Friday, July 31, 2009

Brazos River Fishing Trip July 2009

This is a little belated post, I started it last year after the trip and just thought I publish it because the pictures are nice.

The Brazos River above the city of Waco, below the Lake Whitney dam, is a very nice stretch of river and a great bass fishery. Down in the Houston area where I live, the Brazos River is a red muddy river that doesn't reach out and grab the interest of most fly fishermen. But this section below Whitney shows none of the characteristics seen as the river reaches the Gulf Coast.

I have fished here several times with local guide Chris Shafer, but I've always wanted to give it a try without a guide. I've tried it and I think I prefer the guide.

I led at trip in July with my club, the Texas Fly Fishers, and fished the section of the river about three miles above Ranch Road 2114.

Here are a few pictures of the trip. No fish porn, but there were a few nice largemouth bass caught.

Because the trip was in late July, it was really HOT.

We stayed in the Cottage at Dick's Canoe at the FM 2114 bridge - . It's a nice place and well worth the price, especially if you have a group for four or less.

Because this post is belated, I thought I should add that we attempted to do this trip this year - 2010 and we were washed out. This is a tailwater section of the river and the Corps of Engineers like to generate. So, if you plan on fishing here, check out the USGS water data website. Here's a sample of the Brazos River at Aquila

Fly fishing lessons in Houston Texas at

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Steve and Mabel at Seven Lakes

This is a very belated posting. Blogging is supposed to be more real time than almost two months later, but I have good excuses. I went fishing in Wyoming and Montana the following weekend. Those stories and pictures have yet to be posted either. So it goes!

I got a frantic call on a Sunday afternoon from Mabel (pronounce Ma Bell) for an on the water fly fishing lesson. We ended up spending the following Saturday at Seven Lakes private bass club in Damon, Texas teaching Mabel and her husband Steve to fly fish. This was a first time for both of them, and it was Steve's birthday present. They had both spent plenty of time fishing with conventional tackle, which of course presents some challenges to most fly casting instructors. It's that broken wrist on the back cast that's so hard to overcome! I spent some time talking about gear and flies and then we got into pick up and lay down casting and roll casting. Very quickly we were casting and fishing. The fish weren't cooperating with our fly fishing neophytes, even though the tiger bass in the lake were jumping out of the water attacking the dragonflies.

Seven Lakes' owner Mike Arnold stealthfully pull up behind us in is little Rhino cart and started casting to a very nice prospective piece of structure about 50 feet away from Steve. He proceeded to pull three very nice sized (9+ inches) sunfish out of the lake. I'm not sure if that was to make us feel bad or prove that the fish were biting. As soon as Mike left, Steve moved into his slot and tried his luck. Meanwhile on another piece of the lake, Mabel was trying to lure the bass to here fly. She caught the first fish of the day. The catch wasn't very large or plentiful, to the point that the competition became on of who caught the smallest fish.

We tried our luck on some of the other lakes. On Goose, there's a feeder that the fish like to hang out at in anticipation of the 6 pm feeding. The water is clear as an aquarium and there are lots of bass and bream swimming around. Of great interest to Steve and I was a very large looking bass that was working his way through the weeds. We hooked up a nice sized black wooly booger and start to get that fishes attention. No luck, but the trying was fun.

As the sun was moving down and the shadows were getting longer, we switched lakes one more time to those pictured on this blog. This fish became more interested in the Miss Prissy fly that we'd tied on to Steve's line. He finally caught a few fish that changed the smallest fish competition to a biggest fish competition. The warmouth pictured was a feisty bugger. Steve brought a little ultralight spinning rod, which he pulled out to try his fishing luck with some old familiar gear to see if the fish challenge was about the fish or the gear. No luck on the spinning gear.

The day ended with a happy couple beaming for a closing shot before we drove home.

What a great gift from Mabel!
Happy Birthday Steve!
I hope to see you guys on the water again soon.

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Find out more about fly fishing lessons in Houston, Texas with the Texas Fly Fishing School.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Join us at the Gulf Coast Council in Lake Charles LA

David Lemke will be in Lake Charles Louisiana on May 15, 16, and 17 for the Gulf Coast Council Expo. He is the Casting Program Chair for the non-certification casting and he's presenting two clinics:
1. Coping with the Wind - Saturday May 16th 12:30-2:30 PM
2. Double Haul Clinic - Sunday May 17th 12:30-2:30 PM

Some Echo 2 rods will available for those who need a rod.

Sign up for these clinics at the following web address:

The featured presenters at the Expo this year : Stu Apte, Bob Popovics, Wanda Taylor, and Nick Curcione. All are offering a great assortment of workshops and a great price. In addition to these great presenters, there are lots of wonderful fly tyers and other presenters from around the region.

Clean Angling Pledge

Texas Fly Fishing School invites you to take the Clean Angling Pledge. I've clipped a excerpt from their website and included the link so you can take the pledge.

Join In: Take The Pledge
All of the waters that we depend on to support our fishing and boating are being threatened by invasive species that have the potential to devastate the natural habitats. These invaders are often inadvertently spread by anglers and boaters who are carrying unwanted hitchhikers to their favorite waters.

