For fly fisherman the winter months are often a time of reflection, time of hope for the new season and time for fly tying to restock the empty fly boxes. This weekend is the Chicago Greatwaters Fly Fishing Expo. Events like this fall into all three. I have been joined by three other members of the St. Paul Fly Tier's and Fisherman's Club at the expo to help promote the sport and our club. This is my second year attending the Chicago Expo with Club. The Chicago Expo runs from Friday January 29th through Sunday January 31st. The weekend of March 26th to March 28th is the Minneapolis Greatwaters Fly Fishing Expo.
Both of the Expo's give fly fisherman and fly tiers of all experience levels a great chance to get together. There are numerous vendors, lodges, outfitter and guides present at the shows who can help people with their fishing destination. There are also classes and presentations covering a wide range of activities all related to fly fishing and fly tying. The Chicago Expo has quite a few local fly tying clubs with members present giving tying demonstrations and tying lessons. At this year Expos the St. Paul Fly Tier's members are again manning the fly tying theater, where expert and professional fly tier's show how to tie some of their favorite flies.
The St. Paul Fly Tier's will be at the Minneapolis Expo where we will be conducting the learn to tie booth and we will have members tying and answering questions for visitors of the show. I strongly recommend anyone interested in getting into fly fishing and fly tying to attend one of these shows. I hope to see you at the Expo and then out on the water.
The Mammoth Lakes area gave us several options for rivers to fish. I decided that Hot Creek sounded like a good one to try as it is spring fed and should be like the driftless rivers that I am used to fishing. Hot Creek is a warm water spring (50 to 60F) with some sections that are even scalding hot. Hot Creek is catch and release and only barbless hooks are allowed.
After a day long drive I arrived at the river for an evening of fishing. The river is composed several sections. It starts at the Hot Creek Hatchery which is located below the headwaters and main springs for the river, then flows to an open meadow portion that is owned by the Hot Creek Ranch and continues downstream into a canyon. I started at the canyon following the trail down to the river.
Once I arrived at the river bank I watched to see if there was a visible hatch and nothing was seen. I started fishing with an elk hair caddis and a pheasant tail soft hackle. After a few casts and skating the caddis across surface I enticed a nice ten inch rainbow to take the caddis. I worked downstream skating the caddis and landed two more brown trout one 14 inches and the nice fat 17 incher. I also missed a few other fish and lost a couple more. It ended up be a very good evening of fishing.
The following day my wife and I fished in the morning and the evening for a couple hours each. We again fished the canyon section, with what seemed to most of the other licensed fisherman in Mono County. The morning fishing was very difficult. I think this was in part due to the very clear water and all of the fishermen walking up and down stream bank spooking the trout.
The evening fishing was like much the day before. This meant skating caddis across locations that should be holding fish, hoping make something to take the fly. We had good action on both caddis and the pheasant tail. A nice variety of rainbows and browns were caught. Once the sun was no longer visible above the canyon rim we decided it was time to call it a night.
Right now is one of my favorite times of the year for trout fishing. I like so many other trout fisherman love casting to rising trout. Being able to see the fish actually take the fly definitely makes it more exciting for me. This past weekend I was out at the Rush River in Wisconsin in the cold and drizzle and the weather did not slow the hatch down at all. There were quite a few sections of the river where fish were constantly coming up to the surface.
When I started out on the river many dun mayflies were floating on the surface, which appeared to be blue wing olives and sulphurs. So I decided to start with a sulphur dun pattern. After catching a few nice trout it appeared that the fish were taking emergers more than duns, so I switched to a sulphur emerger. The emerger seemed too worked well for a while, but not the magic fly. Even though the hatch was fairly prolific and constant, what the fish were taking definitely varied throughout the day. I found that I was changing flies often from duns to emergers with varying color and all of them seemed to produce a few fish.
I ended the day not remembering how many trout I did catch. It was a mixed bag of some small colorful brookies and the rest were brown trout. It was a fun day of fishing and I hope to be able to get out soon and enjoy some good dry fly fishing.