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A Pond

by Phillip Dobson
(Butte, MT)

This snow was horrible but short lived.

This snow was horrible but short lived.

I checked out a spring pond near the Big Hole the other day and fished it again today. The pond is pretty darn cool: crystal-clear and full of trout. Smart trout.

The first day, I fished my mom's Sagiri 45mc. I could get a follow with a little beadhead Frenchie twitched at the right moment, but no take. I sat hiding in the bushes changing flies for a couple hours. Most were completely ignored, while some got follows and refusals. I could see the fish feeding and even rising, I just needed to crack the code.

I finally got results with a large "spiky nymph", a beadhead tied with a dubbing brush of assorted guard hairs. I'd let it sink a bit then pulse it just as a trout passed by to induce the take. I took a few fish that way, then feeling confident, switched to a full-dress Alexandra for fun. To my surprise, just a few casts later, a brown slammed the fly. The first fish I've ever caught on a full dress fly, and on a seiryu rod nonetheless! I went home with a smile on my face.

Today wasn't nearly as nice of conditions. Windy, intermittent snow, and hypothermia. The techniques that worked two days ago were useless. I fished my Field Master hard with many flies and aside from a few nips on a sakasa kebari, nothing. Frustrated, I grabbed my 4wt which hasn't had much love this winter. It's at least fun to cast.

I scared a ton of trout with streamers for a while, but a pocket of rising trout on the far side kept bugging me. I desperately wanted to know what they were eating. It was obviously small but all the midges I tried were completely ignored. I mounted a 7x leader and one of the few midges I hadn't cast yet - a #26 cdc emerger. After a few minutes, I cast to a bullseye ripple that was about 40' away. I saw a rise in the general vicinity, and tightened the line. A beautiful brown trout, modest in size, but very welcome. The smallest fly I've ever caught a fish on, the first dry fly of the winter, and my first fish on a Western rod this winter.

It's amazingly frustrating, but sight fishing to picky trout is just as fun and informative as well. You can see the body language of the trout as it reacts to the way the fly is presented and even just as you move around. I also think I was developing a dependence on the Sagiri, so it's a big confidence boost to catch a difficult trout on rod I'm not nearly as skilled with. Just like everything else, it's worth working on your weaknesses: everything gets better that way.

Comments for A Pond

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Mar 06, 2017
Quite a Difference in Weather
by: John Evans

I was comparing your nice photos with mine in the Guadalupe bass post, and thought, "What a difference in winter weather!" Of course, we pay for it during the summer . . .

Mar 06, 2017
by: Jay G

That's a much nicer pond than the ones I typically run into! Sounds like you had a nice diversity of flies and takes thereof. Thanks for sharing and keep practicing!

Mar 06, 2017
Lots of Firsts!
by: Les A.

Great job, and WOW what a beautiful streamer. Firsts are always fun and memorable. One of my favorite ponds is finally ice free. I went and checked it today. My other favorite pond (really a cove in a larger lake) still has ice on it. One of my mentors taught me that if they won't take a fly, try a streamer. He considered streamers to not be a fly since they imitate a fish not a bug. I was going to go fishing today, but decided to get some chores done today since it was a really lousy weather day here too. I tied up a bunch of lillian connectors, and organized a bunch of my fly tying stuff. I also made 3 more keiryu lines using Tenjo line and 6x fluorocarbon and tippet rings. Now to make up some tenkara lines for the GM Keiryu Special. Tight lines my friend and thanks for sharing the picture of streamer! What line setup did you use to fish the streamer?

Mar 07, 2017
by: Phillip

I just tied that Alexandra onto the same line I had been using for everything else. About 5m of #3.5 level line with tippet tapering to 7x. Not an ideal choice, but it worked.

Thank you. Ever since I started fly fishing, I've wanted to fish beautiful flies. I respect and understand the bait and lure fishermen and even those who purchase flies, but it's not for me. I get more happiness when the catch starts at the tying bench with a piece of artistic creativity.

Mar 07, 2017
Streamer Fishing
by: Les


I too enjoy tying flies and streamers. There is something extra satisfying about catching a fish on a fly you have tied yourself. Since you have a great interest in Streamers, I would recommend getting Joseph D. Bates Jr.'s book "Steamer Fly Tying & Fishing." I am not sure it is still in print, but it is a classic. On page 344 is the dressing instructions for my mentor Clive Stevenson's Steamer called the Stevenson's Special Bucktail.

I really enjoy fishing streamers in spring creeks. While my buddies are tying on flies tied in the high 20's, I am working a streamer and having the larger fish slamming it! Most fish have a hard time passing up a smaller fish no matter what is hatching! That isn't to say there isn't something special about a trout sipping down a very small fly on the surface. It is all fun! However, I will not spend hours in frustration with a small dry fly being refused. I will put on a streamer, and usually have lots of action!

I am enjoying having fun fishing bait, but I am not giving up fly and steamer fishing. One reason is several of my favorite places to fish are artificial bait only.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

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Col. Robert Venables 1662

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