Tag Archives: Fly fishing

Gone Fishing: Springtime Fishing Events at the State Parks

May is the perfect time to hunt down that fishing rod and tackle box, rustle up some bait, and get out on the water. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, this spring there are plenty of fishing clinics and tournaments at the state parks for all kinds of anglers. Just another good excuse to discover a new fishing hole.

Little girl fishing [Image: www.alaskafishingak.com/freshwater/freshwater.htm]

Image: www.alaskafishingak.com/freshwater/freshwater.htm

Alabama

Mead Westvaco Annual Bass Tournament
May 2nd, 2015 – 5:30am
Lakepoint Resort State Park
Number of boats expected: 40
Weigh in at 3:00 EST
For more information, contact Larry Bettison 229-366-1759

2nd Annual Joe Wheeler State Park Youth Fishing Rodeo
May 2nd, 2015 – 8:00am – 11:00am
Joe Wheeler State Park
For youth through age 14. There will prizes and trophies. Bring your own tackle and bait. Participants must register and pay $1.00 fee to enter rodeo. Adult supervision required.

Eufaula Bass Trail Fishing Tournament
May 9th, 2015 – 5:00am – 4:00pm
Lakepoint Resort State Park
Number of boats expected: 40 – 60
For more information, contact Lester Bratcher at (334) 726-5697 or by email les.bigbitebaits@gmail.com

Catfish Rodeo
May 23rd, 2015 – 8:00am – 12:00pm
Blue Springs State Park
Fishing tournament for kids 12 and under. Bring your own pole or rod and reel, but there will be some bait available to participants. Adult supervision required. Prizes will be awarded.
For more information, call (334) 397-4875 or email: bluesprings.stpk@dcnr.alabama.gov

Bass jumps from water for bait [Image: bassfishing.sportclubs.rutgers.edu]

Image: bassfishing.sportclubs.rutgers.edu

Mississippi

Lefleur’s Bluff Fishing Rodeo
May 9th, 2015 – 8:30am
Lafleur’s Bluff State Park
Youth fishing rodeo for kids 15 years of age and younger. Participants must bring fishing equipment and bait. Games, prizes and tagged fish!
For more information, contact Mike Stepp at (601) 987-3923 or (601) 562-9296.

Pennsylvania

Family Fishing Festival
May 2nd, 2015 – 9:00am – 12:00pm
Ohiopyle State Park
Fishing event for anglers 12 and under. Meadow Run will be freshly stocked. Registrations is from 9:00am – 10:00am, and fishing goes from 10:00am to noon. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the festival.

Intro to Fly Tying & Fly Fishing
May 2nd, 2015 – 9:00am – 1:00pm
Presque Isle State Park
All ages welcome at this free introductory fly fishing program. Equipment and materials provided.
Register for this event at (814) 833-7424.

Fly-Fishing Basics
May 2nd, 2015 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Parker Dam State Park
One of the park naturalists will introduce participants to fly-fishing. Session will include discussion about techniques, learning basic knots, and practice fly-casting.

Man stands on boat fishing in pond [Image: adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/fishing]

Image: adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/fishing

Virginia

Make Your Own Fishing Lures
May 2nd, 2015 – 11:00am – 12:00pm
Kiptopeke State Park
All supplies are provided and a park ranger will be on hand to demonstrate how to make fishing lures. $2 per person; $6 per family

Let’s Go Fishing! – Children’s Fishing Tourney
May 16th, 2015 – 9:00am – 11:30am
Chippokes Plantation State Park
A casual family fishing event that includes awards for first, second, and third place in fish length and for greatest number of fish caught.

Kansas

Fishing’s Future Family Fishing Clinic
May 2nd, 2015 – 9:00am – 12:00pm
Hillsdale State Park
This clinic is taught by Kevin Reich, and will give participants important information about species identification, knot tying, live bait regulations, casting practicing, and fishing etiquette and safety.
For more information, contact Kevin Reich at (785) 577-6921.

Show Me the Smiles Crappie Tournament
May 3rd, 2015 – 7:00am – 2:00pm
Hillsdale State Park
Terry Acton, host of “Show Me the Outdoors” on 610 Sports Radio and DJ Kirby with Karl Kolonka from “Krappie Kings” (TV) will be hosting the Crappie Tournament. Family-friendly event including prizes, raffles, silent auction, musical entertainment and concessions. A free dental screening for kids will be available from 10:00am through 2:00pm, too.

Wishing everyone tight lines this spring!

Casting Close: Why It’s OK to Get Tangled

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You’ve readied yourself for a cast, the spot looks unbelievably fishy, and you simply know for a fact that a monster is about to take your lure as soon as it hits the water. You line up, make the cast…

And then your lure wraps itself impossibly around a tree branch three feet past your target.

