Thursday, December 13, 2012

Zero 2 Hero at DRiFT

Exactly two years ago today I wrote a blog (blog post here) about a tie along with the Afton Angler (Brad Bohen), world class musky guide up in Musky Country, USA.  I was very fortunate to have another chance to sit and listen to Brad talk musky once again.
Brad was a our guest speaker at our DRiFT meeting this week and it was one that I was looking forward too.  Over the past two years Brad and his Musky Tribe has revolutionized the sport of pursuing these fish with a fly rod from his fly patterns to his feather and fur business Primo Tail.  Again it was a real honor to talk fish and flies with Brad for a few hours along with another guide from Musky Country Outfitters (MCO Website) Chris Willen. 
Chris is a local guy starting his fishing career up on the Chain O' Lakes.  He actually is the main tier at MCO and his attention to detail while also cranking out flies at a fast pace is astonishing.  It was breath taking to watch him work at the vise.
Before heading out I made it a point to say hi to Brad since it has been a while since we last talked.  I picked up some green barred rooster tail feathers and had him sign my copy of Musky Country, Zero 2 Hero DVD.
Last night I tied up an optical minnow pattern which Chris demonstrated at the meeting.  It is very similar to the Hangtime pattern which I learned two years ago.  Below is my attempt at it.
My tying has come a long way since the last time I learned a pattern from Brad.  I cannot wait to get this fly in the water and see the action on it.  Brad and Chris, thanks for stopping in and sharing your knowledge with DRiFT.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DRiFT Meeting 9/25

The meeting last night was outstanding.  I did not learn a new pattern, but did learn a new method of fishing.  The pattern we tied was a mayfly emerger, but with a parasol attached to it.  This allows the fly to float just below the film and because the parasol is above the fly, the fish never see it.  This fly can also be used as a strike indicator while keeping a hook in the water. 

As you can see, the fly just has a small white parachute on top of it.  This keeps the fly at the surface, easily visible for the fisher to see, to detect any strikes.  A trailer fly can be used with this fly as well.
Using a fly as a strike indicator is a great way of keeping the back cast nice and tout without causing the line to loop and open on you.  This allows the fly to softly land on the water and not spook any fish.  It will also save you from sore shoulders at the end of a long day drifting flies.  Strike indicators are extremely light but can be bulky causing more of a strain during each cast from the wind resistance.
Two meetings down and it is easy to see why I missed them all summer long.  Great group of guys, great learning environment, and a reason to talk fly fishing all winter long.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First DRiFT Meeting of 2012-2013 Season

Well last night was my first DRiFT meeting for the up coming tying season.  I guess I should start off by letting you know what DRiFT stands for.  DuPage River Fly Tyers is a group of about 65 fly fisher people that get together every Tuesday at College of DuPage from September to May to learn and talk everything fly fishing.  Most nights involve a member that demonstrates a fly pattern as everyone else ties along.  It is a great group of people and I have already learned a lot in the few months of going.
It was great to see new faces and to catch up with old friends that I have not seen since the beginning of summer.  It was nice to know I was not the only one that did not fish a lot this summer.  With the high temps in the Midwest, it made it unsafe not only for angler, but for the fish as well.  The few that did get out traveled out of the area to find better conditions to get a line wet and chase some fish.
The big talk of the group was the White River trip that some of the guys are going on at the beginning of October.  I had my heart set on this trip since we parted back in May, but with this being a yearly trip, I will wait until next year to go.  This way I can hear all about it first hand when they return so I know what to expect.  Either way, I hope they have a great trip and that the water levels stay up for everyone to bring some gorgeous fish to hand.
We tied two flies at the meeting.  Mike Miller is a certified caster and excellent tier.  He demonstrated two flies that he did very well on rivers in Montana, but would still be excellent flies right here in our backyards.
The fly above is called a slammer.  Mine has a little variation to the actual fly that was demonstrated.  Usually this top water fly has rubber legs that come off both sides.  In the mix of folding foam and tying off my thread, all four legs were ripped off.  I think this fly still has some ability to catch panfish and maybe even small bass if the water is right.  Hopefully I can get this fly wet over the upcoming weekend to see what it can do.
This next fly is a crane fly.  This is another fly that I look forward to trying on local ponds since we have had a good number of these giant mosquito looking flies this summer.  With the weather cooling in the Midwest, I am not sure how much longer they can work, but it is worth a try.  The crane fly is pretty close to what was shown except my legs do not have a break in them to make them fan out.  Both flies will be fished before the snow falls and I look forward to both flies producing fish.

