Friday, August 31, 2007

New Fishing Restrictions in Queensland

Anglers may not require a license to fish recreationally in Queensland (except if fishing in some stocked impoundments), but they will be fined if caught fishing in the coral reefs during spawning periods.

The new regulations will make it illegal to catch coral trout, cods, gropers, red emperors and parrot fish over three nine-day periods during October, November and December during the spawning season. Violators will be fined up to $75,000!

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries says these new regulations are intended to help preserve fishing for future generations.

For more information about fishing in Queensland, click here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Trout Dying at Wildhorse Reservoir in Nevada

Approximately 8,000 to 11,000 trout have died in Nevada's Wildhorse Reservoir over the last couple of days. A lack of dissolved oxygen in the water is believed to be the cause.

Like us, trout need need oxygen to survive. Several factors affect how much oxygen is dissolved in water. Warm weather and still water are two big factors in the desert southwest which affect how much oxygen is dissolved in the water.

Nevada gets pretty hot in the summer - but this summer, has been a little warmer than normal. Warmer weather, means warmer water temperatures - which result in less oxygen in the water. Warmer weather has also caused lake levels to decrease due to evaporation - which again, results in less oxygenated water.

Other factors affecting oxygen levels in the water include decaying algae on the lake bed. This process depletes oxygen from the water (again, making it harder for trout to survive).

Luckily, Fall is quickly approaching which will help cool water temperatures thereby raising dissolved oxygen levels. The Nevada Department of Wildlife is monitoring the situation very closely.

How does this affect trout fishing? When trout are physically stressed, their primary concern becomes survival - and they stop feeding. This means that until their environment improves, they will not be interested in feeding (or taking your offering). Right now, these trout only care about finding cooler, oxygenated water!

So expect trout fishing to remain poor at Wildhorse Reservoir until conditions improve.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fishing Restrictions Lifted at Yellowstone

Last month, Yellowstone National Park Service imposed a restriction on afternoon fishing (so anglers couldn't fish during afternoon hours). The reason for the restriction was to help trout, which are easily stressed during water temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Any trout caught in warmer water, has a good a chance of not surviving.

But now that afternoon temperatures in the region have cooled down (thus lowering the water temperature too) - the restriction has been lifted. Anglers can now fish for trout during afternoon hours!

Be sure to check all the fishing regs for Yellowstone National Park before you go fishing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Prime Western Brown Trout Waters

Believe it or not, the desert southwest states offer some excellent brown trout fishing - including wild brown trout. Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, and Idaho are among those states for some prime brown trout waters.

Fish and Game Magazine wrote a great article this month called, "Browns without the Crowds" which contains more details for catching brown trout in these states. It's a great article and worth a read (especially if you live in any of the states mentioned above).

Do you have a favorite river, stream or lake for brown trout fishing? Post a comment and let us know.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Should You Sharpen Fish Hooks?

Hooks become dull over time - especially if you're dragging them along the bottom of a river or lake across rocks and other objects. You can buy hook sharpeners to sharpen your hooks - or you can toss them and buy new ones.

In the old days, a lot of fishermen would rather sharpen their hooks than buy new ones (believing they were saving a few bucks).

Now a days, most of the hooks you buy are chemically or laser sharpened - which helps them remain sharpened longer. Manually sharpening these hooks can have a negative affect on the sharpness (which defeats the whole purpose).

Before you decide to sharpen your hooks, you should check to see if your hooks are chemically or laser sharpened or not. If they are, it's best to leave them alone.

You might also want to keep in mind that anytime you file metal, you run the risk of wearing it down to the point it will bend or break easily.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Trophy Trout at Collins Lake

Collins Lake is one of Northern California's premiere trophy trout waters. This 1600 acre lake is about an hour North East of Sacramento and is open year-round.

Over 40,000 trout are planted each season in Collins Lake, making it the largest private trout planting program. The plantings usually begin in January and continue through May (averaging two plants per week). Many of the trout planted are in the 3-8 lb range.