It happens. And while on a recent fishing trip with a buddy, he executed the scenario above flawlessly. He apologized profusely about getting tangled, but I was perfectly alright with it. Why, you may ask? Simply because it’s part of fishing. The way I see it, it’s almost GOOD that someone gets tangled every once in a while. It means that you’re casting close to cover, and the closer to cover you can get your lure or fly, the better. Think of it as a risk/reward. Sure you’re safe to cast all day out into the open water and never lose your bait, but that’s not where the giant lunker bass is. He’s underneath the impenetrable thicket in the corner of the pond. You’ll risk losing that lure casting to him, but you’ll never get him if you don’t try.

Kayaker paddles through river lined with thick green vegetation

Image Credit: Alex Vail

With this in mind, there’s plenty of things to consider about fishing close to cover. The first is, of course, your lure/fly. I know for a fact that I’m going to lose tackle, but when it comes to fishing in areas where there’s an extremely good chance of losing that $12 lure, I tend to go the cheap route. Soft plastics, weedless worms, simple flies, and cheap topwaters.

Depending on the species you’re chasing, going the weedless route is the way to go in preventing getting tangled. Cast just a little too far and landed in the lily pads? It’s absolutely nothing to worry about when fishing weedless. Going weedless comes in handy, too when it gets caught in a tree or the fish are hanging out in underwater vegetation.

Fisherman holds up large bass

As the background suggests, weedless is the way to go. [Image Credit: Alex Vail]

Unfortunately, casting close to cover is probably going to mean switching up your line a little bit. A heavier leader or line will prevent fish from rubbing up against underwater roots or rocks and breaking you off. An easy way to tie a heavier shock-tippet is to do a simple back to back Uni knot. These shock tippets come in handy because you don’t have to spool your whole reel with heavier line, and you can get away with using just a little (albeit expensive) fluorocarbon as the leader.

Casting close to cover is also extremely good casting practice. An angler can quickly get to know his/her rod and reel and before long, getting tangled becomes almost a rare issue. But practice makes perfect. Try casting a few feet from your target first. Then slowly get closer and closer. Once you’ve got the distance dialed in, it isn’t impossible to get just a few inches from your target more times than not.

Man fishes from yellow kayak in river bordered by trees

Image Credit: Alex Vail

So, the next time you launch your lure miles into the nearby woods, try not to get frustrated. Losing tackle is part of the sport. And the only way to get better (and eventually catch those monsters) is to lose some tackle.

Great Gifts for Hunters & Anglers

Hunting for great gifts for the hunters and anglers on your list? We’re here to help! After scouring the Pocket Ranger® Gear Store inventory, here are some thoughtful (and useful!) gifts that are sure to make any outdoorsy person merry this season.

Winter Gear

Winter gear gifts such as red hat, black mittens, work boots

Image: pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store

Winter hunting? Ice fishing? Hunters and anglers need all the help they can get staying warm out there this winter. Hats, gloves, masks, socks, snowpants, jackets: we’ve got it all in our Gear Store. Our favorites include this classic red Coal Harbor Beanie and these supremely packable Glacier Glove Angler Mitts. We also love the Wolverine Marauder Boots that are both waterproof and insulated with 400-gram Thinsulate Ultra insulation. These boots have the kind of all-day warmth and comfort you need when out in the woods or on the ice.

Fly-Fishing

Fly-fishing gear such as dry flies, balaclava with fish pattern, and gear carrying case

Image: pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store

Not all rivers and lakes are frozen this time of year, but anyone fishing right now will want to have a balaclava like the Airhole Drytech one we have in the Gear Store. We have plenty of flies in our Gear Store, but giving fly assortments may be the best gift of all. Since there’s nothing like reeling in a largemouth lunker, we recommend the Umpqua Largemouth Bass Selection. Instead of your typical gift bag, why not tuck all those fly-fishing goodies in the Fishpond Stowaway Reel Case. Just put a red bow on top and you’re all set!

Flannels

No outdoorsman or woman can have enough flannels. From Woolrich to Pendleton, Horny Toad to Hurley, we’ve got a few more to add to their collection this season.

Six flannels in holiday colors and checks

Top Row: Men’s Loser Machine; Woolrich; Pendleton
Bottom Row: Women’s Hurley, Horny Toad, Discrete [Image: pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store]

Camping Gear

We have so much camping gear in the Gear Store, and it was hard to choose just a few things. This Primus C7H Food Vacuum Bottle is a favorite of ours; its wide mouth makes it easy to fill, eat from, and clean. After hours spent in the stand or in the bobhouse, there’s nothing like opening up this thermos and having a hot lunch. If you’re looking to give a big ticket item, look no further than Brunton Eterna Spotting Scope. This mid-size, waterproof scope has a magnification power range of 20-45x, with a multi-step eye relief system and a durable ergonomic body. Since it’s glass will never fog, you can be sure that this will be their #1 scouting tool.

