Author Topic: Begginer Questions  (Read 1733 times)

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DStewart

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Begginer Questions
« on: June 06, 2014, 10:46:05 AM »
I hope that most of these questions haven't been answered a million times already, but I have yet to see them come up in my year or so of browsing the forum. Over the last few weeks I have been attempting to practice some short-line nymphing on a smaller stream. I have had minimal success, but am enjoying the challenge. Unfortunately I have not yet invested in a light weight rod, so am restricted to using a 9foot 5wt rod. I have been messing around with leader lengths depending upon the depth of the water, but generally am 5x fluoro from my sighter.

1. My first question is, for someone who is just starting out, how much time would you suggest spending on a section of river. I often question myself as to whether it is my presentation, technique, or if the fish just aren't biting. Would you suggest working the same grid like pattern through a stretch of water and then moving on to the next, or continuing to work that piece of water, playing around with my methods and focus on that?
The other day I had completed working a piece of water, and decided I would start back at the bottom and try my luck once again. This time, I hooked into about 8 very small fish, landing two. My strike detection was poor, so getting them too the net was difficult, but it felt good to know I was doing something right. Would one assume that my presentation was simply better the second time through the water, or did these fish "turn on" like they would in a lake? I believe most of the fish were steelhead smolts? (adipose were intact), with some small NPM mixed in.



2. My second question is, if I am hooking into these smaller fish, is it ethical to continue to fish in those areas? Is it difficult for these smaller fish to recover, even with proper handling practices?


Thank you very much, and any help is greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 04:58:35 PM by DStewart »

Alex Berger

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Re: Begginer Questions
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2014, 03:47:37 AM »
I was hoping some one with more authority than me reply to your your post, and i am sure they will, but here is my 2 cents worth!

We fish a small stream thinking  that it would be easier to catch a fish because the stream is small?   Think again! Fishing in a small stream can be a humbling experience but if you master it you will develop skills.

In our small streams (sometimes wrongly referred to as river!) the average depth is 3' (holes as deep as 5') but one  can land a fish in 8" of water, so the depth is not an issue!   There are certain skills that we need, and the learning process is gradual.  One may choose to go fishing with an experienced angler who can explain things patiently. 
Lets say we have the  right tackle and the basic understand of fly casting. Then the first skill we need is how to read the water correctly. Skilled anglers always "read" the water for "fish holding" areas and skip the rest. 

How do you know where the fish are?  What are important signs to look for in a small stream?   To begin with, one has to  avoid the shallows in day time (particularly in Summer and Fall, although it can be the other way around in early spring) To fish the shallows would be  possible in early morning or late in the evening when the trout cruising out for hatching flies.

1. In a small steam look for the ares where the water is deeper green,  this could be a holding area.  See attached the area the could hold the fish high lighted in red. Pic. 1

2. We work the fish holding area and not the the whole width or length of the stream!  The main course of the stream usually flows close to steep  wooded area or an elevated hard rock formation. In warmer months of the year fish has tendency to stay in the deeper part of the main stream.  In the pic. attached you will note the main course of the stream high-lighted in red and shallows in yellow. Pic 2

3. Lets Imagine the fish holding area like a pyramid.  We always work the pyramid systematically from the tip to working the base.

4. Look for the stone sticking out of the stream. The water flows  around these, and there is a  calm area directly in front of the rock.  Food will be floating by on either side  into this calm area  these are  called "seams."   That is one of the ares  place you find your fish.

5.. Focus on the big boulders and rocks  hidden under the surface;  trout has the tendency to lie over these boulders in deeper water.
(you maybe able to see this for yourself if you look at stream from an elevate ground)

6. Don't waste time on  mid-section of the pools unless the trout is rising.   

Approach: 

 fly fishing in a small stream is based on mobility! Push forward, don't stay anchored down to a pool just because you caught a fish or it looks good.  I walk and wade  2 to 3 miles  upstream of  covering pocket by pocket.  Where I think the water may hold trout, I work the "pyramid",  if I catch a trout, or may fly is refused I don't waste time, I push on forward.

Last but not least, you may wish to read  posts under "Analyze" section, where you can find some added value.

Tight lines,  Alex--
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:40:34 PM by Alex Berger »
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Chris Puchniak

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Re: Begginer Questions
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 07:02:19 AM »
The first question is a tough one because I don't think one can ever really know the answer.  I think a lot of time we'd be embarrassed if we knew really how many fish were in a run, and we weren't catching them - just because we don't detect their takes or because they are uninterested.

But if a spot is particular fishy (based on details like Alex mentions), I will work it once and then twice (resting it 15 minutes or so) in a grid like pattern covering the water.  I want to try and find if the fish are sitting in the shallows or the deeper water.  Usually they are holding in a consistent type of water.  The amount of time spent probably depends on the size of the area.

When practicing, it is always best to go to a spot where you know the fish are active. Easier said than done, but the idea is that you want to find a spot where you don't have to worry about if the fish are on or not (which certainly may have happened in your case), but you can just focus on your strike detection.  It's tough to practice nymphing if you keep questioning whether there are actually feeding fish around or not!  Of course, sometimes we have to take what we can get.

On the second question, I honestly don't know what the mortality rate is on juvenile fish.  I don't know if they actually survive better or not.  In many ways I think they actually have a better survival rate (but not sure if this has ever been tested).  My reasons for this are twofold: 1) small fish very very rarely get deep hooked simply because their mouths are so small relative to the fly that they cannot swallow the fly as deep as an adult - so hooking I have found is actually in better places in the mouth to suggest better survival; and 2) they don't have the lactic acid and fatigue issues that bigger fish have, as the battles are very quick, and they don't have the same amount of muscle that a larger fish has (and fatigue is often what kills a lot of bigger fish).

I don't know if there is any valid comparison to humans too, but I know my kids who are under 10 and probably far more resilient than I to physical damage.  Younger bodies always recover much faster and more fully than us older bodies... not sure if this applies to fish, but I would suspect so.
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

DStewart

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Re: Begginer Questions
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2014, 02:28:11 PM »
Thanks for the help guys. I knew that the first question would be tough to answer, and appreciate all the help

Was lucky enough to get into my first couple white fish ever today


Chris Puchniak

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Re: Begginer Questions
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 03:35:33 PM »
Beautiful pictures!

I should add one more thing - I am basing my decision on whether it is ethical to catch small juvenile fish by whether or not it is highly harmful to hook them.  Personally, I suspect it is not harmful, but I don't have any science to back that up.  But I do think that some people would disagree with me and say that fishing for small/juvenile fish isn't good.  I have no idea who is right!   :D
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Alex Berger

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Re: Begginer Questions
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 10:08:39 PM »
 Most trout I catch are wild trouts,  no bigger than 15 to 20 cm;  I don't determine what size fish I catch, the mother nature puts on my way!   If that a certain part of the stream holds only  small fish, then I move on! 

I try to practice fly fishing in most humane way.  I don't see any ethical question as long as I tie  barbless flies, don't play the fish or mishandle the don't mishandling the fish, and I have stopped altogether the temptation of taking pictures with the captured trout. fish,  when caught I release them immediately.  I try to fish in a morally acceptable way. 

 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 01:07:51 AM by Alex Berger »
"Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave..
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Randy Paskall

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Re: Begginer Questions
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 05:19:57 AM »
Only you can make up your own set of morals. That you are asking yourself questions about it says you were on your own edge feeling good about things wise.
Sorry, but you weren't catching that fish anyway.....