Contributors to this thread:
Fly fishing for Trout
Ok, not a bowfishing topic, but a fishing one. Are there some amazing fly fishing for quality size trout opportunities, especially west, on public wadable streams, without running into extreme crowds? Can they be found? I suppose this is like asking for secret spots. I was a fly fishing nut back in high school and college, traded #20 dry flies for 4 oz. muskie lures, once I got to MN, now am wanting to delve back into the trout fishing game. Always wanted to go west on a fly fishing trip when I was plying Michigan streams back in my young man days. Have recently watched some You Tube of some awesome Cutthroat, rainbow and brown fishing out west. Would love to go. Any hints?
What part of MN? SE was always really nice, down around Whitewater….
Northeast Iowa has many, many miles of excellent trout streams!!
Where are you specifically think when you say west? Rockies?
Yep...what is west and what do you consider amazing?
Wyoming fishing is where its at
I have fished everywhere. Their is the UP. Then there is everything else. I am a big streamer guy. Cut down Drunk and Disorderlys are my favorite It's all good...enjoy
Google Missouri River of life farm, lots of different opportunities float guided if wanted cabin tree houses on river step out and fish . It's on the white and North fork giant Brown's wild.
Google Brion wise fishing guide Missouri he. Guides the same rivers and works with the River of life farm.
Livingston Montana and fish the Depuy. Little spring creek with 6 and 8#Trout. Anywhere is good fishing, I’ve fished out of Jackson Hole and Cody Wyo. I’ve also fished some water and the Missouri River. If your fishing some Western States it’s better fishing in the middle of July, August and September. Frying Pan creek in Colorado is a famous stream.
"Arkansas which produces some absolute monsters in the White and Little Red"....I used to guide on the White River below Bull Shoals, specifically from around Wildcat Shoals down river. The fishing is out standing. And during low water non generation times the river is very wadeable particularly around Cotter and up river from there. The North Fork River below the dam is also excellent. The Little Red River below Greer's Ferry is very good fishing as well. These are 3 places where every time you cast you may very well hook a world record fish.
Theses areas however are not free of crowds, but most easy to get to waters aren't any more.
cnelk +1. I'm not a fly fisherman but I love to throw some spinners for trout when I'm out west. Wyoming is legit!
I'd love to do a lama pack in trip with Mark Livesay in Yellowstone.
First fish on a fly rod
First fish on a fly rod
Definitely Wyoming. I've found some good fishing in Colorado as well bur usually much more crowded.
Idaho. Better than Wyoming and at least on par with Montana. Hell of a lot less people on the streams than Montana. Plus, you have Steelhead and salmon runs in a number of tributaries. Not as good as Alaska but pretty awesome for the lower 48…
No, there is no good fly fishing in the west, anymore. Definitely go to the UP. ;-)
Yes Rockies, Colorado, WY, MT, ID, UT. Have heard about the Bighorn and Platte in WY a little further east, but not sure about wadable public water. Would be nice to have good numbers of fish in the middle to upper teens inches.
My son and I have a float trip scheduled for early April on the Rio Grande out of Creede. Looking forward to that.
Some decent AZ rivers and lakes in the high country (White Mountains) for Rainbows, Browns, Brook, cutthroats, Apache, Tiger, and even some arctic Grayling. Some trophy size at times…..but mainly just fun sized fish.
Guys giving up their "honey holes"... something fishy going on here.
For wade able you'll need public access to the streambed. Floating out West has more access over the length of a waterway. Plenty of great easy access fishing though. I'd say head West young man and come see for yourself.
That Idaho fishing sounds very interesting.
Don’t listen to Brad Wyoming fishing sucks :)
Corax latrans, yes, I plan on checking out SE MN for sure. My wife is from Duluth so will also be trying some north shore streams.
My best spots are on Never Mind Creek... Ha ha
Love to Ice fish! No ice this year.
1972 my partner graduated from college. I am home from the war. We start in our beloved UP in late May. We fish the best in Montana, Wyoming. Idaho. We run out of money on the Green in Provo Utah. Had money wired to get home. Most were getting on with serious life issues We were not. Had my eyes on sheep hunting, but worked a year for the money and we took off for New Zealand. Now getting ready for 74, I look back and realize those were good decisions. Yes I got into sheep hunting 26 to 30. I was broke till I was 40. Ha ha
I’ve caught a lot of nice fish over the years! But none of them was like the thrill of watching your first grandson catch his first fish! :)
I like to take a vintage bamboo rod out once in awhile. And take my time.
Guess it depends on what you call quality !! Lots of places around western MT to get what you want.. July and August is best imo .
There are true black and orange brookies that are in hard spots and coasters then everything else Ha ha... love my fellow trout bums
Lots of opportunities all over the West. As a serious fly fisherman who lives on a river in CO and fishes all the mountain states, and has guided corporate clients on multiple rivers in CO, I would HIGHLY recommend getting a guide for your first day. Every river is different, varies from week to week, sometimes day to day, and the learning curve will be shortened exponentially.
Buying some flies at a local shop will get you some good advice, but the small nuances on our rivers can make the difference between 20 fish and lots of refusals, even with the right flies.
The North Platte in WY has lots of wadeable access on public stretches and plenty of big rainbows and browns, but the fishing is often very technical with size 18-22 midges requiring perfect presentations, and on weekends the popular stretches will have company. Much like all of the productive tailwaters in the West. But if you hit it right, it can be amazing.
Be sure to learn the stream access laws for each state, because they vary greatly. Could save you some expensive lessons.
If they ain’t Steelhead or Lake Trout, do they really matter??
I've caught big lake trout on dries in Quebec.
