Category: Fly Fishing


Bear Lake Cutthroat

The turquoise waters of Bear Lake, bisected by the state lines of northern Utah and southern Idaho, are home to a beautifully hued cutthroat trout, known locally as a “bluenose trout”. The snout and back of this fish can be deep azure; its flanks are silvery blue and green with black spots; and its pectoral, pelvic and anal fins are tinted orange.

Bear Lake is surrounded by high chaparral desert and situated at 6,000 feet (1,829) above sea level. The days are hot and clear, the evenings are cool, and the water is deep and clean. In late winter and springtime, and again in autumn, anglers flock to the 20-mile-long (32 km) lake to catch large cutthroat and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Bear Lake cutthroat trout have been known to reach well over 20 pounds (9 kg), but anglers can generally expect to catch fish from 22 to 24 inches (56-61 cm) and 3 to 4 pounds (1.4-2.3 kg). Lake trout are stocked heavily and commonly grow to be 10 to 15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg).

When trout in Bear Lake reach a certain size they become piscivorous (fish-eating) and grow large on a diet of the lake’s endemic forage fishes, such as the Bonneville cisco (Prosopium gemmifer), the Bonneville whitefish (P. spilonotus), the Bear Lake whitefish (P. abyssicola), and the Bear Lake sculpin (Cottus extensus).

Joseph R. Tomelleri has traveled more than 135,000 miles to collect fish for his extraordinary drawings. More than one hundred of his illustrations appear in Trout and Salmon of North America (The Free Press), which Nick Lyons calls "a long overdue-and remarkable-book! [A] crowning achievement."

I have the pleasure of owning the “Trout of North America 2012 Calendar” and enjoying Joseph’s illustrations, habitat and natural history details for each month’s featured fish. I hope you enjoy them too and seek out these fish in the natural environment.

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article written by Martin Maffioli of MyM FlyCast in Tierra del Fuego. I promised to take a shot at translating the tale for my English speaking friends. What follows is what I hope to be a pretty fair representation of Martin’s account of a trip he took at the end of last years fishing season with his good friend Sebastian.

Since Trout Season is now opening again for the new year, I’m sure Martin and Sebastian are already back on the water looking to relive a little (or a lot) of last year’s experience. For the moment at least, I’m living vicariously though this experience and others. I think I’ll have to do something about that very soon…

JB

Toward the end of the fishing season, my friend Sebastian called me and we started talking about his desire to do some fishing, but his call had an ulterior motive as well. After some time, he finally confessed his desire to achieve a personal record; the largest trout of his life. I didn’t hesitate for a moment and we started to put the trip together. Soon we had reserved our location, one of the most spectacular fishing spots on the planet: the Río Grande.

Why the Río Grande? Because it has the best Sea Run Brown Trout (or “inmates” as they have been referred to a Spanish bibliography). Stocked in the 1930s, they are born in the river and at the appropriate age they migrate into the ocean to feed and grow. Meanwhile they take on a silver coloration in order to adapt to the environment and eventually return to the river, usually to mate and reproduce. Very often this does not depend on the maturity of the fish. Unlike Salmon, Trout don’t die in the process and may return several times over the years. Another advantage of the Río Grande is protected and free from pollution, excess food sources, nets or natural competitors.

The pool we fished during the morning of our trip is located in Sector 10 and is known as the “Ojo Negro” (Black Eye). There, Sebastian caught three trout of 4, 6 and 5 kilos on a #7 Sage, intermediate line and Green Machine fly.

After lunch we went back to our pool. Sebastian was shocked to see so many trout leaping about. We decided to use a similar set up to what we had used in the morning: #7 rod, extra fast line, 2.5 meter leader and the Green Machine.

Sebastian caught 4 more trout in this order; 5kg, 4kg, 6kg & 3kg until about 8pm; the magical hour of sunset, at which time we decided to change the line for a sinking 3, 1.8 meter leader and a “humpy” fly tied with a salmon hook number 4.

On one of his first casts, just as the tip of the pole started a few light taps and as the line began to tug slightly, the surface of the water exploded! A magnificent trout leapt into view. After the amazement and the spectacular runs and jumps, the 20 minutes of adrenaline were burned in Sebastian’s mind… and the camera. A spectacular 7 kilo brown trout (15.4 lbs).

