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Author Topic: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions  (Read 502 times)

Jim C.

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December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« on: Jan 02, 2021, 07:12 PM »
December ended up being a real warm month, book ended by 2 big rains.  Nearly 4" of rain fell on the 1st and almost 2" more on the 25th-26th.  There is some ice around, but this amount of warmth and water put a monkey wrench in that.  Open water water options remained, even if there were a few surprises and adjustments needed.

Tail waters were pushing hard and a wading staff was pretty much indispensable if you wanted to wade into position to get drifts to fish hunkered down tight debris and undercuts.





I found that best way to get at fish in debris fields or current pockets was to drift in a small jig suspended under a bobber.  One real productive stretch gave up 2 salmon, a 20" plus brown, and a few decent brookies in short order...I had to really put the boots to them to avoid being run into snags and broken off.  I have to apologize for the quality of some of the fish pics....they were often taken when wading was precarious or I was forced back to the trees or debris by high water.  One time, when I had company, I watched an angler snag his rod tip in a tree while pumping in a fish.  The rod was a goner, but somehow he hand lined the fish in.









I found this guy sharing the water with me below one dam.  He seemed to give me the cold shoulder :laugh:



I also expect that he had taken a shot at this brookie I got into one night.



I took advantage of the high water to get into a few lake run rainbows also.  Solid fish, with most on spoons, but the biggest on a tube jig under a float drifted well out into the lake.  The last pic was of a 20" plus fish....the mass of its side against the net gives an idea of its size, but with the onshore chop and low 30 degree water he ended up being too photo shy for a good pic.









At one odd little tail water with a feeder creek, the water was strangely low both times I visited.  This spot is more like a bomb crater than a tail water....scary deep and steep.  I had just one hit in the 2 trips.....it was either a massive splake or a lake trout (both are possible).  It just nosed my spinner and sunk bank into the depths......a fish I'd like to have back.





By mid-month, flows dropped and the tail water bite dropped off quite a bit.  I found an occasional decent brown and fall-stocked brookies that were holding on just fine.











Before the Christmas rainstorm, we had enough cold nights to form a solid batch of shelf and flow ice.  It's dicey navigating this stuff.  You can slip, it can break under your weight, or you can take an unplanned dip if it extends over deep water. 





Eventually, I found a nice shelf that ended with 2" of solid ice over thigh deep water with a nice gravel bottom for wading. 8)



What followed was the best bobber and jig fishing I've had in a long time.  15 trout (a mix of browns and brookies) in less than 2 hours.  And, hey, the water was bearable if I didn't submerge nature's thermometer. ;)  I was never far from the ice shelf and it's visible in most of these pics.  The trout seem to use it as structure and nail fake food as it drifts past.

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Following the Christmas rain, much of the river ice blew out and I visited a few tried and true winter spots. The trout tended to be small, but colorful.









The month ended and 2021 began with a return to snow and colder weather.  Pancake ice showed back up.



And the fish seemed to want either tiny jigs or egg patterns and not much else.









And I managed to get on the board for January within my first 0:25 of fishing in the New Year  8)  Need to get through Feb. and Mar. open water before the days of plenty come back in  April.







zwiggles

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #1 on: Jan 03, 2021, 05:34 AM »
 :clapping: :bowdown: :clapping:

Awesome report as always!

fish wayniac

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #2 on: Jan 03, 2021, 09:40 AM »
Jim, Another great post from you . Lots of beautiful fish!🥶

Raquettedacker

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #3 on: Jan 03, 2021, 10:05 AM »
Way to go Jim...
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own.....<br />Strangers stopping strangers just to shake there hand...<br />\"Dying is the easy part. Learning how to live is the hard part....\"

TightLinesMaine

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #4 on: Jan 03, 2021, 06:41 PM »
Was waiting for this post! Not disappointed! Wow! Glad you took advantage of the late rainfall, i missed out unfortunately.

I woulda loved to see that big bow in person!

Smallmouth Squarepants

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #5 on: Jan 04, 2021, 07:28 AM »
Great post and photos Jim! Keep it up!

NBourque

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #6 on: Jan 05, 2021, 05:27 PM »
Very nice Jim. Beats ice fishing lol.

Jim C.

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #7 on: Jan 05, 2021, 05:42 PM »
Don't have to worry about how much slush there is, etc., etc. :laugh:

Very nice Jim. Beats ice fishing lol.

Steve H.

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #8 on: Jan 06, 2021, 07:23 AM »
Never one to disappoint!  Thanks again for sharing.
It is understood that fishing licenses, gas, bait, etc., all cost money, but try not to let a limit of trout be your only gauge for success. Ben Nugent, (NH F&G) Regional Fisheries Biologist

caught_the_fever

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #9 on: Jan 07, 2021, 04:22 PM »
Jim - some beautiful fish once again.  I'm glad to see your leg is holding up well (hopefully) in some challenging conditions.  Congrats on kicking off January before you had the opportunity to complete the December report.  Hope you and the family had a great Christmas season. 

iceman260

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Re: December.....Lots of Options in Changing Conditions
« Reply #10 on: Jan 10, 2021, 07:29 AM »
Nice pics and beautiful fish keep up the good work.

 



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