Eggs, Lefty's Unveiling, & Wood Turtles
Hello, welcome to this week's blog. There are signs of fall all around us, but no where is it more evident than on the stream. Fish are chasing each other and we see more redds everyday. Our water is in great shape and guiding is good and will continue through November. Wet wading has been replaced with fleece pants and down jackets, at least for part of the day, and the hot flies are now Pat's Rubber Legs and eggs. There are a few olives and caddis around and some dry fly fishing can be found most days, but the main course is eggs and Barry is here to tell us all about it.
Eggs are one thing that trout naturally recognize as a food source, especially in the fall of the year. If you visit Alaska in September and you’re fishing for rainbows that are following a salmon run, eggs are almost always the guide’s first choice. The same goes for east coast steelhead runs out of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Here on Fishing Creek when fall temperatures drop and the first frost is on the ground, it always sparks some natural spawning activity in our fish. When that happens a switch is flipped and our resident trout turn onto egg patterns that will continue to work throughout the winter season.
Make no mistake, we do not fish redds or spawning beds. That said trout in other areas will now respond to egg patterns. The late Ernest Schwiebert once wrote a piece about fishing eggs in the fall of the year. Ernie was best known for his match-the-hatch philosophy, but in this story he pointed out that when trout are feeding on eggs from spawning fish you are, in a sense, matching the hatch by fishing an egg pattern. Ernie took a lot of criticism for that statement, some saying that eggs are not flies and that it can not be considered matching a hatch.
I disagree. Ok, so eggs are not insects, but you are imitating a food source that the trout are currently eating. In the end, it’s up to the angler and whatever makes you happy. Personally, I want to catch fish so if it’s an egg that is working then I will fish an egg without any reservations. To prove my point, watch a good nymph fisherman or someone skilled with a ESN rod fish an egg in the fall. You won’t want to follow them downstream because they won’t leave you much.
Egg patterns come in various sizes and colors, but my favorites are salmon, peach and light roe in sizes 10 or 14. One thing is for sure, you need to get the egg on the bottom and in front of the fish and it’s important to have a drag free drift. Before we had tippet rings, I used a small black barrel swivel at the end of a 4x leader. I would put a b size split shot, or heavier depending on the depth and current speed, just ahead of the barrel swivel. At the other of the swivel, I attached a 14 inch section of 5x fluorocarbon to which I attached my egg pattern. This got the egg quickly down to the bottom. When I am guiding a client, I rely on a strike indicator for a visual aid, remembering to set the indicator at a position on the leader to allow the egg to get to the desired depth. The newer indicators, like Oros or Air-Lock, are easy to adjust when needed and don’t crimp the leader.
So, with the fall season here, make sure you have a few egg patterns in your fly box. Some of the biggest fish of the year show up in the fall and you want to be ready. Check out eggs in our store.
I've talked about F.O.L.K. (Friends of Lefty Kreh) a couple times over the last year or so, about the statue that is/was commissioned to be erected in Culler Lake, in Baker Park,, in Frederick, Maryland. Thanks to the huge commitment and lots of hard work, it came to be and last Saturday was the unveiling of the sculpture. Lefty is now fishing where he grew up in Frederick, not far from where he went to school.
It wasn't the nicest of days, but still a crowd came out to celebrate the occasion. Photos complement of Dennis Pastucha, Art Director for Fly Fisherman Magazine. Thank you F.O.L.K. And thank you Dennis. Here's the article from The Frederick News-Post.
What do you know about Wood Turtles? Do you know how you can tell one's age? Or who their predators might be? This is a very interesting article from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission about Wood Turtles and a very interesting short video about the turtles. Share them with your family, it's good stuff and nice to know.
And last for this week, a few recent guide photos. We hope you get out to fish this week, fall is quickly winding down.