Having a hard time staying inside

Unfortunately, I’m having a harding time getting out.

I’m eager for some water or trail time. I hope at lunch I’ll be able to get away for a short hike. There’s a stretch of creek nearby where there’s what looks about a mile of trail between two different sections I know. There are what look like a couple of wintering holes along that trail based on topos. There’s a heavy low front coming with a lot of rain, but daytime highs have been in the mid to upper-40’s steadily for a while. I think I’m going to walk that mile and carry a fly rod with me to see whether there’s any hatches that attract the smallie’s attention. No trout in moving water within forty miles of this place, but there are smallies all around.

Wish me luck.

  • Big D

Took my own advice
I walked beside a creek with a fly rod in my hand during lunch break today. I made a few ineffectual casts for effect with the anticipated results. The water at the creek I picked was a bit big and I couldn’t get to the winter holes without wading, which I was not prepared to do.

It was nice to be outside. As a minimum, I was able to scope out a really sweet section of creek that I want to fish from my raft or kayak some day. One of those park it and wade, use the boat as a transport sort of days where it takes all day to go a couple of river-miles. Looking forward to spring already.

  • Big D

Winter Fishing
If you don’t mind going a little further north you’re into some of the better trout flyfishing in the country. The Cumberland Valley near Carlisle has several famous limestone creeks (LeTort, Yellow Britches, Big Spring, etc.) Since the water is always cold, they fish well all year. I’ve even fished in the snow up there.

I feel your pain. This time of year, my local river (a few hundred feet away from my house) ought to be frozen over. It’s not. Every time I drive past, it beckons, like one of those sirens in that old Greek story.

If I had the cold weather gear, I’d be out there with my pole. Don’t have to catch anything to make it a good day… just gotta be out on the water.

I have the gear
But I don’t paddle or wade solo in cold-water periods. Too dangerous not to have someone along.

we fished your ledge today D …
… 2 strikes (Muskie ??) on a Mepps Muskie Killer & 17-lb. test … not one Smallmouth bite (8 lb. setup) but that water is pretty cold now .

Don’t ask me how that Muskie missed the hooks both times … I’m clueless on that one but he nailed it hard enough ??

I’m eager to get back there when the water’s not so fast. I think it would have been OK to anchor up an 18’ bass boat but definitely not my canoe.

That’s probably a good wintering spot now that I think of it. I’ve been meaning to get a depth finder mounted on my canoe. I’ve got a transporter suction cup meant for temporary connections and a RAM mount for the screen, and a small battery. It’s all just a matter of taking the time to go outside and freeze my fingers doing the rigging.

I wish you’d have caught those fish. Is it possible they were walleye? They’re in the river, including some big ones, and sometimes they will smack a lure before biting it.

Walleye ?? maybe could have been

– Last Updated: Jan-11-12 8:52 AM EST –

....... funny , replied to this post yesterday but somehow the reply disapeared .

Anyway D , I'm most inclined to believe the two hits were from a Muskie . I don't fish for the Walleye but know they are in the river . Have seen a school of them in the Shen. , caught a few by accident in the Potomac and Susqui. (small ones) , seen Walleye DNR has shocked up from Potomac (DNR - some huge ones) , and have suspected possible Walleye hits and cut offs when fishing plastics on bottom .

I've always heard the Walleye are tasty eating fish ... never eaten one myself though .

I made a 3rd cast right after the previous two which took hits . The Muskie Killer seperated from the line and made one of those record distance flights . I saw the line flutter down and thought it had broke . When I reeled in , the stealon leader was still on there but the steel wire clip was gone along with the spinner attached to it . The loop in the end of the leader was not broken . Very strange thing because there is no way the steel clip can come off the leader ... unless it has been sheered by something or had a factory defect .

At first I had a mind to write Berkley and request they reimburse me for the Mepps Muskie Killer (which was a brand new one) , thinking their clip must have been a factory defect ... but I have never heard of such a defect and couldn't even believe that myself . I mean it's hard steel wire for pets sake and those things don't break , and the attach point to the leader is virtually imposible to open even with two pair of needle nose pliers it's very difficult to get opened up .

Later that eve. after getting home and thinking to write Berkley , it dawned on me ... one of those hits must have sheered the steel wire clip and on the 3rd cast the leader and clip seperated in fligt .