For more information on DRiFT, please feel free to visit their website. The website will give more information on other programs the club is involved in.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Promo Flies Sent Out

NT just received his first batch of promo flies to share with his pike friends out in Eastern Ohio.  Of course this post is worthless without pictures of the merchandise but I do not have those uploaded at this time.  I promise to post them when I do.  I sent him one of my hangtime variations and four of my popsicle fly variations.  Actually no two popsicle flies were the same.  It was all experimenting.  He said they look good and wished the tandem popsicle flies were a little bigger but we shall see how he does.  He is suppose to get out this weekend.
On a fishing relating post.  I too will be getting a line wet in the morning hours tomorrow for a little bit.  The plan is to take the little guy to the zoo so I have a few hours in the morning to chase bass and carp on the fly rod.  I have a few backstabber variations I have been wanting to try.  Hopefully a get a few fish to hand tomorrow morning.  Either way, I should be back with pictures either tomorrow night or sometime on Sunday.  If anyone wants any flies, let me know.  I am not charging yet, just looking for honest user reviews and some tying critics.  Shoot me an email and let me know type and quantity you are interested in at
Thank you and tight lines.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Future of Lost and Found

The nice weather in Chicago has brought me to the backyard for this post.  As I sit and puff on a nice cigar, drinking a Two Brothers beer, I sit and contemplate the future of Lost and Found.  No I am not going to stop writing (not that I write often anyway) but I do have some things stirring in the pot that can change the future of Lost and Found Fishing. 
One thing is the little man and his impact on the blog.  Actually got him out to some water a few weeks ago.  My girlfriend and him and a nice breakfast picnic by the lake in a nearby forest preserve as I stalked fish with my 5wt.  It was great to get him outdoors and close to nature.  He reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger.  I was always interested in animals and bugs and so is he.  I do not know any kids as young as him that clicks his tongue to call squirrels to the window and the bad part is, he gets one to come almost everyday.  I was able to bring a bluegill over to him for inspection.  He was not sure what to do until it flopped into the air.  His hand went straight for it, giving it a nice pat down.  It was great to see him not  hesitate. The picture below is him on his way to me as I stalk some bass swimming in the shallows.  (Lee takes amazing photos.)
At only 14 months old, he wont be casting a fly rod any time soon, but if he keeps up his interest in the outdoors, I can see many father/son trips around the Midwest.  Something I look forward too and will be a special place in my heart.
Below is just another amazing picture by Lee of me crouching as a I was trying to get my popper over a bass pushing 2lbs.

The next item will be a near future change.  I have contemplated the idea of going commercial as a tyer for the past six months.  My thought was never to actually make a living of it, but maybe make enough to cover my expenses for my own flies.  NT told me to go commercial last week so he can purchase some pike flies I tie.  He has been doing a great job in Ohio nailing pike, most coming on my variation of The Afton Anglers Hangtime.  I do not have a name for mine yet but as soon as I do I will be post it.  I decided to send him a package this week that contains the two flies pictured below.  The top one is my Hangtime variation while the bottom fly is a tandem popsicle fly variation.  He is going to be my product tester for these flies.
Sorry for the bad picture quality.  I hope to have Lee take professional pictures before sending them off to NT for testing.  After talking with him and doing some research I will see if going commercial is worth it.
With summer here, I look to get out more, especially for a weekly wade working a small stretch of the DuPage River that is close to my house.  The stretch holds a good amount of carp and I would love to purposely catch on a home tied backstabber fly.  This weekend is looking more open then weekends past so I might be able to get out for a few hours one morning.  Hopefully the kid and his molars that are coming in will cooperate.  I would feel a little guilty leaving the house at 5 am to fish while the baby is crying.
With the commercial idea floating around, it seems I might be forced to blog more.  This is great news since I will have some news related to fishing and I really do enjoy writing.
Hopefully a fishing report will be in my future and hopefully it involves actual fish being caught.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FSA Black River Steel Series Fly Rod

A good friend of mine decided to get into rod building recently.  It was a way for him to stay close to fishing while his family grew by one.  Since he has never built a fly rod and I have never ordered a custom rod, we talked out the specs for a fly rod.
I was interested in a fly rod that was perfect for the different water types I fish.  We flirted with the idea of adding my blog title onto the rod.  The picture below shows the title right above the cork grip.