This year, Collins Lake started raising rainbow trout in pens, in an effort to increase the trout stockings even more!

While trout catches have slowed down for many during these summer months, anglers are Collins Lake are still reporting some great trout catches. This week .....
  • A 7 lb rainbow trout was caught by one woman while trolling Sparkle Powerbait 30' down.
  • 2 Trout over 4 pounds were caught by another woman who was trolling a Blue Fox lure near the dam.
  • A 5 lb 8 oz rainbow trout was caught by a guy trolling a Rapala lure
There is a lot of good trout action at Collins Lake. Catch a tagged trout, and you'll earn a prize!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Latest Fishing Report for Montana

Montana's Fish and Wildlife's web site just released an updated fishing report for the fishing spots around the state.

You can read it by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Colorado Youth Outdoors Assumes Ownership of Swift Ponds

The story behind the Swift Ponds and one man's desire to help disadvantaged and disabled kids catch their first fish is an inspiration for many.

But soon ownership of the Swift Ponds will be handed over Colorado Youth Outdoors (an organization offering after school outdoor education and recreation programs).

CYO plans to make several improvements to the land including the addition of a shooting center, an education pavilion, and docks (making it easy for a kid in a wheelchair to get the best spot at the lake to fish).

Since the creation of the Swift Ponds, the goal will remain the same under CYO's ownership - introduce kids to the outdoors!

For more information about the Swift Ponds, click here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

France Wins Gold Medal in Youth Fly Fishing Championship

The 6th Annual World Youth Fly Fishing Championship has come to an end. France, the Czech Republic and England captured this years medals. Team USA came within one point of earning a bronze medal, but finished in 4th place.

The final standings for the youth fly fishing championship were:
  • France - Gold Medal
  • Czech Republic - Silver Medal
  • England - Bronze Medal
  • Team USA - 4th Place
  • Slovakia - 5th Place
  • Spain - 6th Place
  • Team USA #2 (Team Pennsylvania) - 7th place
  • Ireland - 8th place
  • Canada - 9th place
  • Portugal - 10th place
In the 2006 World Youth Fly Fishing Championship, Team USA finished in 5th place. So this year was an improvement!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Handling Trout for Catch and Release

Trout are slippery! They have a protective slime all over there bodies which helps protect them from infectious diseases. If this slime is removed from the trout's skin, they may not be able to fight off infectious diseases.

When you're reeling in a trout, you pretty much know if it's a keeper before you get it out the water. Anything under 6 inches is too small to keep. And many anglers practice catch and release all the time.

So when you're reeling in the fish, you want to be careful not to reel it upon shore It's best to remove the hook from the fish while it's in the water (or at least pull it up out of the water). Letting a trout flop around the ground, deck, boat, etc. can cause harm to it's scales and protective slime.

You want to be careful handling your catch so as to minimize the amount of slime and scales that are removed. Get the hook out as fast as possible while handling the trout as little as you can. If the trout is large and you can remove the hook while keeping the trout's head underwater, that's even better.

You can still take a moment to take photos of the trout you intend to release. Just try and do it quickly and hold the fish by the tail and belly (as shown in the picture) to help minimize damage to it.

When releasing the fish back into the water, you want to keep in mind that it may be tired from the fight and may need a bit help to regain it's strength so it can swim off again.

You can help out by lowering the trout's head in the water and moving it back and forth to force water through it's gills. Hold the fish by the tail until it shows signs of being able to swim off by itself. You don't want to let the fish go if it's too tired to swim away.

Practicing catch and release helps protect and preserve fishing resources. As anglers, we want to do our part by not causing the fish undue harm.

This trout tip (and more) can be found in the eBook, "Trout Fishing Tips".

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Trout Fishing the San Juan River

The portion of the San Juan River which runs through New Mexico has become one of the premiere trout fly fishing destinations in the country.