One of these will make your fly fishing adventures more enjoyable. Trust me. I spend more time in mine in the summer than I do at home.
OP - most western streams or rivers that carry sizable trout will have a roadway nearby thus making foot access relatively easy.
Hiring a guide and floating for a day would be well worth it and not just for the fishing experience. A good guide is invaluable on new water.
On the other hand you could hike a few miles into a high mountain lake and enjoy both the solitude and big fish if you time it right.
+ 3 to Brad - Wyoming fishing is where it’s at. We have some great fly fishing here in Colorado as well, but in general the fish are smaller and angling pressure is exponentially higher here. If you’re gonna go, be prepared to use a heavier rod than you’re used to and learn to cast in the wind. It’s almost always blowing in WY…
I moved to WY for the fly fishing and hunting. If I had to do it all over again, Arkansas would be near or at the top of my list. Fishing is at least as good, weather is MUCH better.
Lake Taneycomo (which is a river in Southern MO) is outstanding fly fishing also... I had many 50-100 trout days there and caught lots over 20", some to 26".
Taneycomo is on the White River near Branson and it is excellent fishing as is Table Rock.
Bighorn River in MT/WY is pretty cool.
12yards, here's a NE Iowa rainbow.
Beautiful rainbow Mike. Are they natural fish or stocked in IA?
OP, if you are in MN, the driftless area, while not the freestones of the west, is EXCELLENT fly fishing... But there is also a cool stream just west of Nisswa in the area NW of Brainerd that I've caught a mess of trout in visiting family, if you are looking for a close to home spot, Ill check the name of it (brain cramping right now)...
Second Rio Grande out of Creede. Lots of Texas folks
Will, probably Stony Brook. I've been on it. Flows into Gull Lake.
Yup :). My mother in law lives on Gull May-Sept. So I fish Stony every summer. Fun little stream, though the Tornado a few years back did make the woods a handful to navigate around the stream in spots.
That said, Gull with streamers is pretty fun to... Though you have to be careful and clean your gear very well given the damn zebra mussels in there.
Another one just over the line in Wisco which is awesome is the Kinnickinnic. Worth a quick drive for sure.
Thanks 12yards. I believe most of the Iowa trout are stocked but there is some natural reproduction. The entire driftless region of SW Wisconsin, SE Minnesota and NE Iowa is loaded with high quality trout streams.
Used to fish the Logan "back in the day" when I lived in Cache Valley (Utah). Some days it wasn't a good day if you didn't hook 30 Bonneville Cuts in a couple of hours.
Nice Hunt Man you need a new fishing buddy.:))
I have never fished West of the Mississippi and rarely fly fish but I'm following this one with great pleasure.
Steve, what time of year are you planning for your western fly fishing trip?
A lot of these photos have me envious. Nicely done gentlemen.
Rogue River, OR
Rogue River, OR
Clearwater River, ID
Clearwater River, ID
Big sea run rainbows are so much fun!
“ My wife is from Duluth so will also be trying some north shore streams.”
I used to take off from work the 2nd week of October every year and camp in a park near the Baptism & Temperance… Leaves on the trees, grouse in the woods, salmon in the rivers and big waves to paddle on the lake. Saw some guys hauling Kings outta there as big as my leg, and I had speed-skater legs back then…. I never quite managed to tie into one o’ those….
We live in a beautiful world.
Niobrara was awfully good for my brother, many years ago. Just have to be snake-smart.
http://sportsmanscampground.com/ Just outside of Pagosa Springs Co. Call Jon and talk with him. Just a cool side note: I spent about a week camped next to Jordan not far from there, way way way back when. Good times. Great people.
Flyfishing is great just about everywhere imho. "Combat fishing" on some rivers close to bigger cities can be tiresome, but in general just getting out is awesome.
I went to Montana State in 1980 specifically to fly fish and ski race. Been getting together every year with 6 friends from there for 40 years now. Going again this year to the Big Horn the first of May.
Caught my first one on a fly for this year yesterday. Been so much snow and the ice fishing so good, haven't been out on the streams yet :)
Awesome to see how many of us fellow bowhunters are into fishing !!!
Matt, if I go, I would probably go late summer. I would expect there to be a lot of very cold runoff coming into the streams for quite a while this year. Maybe into early summer. Is that a bad thing for fishing and hatches? Salmonfly action would be epic. When do they usually come off?
A few more WY trout from years passed…
Steve, the salmon fly hatch in Colorado is usually late May to early June. It's a difficult hatch to hit because most streams and rivers are blown out with runoff during that timeframe. It's also a very isolated hatch that usually moves quickly. It's not uncommon for a salmon fly hatch to only last a half day in one location before it moves up river.
I actually prefer the Golden stonefly hatch, which usually starts in early July. If I had to pick just one week to fly fish the Rockies it would the first week of July. At that time, most rivers will have multiple hatches coming off. A size 14-16 yellow or orange Stimulator with a small Hare's Ear bead head dropper is all you really need on most days.
I saw this thread so I figure I'd ask this question. My teenage son caught and released this nice 25-inch rainbow a couple of weeks ago. He finally met his goal of getting a trout over the 20-inch mark. I want to surprise him with a reproduction. He told me he measured the girth at 20-inches (keep in mind, he is a teenager excited with a big trout and releasing it). The taxi tells me that a blank for a 20-inch girth trout is typically around a 35-inch fish. The max girth of a blank that he can get for a 25-inch fish is 17.25-inch. Do any of you have girth measurements on any rainbows or have any input? Just trying to get an idea. I think in his excitement and being alone he may have screwed up the girth measurement. Anyone have one on the wall you can measure or anyone keep track of fish they catch? Thanks for any input.
