Wildwood Outfitters Blog and Fishing Report
The alarm clock (yes it was still an actual clock back then!) started blaring at 4 AM signaling the day of fishing was about to begin. The truck temperature showed 17 degrees but it felt colder than that while my dad and I waited an eternity for the truck heaters to thaw the windshield. Two hours and a gas station stop later we were at the stream in the pre dawn light rigging rods inside the truck, savoring the last ounce of warmth. There were already two cars parked near us so we quickly tied on our double egg pattern rigs and started off downstream to the pool we knew held fish all winter. It didn't take long before my strike indicator bobbed ever so slightly and after a sharp hook set the fight was on! A few minutes later we both sat there admiring a 32 inch colored-up male steelhead in the net. Nearby was a fellow fisherman who said since I was a kid that was probably a "citation" fish and I could get a certificate from the state if I pursued it. That was the furthest thing from my mind though, as we snapped a few pictures and got back to casting, somehow forgetting how cold it was.
I've been lucky enough to cross paths with some really remarkable individuals that are incredibly talented in a number of different ways pertaining to fly fishing. It only seems fair that I share some of these folks with you, the loyal readers of our blog! So, without further adieu, here is our first installment of Fly Fishing Friends Friday!
I was recently asked why the fish in the pictures we post are so small. "Why don't you post pictures of the BIGGER fish?!" It's a great question, and there's a few ways to tackle the answer. Hopefully I'll be able to properly convey why those little fish are blasted out on our Instagram and Facebook so often and why we love to catch them!
Fly fishing isn't one of the most dangerous activities you could hope to partake in. Can't say the perils quite measure up to spelunking, gator wrangling, or bull riding. Maybe fly fishing doesn't have the dangers associated with the aforementioned hobbies, but there is plenty of stuff that can hurt you out there on the water! Here is our list of 5 of the more dangerous aspects of the sport.
Remember, if you can't spot the jerk on the trout stream...you're the jerk. Check out these tips to avoid trouble during your time on the water.
1.) Fish Aren't Worth Fighting Over
Last fall I was fishing a steelhead run on Elk Creek in Pennsylvania. I'd been working it for a few hours when three other fisherman (bait fisherman, but that's neither here nor there) started walking upstream. The guy in the lead stopped about 10 yards downstream from me (an error in its own right, see #4 on this list) and began drifting a 7 inch bobber and skein cluster almost directly in front of me. Fisherman number 2 then proceeded to move 10 yards upstream from me and start fishing with a similar rig. I then said "Man, you guys aren't leaving me much room are you?" He replied with "What are you gonna do about it?"
1.) Stay Low
I once had the great privilege of fishing the Poudre River in Colorado with a member of the US National Fly Fishing team. While we were at the truck rigging rods he pulled out a set of knee pads that looked more suited for a carpet layer. I kind of gave him a look and probably made some sarcastic comment. It was he who got the last laugh, however, when he fished circles around me the entire day while shuffling up and down the stream on his knees. When I asked him what the secret was, he said, "well every single fish I caught saw you coming from 20 yards downstream." That was the day I learned to stay low and be stealthy in the presence of trout.
Engagement bliss filled the air for the last 72 hours as we moved our way through Colorado en route to Wyoming for a float trip on the North Platte River. Since proposing at a high mountain lake we had proceeded to catch four different fish species on national forest land, national park land, and a tailwater. This was the dream. I had met a girl who would not only tolerate a fly fishing addiction, but who also genuinely enjoyed partaking in the activity. Early on in our relationship I had focused on positive experiences to build a strong foundation on which we could build. Of course I am referring to fly fishing and not our relationship itself unless of course she is reading this in which case I am referring to both. Everything had gone perfectly and our adventures in fly fishing had crescendoed with a mid summer road trip spanning 4,000 miles and fishing in three states. Perfection across the board! And then came a quick fishing trip on the White River in Colorado…
To piggyback off one of our recent posts of the theoretical approach to fly fishing, today we are going to look at the top four tips for someone just starting out fly fishing. Now it's important to remember...
There are places on Earth whose diversity alone warrants our protection and respect; places that haven't been totally spoiled by the onward march of industry. One of those places, the Everglades and the greater South Florida ecosystem, is in peril. As billions of gallons of freshwater are released from Lake Okeechobee, the delicate balance between fresh and saltwater is being disrupted. This imbalance has led to a tipping point where it's quite literally Now or Neverglades.
Fly fishing is what Brad Pitt did in that movie back in the early 1990's, right?...
The reality of fly fishing is just a bit different than what that movie portrayed. What we will try to do today is give a basic overview of what fly fishing actually is. Not so much the mechanics of things like the cast or hook set, but rather the thought process behind what's happening and what we are trying to achieve out on the water. Let's call it a fly fishing theory class.
One of life's sweetest pleasures is besting a fish and then getting your picture taken for the ever classic "grip and grin" photo. For as much as the style of fish photography has come under fire recently it's a time tested way to show everyone your success as an angler. You catch a fish, grab it, pick it up, snap a few pics, let it go. It's just that simple. Yet mastering the art of holding a fish is only achieved through repeated practice, and it's a skill that few beginning anglers possess, much to their disappointment after viewing their pictures.
A million things have to go correctly in order to catch a fish. The fly choice, the cast, the drift, the hook set, the fight, the net job, etc. Assuming for a moment that it's an angler's first catch, elation fills the air! Everything worked out how it's supposed to and now you have the opportunity to catch a fish and show the Instagram world how cool you are! The fish is barely in the net and you have already decided on the correct filter and accompanying hashtags. And then this is the type of picture you are left with...
Not too long ago my wife and I returned from our honeymoon in Alaska. It's our goal to eventually hit every National Park in America, so "The Last Frontier" was high on our list of places to visit. We cruised through Glacier Bay and then explored Kenai Fjords before venturing into the Alaskan interior to gaze in wonder at Denali, North America's highest peak. Unfortunately, like 70% of guests, we didn't get to see the mountain, but we did learn about an initiative called the Denali Zero Landfill Project.
-Pennsylvania is interesting in that you can feel the seasons changing through fishing. When you first start to see the browns and brookies color up you know fall is quickly approaching. The first caddis buzzing near the house officially end winter. On a slightly sadder note is the warming of the streams in June.
Time has been at a premium lately so any chance to get on the water has to be taken advantage of. Such was the case this last Sunday. We had a few hours in the morning to fish before going back to work on wedding preparations. Or was it house improvements? Dog walking? Who can remember....but you get the idea. So before the impending rain we packed the truck and threw on wet wading gear to head the 2 miles down to Sugar Creek.