Let me just say, I could not be more happier with this rod.  It casts like a dream and is very light weight.  The 8ft. 4wt. rod has been used on a few rivers and lakes now.  I have not had a chance to bring anything with size to hand on it yet, but I sure do look forward to it.  The sensitivity of the rod really helps pick up on those light subtle hits.
Ed at Four Season Angler (FSA) did an outstanding job.  Not only is he a crafty rod builder, but he is an excellent fisherman and writer.  His blog is under repair right now, but he can be contacted on Facebook at TheFour SeasonAngler.  Contact him for all your rod building needs.  He has built countless number of spinning and bait casting rods along with a few fly rods.  Great service, great products, for a great price.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Midwest Fly Fisher Part 2

My view on fishing changed from that weekend forward.  Even though I did not land a fish on the fly rod, I knew this is the style of fishing I wanted to pursue.  The one biggest question was where to fish back home outside of Chicago.  Fly fishing is not as foreign out in Ohio since they have trout streams and a large run of steelhead every year.  After turning to a few fishing forums and reading a few books, it was time to buy a few more flies and a 5wt. rod.
Fly fishing is not always about throwing small delicate dry flies for rising trout in a cold water stream, or indicator fishing with an egg/caddis combo for steelhead.  Fly fishing is about enjoying yourself on the water, chasing anything that swims.  Whether it is streamers, wets, or dries, the Midwest offers a variety of opportunities and bodies of water to fish. 
I have fished small ponds, larger lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the Midwest the past couple of years.  My skunk ratio is much higher then I would like to admit but I still choose the fly rod over spinning gear every time.  Now it could my age or that I was not exposed to fly fishing until the past few years, but it seems the sport is growing in popularity within the area.
As a fly guy looking to learn from others, I decided to join a tying group.  Back in February I joined DuPage Rivers Fly Tying group (DRiFT).  These past few months with the group has really helped my tying and I feel comfortable behind the vice.  Most of my fly boxes are filled with self tied flies and there is nothing like hooking into a fish with something you created.  There are a few local fishing forums that also provide great information.  Upper Midwest Fly Fishing  is a great site that provides information for the Driftless area along with warm water species.  The guys on the site are great and full of knowledge from guides to the weekend fisherman.  Everyone is willing and eager to help out a fellow fly guy trying to learn something new.
The Midwest has its share of water, now lets go fish it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Internet Angler

I always wanted to be the fishing bums that spent their rainy afternoons in the tackle shop arguing about that days topic.  I remember going in to spend my allowance and would have to be dragged out since I would just hang out, "browse" and listen to what they were saying.  They seemed knowledgeable and seemed to have nothing else to do all day but to drink coffee and enjoy the company of other anglers.
Being an angler now is nothing like I imagined it when I would go into the tackle shops at a young age.  Today the conversations and arguing are all done in forums on the internet.  Even purchasing gear is done on the internet.  It is kind of sad to see the local tackle shops empty on rainy days, but with everyone on the go  what else can we expect?
Now as much as I would love to spend my rainy days in the local tackle shop, drinking coffee, and bsing with other anglers.  A place to go that everyone gets along, knows each other, and can either head out to some water to fish or just argue back and forth and no one taking it seriously. 
I have been lucky enough to meet great anglers the past few years that can just bs or fish without taking it seriously.  The internet tough guys or the guys that have been kicked off every other site so they have to create their own to feel important would not be here without the realm of the internet.
The internet has allowed the fishing information to spread like wildfire.  Anglers are able to share information on current reports with a touch of the button social media.  We can share information with each other so quickly that keeps anglers at bay when approaching others on the water.
The internet is here and will only continue to improve, we just need to find a way to treat it like our local tackle shop.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Midwest Fly Fisher Part 1

I was 11 years old when my parents bought me my first fly rod.  It was a White River 5wt. and I was grateful of the generous purchase, especially since my father kept telling me how expensive it was.
I fished all the time back then with my friends, but bringing a fly rod to the lake one day was like listening to a foreign language.  My buddies watched and chuckled as I tangled myself up in the thick orange line.  It was not long until I was back to throwing my squirm and squirt jig under a small panfish bobber, catching crappie.  I brought that fly rod with me all over the place trying to get the line out far enough to entice something to hit my offering.  The rod was stepped on about 7 months after I got it.  It was never the same after that and I forgot about it.
Fishing was a big part of my life until high school. Girls, sports, and everything else that a high school student goes through got in the way.  We would still get out a few times a year, but nothing like when we were in our early teens and did not have a responsibility in the world.  It was not until after we all graduated that fishing picked back up again.
NT moved to Ohio for school and claimed the fishing out there was incredible.  He told me what to pick up for a fishing trip for walleye and steelhead.  An item on the list was a fly rod.  I picked up the only brand name I knew, an 8wt. White River fly rod and some ESL and egg patterns his buddy suggested.  I was ready to fly fish, or so I thought.
We got to the river later then expected for our only time on the water chasing steel.  NT's buddy who has fished this river since he was little was there to guide us around.  He showed us a few casting tips in the parking lot.  It was here that I realized I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Stepping into the water casting a fly rod that day was like doing it for the first time.  The casting pointers helped out and I was drifting woolly buggers with a strike indicator through pools.  I was working a pool along some downed trees when the indicator danced on the surface.  With a quick hook-set, the battle was on.  The fish went airborne a few times which got the attention of the guys I was with.  Everyone came running over to see the smallmouth bass break the surface again.  I fought the fish for a few minutes before the line snapped.  I had no idea what I was doing and it was perfect!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The World Without Fish