Thank you Matt! Is hopper fishing more late summer and into elk season?
Steve, yes the hopper fishing usually gets good in August.
Tobywon, I had this 25" rainbow mounted. His girth is 13.25".
Girth is different for all trout. This palomino I caught last summer was just under 25" and probably a girth a little over 12". I tied for first in the North Park ice fishing tourney with one that was 19 1/2" long and 16 1/2" girth, officially measured.
Rocky D, thank you!!
Matt and Jaq, great fish. Thank you, exactly what I’m looking for.
Lou, 19” with 16” girth is what we call a “football”. Great catch!
Every year I spend the Fall in Colorado and say I'm gonna do that but I don't. Some years ago I won (or maybe that's the way I wanna remember it, was probably silent auction) a 9' 5 wt fly rod at an elk banquet. Just never get around to it cuz I focus so much on being in the hills. Always have it in the truck. This year I'm gonna do it. Runnin outa years! Only time I fly fished was probably 10 or 12 years ago I was invited to fish on the Blue River on Blue Valley ranch. It was a blast and we caught dandy rainbows. I'd be happy with some brookies or whatever. I have fished a lot with panther martins and Mepps etc and caught a lot of trout but figure I better get with the fly rod. Matter of fact I wall papered my bathroom with a fish flies pattern but my daughters say its not cool. I said its better than reading.
Matt, that football weighed 6 lbs 1 oz. Someone accused me of "stuffing" it at the awards ceremony, so we opened her up and she had two years worth of egg skeins in there. Never dropped them the previous year for some reason.
Toby, to your question, looking at that one your son caught and comparing it to Matt's and it looks like a gravid female, I would guess the thickest part where the eggs are is probably in the 14.5" range? The taxi will need to xo some sanding down of the form to get a true reproduction of the shape.
Matt, that's a gorgeous prototype rainbow.
I caught this one fishing for steelhead a month ago. You just luck into one once in a while. The best I have done for trout fishing out west was in the Sawatche Wilderness.
Great browny, Bownut!!
Are there any fly tiers here? Here's an articulated golden stone pattern I developed years ago. It's a PITA to tie, but well worth it. The inserted image is what the real ones look like.
Sorry about the double post. I wish that bug would get fixed.
Great looking stonefly nymph, GG. Never tied them double like that but will have to remember that when I tie up a few more…
Lots of great fish pics! Love that big fat brown Bownut! Planning a late summer trip to the White River in Arkansas to chase them at night with mouse patterns…
Great brown BOWNUT, monster right there!!
Jaq, thank you. Based on the measurements from you and Matt, I'm comfortable saying my son screwed up the girth measurement. I'll talk to the taxi.
Rocky D, that rainbow is a stocked fish or at least a holdover from last year, but we do catch native browns here with beautiful colors and markings like the one attached. They don't get as big, but his largest native brown was around 17-inches.
Matt, beautiful work!! We used to tie flies for salt water years ago, like streamers, deceivers, Clouser Minnows but nothing fancy. I've been telling my son we need to sit down and learn to tie some for trout. He switches between the fly rod and spinning rod depending on where he is fishing and what the fish are doing. We also have rivers designated as fly fishing only where we try to hit the hatches right. He just lost a nice fish on the fly the other day and broke my fly rod (and he has a fly rod). He went to pull trout in net in close quarters/bad angle and and tip snapped. He felt bad but I told him that can be replaced and glad he's out there fishing in February.
Man this is a great post. Bownut. Great fish. Which river ?
I was on the Big Manistee Feb 3rd. Never got out of the single digits that day the 4th was a balmy day in the high 20s and we had a great day, both days. Drifting with baitcasters though. So won’t include pics on a fly thread.
I'm not a fly fishing snob Altitude. Go ahead and post pics! I used to fish steelhead a lot in MI. White R, Pere Marquette R, Manistee, Little Manistee, Bear Cr., etc. It's the one thing I miss most moving from MI to MN back in 1991. My sister and Bro in law have a cabin on the Betsie R. In retirement in a year or so, I will be a pest at their place every winter/spring.
Steve, I posted my pics over on the winter fishing thread where it’s more appropriate. Man the Betsie is a great place to have a cabin. Consistent cool water and a perfect spawning river. We are blessed with great fishing streams(creeks where I come from) and rivers.
That was on Feb 8th. The Big M. I'm heading back up tomorrow for two days. Now that I'm retired, I try and pick my days and fish mid-week and avoid the crowds.
John (aka BOWNUT), do you think that is a lake run brown?
John, how are the water levels. Has the spring run been going early. Or just getting started ? I need to get back up there
Turns out we have some nice fish right here in CT…. I got into this one right at sunset today.
Wow nice fish. Almost looks like she could be spent. Flat tummy. Unless it's a male!. Lol. Matt those stones you tied are amazing. Nice work! You've got amazing talent at the vice!
Nice looking rainbow Corax!!
Steve, thanks for the kind words. I find it very gratifying to catch fish on my own hand-tied flies, especially for what the fly fishing shops charge for them. Of course, if you add up what I've spent on materials over the years, I probably haven't saved much money. ;-)
Good eye, Steve!
She is spent - one of the brood fish that had shown up on a truck which - unbeknownst to me - had been there the day before.
But that’s how it is here…. You’re either fishing a stocked pond, in which case it’s pretty easy to look like a hero…. or you’re on some public water that gets flogged mercilessly. A fish like that is like a 12 point buck, which comes out of his private land refuge for two days out of the rut.
My son tied up a size 20 midge this morning and went down to a public river and landed this dandy rainbow this afternoon.