Camping gear, including black thermos, scope, and wooden-handled hunting knife

Image: pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store

We hunters and anglers go through so many knives. They get jammed, beat up, lost, or borrowed and never to be returned. This is exactly why SOG’s Woodline Large Fixed Blade Knife will be a welcome sight under the Christmas tree. It’s the best of both worlds: beautiful and functional, fitted with a rust-resistant, stainless steel blade and a wooden handle with thumb and forefinger grooves for optimal dexterity.

Trophy Case® and Pocket Ranger® Fish & Wildlife Apps

Strapped for time? The most thoughtful gift of all may just be a download away! Download our free Pocket Ranger® Fish & Wildlife apps onto any mobile device, so the lucky recipient will have complete access to great features, like state regulations, license & permit information, species profiles, and our Advanced GPS Mapping technology. And don’t forget to join Trophy Case®, our free social networking site created just for hunters and anglers. Trophy Case® users can share photos and tips, and earn points towards great prizes!

Happy Holidays!

Five Tips to Catching More Fall Trout

Contributed by Austin Orr of Salt 396

My fly hit the water with a soft splat near the far bank. I waited a moment, then began twitching the minnow imitation along, as much like an actual injured fish as possible. Suddenly, a flash; my line came tight and a strong fish surged downriver! After a stiff battle, I held a handsome male brown trout, known as a ‘buck’, in my hand. A quick stretch of the measuring tape put him at 22 inches, a great fish by anyone’s standard.

Alight with Fall breeding color, the fish sported iridescent blues on his cheeks, with buttery gold flanks and black speckling. His wicked kype signaled that the time for spawning was near. As he swam off, I took a deep breath and smiled as I looked down the river bank at the beautiful patchwork of leaves. Ah yes – I love Fall fishing.

Hands holding Brown Streamer

Image: www.moldychum.com

During the Fall months, trout are especially geared up to eat; after all, winter is coming. The biggest fish of the year are often caught during September, October and November. Take advantage of this excellent window of opportunity by following these simple tips for success.

5 Tips to Catch More Fall Trout

1. Show up early and stay late.

It’s no secret that trout, especially large trout, are most active during periods of low light. They are excellent predators and prefer to spend as little energy as possible catching their meals. Big trout like eating meat – minnows and young trout are staples on their menu. By being active during low light conditions, they can get closer to prey which gives the trout a better shot at a meal. Make sure that you’re on the water when the action is going down. That often means arriving and leaving in the pitch black, but when that big trout slams your fly, the extra time is worth it.

2. Don’t be scared to throw big.

With the hard times of winter breathing down their neck, Fall trout of all sizes are hunting whatever they can fit in their mouth. This is when I recommend breaking out the big guns – flies that sometimes seem as big as stocker rainbows. From a fly fisherman’s perspective, large flies are a catch-22. They’re easier to see and tie on than the tiny bug imitations we sometimes use, but casting large streamers can be a real pain in the neck. Literally. You don’t have to go crazy, though. Throwing streamers as big as the baitfish that live in the body of water you’re fishing is a great start.

Streamer trout-Fall trout

Image: www.rsmflyfishingdelaware.blogspot.com

3. Try speeding up your retrieve.

Due to the enhanced predatory nature of trout during the Fall, fishermen are often able to provoke more reaction strikes this time of year. Fishing flies on the swing (casting cross-current and letting the moving water drag the fly down and across the flow) is a popular way to trigger these fish to bite, as is casting across or upstream and stripping quickly back. It’s not a magic technique, but putting some zip in your strip can trigger strikes when nothing else is working.

4. Work smarter than the other guys

This time of year there are plenty of fishermen on the river, at least until the major hunting seasons start up. You may feel like all the water has been trampled, but with careful observation, you will start to notice water that the other guys consistently pass up. For instance, even in high traffic areas, swift riffle water often hold trout that most people skip over. Think outside the box; everyone wants to fish the deep pools and most obvious lies, but there are plenty of fish to be had in between the popular wades.

5. Don’t tread on them, please.

This last tip isn’t so much about catching Fall trout as it is about making sure that there are plenty of trout to catch in the years to come. Fall means spawning time for brown trout, and it can be easy to find pairs of big, tempting fish hanging out in plain sight in the shallows. During this time, the female scoops out her nest, called a “redd” (Scottish for “basket”), and a male will usually join her. During this time they will ignore food and the only way to catch spawners is by snagging them, whether intentionally or not. Please keep this in mind and don’t harass these fish; they’re in the middle of making more trout for you to catch. Anyway, how would you like it if someone disturbed you like that! The redds need protection too; they’re easy to see, plate sized or larger patches of different colored gravel that’s been scooped out. Eggs are deposited in the redds, and a single human footstep could crush dozens of the embryonic trout. Just watch your step as you move down the river, which of course you should be doing anyway. The local fly shops will know when trout are spawning, and will probably be able to tell you areas where you’re likely to encounter the amorous fish so you can plan accordingly to avoid them.

Stream with log

Image: onlinefishinglog.com/images/blog/redds/slide-7_bull-trout-redd.jpg