When Poppers Fail

If you are a fly fisherman, then you have fished surface poppers and landed fish using them. There are times when the popper isn’t as productive as you’ve like for it to be, today was one of those days. A lot of factors always affects the fish bite on a big lake like Smith. Falling water, clear blue skies, heavy rains off and on for the past week can put a dent in how the fish will react to any lure presented their way. When conditions get tough then one has to experiment and work harder for the bite, weather you are fishing warm waters or cold waters.
I started the morning at daybreak fishing silk smooth water, perfect for popper action. The rock walls wouldn’t give up the quality spots or bluegills this morning using the size 4 Boogle Bug, neither would the Barr Nunn popper produce. As I worked the walls I encountered sticky humid conditions so bad that the seats in the boat were moist. Thank goodness the humid conditions improved some after sunrise. 
I retired the poppers after an hour of landing a couple of small gills; when I say small I mean the kind you could actually false cast with. Lucky I had my 5 weight spooled with the sink tip line that I hadn’t used since 2015. I like to fish a short leader when casting the sink tip usually 6 ½ to 7 ft. I’ve found that I can control the cast better and get a little more distance using the shorter leader.

The black gnat tied to the short leader was the fly that got the most action during the 3 hour trip. Four nice gills like this gem produced 16 fillets giving Cathey and I a delicious meal mixed with a green salad and sweet tea.  


If you are a fly fisherman, then you have fished surface poppers and landed fish using them. There are times when the popper isn't as productive as you've like for it to be, today was one of those days. A lot of factors always affects the fish bite on a big lake like Smith. Falling water, clear blue skies, heavy rains off and on for the past week can put a dent in how the fish will react to any lure presented their way. When conditions get tough then one has to experiment and work harder for the bite, weather you are fishing warm waters or cold waters.
I started the morning at daybreak fishing silk smooth water, perfect for popper action. The rock walls wouldn't give up the quality spots or bluegills this morning using the size 4 Boogle Bug, neither would the Barr Nunn popper produce. As I worked the walls I encountered sticky humid conditions so bad that the seats in the boat were moist. Thank goodness the humid conditions improved some after sunrise. 
I retired the poppers after an hour of landing a couple of small gills; when I say small I mean the kind you could actually false cast with. Lucky I had my 5 weight spooled with the sink tip line that I hadn't used since 2015. I like to fish a short leader when casting the sink tip usually 6 ½ to 7 ft. I've found that I can control the cast better and get a little more distance using the shorter leader.

The black gnat tied to the short leader was the fly that got the most action during the 3 hour trip. Four nice gills like this gem produced 16 fillets giving Cathey and I a delicious meal mixed with a green salad and sweet tea.  

Life’s Lessons Learned

Sometimes one can really get a reality check especially when a written text can apply to you as well as the rest of the population; compliments of an 80 year old gentlemen. I have this list as an amp on my phone.
1. Have a firm handshake.
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Sing in the shower.
4. Own a great stereo system.
5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
6. Keep secrets.
7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
10. Whistle.
11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
12. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of all your happiness and misery.
13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
14. Lend only those books you never care to see again.
15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
16. When playing games with children, let them win.
17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
18. Be romantic.
19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
20. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.
22. Be a good loser.
23. Be a good winner.
24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
25. When someone hugs you let them be the first one to let go.
26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
27. Keep it simple.
28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
29. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read: No regrets.
31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
34. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in the hospital; you only need to stay a few minutes.
36. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
38. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’
39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
40. Keep a notepad and pencil on your bedside table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
42. Send you love one flowers– Think of a reason later.
43. Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
44. Become someone’s hero.
45. Marry only for love.
46. Count your blessings.
47. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
48. Wave at the children on a school bus.
49. Remember that 80% of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
50. Don’t expect life to be fair.


Sometimes one can really get a reality check especially when a written text can apply to you as well as the rest of the population; compliments of an 80 year old gentlemen. I have this list as an amp on my phone.

