Monday, August 26, 2013

Goodbye Spinning Reel!

Collins in the morning Rain
In what will perhaps be my last camping trip of the summer of 2013 (and the start of the fall camping season), I had two successes that really made the trip. My main goal was to catch a trout on the fly rod. Another sort of ongoing goal was to help my nephew catch his first fish. This was my families last camping trip of the summer and I was ready to have a good time with them. 

We arrived at Collins lake at around 1:30 PM. We set up camp and by 3 we were on the water. Dry Creek is a tributary of the Yuba River that flows into and out of Collins Lake. Underneath the spill way is a pond where lake water spills in, a small water riffle (the spot that I really wanted to fish) and then another pond where the water eventually funnels back into the actual creek. All of this water is cold, even during the summer. 
the second pond

I know for a fact there are trout in there because we have caught fish there before. In fact, the first trout I ever caught was out of that pond. The problem with that pond is that there are bushes growing all around it which make it difficult and impossible for me to fly cast. I know this because I tried it out since there were two guys fishing at the water riffle that I originally wanted to fish. 

So I started the day at the second pond which is a deeper pond surrounded by rocks and a hill side. I started off with a black wooley bugger #6 and since I seemed to have lost my floatant, I would dry the fly off with my shirt and then toss it again. Sometimes I would just jig it around a little bit under the surface since the water is fairly clear. That’s when I spotted small panfish following my lure around. They bit at it a few times but apparently they were only biting the feathers. Next I tried a frog pattern bass popper and after a few casts, ad a few times hitting a rock, I noticed it wasn’t popping correctly. I looked at the popper and it was cracked right down the middle. Next I tied on a foam grasshopper and tossed it around but no takers. 

Then I went over to the first pond. I tied on a Para adams #10 but I ended up getting caught up in the bushes after a few tries so I gave up. I walked back to the second pond and walked by the water riffle hoping the two guys fishing there would leave.  Luckily after a few minutes they finally decided to leave. I quickly pounced on their spot. 

Just past the riffle
At this point I still had the Para adams #10 tied on. I threw it into the riffle and then let it drift into the pool below. I kept throwing it for a few but as it got wet it would sink. And then it happened, my first strike!  I was so excited but when I set my hook the line was slack. I tried a few more casts but nothing. I decided to tie on a black wooley bugger #6 and while I was tying, my nephew walked up and asked me to tie on a simple bobber rig for him. I tied it on and told him where to cast and I continued my mission. 

Fat Little Green Sunfish
I continued to cast but I wasn’t getting any bites and my WB kept getting wet and sinking. Next I tried a white bead head wooley bugger #6. When I bought this, I wasn’t aware that some wooley buggers sank. I later realized it was because of the bead. Well even though it sank, I figured the white color might attract fish as it floated down the riffle. I was getting frustrated with the sinking and the fact that if I got a bite, I might not know what it felt like. Just then my nephew says, “I caught a fish!” I dropped what I was doing and ran over to discover a fat dark little green sunfish on his hook! I was extremely happy and proud! I have been trying to get him into some fish for a while now and for whatever reason he had not caught one until that day! I shook his hand and congratulated him on his first fish ever! He was very happy!

Nephew's First Catch!
After a couple of pictures I was back at it. I kept tossing in the white WB and I was getting anxious. Just then I felt another strike, this one a bit lighter than the last but still a bite. I knew I was on the right track and after a few more casts, I tied on a black and olive #6 Wooley Bugger. I tossed it in, it floated but eventually got so wet that it sank. I just kept casting into the riffle and let it sink when it hit the pond. It was then that I got another bite but this time, I felt the fish take off to my left! It didn’t matter that I didn’t see the strike because what I felt was unmistakable!  I was trying to pull line in with my hand but the fish took all my excess line and was running so I used my reel (for the first time) and brought him into shore! This is how I caught my first trout on my own fly rod (I have caught trout before with Mark’s fly rod). I was nervous and excited and surprised that I had landed it so I didn’t try to grab it with my hand but instead put him on the ground (hence the dirt and rocks on him. my apologies folks! ) But I did try my best to measure him, take a picture and toss him back in as soon as possible. 
Beautiful 10.5" Rainbow!

After measuring him, I wet my hand, picked him up, took pictures and then moved him back and forth in the water. He was a strong one and darted into the water after I released him. He was a beautiful fish; a nice thick 10 1/2 wild trout. The pink stripe on his side was so dark it was almost purple. I’m glad I was able to catch him and release him safely. 
1st trout on my own Fly rod

With my nephew’s sunfish and my trout, we were ready to go. This took the pressure that I put on myself to catch my first trout on my own fly rod. I must admit, catching that trout was bad for my spinning reel fishing. It makes me want to fly fish more than ever! 

 With that said, I hope you guys have a fantastic week and weekend. I will be at a work conference this whole week so I might not be able to post. Hope you guys have a great weekend and as always, break that bank!

Collins Lake


  1. Congratulations on your first fish on "your" fly rod. Doubt you will ever forget the first one! Most wooly buggers are meant to be fished subsurface down where the fish often will feed on baitfish type imitations. Your color selections were good. And, yes, the strikes will be unmistakable!

    1. Hey Mel, Thanks! And thanks for the tip also. I really did think that wooleys were meant to be fished on the surface. You learn something every day! haha

  2. Congratulations on your trout! I really love reading your posts and blog. You have such enthusiasm and are so positive. You enjoy exactly what fishing should be about. Look forward to reading more in the future. Tight lines sir.

    1. Thanks Atlas. That is the first time I have ever been called positive! haha Thanks for reading and I will continue posting! hopefully about bigger fish!