By Martín Maffioli

 

River Run Brown: +15lbs

MyMFlyCast.com.ar

Tierra del Fuego – Argentina

 

I’ve started getting the fever now that trout season is upon us once again here in Argentina. Browsing through some blogs, fishing forums and other sites, I’ve accumulated a few pictures from the last 10 days to share. Enjoy.

Río Perdicitas (Córdoba)

Río Perdicitas - Darío

Río Jaime

Río Jaime - Maxi

La Hornilla

Lago Exequiel Ramos Mejía - Picún Leufú - Neuquen

It’s finally out, just in time for trout season and anyone planning to make the journey to Argentina and fulfill a dream. I try to re-fulfill the dream every chance I get!!! 😉

Click on the image below to download the PDF document.

 

 

 

Recently I have been in touch with Martin from MyM FlyCast in Tierra del Fuego. I wrote up a little piece a while back about locations in Argentina which have great fishing and are sometimes over looked by fly-fishermen journeying to Argentina. Martin got in touch with me through a fly fishing forum where we are both members. I asked him if he would be interested in sharing an experience and some pictures and he sent me the following. I’m publishing the original version in Spanish and later will publish a translated version. I hope you enjoy it.

The name for this region, Tierra del Fuego, is not the name given to it by the first indigenous people, the Yaghan, who settled here a little while ago (10,000 years ago).

The name for this fantastically striking “Land of Fire” comes from Fernão de Magalhães (the Portuguese explorer, not the GPS company)… AKA Magellan, but we’ll just call him Fergie.

Fergie came across this harsh land in 1520, then came FitzRoy and Darwin.

I wonder what the trout were like back then… but from what I’ve seen, I don’t think they’ve changed much.

JB

A fin de la temporada me llama mi amigo Sebastián con ganas de pescar, pero su llamado ocultaba otra cosa. Luego de largo rato dialogando, terminó confesando su deseo de pescar la trucha récord de su vida. No dudé un instante, y arreglamos el viaje. Al rato estaba reservando un lugar en el pesquero mas espectacular del planeta: el Río Grande.

¿Por que el Río Grande? Porque tiene las mejores Sea Run Brown Trout (o los reos, como se suele encontrar en alguna bibliografía española). Sembradas en la década del 30, nacen en el río y, a determinada edad, parten hacia el mar para alimentarse y crecer. Allí cambian su coloración a plateada con fines de adaptación, y en diversos estadios regresan al río, normalmente para reproducción. Mucha veces, esto no depende del estado de madurez del pez. A diferencia de los salmones, las truchas no mueren en el desove y desovan durante varios años seguidos. Otra ventaja del Río Grande es que la pesca es controlada sin polución, ni exceso de alimento, redes o competidores naturales.

El pool que pescamos por la mañana se encuentra en el sector 10 y se llama el Ojo Negro. Allí Sebastián capturó tres truchas de 4, 6, y 5 Kg., con una caña 7 Sage, línea intermedia y con la conocida Green Machine.

Finalizado el almuerzo y la siesta nos dirigimos a nuestro pool de la tarde. Sebastián se desconcertaba al ver saltar tanta trucha juntas. Decidimos usar un equipo parecido al de la mañana: caña 7, línea extra fast, lider de 2.50 y la Green Machine

Sebastián pescó 4 truchas más (en este orden: 5kg, 4kg, 6kg y 3kg) hasta que se hicieron las 8 de la noche, hora mágica de la caída del sol, en que los fueguinos cambiamos de línea por una de hundimiento 3, líder de 1.80, con una humpi atada en anzuelo salmonero numero 4.

En uno de sus primeros lances, en el momento que le imprimía pequeños movimientos con la punta de la caña y tironcitos en la línea, la superficie del agua explotó. Saltó una magnífica trucha. Luego del asombro y de espectaculares corridas y saltos, los 20 minutos de adrenalina quedaron registrados en la mente de Sebastián y en la cámara fotográfica: una espectacular trucha marrón de 7kg.