We will be floating the Rio Grande in 2 weeks
Opening day is coming up!
Spring chinook are were its at !
Been trout fly fishing around the west for a few decades, mostly MT and CA, but also Wyo and AZ. Good fishing is where (and when) you find it. The when is important, as is the what (you use). Always loved the caddisfly and salmon fly hatches in MT.
One thing I don't like about Wyo, you can't wade a stream that's got private property on both sides - the property owners own the streambed and you're trespassing unless you're floating. I hear some folks are trying to change that - hope they do.
Be careful of what you hope for. Wyoming and Colorado have the same laws regarding rivers that pass thru private property. You can navigate them in a boat or raft, but if you touch the riverbed it's trespassing. As a result, some of those waters are the best fishing that can be found in both states, because they don't get hammered as hard as public stretches of water. It just requires a suitable raft, public access points and a bit more commitment from fisherman.
There's also the issue of property values. Folks pay huge premiums for land with fishable rivers running thru them. If any Joe Blow fisherman could legally wade fish those waters the land values would plummet.
I don't expect those laws to change anytime soon, nor would I want them to.
I'm curious as to where you all are catching native browns ? They are not native to North America but great fish to catch.
Don't over look the smaller streams too. I've caught some nice brookies and browns from streams you can step across.
I think a lot of guys consider any trout that is spawned in the river, not in a hatchery, to be "native", even though that's not technically correct. "Wild" is probably a better description for brown trout that spawn in a river in North America.
Here's my wife with a nice browny she caught last summer.
So as far as land ownership is concerned, is onX a good way to keep from breaking the law/trespassing? I definitely have no interest in violating private property.
Ahhh Salmo trutta! Yes maybe the Europeans brought them over here. And I’m sure glad they did! I’ve caught them on dry flies that I could barely tie to my leader. And I caught them ripping in a Black #8 Wooly Bugger! Just as much fun either way in my opinion. If you hook into a 10 inch Native Brookie or a 30# plus carp! When you first set the hook! That excitement! Well that just never gets old. Maybe on that we can agree. I just love catching fish! Be it a hand line or a fly rod. If your not having fun. Your doing it wrong;) tight lines and good luck to all…..;)
I sure can relate to that Scott. Use to do a lot of ice fishing too. Just don’t get the ice like we use too. But nothing like eating Winter perch and Walleye.
12 yards, depends on the accuracy of the county property line overlays. If you are in National Forest, their boundaries are usually pretty close. On my property 1/3 of a mile from NF, my property lines are off by 180 feet on OnX, and my house and shop- garage are shown to be well onto public land.
Steve, in addition to Lou's advice, most private waters in the west will be clearly marked, especially if they have good trout fishing. I know of a few spots in Wyoming where the landowners don't seem to care as long as you stay on the river, but they are the exception to the rule. In other popular spots, the game wardens camp out with binoculars waiting for trespassers to set foot on the stream bed. I once got a stern warning for dropping my anchor on private property just long enough to take a leak out of my boat.
I've watched deputies citing boat after boat at the takeout at Lusby on the Platte. One woman said she had to go to the bathroom, didn't matter.
Size 22 bead head. Tight lines!!
Only was fortunate to fish steelies once so far, great fish Hunter!
Great looking fish guys.
I owned a piece in the past with full riparian rights. I owned on both side of the river and technically the dirt under the water. Since if the water goes up and down or disappears completely. Someone owns that dirt.
As long as people stayed near the water and didn’t tear up the bank or foliage i never minded the fishing.
The issue became. Now they thought you didn’t care about hunting and trespassing all together. And I really mind the hunting either, as long as it didn’t impact me or someone else I let hunt it. But like most things. They screwed it up.
I am glad no one owns the river beds in the UP.
Really nice catches. Beautiful brown GG.
Ground hunter, as I posted. I never cared about people fishing and my little creek was not deemed to be “Navigable” which determines Michigan Riparian rights.
If the water is navigable wading is ok. If it is not navigable wading is technically trespassing.
Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping.
This is a curious quirk. The riparian owner is the owner of the waterbed (streambed, riverbed, or lakebed), and Michigan allows the owner of the streambed to control hunting and trapping rights.
Since public lands under the great lakes are held in trust, the public has a right to hunt or trap from those "lands."
It would follow that a private landowner would have the right to control fishing on the streambed
but that is not the case in Michigan. On “nonnavigable” waters the riparian owner has the right to fish, and can exclude the public from fishing on such waters.
But on “navigable waters” , the rights of the private owners are inferior to the public trust right to fish the waters.
Note the legal reasoning supporting the right to fish is directly contrary to the legal reasoning prohibiting hunting and trapping,
but Michigan courts have repeatedly affirmed these rights.
Was wondering how long it would take.
My son and I just spent 2 days on the Rio Grande river out of Creede Colorado. We floated with a drift boat 2 different sections of the river and we netted over 40 trout. All browns. Tremendous fishing action.
My son’s friend is a guide there and he took us before his paying clients start next weekend.
Anyone that is interested in flyfishing with a guide, check out this website
Here’s one from Friday. Caught a total of 14.
Heading to the South Holston in East TN tomorrow for week. Looking forward to the evening hatches.
Heading to the South Holston in East TN tomorrow for week. Looking forward to the evening hatches.
Not a trout. But dam fun for these Montana boys!! Hunt
Hell yeah, Hunt! Bull Red’s are so much fun!!
Awesome hunt! Nothing like catching big reds!
Replica mount of Muskie with fly that caught it
Replica mount of Muskie with fly that caught it
Expand your horizons......Muskie on a fly. Namakagon river in northern Wisconsin
We are VRBOing a cabin on the Betsie River in late June. Won't be fly fishing, but will hopefully throw out some spinners, and will have the kids. Any recommendations for good access for the kids (besides hopefully the cabin access)?