1. Have a firm handshake.
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Sing in the shower.
4. Own a great stereo system.
5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
6. Keep secrets.
7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
10. Whistle.
11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
12. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of all your happiness and misery.
13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
14. Lend only those books you never care to see again.
15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
16. When playing games with children, let them win.
17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
18. Be romantic.
19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
20. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.
22. Be a good loser.
23. Be a good winner.
24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
25. When someone hugs you let them be the first one to let go.
26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
27. Keep it simple.
28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
29. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read: No regrets.
31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
34. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in the hospital; you only need to stay a few minutes.
36. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
38. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’
39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
40. Keep a notepad and pencil on your bedside table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
42. Send you love one flowers-- Think of a reason later.
43. Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
44. Become someone’s hero.
45. Marry only for love.
46. Count your blessings.
47. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
48. Wave at the children on a school bus.
49. Remember that 80% of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
50. Don’t expect life to be fair.

Flies Used Flies Replaced

How many flies does one use on any given outing on their favorite stream or tailrace? 5 or 6 flies is tops for me, which got me to thinking the other day do I really need all these flies I carry in my fly box? I had flies in the fly box that I hadn’t used in years and some had never touched the waters surface. So to make space for the new flies I was going to add I starting culling those I seldom use. Take note of the words “fly box” because that is the only box I use now days when fly fishing.
This little Orvis metal fly box 2 ½ by 3 ½ has all the flies that I will use on any given day on the water. It fits easily in my small chest pack that is lightweight and compact as well. The older I get the more I want to eliminate weight when wading and standing for long periods of time in 55 to 60 degree water. Notice the difference in the amount of flies in the box before culling and after. 
Given the fact I had a well organized fly box and the Sipsey Tailrace was fishing some better than a couple of weeks ago; I decided to test the waters with some of the newer flies that I had added to the box. I was met with cloudy skies and of course high humidity and lots of fog on the water surface. As I waded into place at access 5 I could barely see the surface film for the fog coming off the water. I decided to cast one of my new flies a size 18 Black Drake dry in the direction of some trout feeding near where I was standing. I got a hit after a few cast and thought I was in for some rapid top action. To my surprise, just as quick as the surface activity started it ended I surmised I was fishing the tail end of the surface feed. 
With the generation schedule changed I had to use my time wisely so after surface activity slowed I moved on up the gorge. I replaced the Drake with a fly Alan at Small Stream Reflections sent me sometime back. I thought today would be a good time to give it a try. I tied on the Salars Nemesis tight lining it across a wide section that had some fast water in the middle and slower water on both sides. As the fly drifted from the edge of the slow to fast water I got a take and lost it just as quick; poor concentration and slow hook set, not a good combo. I kept working the Salarsslowly with some short jerks mixed in when a trout nailed it in the middle of the swing, strong hook set and the trout was in the net!!
Today was one of those trips where one fly pattern didn’t produce on a consistent basis. In fact that can be the norm on the Sipsey at times. These trout see a lot of the same flies in the upper section of the tailrace so it’s good to show them a little something different. My next stop was the log section in deep water where the better trout hang out below the submerged logs. I decided to tie on the Seal Leech to fish this section. This is a fly that David Knapp gave me some years ago to work in deeper water. I fish this fly a little unconventional by casting it down stream and working it back slowly against the current. As I work the fly I let it pause in the current and flutter, usually during the pause is when I get the hit. Today this type retrieve help me land a couple of stocker trout just above the logs. I was hoping for the bigger trout but I will take what this section gives up.
I ended today’s trip at the Guide Hole, which is where the guys at the fly shop bring a lot of their clients to fish the slow water in this section. This part of the tailrace has a small seam with some fast current above some slower water below. I think this little seam is one of the best areas in the guide hole section. I’ve landed some nice rainbow in this little seam. I’ve had much better luck in this area using a small nymph with an indicator. I choose a red size 16 Copper John to drift through the fast water and hopefully watch the indicator sink quickly. It didn’t happen quickly but I did manage to land one more rainbow using the little nymph. All the flies used for today’s trip were some that I had never used here before and some that I hadn’t used in years. As I was leaving at access 5 the trout were into the sipping mode, so I stopped to try to get a take with no success. I’m still having problems getting hits when the trout are feeding in this manner. I suspect they are feeding on tiny midges, but color and actual size is still a puzzle. I am thinking of purchasing a stomach pump—-any suggestions are welcome!!
 