The 4.25 mile stretch of the river below Navajo Dam (near Farmington) has about 80,000 trout in it (including rainbow and brown trout). The water is cool and clean (thanks to the Dam), so trout fishing is good year round!

Trout on the San Juan river average 17", but fish over 20" are abundant. River guide Mike Mora recommends tiny flies, fine tippets, proper presentation and attention to detail in order to fool the San River trout. There's more trout fishing tips and techniques on his web site.

Although the first quarter mile of the river below the dam is catch and release only, most anglers practice catch and release. This is why trout fishing on the San Juan River is so good. There's plenty of large trout for everybody to enjoy catching!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Choosing a Fishing Reel

Choosing a reel depends on somewhat on the type of fishing you plan to do. For fly fishing, you'd use a fly reel. For spin fishing, you'll most likely want a spinning reel or a spin cast reel.

Often times, reels are chosen based on personal preference. For example, if given the choice, I prefer spinning reels over spin cast reels. But I like spin cast reels for small kids - since they're easier to cast with.

Below is a description of some of the more common freshwater fishing reel options. Hopefully, this will help you understand the differences a bit better.

Spinning Reels

These are probably the most common type of reels used for trout fishing. Fishing line is spun onto a spool and wraps under a bale before it's thread through the eyes on the fishing rod. To cast, the bale is lifted to release the line. As line comes off the reel, the spool stays stationary. So line is fed off the spool when casting.

Casting is pretty easy with spinning reels, and the whole reel is easy to handle. You can easily swap the handle to accommodate left or right handed fishing and the drag feature is easy to adjust. Many spinning reels also allow you to easily swap out the spool of line so as to use a heavier or lighter line and continue fishing.

The open design of the reel, makes it easy to see twisted line, kinks and knots as they happen (which allows you to fix them quicker).

The downside of spinning reels, is that the line twist is very common - which can lead to knots and make reeling in line very difficult sometimes. The drag feature on spinning reels can contribute to the problem.

But overall, these are fairly good fishing reels, and are still my personal favorite for trout fishing.

Spin Cast Reel (also called Spin-Casters)

These are very similar to regular spinning reels, except that they're enclosed and have a button which is used for casting. To cast, you simply push and hold down the button until your ready, and the let go to cast.

This makes casting easy. You don't have to open the bale, and hold the line while you cast. This advantage alone make spin casters a good choice for novice anglers, kids and handicapped people.

In theory, the enclosed reel is supposed to make it easier to manage line and reduce kinks and knots. But my experience has been the opposite is true.

Since the reel is enclosed, you can't see the line on the spool - which means kinks and knots have a tendency to go unnoticed until they become a bigger problem (and headache). This is why I don't like spin cast reels for my own use - but I still buy them for my nephews.

Baitcaster Reels

These reels are favored among bass fishers and other anglers fishing lures. They offer better accuracy in casting than spinning reels. Lures don't tumble as much during the cast so the presentation is better. This has to do with the design of the reel.

On baitcaster reels, the spool rotates so line is pull off the reel during casting. This allows for greater accuracy - which is often needed for lure fishing. But because you need to apply the right amount of pressure on the line with your thumb while casting in order to achieve accuracy, casting with these reels is trickier. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of using these reels.

Because the way line is pulled off the reel, you can also get greater casting distance with this reels. When saltwater fishing this can big plus. When freshwater fishing, greater distance often isn't needed.

The down side to baitcasters are that they require more attention. Another downside is that they don't work as well for lighter lines (2-10 lb test). They perform better with heavier lines (12-20 test). So if you're in a fishing situation where you'll be using 2-10 lb test line, you may do better with a spinning reel.

Fly Reels

As the name implies, these reels are used for fly fishing. They're designed to be mounted on a fly rod. When choosing a fly reel, you can get one that allows for manual retrieve (where you turn a handle to reel the fish in) or an automatic retrieve (where you push a button and the reel the automatically reel in your fish).

These reels are strung with backing and fly line. And the type of fly line used depends on the type of fishing you intend to do.