We must all take these simple actions to stop the spread of destructive invasive species:

  • INSPECT - carefully examine all of your equipment at the end of your trip to see if there are any visible signs of unwanted material attached. This includes any types of plants or mud. If you see any sign of a problem, clean you gear.
  • CLEAN - first remove any visitable material by hand then use water to wash your equipment clean. It's ok to clean with water from where you are leaving because you will be leaving behind any problem that you may have picked up. However, never clean your equipment at your put in spot since you can easily be cleaning off hitchhikers that have been with you since your last trip. If you cannot clean before you leave a site make sure to clean at home where there is no chance that an invader can reach the water.
  • DRY - a thorough drying of your equipment will kill any live invaders you may have picked up. If you are counting on drying to eliminate any hitchhikers you must make sure that every bit of hidden moisture is gone before you can feel that you are safe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Echo Rod/Line Weight Specifications

For those of you who took our December Spey Workshop, I promised to get you some of the rod and line specs for the new and old Echo spey rods.

Here's the link to the Rajeff Sports pdf file

And because this blog is also intended to be a visual experience, I'm adding a picture taken at the class. Check out Jay's nice loop begin to unroll.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Roll Casting techique used on the Trinity River

The importance of roll casting cannot be overstated. This is very apparent when you spend any amount of time on the Trinity River fishing for steelhead. During our trip this year, 99% of our casts were roll casts. This video clip is our guide, Aaron Grabiel demonstrating the technique used on the river. Notice that he's casting two flies, plenty of split shot and an indicator. This takes quite a bit of power during the cast to get the rig to turn over. This roll cast is usually followed by a stack mend, which helps better position the indicator to enhance the quality of the drift. Aaron's able to cast with a significant amount of accuracy as well. He's casting to the seam that's running right along the bank.
This clip is about 34 MB, so it may take a while to load.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day Two - More Mugging Steelhead

What can I say? I swore that I wasn't going to get carried away with pictures of fish. There were so many nice ones, it just seemed a shame not to take another picture. There appears to be a limit to how many pictures Picasa will upload when you select the Blog This button.

Later on, in the day three pictures, I'm going to make some casting commentary and post some video of Aaron doing a great roll cast - an essential tool for fishing on this river.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Day Two - Steelhead Fishing on Trinity River, CA

Day Two
One the second day, we moved to a different section of the river near Junction City

At the boat launch, there's fog rising from the surface of the river. If you could look up at this point, there's a fog hanging over the surrounding mountains and forest. The boat setting down the river is a Fly Shop guide boat; it's rare not to see one of these guys on the river.

We put our lines in the water and started fishing, quickly banging ice from our rod guides. Shortly after moving down the river, the fog lifted and it was time to re-rig, or maybe fix a tangled line. Either way, Aaron was practicing his craft.

This second day was pretty slow until we hit a pod of steelhead close to the end of our float. We spent the next two hours here, pulling fish out on a pretty regular basis. Very similar to our experience last year, except we didn't get a double hookup and landing. I think our steelhead reports had 9 for me and 7 for Sandie, that doesn't count the missed fish and the one's that got away.

I'll add some more pictures of my end of the catch in my next post.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 1- Steelhead fishing on Trinity River, California

After a very successful and enjoyable trip last January, Sandie and I returned to fish for steelhead on the Trinity River in Northern California for the second year, this time for three days with our guide Aaron Grabiel.

We learned from last year that it's absolutely necessary to be prepared for cold, wet weather. So, we brought a few extra layers along and some better gloves. Armed with an assortment of rods and lines to test we hit the river early on the Friday morning. The morning was a cool 28 degrees and overcast. No boat traffic in the river. Aaron rigged us up and the routine of cast, upstream mend, downstream mend, recast begins. Regularly, we'd respond to Aaron's "hit it, hit it". Occasionally, we'd change from the left side to the right side of the boat. The day was relatively slow. The overcast quickly became a clear sunny day, but the warm layers of clothes never changed.

A few good strikes happened, one fish was achieved. I was quickly reminded that this was real steelhead fishing, a few strikes and maybe one or two fish for the day. So, by that definition, it was a successful fishing day. We were spoiled by last year's trip - about 25 fish in two days. That's now counting the missed fish. I fished an Echo 2 7wt with a Rio Steelhead line which both performed nicely. Sandie fished her Sage XP 8wt with an Airflo Sixth Sense line. We fished under an indicator using two nymph setup and used 2-4 Dinsmore AAA weights. Our roll casting skills were definitely put to the test. Aaron's ability to fix tangled rigs was tested too.

A good day overall, quiet and relaxing and we got in the groove.

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33" Steelhead caught by Tyler on Trinity River

On the second day of our three days on the Trinity River in California, as we were looking for the next hole with a pod of steelhead, we floated into a prospective spot with a young angler by the name of Tyler. He was in the process of landing a large steelhead on spinning tackle. A big rod bend is pretty common on this river and as we drifted into the hole, no fish was visible. Moments later Tyler had the fish on the bank and he was grinning ear to ear. I offered to take a picture and post it. Well, here it is, all 33 inches, largest steelhead I've seen in this river in the two trips I've made to this river.

Unfortunately for the fish, we didn't get to the hole first. This buck didn't get released back into the gene pool, but made for some excellent eating at Tyler's home that night.

I like to encourage catch and release to all of my fly fishing clients and students. I don't object to an occasional dinner fish, but big, beautiful fish like this one should be available for many people to catch.
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