Franzen, PM send on access points
The panfish were hitting flys on the surface first thing this AM.
:2 walk from my door caught one every cast. Not trophy bragging rights. But a riot
The panfish were hitting flys on the surface first thing this AM.
:2 walk from my door caught one every cast. Not trophy bragging rights. But a riot
Corey, there will still be Browns and Steel head in the river in June.
But small mouth will really be cranking in June. There are some trophy small mouth waters up there.
Perfect top water action for your kids.
No slabs but fun to catch and throw back
I love everything outdoors hunting & fishing. If I had to pick one thing though it would be steelhead fishing. Beautiful fish in beautiful places that take some skill to catch consistently.
Basil, I agree! I grew up in Michigan and did a lot of steelhead fishing there. Hooking one is challenge enough. Landing one is another difficulty! Not easy.
cnelk who is the guide you float with on Rio Grande. Thanks
Shiny new summer steelhead
Shiny new summer steelhead
I had it all planned out. Mid week Small Mouth fishing on Grand Traverse Bay. It’s sight fishing in crystal clear water. Hoping to get a few on top water strikes. With my limited fly casting distance.
The issue was, there was a huge pro tournament in the bay before I got there. Oddly enough, there are no rules against them fishing them on their beds. Of course tournament promoters want a lot of fish to make teams attend. Well they hit the perfect time for big fat fish to be defending their beds. It’s not fishing. The fish picks up any foreign object and removes it from the nest. Then the “Pro” sets the hook.
These are not pond pan fish. The Bay is known for trophy Small mouth 15-18” They only grow an inch per year. So most catch and release immediately.
My real issue is they still allow them to throw them in their live well and then fish the day up through a chain of lakes or wherever they end up to be weighed then dump them all out miles from where they were on their bed.
It really screwed the fishing up. But worse, I don’t think it’s good for the fishery and I can’t believe the state allows it. A Local group is trying to push for some sort of closure of the season when they are on the beds or banning fishing them in their beds.
I’m surprised any fisherman would do that in good conscience even to win a tournament.
But on the bright side, I did a 180 and instead of fish in the bay. We went out on Lake Michigan and slammed the salmon.
They are pretty frisky this time of year and the meat is the best. My arms are sore from battling them. I caught my limit and that was all I wanted. Because they were all large and all very energetic.
I accomplished a bucket list item a few weeks ago. My first tarpon on a fly rod. He was around 80 pounds, which is about the perfect size, IMO. Big enough to provide an exciting fight, but not so big it nearly kills you to land it. Unfortunately, the leader broke as we were preparing for the hero shot, so no good pics of that fish.
Above is a much larger one (150 pounds) that I caught with a live crab. I was physically exhausted after that fight. The next time I hook up with one that size, I'm handing the rod to someone else. ;-)
Congrats Matt on the Fly catch. Not so easy They are Easy to lose during jumps, rolls and head tosses
Pound for pound, I don't think there's another fish on the planet that has the strength, athleticism, and stamina of a tarpon. They amaze me every time.
I don’t know from Tarpon, but if they’re tougher than Stripers and Blues, that would be a Thang!
It’s amazing to me to feel how physically SOLID these fish are; a big trout can put up a helluva fight in strong current, but these inshore fish are doing it all on their own power…
Great fish there…. Maybe some day…
Corax, I've caught stripers. They are a terrific sport fish, but they don't compare to a tarpon, IMO. I've never caught a big Blue.
In the mid 80s I chased Tarpon with light, cheap tackle, little knowledge or skill and as a result hooked a lot of them. But never landed one Tarpon. They are tough to land even if you have skill and proper tackle. Catching one consistently on very light tackle or fly is at an advanced level.
They have every trick in the book to throw a hook.
Congrats Matt!! Don't know how those things stay hooked, especially on a fly. No arguing they are a spectacular game fish.
Jay, one of the first lessens I learned about landing a tarpon is to "bow to the King" when they jump. My buddy, Andy Mill, explained it this way. When they are in the air, the full force of gravity is acting on the entire weight of the fish and on the line. Not so when they are in the water due to buoyancy. The tendancy for newcomers to tarpon fishing is to pull back on the rod when they jump. That almost always results in a broken leader. Bowing and extending the rod towards the fish takes enough pressure off the line to keep them buttoned up.
You probably knew that, but I thought I'd share that tip for those who have never caught one.
Thanks Matt. Yes, now I know that. but then I was pretty young and broke and there was no Internet. and I thought it was just me. and then I learned that they are tough if you don’t know what you’re doing. And have quality tackle
This was the first (and smallest) of the night, but the schoolies were just POUNDING the Spearing the other night as they spawned. Amazing top-water festivities… they’d miss from time to time, but I was getting 2 and 3 strikes on a short cast sometimes…
I haven’t had that much fun with spinning gear since my brother and I used to fish Cherry Creek res for carp on #4 test….
Matt, that's awesome! On my bucket list too. Sight fishing reds on a fly was also on mine and I accomplished that this spring.
I'm almost as impressed that Andy Mill is your buddy! ;-)
Lou, I met Andy elk hunting in 2019. We both helped a mutual friend pack his bull out. We hit it off immediately and have stayed in touch ever since. In fact, we hooked up for dinner 3 times down in the Keys last month. He’s really the only “celebrity” that I can call my friend.
Great fish! I also know Andy. He helped me pack an elk out too. He's been a client and did some guiding for us on the ranch. He's an accomplished fisherman. Fished all over with George H Bush. Interesting guy. I think he owns a pair of skis too!