That makes much more sense to me than a defective clip . And I know that I did not take the time to inspect the leader and clip after the the strikes . If I had of inspected it I'll bet I'd of seen a sheered clip with a spinner getting ready to be lost .

I beleive it highly possible the rear jaw teeth of a Muskie could sheer a steel clip like that . My guess is it bit the clip , blade & steel weight and realized it wasn't a bait fish ... so immediately let go both times w/o getting the hooks .

water levels Sat. were …

– Last Updated: Jan-11-12 9:47 AM EST –

..... 6.65' Paw Paw , 5.65' Edwards , 3.2' P.of Rocks and falling .

Inside the cove the island head to MD. shore was overflowing pretty good with only a few rock tops showing , but the island shore was still and eddy . I believe it would have been quite easy to line a canoe by the head of the island past the fast stuff in the chutes . Inside the cove , you could hold still along the island shore if within say about 10' or so of it ... a bit further off the shore you would begin to slowly drift down stream . The main current flow was through the coves center which has some fine rather deep ledges of it's own under water . The type of ledges that run with the river as opposed to across it .

Immediately below the main river ledge itself and for 100' downstream the water was always an easy eddy drawing you back to the ledge . Would also draw you slowly up to the downstream tip of the island . This is how it was on MD. half the river , we didn't work the VA. half from below the ledge . Absolutely perfect for cast presentations in every direction . A tube would just fall back towards you and find the bottom in those monster boulder canyons ... we fished it in neutral or motor off .

The main channel center flow was ripping with wave trains though . The approach to the ledge from above was just a slow drift until near the actual ledge and then the water picked up speed and overflowed it . I think the water temp. there is like 40F. or so right now . I wouldn't want to be taking a swim out there this time of year , would take to long to get out of that cold water .

If you just approach the ledge from downstream and quit paddling or motoring about 100'-200' before it , the huge eddy currents will naturally move you all around the MD. half very slowly , it will move you up and then back and into another big eddy pool ... all this is over some of the greatest looking boulder canyons and under water ledges I've ever seen in the Potomac .

For what it's worth , those Muskie hits came about 50' off the rocks along the main river side of the island (above ledge) . We never anchored , pretty deep water in there . We weren't running a sonar , couldn't say if there were Smallie down there there or not , just know we didn't pick any Smallie hits .

May take my raft out there
I probably won’t take my canoe up there without a companion. My raft I might. Put my 55 ft/lb thrust trolling motor on and come up along the MD shoreline should do fine. Might take a while at 3’ at PoR, but dropping would be easier than rising.

Ahhh, who am I kidding. It’s all a fantasy right now. There’s just too much going on to get out on the water.

  • Big D

it would take awhile to …

– Last Updated: Jan-12-12 8:29 PM EST –

...... get up there by elect. troll motor from Dargan ramp in the Polarkraft we were in ... it has 65lb. on the bow . I'll bet your 55lb. on the canoe moves you quite a bit faster than the Polarkraft under elect. power .

Which one moves you better , the elect. troller or gas engine ?? Is it much trouble to take both and change over to the elect. troller when you get to an area you want to fish ??

Anyway D , the water is cold . I don't go out in the canoe when the water is this cold .

Gas is much faster

– Last Updated: Jan-13-12 7:49 AM EST –

The gas engine is much faster than the electric trolling motor. I bought them both the same weekend. On test runs putting in Landers and heading upstream with the Potomac at 4' at PoR, I made it to the cut over for the big island in 45 minutes with the trolling motor and completely exhausted the battery. I bottomed out on a rock and fished a while. When the battery had sufficiently recovered from the high output, I went back to the ramp. With the gas engine, it took 8 minutes with the engine running barely above idle.

I will take my canoe into cold water, but only with people with whom I've paddled before and have the right clothing for it. I have what amounts to a two piece dry suit and would insist on anyone coming with me to be similarly equipped. There are other cold water safety items I'd have along. I also am very careful about what water I'll fish or paddle in cold water situations. Most likely I'd take my raft, which is much more stable even than my huge canoe, but it won't take the gas engine on it. It's awfully slow going up-current, but it will go. Being able to sit in a comfy chair on the rowing frame and sipping coffee while I motor upstream sure beats having to paddle vigorously upstream for two miles like I used to do from Brunswick to get to Knoxville in the early mornings.