Por  Martin Maffioli

 

MyM FlyCast

 

 

MyMFlyCast.com.ar

Tierra del Fuego – Argentina

Simply Tenkara

Tenkara fishing

Tenkara fishing supposedly originated in Japan at least 200 years ago. While doing some research in preparation for a visit from some new friends from Japan who hope to experience some extreme Golden Dorado fly fishing, I came across this ancient fishing style which seems to really be catching on. A site I found in Japan states:

Since the feudal time, as record states, there have been 2 schools of Japanese traditional freshwater fly fishing. One is commonly known asdobu using group of nymph-like wet flies in a sinker rig. Another school is known as tenkara using single soft hackle fly to catch mountain creek trouts such as yamame and iwana. The former became artifacts for it was enjoyed by swordsman class, and the latter became craftwork of remote site fishermen .

According to Wikipedia, the first reference to tenkara fly-fishing (テンカラ, literally: “from heaven”, or “from the skies”) was in 1878 in a book called “Diary of climbing Mt. Tateyama” written by Ernest Mason Satow, an able linguist and British diplomat during the early modernization of Japan.

Tenkara rig

Traditional tenkara used bamboo hand rod, horse tail for taper line, and silk for tippet. Fly patterns were soft hackle which cover mostly beaneath the surface film. Modern tenkara use glassfiber or carbon hand rod in 3:7 reflex for taper line and 5:5 reflex for level line. Lines are now made out of fuloro carbon and fly patterns welcome western dry fly patterns as well.

Most common rig uses running line (tapered or level) between 3.9-7m and tie a 1m 4lb test leader. The length of running line is deterimined by the size of the stream, and in the deepest of small stream, leader is directly tied to the tip of the rod to execute dapping.

Wikipedia claims that tenkara is one of the most popular methods of angling among fresh-water fisherman in Japan.

On the TenkaraUSA website there is extensive  detail about the equipment and technique used in tenkara.

The reasons that Tenkara seems so attractive to many people and is apparently catching on in the US and other western locations, is firstly due to it’s simplicity. Fly fishing is notorious because of its barrier to entry for traditional anglers due to its relatively higher cost of equipment, even though rising costs of angling equipment have tended to level the playing field and thus we’ve seen more and more people get into fly fishing over recent years.

This leads me to the second reason why I believe tenkara is so attractive, and that is its shared essence with western fly fishing as a means for getting closure to “oneness” with nature and the object of our numerous hours spent on the water; the elusive aquatic scaled vertebrate in your local honey hole.

I had no doubt corporate America would outdone by a cheaper means of supplying us fishermen with a way to get our fix – I mean fly fishing has become a huge industry, let alone angling – so I started checking out some sources of gear. There are a number of suppliers out there and one you’ll probably run across pretty quickly is TenkaraUSA. (Great name… not so original, but to the point.) From what I could gather from visiting their site, the cost savings between tenkara and traditional fly fishing comes from the absence of a reel. All or most of the other elements still seem to be in place from the various line types (fly line, leader and tippet; no backing of course), flies (of course), to all the other complimentary equipment (waders, etc.) and some alternate equipment (special gloves vs. landing net).

So if you are already a fly fisherman the cost to entry into this apparent predecessor to your current hobby, is basically the cost of the specially designed telescoping rod for modern day tenkara. The cost is anywhere from around to $100.00 to $150.00, and I’m sure there are, or will be, more expensive versions out there.

telescoping rod

So basically I’ve become curious to find out whether or not the cost / benefit analysis will indicate whether or not tenkara really has a future in the west. I’m sure that with adequate marketing in the US you’ll see some growth in the practice of this sport there, and many will want to be the first kid on their block to show off their new toy (I will probably fall into that category). I’ll also be watching here in South America where, at least in my mind, the  true test of “stickiness” of this new trend will be whether or not locals pick up on tenkara.

Travel light

My conclusion at this point is that tenkara is simply more simple particularly for those of us who want to travel light and fish smaller, harder to reach steams, spending less time rigging lines and reels or switching reels or untangling backlash. I certainly don’t think tenkara will replace western style fly fishing. It certainly won’t for me. Part of the fun of fly fishing is its intricacy, technique, style and uniqueness.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t stopped angling since I started fly fishing, and I expect that if I try tenkara I might very well then have three different options to practice my favorite hobby.  I expect that many others will follow the same path.

Perhaps I can persuade my Japanese friends to bring a tankara rig with them when they visit so that the waters of Argentina can say “kon nichi wa” to tenkara. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

More reading and places to start your own investigation:

A Japanese Form of Fly Fishing Gains Fans in the U.S.New York Times article about Tenkara

Tenkara Fly Fishing blog

TenkaraUSA website

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