We had great snow in the UP and spring runs were great. Right now is dry fly fun Two weeks back.to.night fishing big streamers. From. Za guy who once lived in Cortez Colorado, this is so much.better And.not a destination area for most, since you can't drive up streamside
I’ve followed Andy’s career from Olympic skier to the best tarpon tournament fly fisher in the world. I met an idol, and now we are good friends. I feel blessed.
Spectacular fish Matt. Tarpon are the “king” for a reason…
Tom, looks like you need to change your handle… Filyfisher1?
Fun morning in the boat. 18 in RB and 22 in Cut bow.
Congrats Matt on the poon I chased those bastards with a fly rod from Key West to Homosassa for a lot of years I was very fortunate to be friends with some of the best fishermen on the planet and still are Al Pflueger Flip Pallot to name a few my biggest we taped and came up with close to 170 but a bunch over a hundred great memories and again congrats one you’ll never forget Good luck Lewis
Great thread, some beautiful fish. I grew up watching Flip Pallot fishing. Dont know him, but always came across as a classy, mild-mannered guy. He's also shoots a longbow too pretty well!!
Flip Pallot is another Idol of mine who I'd love to meet some day. His Saltwater Angler show is what started my ambition to saltwater fly fish. The production quality of his shows remains some of the best I've seen. And his story-telling is second to none.
2 beautiful trout, Paul. Should be some good eating, too. Is that an olive wooly bugger I see on your line? One of my favorites.
Yep Flip is the real deal I’ve known him for north of 40 years we hunted and fished together a bunch way before the tv shows he introduced me to Lefty Kreh at Flips 50th birthday party the outdoors guys and gals in that room would fill up the halls of fame excluding me of course growing up in Homestead Fl was a great location to be in Good Luck Lewis
Lewis, you're a lucky man to have known Flip that long. Every person I've talked to that knows him says the same things about him. A true fishing legend, and an even better person.
Not trout related but definitely about fly fishing The Lords of the Fly is a great read it’s about the quest for world record tarpon on fly and the many characters who pursued them and their stories Lewis
Lewis, That is living the Salt life decades before the phrase was coined. To consistently land tarpon on light fly tackle is at the master level of all fishing disciplines.
Thanks Altitude it was a blast and throw in the bonefish permit snook tuna cobia mahi mahi kingfish mutton snapper all on fly yes I was blessed super memories Lewis
Not a trout, but fun as they hammer poppers post-spawn on the golf course ponds.
One thing I learned from finally landing a tarpon on a fly rod is it really isn't that much more difficult than landing one on a spinning rod (once you have them buttoned up and on the reel, of course). You can put a lot of wood to them with a fly rod, especially if you keep your rod tip low and let the thicker butt end of the rod do the work. I landed my 80 pounder with a 9 wt in about 15 minutes. I doubt I would have done it any quicker with a spinning setup.
My first bonefish on the fly was at the western end of Miami bay back in the late 1970s, A shark ate half of it before I landed it. I tried tarpon on the fly but the wind blew 25 mph , 24/7 and around the clock. My bucket list is, a steelhead, a bonefish and a tarpon on the fly. The first two are off the list. The tarpon, Oh well, I can still dream of the day.
Paul you can do it I have faith good luck ?? Lewis
Lewis, you're amazing! Holy wow!
Permit, tarpon, and king salmon on the fly are still on my bucket list. I've been pretty blessed too, and ain't done yet! I can walk from my house and catch big rainbows, browns, brooks, palominos, and maybe a cutthroat, so my Fishing Jones is pretty easily satisfied. :-)
Holy long run-off, Batman!! Most of my favorite rivers to float are still blown out. I'm getting the itch to get on the oars pretty bad.
Back to bucket lists, I was hoping to find bones and permit in the Keys, but I didn't see a single one of either species in 25 days on the water. Finding tarpon was no problem, getting them to eat a fly was a different story. They're incredibly spooky in that ultra-clear shallow water down there.
Good for you Lou we still have a home in Bradenton Florida with a custom 17 foot Hewes Bonefisher in the garage but my knees aren’t very stable but there is some good fishing around there Homasassa was the epicenter of giant tarpon at one time on any given day you would pole by Billy Pate,Flip Pallot,Al Plueger and Tom Evans all Hall of Fame members and a bunch more.Now not so much water quality and too many other factors killed it there still is some fish but nothing like it was. I saw days when you would make presentations to 25 plus fish over 150 lbs.Good luck Lewis
12yds I owe you an apology I had no intention of hijacking your thread I was wrong in doing so I just got carried away Good luck Lewis
No Lewis! It's all good! It's good to have a fishing thread going in the off season!
It is pretty cool ?? thanks Lewis
I’m a bigger violator. I posted in April on my pond pan fish and bass on flys
Spot and stalk trout, pan fish, trout, bass, is all good, The HUNT in on even with a long rod and string, in hand. If it looks like a bow it got to be a bow.
Tarpon on a fly rod is incredible. Very fortunate to have flyfished some fantastic waters around the world.
These guys can be a heartbreaker but they are so damn cool ?? nice fish psu congrats Lewis
Now that is a catch - gotta love the Permit!! Such a finicky fish Lewis. Congratulations
Ever seen the movie grumpy old men? LOL
You saw the movie Steve;)
Summer living. Montana style
This is my favorite thread on Bowsite right now. I’ve always thought fly fishing and bow hunting go hand in hand. So happy to see I’m not the only one. It makes it easy to ignore the political threads. ;-)
Exactly Matt! Some of the best bowhunters I know are also fly fishermen.