About three months ago my girlfriend and I were shopping for books for the little man when we stumbled upon a book called "World Without Fish" by Mark Kurlanksy.  Of course we had to buy it since it deals with one of my favorite subjects, fish.
I noticed that it is recommended for children nine and up after sitting down to read it the first night.  I realized that this book wouldn't be able to keep the attention of a six month old but it did keep the attention of this 26 year old.  Flipping through this 181 page book really made me think about the impact of everyday fisherman have on the population.
Seeing other anglers on the water can be encouraging and disheartening all at the same time.  It is nice to see a few faces here and there while working a stretch of water that may be new and unfamiliar.  I usually will stop and talk to anyone that is fishing, striking up the the typical, "any luck?" question that sparks a conversation between all fisherman.  These are the anglers I enjoy seeing on the water.  The people that "do it right" if there is such a thing.
As a fly fisherman I pay attention to the conservation of the waters I fish.  The ecosystem is what fuels and allows flies of different types to work.  Some fly fisherman frown upon any other type of angling but I do not.  If the method used is responsible and keeps the area no different then how it was before the angler was even there then I am okay with it.
It is the anglers that leave their garbage behind, snag fish and keep them, do not follow creel limits, and avoid all fishing regulations that I have a problem with.  Bodies of water have important creel and regulations based on studies and fish surveys.  This explains the size limits varying from one stretch of river to another based on the location and blockages such as a dam.
These anglers pollute and destroy the environment each time they are out and usually promote these antics to other anglers, or worse, their kids.  Whether its cigarette butts, soda cans, worm containers, or a bunch of fishing line, whenever I come across these items, all I an do is shake my head.  I know a few anaglers (myself included) that will actually try and pick up some of this garbage to keep the natural beauty of the water.  A river can have such mystique to it when walking the shore or wading the banks.  It is a nice thought wondering if anyone has ever saw the beauty that I am looking at right now.  All of that wonder and enjoyment can disappear quickly after coming across a garbage pile left from the previous user.
It is up to us, the users who do not take the outdoors for granted, to make a difference.  Make a comment when you see someone snagging fish or polluting the waters.  Call the local DNR and file a report on the person.  And teach kids how to not only respect the outdoors, but to also enjoy them.  No matter what happens, their will always be people that disrespect and do not follow the rules, but its the generation of true outdoorsman that can help keep mother nature as beautiful and plentiful as it can be.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter Root

After this past fall fishing trip to the Root River, I have been looking forward to getting a line in the water on some of the new water we explored.  My time finally came this morning.
The drive up was pretty smooth from Chicagoland.  I headed to the main dam on the river since I heard a couple of guys had great luck there last weekend.  Knots all tied, black and orange popsicle fly tied on, and the cigar was lit.  It was time to head to the water.  I worked a nice hole that gave up a few kings in previous years.  I was about 5 drifts in when I had my first bump.  After a quick strip set, the fight was on.
Unfortunately the fight didn't last as long as most would hope.  The fish was unbuttoned within the first 45 seconds of the fight but I was able to get a look at the Brown Trout that had my heart racing.  He was only about 20inches but still hurt to feel the tug no more.  I was able to get a picture of this little guy cruising the opposite shoreline.
After about another 30 minutes of working this hole, I decided to head out to fish the water I came across back in October.  The quick five minute drive had me pass the Weir Dam which was open for business allowing migrating fish to get above and beyond.  This was great news since the new water was just upstream of there.  A quick gathering of the gear and walk down a man made trail and I came across superb looking water.  The water level was a little lower then I had hoped for, but it was clear and allowed me to survey about 3/4 of a mile.  The substrate is perfect for spawning steelhead and would be perfect holding areas for migrating fish.  I hope to be in the moving river after a nice rain fall in the future.  Until next time...