How many flies does one use on any given outing on their favorite stream or tailrace? 5 or 6 flies is tops for me, which got me to thinking the other day do I really need all these flies I carry in my fly box? I had flies in the fly box that I hadn't used in years and some had never touched the waters surface. So to make space for the new flies I was going to add I starting culling those I seldom use. Take note of the words “fly box” because that is the only box I use now days when fly fishing.
This little Orvis metal fly box 2 ½ by 3 ½ has all the flies that I will use on any given day on the water. It fits easily in my small chest pack that is lightweight and compact as well. The older I get the more I want to eliminate weight when wading and standing for long periods of time in 55 to 60 degree water. Notice the difference in the amount of flies in the box before culling and after. 
Given the fact I had a well organized fly box and the Sipsey Tailrace was fishing some better than a couple of weeks ago; I decided to test the waters with some of the newer flies that I had added to the box. I was met with cloudy skies and of course high humidity and lots of fog on the water surface. As I waded into place at access 5 I could barely see the surface film for the fog coming off the water. I decided to cast one of my new flies a size 18 Black Drake dry in the direction of some trout feeding near where I was standing. I got a hit after a few cast and thought I was in for some rapid top action. To my surprise, just as quick as the surface activity started it ended I surmised I was fishing the tail end of the surface feed. 
With the generation schedule changed I had to use my time wisely so after surface activity slowed I moved on up the gorge. I replaced the Drake with a fly Alan at Small Stream Reflections sent me sometime back. I thought today would be a good time to give it a try. I tied on the Salars Nemesis tight lining it across a wide section that had some fast water in the middle and slower water on both sides. As the fly drifted from the edge of the slow to fast water I got a take and lost it just as quick; poor concentration and slow hook set, not a good combo. I kept working the Salarsslowly with some short jerks mixed in when a trout nailed it in the middle of the swing, strong hook set and the trout was in the net!!
Today was one of those trips where one fly pattern didn't produce on a consistent basis. In fact that can be the norm on the Sipsey at times. These trout see a lot of the same flies in the upper section of the tailrace so it's good to show them a little something different. My next stop was the log section in deep water where the better trout hang out below the submerged logs. I decided to tie on the Seal Leech to fish this section. This is a fly that David Knapp gave me some years ago to work in deeper water. I fish this fly a little unconventional by casting it down stream and working it back slowly against the current. As I work the fly I let it pause in the current and flutter, usually during the pause is when I get the hit. Today this type retrieve help me land a couple of stocker trout just above the logs. I was hoping for the bigger trout but I will take what this section gives up.
I ended today's trip at the Guide Hole, which is where the guys at the fly shop bring a lot of their clients to fish the slow water in this section. This part of the tailrace has a small seam with some fast current above some slower water below. I think this little seam is one of the best areas in the guide hole section. I've landed some nice rainbow in this little seam. I've had much better luck in this area using a small nymph with an indicator. I choose a red size 16 Copper John to drift through the fast water and hopefully watch the indicator sink quickly. It didn't happen quickly but I did manage to land one more rainbow using the little nymph. All the flies used for today's trip were some that I had never used here before and some that I hadn't used in years. As I was leaving at access 5 the trout were into the sipping mode, so I stopped to try to get a take with no success. I'm still having problems getting hits when the trout are feeding in this manner. I suspect they are feeding on tiny midges, but color and actual size is still a puzzle. I am thinking of purchasing a stomach pump----any suggestions are welcome!!