LMAO. some of the worst fly fisherman that I know are some of the best bow hunters that I know
Do it ALL and enjoy it ALL !!
All of it is recreation and is not important past that
RK to some it probably appears as only recreation but to a lot of folks it’s a passion I’ve seen times during tarpon season and in some hunting seasons that sleep was nonnegotiable the old saying “you can sleep when you die”just saying Good luck Lewis
I understand the passion all to well. 40 years of passion on anything related to hunting, fishing and things outdoors !! Including a career
Completely skunked today but it was a great day to be out. River is a little blown out from a ton of rain and run-off...and I'm not a good fly fisherman :^).
I had a pretty good morning..landed 51 rainbows on the fly, but the biggest was only 19". Sorry, no hero pics because I rarely take fish pics anymore unless it is of my wife, who wasn't with me today.
Lewis, I can't speak for others, but I've become more passionate about tarpon fishing than bow hunting. I think it's a "been there done that" sort of thing. When I've caught as many tarpon as animals I've killed, that may change. But at this stage of my life, if I had to chose only one, I'd take the sun, salt, and Silver King.
Where were you fishing today! I'm jealous.
So hot here now that unless you are wading it's to brutal. I've done a little early mornings but not mad at them enough for the afternoons
Caught two decent reds from the surf a week or so ago
Feels like 106 right now.
If 51 rainbows is only a "pretty good morning" , I may have to get serious about fly fishing as I am usually a lure and float guy when it comes to trout. It is just the dirty looks or being completely ignored by the "elite" that fish with flies only that kind of turns me off. Congrats on the awesome fishing as you must be doing a lot of things right.
Hey Glunt, that water looks high but very clear. That's my favorite conditions to pound the banks with big streamers.
This year is shaping up to be one of the best fishing years in Colorado in recent memory. I hope to splash my drift boat somewhere this weekend. Can't wait!!
Lou fishes in the equivalent of a high fence hunting operation. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. :-)
Lou, I love you, dawg.
Today I was fishing one of our big "private" lakes (3200 community property owners and their kids have access, so not exactly "private") that are open to the general public for a small daily fee. But I prefer to fish the public water in the National Forest outside the "high fence", where the dirty unwashed general public can access. Our fish run upstream and downstream into the public waters because the streams run through the lakes, they go there to spawn and stay there. But that water was still a little too high to fish today and hatches are still sporadic. I have 70 fish days in those streams, rainbows, browns, and brooks. :-)
You can thank me for the soft ball later, dawg.
Biggest was only 19". Yeah that's rough! Lol!
Not on a fly, but this was a nice fish… Even with a big bite out of it.
I’m just glad they don’t have much in the way of teeth…,
Congrats all on the great catching RK I understand and I guess at times I look back and think maybe I got a little crazy ?? about some things but it was a great ride Damn Lou good for you great day for sure
After getting skunked my son took a nap and then hit a local bass pond and caught a bunch on a green Woolly Bugger.
Threw some in-line spinners for stream trout in northern MI for a couple hours. Caught a handful of small rainbows and browns in the Betsie. 1) After two trips up there, I've discovered how difficult the bank access is. Once I found my spot to get in this time, wading was the ticket. 2) I am slightly surprised that the stream I was on harbored trout, due to the water temperature. It seemed rather warm, but maybe that is because I was swimming in the 53 degree Lake Michigan water the day before! 3) Was surprised to hook into some rainbows, because I don't think it was a listed species per the DNR literature.
Franzen, I'm guessing you are catching young steelhead in the Betsie. They live in the stream for a year before heading to the lake. The browns are probably resident trout though.
Hey Corey, Fly fished the "flies only areas) the PM, Betsie, Manistee, back in the mid 70s to mid 80s, for (April/early May) spring steelheads. This was before there were boats on the upper PM and the Orvis shop was built on the highway below Baldwin Michigan.. All good fisheries. Have no idea how they are today. Memories, " hours of casting with a few minutes of panic, when FISH ON!. my best, Paul
Paul , Franzen, 12yards, I flew my sons to Michigan in the late 90's to fish steelhead (but not fly fishing) and found the best steelheading of our lives. I was also wondering if the fishing was still great there. Enjoy the posts regarding Michigan steelhead, Badbull
My opinion the fishing is getting better. I see hardly any fin clipped fish which leaves me to believe we're getting a lot of natural reproduction. This was in April. We're having Alwi problems again and the DNR are planting more salmon. I haven't checked on steelhead. They planted 30000 fingerling browns at Tippy the first week of April.
You'all are making me so jealous! Trout, salmon, etc are a pipe-dream for me. I can fish for bass/crappie/catfish where I'm at. Had planned to make a trip happen this year but life got in the way. Keep posting pics guys, I'm loving it!
Badbull, I agree with Bownut. The fishing is better. Catching mainly natural born trout and Salmon
Bownut and Alt, thanks for the information. Good to hear about the trout and steelhead. When it comes to fishing for me, nothing takes the place of a hooked steelhead breaking water and doing their thing, Badbull.
I'm guessing you guys are right on the steelhead. The thought hadn't entered my mind that they stay in the river for year. After some reading, I am finding out that they are basically the same fish, except for "behavior". How do you tell the difference?
Franzen, if you’re asking about natural born Vs hatchery fish, the hatchery fish don’t have an adipose fin, the rear fin behind the dorsal. The People I fish with believe that we should release all the steelhead with adipose fins hoping they have DNA that goes back a few generations and helps them out. I don’t know enough to argue either way, so I just release them. The two pictures I posted above showed fish with the fins I’m talking about. The fish showed here does not have the adipose fin, so is most likely a hatchery fish
If you’re asking about Steelhead versus rainbows, from what I understand, Steelhead differ in that they leave the river and go out to a body of water and then return to the river. rainbows don’t have a body of water to return to. Some Steelhead stay in rivers longer, but most go back out at a certain time.
