Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lost and Found in 2011

A few websites that I frequent have asked its members to list their goals for the 2011 year. The majority of the members discussed the amount of fish they would love to catch or a certain size of fish. I think goals in general are a great way to stay motivated, along with keeping yourself on target throughout a period of time.  For me though my goals are a little different. I don't like the idea of limiting my goals to concentrate on catching 20 plus muskie in a given season or catching that 10lb bass out of Illinois waters. There is nothing wrong with these goals, I know I'd love to accomplish either of them. I like to think of yearly goals as something that can be achieved, but could possible take the entire year to accomplish.

I have spent the past week or so really thinking about what I would like to accomplish in the new year. I have really taken an interest in fly tying, even more so than before. I've been tying on a regular basis, and this has allowed me to concentrate on technique along with understanding the material. I'm still working on large muskie flies since they are large enough to practice on and will continue to work my way down in size to more complicated flies. My goal regarding fly tying would be to tie at least once a week all year even if it's only one fly. With all the flies I have tied up, I'll need some place to fish them.

With 12 months out of the year and with bodies of water in my area I have never fished, I would like to fish two different bodies of water a month. This could be local or a little further, but two different bodies of water a month for a total of 24 different bodies of water on the entire year is doable. This will allow me to fish in different situations on bodies of water that I'm not familiar with, teaching me to learn the water. I plan on strictly fly fishing on all open water this entire year since conventional fishing does not have the same feeling it used to when I was younger.

While fishing these new bodies of water, I would like to concentrate on catching a variety of fish on the fly rod. I have caught bluegill, green sunfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, suckers, chubs, chinook salmon, and rock bass all on  the fly. A list I'm grateful to have so far in my early fly fishing career and something to work on. My goal this year is to catch 15 different species on the fly rod. Something that could be done, but may take the entire year to do.

This past season on the water, I started keeping a small notebook on me at all times. This way I could write down notes as I traveled up and down rivers describing what worked and what did not. After my trips were over, I would go back and read my on the water notes. I will continue to write notes this year, but plan on writing full reports after each time out. My future trips should benefit from keeping a descriptive journal. Along with a journal, I'll keep taking photos from my adventures. I realized that a lot of the pictures I take are just to take pictures. I look forward to really figuring out what I'm taking a picture of and learning how to concentrate on it.

We are lucky to have cold months here in the Chicagoland area. Luckily for me I have a few friends that love to get out on the hard water to ice fish. This is something I would like to prepare myself to do more of. My goal is to get a few more outfits, along with some tip-ups, miscellaneous tackle, a flasher, and an auger. I would like to help locate fish when going out in a group instead of being the guy that has to wait and see what the fuss is about. It could be relaxing to hit the pond down the street to see what night ice fishing is all about.
It's very easy to come up with goals, but to come up with goals that can keep someone motivated can be difficult. I look forward to trying my best to achieve these goals along with writing about the adventures I'll have this year. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about them...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Morning on the Trail

Sunday morning a friend (Big Mike) and I ventured out to Trail Creek in Michigan City, Indiana. Being the first time to explore this water for the both of us, our goals were to get acquainted with the river and what it has to offer along with drifting some flies for the first time in 2011.

We reached our first stretch of river at about 8:00 am and were both quickly ready to drift some flies minutes later. It was a gorgeous morning to be out even with the heavy lake effect snow coming down. The air temperature was about 17 degrees with a nice wind chill of about 10 degrees which seemed to have zero effect on this spring creek. I'd estimate the water temperature to be around 50 degrees.

We worked the main access points on the main branch of the river, not really spending too much time at one particular spot since Mike had to get home for work. We were both happy to be out for the first time in the new year doing the one thing we love, fly fishing.

I doubt I need to say that no fish were caught or hooked up. We now have a better understanding of the river structure and where to start fishing the next time we head out there. With the river only being a little over an hour away from me, I'll definitely be back to work this river. In the meantime, I'll continue to strengthen my techniques tying flies and reading the few books Santa got me for Christmas.

Can't wait to smell the fresh air again soon, until next time...