to nearly waist deep
- it is early summer

Ask any questions about the conditions you might want to know.

I will state later what worked for me and what I caught. 

Competition Angling General Discussions / Re: World Championships Tasmania
« on: December 30, 2019, 12:46:13 PM »
That's good advice Graham.  We have a similar philosophy here which we have really learned from our sea-run cutthroat trout.  Especially on bigger waters (but smaller waters too), often the mistake we see is anglers rushing to fish and wading out so they can cast to the deeper water (3' deep?), only to find that fish are in the 6 inch shallow water behind them.

One thing I have experienced in Tas from the two trips there is that when you have to wade the river due to a heavily overgrown shoreline, catching fish downstream of your position is very unlikely (except in the rougher waters that hide you).  Once they know you are there, they really grow 'shy'.

But, that is often true of most heavily pressured waters!  More than once I have stepped into a river to cast after thinking I have covered it well already, only to have a small 10 inch fish dart out from a shallow water boulder and into the main run... oh crap. :-)

Definitely the rule of thumb is to stand back from the water 10-15' to cover the edges, give a low profile, work your way upstream (that can change though), begin the least intrusive method you can first, and grid off that water slowly!

Competition Angling General Discussions / Re: World Championships Tasmania
« on: December 28, 2019, 09:33:46 AM »
I wouldnt say there was a lot sharing of river information, so I can't say I can answer this fully.  Lakes were a little different where there was more sharing as you shared a boat together. 

But, I know that small dries were important and light leaders in the wind.  Dry dropper ss well.  Nymphs too.  I didnt see much different from other comps.

Competition Angling General Discussions / Re: World Championships Tasmania
« on: December 20, 2019, 03:30:35 PM »
Thanks for that Todd and Mike.

Competition Angling General Discussions / Re: World Championships Tasmania
« on: December 20, 2019, 07:36:13 AM »
For FFC members, I wrote up a brief account of the competition in the FFC members section!

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