Man, I am enjoying all the great fish pics! Love flyfishing but currently down in the deserts of Arizona without much close by. Will make a run up to the high country this weekend and see if we can turn up a fish or two…
Franzen, I believe there are very few resident rainbows in MI. Most are steelhead waiting to head back to the lake.
Interesting you guys saying Great Lakes Steelhead fishing is getting better. A couple/few years ago bag limits were cut due to declining runs on several of the best rivers including the Pere Marquette, Little Manistee, Bear Creek, Manistee, etc. Has fishing improved since then?
Steve I fished all those rivers when they are amazing. Big drop off since then IMHO. Fished the Rogue, PM & Betsie about 40 hours each of the last 2 years under good conditions. Landed 1 fish each year. Timing is everything but years ago landing 35 fish a day was common for me.
PSUhoss Tarpon have been on my bucket list on flyrod. Great fish. Where should i go?
40hrs to land 1 fish? Dang that's dedication! Sounds a lot like bowhunting.
goelk Florida Keys in the spring great place to start plus you will have the Everglades in the backyard so to speak a lot of good guides if that is the way you choose Good luck Lewis
12 yards, you are correct the numbers are down. From the Michigan DNR site The steelhead population in Lake Michigan has steadily declined from 3.5 million in 2011 to just under 3 million in 2018, according to the DNR They think the Zebra muscles take too much plankton So my personal observation while having good fishing days. Just means I’ve been in the right place at the right time. I did have a February day this winter that I got skunked also.
Last week trolling for trout in a tiny boat, here in Colorado. 5' ultra light rod and reel, 6# line, and a #6 Panther Martin spinner.
Hi GoElk - Florida is great, but if you want to have a trip of a lifetime - head further south to Cuba. Every trip there has been exceptional, it is an unforgettable cultural experience and fishery.
From: Don T Lewis22-Jun-23
Ever seen the movie grumpy old men? LOL
The GREEN HORNET strikes again! LOL! You even look a little like Max, Don! ;-)
Not fly fishing, but put a couple muskies in the boat this week. This one was a solid 44"er.
Caught this Channel Cat tonight. Bad air quality doesn’t hurt to catfish in any;)
We need to change the name of this thread to just "fishing"..
Just caught on july 1 2023 , my 27 inch brown trout
Aren’t you all suppose to be shooting your bows now preparing for archery season :).
Nice fish guys!
Since we are far off fly fishing for trout, which is not necessarily a bad thing with some great posts and fish here, this is my 13-inch crappie from the other day. First attempt at an impression. Just something different. Still a lot to learn and tweak to make better, but fun trying. Also got a 22-inch walleye, but didn’t care for the results as much. By the way, fish are not wasted, you can eat them after. I just skin the fillets.
Forgot to add this earlier….
Forgot to add this earlier….
That’s awesome Toby - came out great! It’d be cool to have been able to do that for this big Striper, because I would be stunned to ever see another this size…. By time I had the tail off the ground I was mid-sternum…
Maybe if I hire a guide for a day next season….
Happy 4th of July all you fishermen !!!
Make sure everyone understands, Montana is a horrible place to go trout fishing. Pretty epic for an elk burger BBQ on the lake shore though :)
I found a live olive scud on my wading boots after fishing last Sunday morning. So, I tied several of them up in size 14 in my RV to kill some midday time. Later that afternoon, I caught this slab on my first cast with one of those scuds. I love fooling fish with my own flies.
Dang that's a fat one Matt! Beautiful trout!
A couple of candidates for the job…
A couple of candidates for the job…
That’s a gorgeous fish, Matt - had to have been WAY more fun than that big stocker I caught!
In my experience, there’s only one thing in fly-fishing that’s better than taking a fish on your own flies, and that’s seeing your kid(s) taking fish on THEIR own flies that you taught them to tie… followed closely by seeing your best friend take his first fish on a fly that you taught him to tie…
Although if I can figure out how to catch another striper anywhere near as big as the one I caught last week, but take it on a fly, that’s gonna be in the running…
Thanks gentlemen. That wasn't the longest rainbow (24") I caught on this trip, but she was easily the heaviest. Combine that with a river flowing at 1000 cfs, and she was everything my 5wt with 5X tippet could handle.
Corax, I have a buddy from New Hampshire who I taught to fly fish. He's just now getting into striper fishing with a fly, and he's having some success. He's got a nice Mako skiff, and is always looking for fishing partners. I'm not sure where you live, but I could possibly hook the two of you up. Let me know.
Finally got out chasing trout. Spent an evening floating the Muskegon River in Michigan with a friend. Found a pod of brown trout sipping blue wing olives and managed this 14 incher.
Sometimes we just need to take the time and go. Bonus when they are taking drys…
I went up the Poudre river Friday morning and netted 10. C&R Wild Trout waters
Go to Island Park Idaho and camp for a bit. From there you can drive to Montana or Idaho and hit the rivers you've always read about. The reservoirs are ok, too, if you don't mind little fish like this one. While you're there hunt some elk or deer or antelope if you have the right tag.
Fluke off the surf. Gulp minnow and jig head.
Fished a little stream for a bit this weekend. Don't be jealous, not everyone can catch this size. Also met a very unhappy rattler.
Secretary hams it up by my 20 lb 6 oz. Skamania rainbow
Finally got down to SE MN driftless area and caught a bunch of brown trout. Nothing big but lots of dry fly action.