Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Intro to Blue Line Fly Fishing


Are you bored of hitting the same waters on your trout fishing trips, or tired of bumping elbows with crowds of anglers chasing stocked trout? Maybe you still want to trout fish when the temps on your larger waters are pushing 70 degrees. The answer to your prayers of escaping the monotony of modern trout fishing is “Blue Line Angling”.


“What is blue line angling?” No, its not just some new catch phrase that hipsters are throwing around. I would define blue line angling as getting off of the beaten path, searching out unknown streams, and targeting wild fish. Now, blue line angling isn’t always a dream paradise of wild fish, waterfalls, and breathe taking scenery. I have went on a few adventures that took weeks of planning only to find my “Stream of Eden” to be nothing more than a small trickle in the middle of a fresh clear cut. The thing that you must realize about “blue lining” is that it is not a numbers or size game. You can’t go into this venture expecting screaming drags, and huge fish. Blue lining is all about the adventure and stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new. Once you give it a shot, you will find that blue lining is much more rewarding than looking at your states stocking schedule to find hatchery fish.
 
 

 Serious blue liners like myself are a different breed of trout fisherman. No, we aren’t all hipsters and coining the phrase “blue liner” to feel like we are special.  No, we don't think that we are better than anyone else. I see that common misconception on many social media outlets all the time. Serious blue liners are adventure seekers. We live for the unknown, and thrill of fishing brand new waters with every adventure. We rarely hit the same water twice in a given year.  We live for the mystery of what a blue line on a map holds for us.  We love to see the vivid color and tenacity of wild trout. When you become a blue liner your mind switches from going out to the stream to pound stockies, to scouring google maps, or topo maps to find blue lines to explore. You may put in a week of research to fish for half a day, on a stream that may or may not hold any trout at all. You may find yourself driving down the highway with your head on a swivel to look for new potential waters to research. I will admit that I am blessed to live in the Allegheny Mountains of South-Western Pennsylvania, so almost every small trickle that is not polluted from acid mine drainage has some sort of wild trout living within its banks, so I have much less research to be done than some of you reading this article.
 
 
Here are a few items that I feel the beginner blue liner must have. The first thing that you need to have is the blue line mindset. You have to go into this venture understanding that blue lining is more about the adventure than size or quantity of fish you can catch. You have to live for the thrill of the unknown.  Without this mindset you are doomed to the confines of catching cookie cutter hatchery trout on the same old stream. The next thing that a new blue liner needs is a way to discover new streams. Check your local agency that regulates fishing, and see what outlets are available to you.  My home state of Pennsylvania now offers an interactive maps where you can locate streams that are Class A wild trout waters, natural reproduction streams, wilderness trout streams, etc. You can also reach out to your states fisheries biologists for input on streams with breeding populations of wild trout.  My favorite way though, is the old school map routine. Seeking out “Blue Lines” on a map is the most rewarding way to get the most out of this style of fishing. One of the biggest things I look for when picking a blue line stream would be topography. How steep the mountains are surrounding the stream can provide insight as to how the flow and size of the stream will be. The thickness of the line on the map can sometimes be misleading, so don’t always count on thicker lines to hold bigger waters. You must do your homework and figure out if your prospect stream is on private property, and then gain permission to access it. I find turning on overlays of game lands, national park, and other public areas to help quicken my search for accessing streams. Another thing to look at is potential stocked streams that the blue line may flow into. These streams have potential of larger fish swimming into them for thermal refuge in the summer, and you may end up with a blue line surprise. I had this happen this year when a random 22” rainbow took me for a ride with my hand made blue line set up.
 
 
Scouting is also another way I determine potential streams. I may stop at a small stream that crosses under a road. These are nice areas to perform a quick survey. I’ll stop and grab a trusted pattern like a mop fly, or a small streamer and quickly hit the hole that is on either side of the pipe running under the road. If you hook a fish there, the odds are in your favor that the stream will contain wild trout throughout. You can then add that stream to your hit list. The stream pictured below was scouted in the winter. I have caught quite a few little native brookies out of this hole, and lost one pushing 10".
 
 
Fly gear and flies for blue lining is pretty simple. Scaling down your typical trout equipment is an easy way to look at it. I prefer to fly fish so my ideal blue line fly rod is a 7 or 8 foot fly rod in 2 or 3 weight.  These rods are very nice for blue lining streams with tight canopies. You won't have many issues landing trout. You can feel the subtle takes of the smaller fish as well, and can actually feel the trout once it is on your line. Some blue liners opt for 10’ rods in the same weight or less to be able to keep back from holes, and increase their stealth. Casting these rods can be tricky on blue lines, but landing the fish is why I personally opt for the shorter rods. The canopy of the stream I fish dictates the length of rod for me.
 
 
I have lost too many fish because of my tip hitting off of the canopy. Wild fish are extremely feisty when bringing them to hand, and often a flailing native brookie pops right off of barbless hooks when the rod makes contact with the canopy. Now don't get me wrong,  I do fish some streams with a more open canopy with my 10' nymphing rod. In the picture above I am hooking up with a nice wild brown on the 2018 opening day of trout in Pennsylvania with my custom 10' 3wt rod. This was from a video I was part of put together by a great group of guys from Allegheny Native. You can watch the video here. Just a great group of guys that share the same passion for wild fish that I do. I highly recommend subscribing to their channel. They really go above and beyond to capture the essence of Blue Line Angling. Be sure to watch the video until the end to witness the caliber of fly fisherman that is bringing you these post, it is a classis that for sure.

 

 
 
Tenkara rods are also a perfect match for blue line angling. They are telescopic and pack to a really small size. Some of the streams I fish are pretty remote so packing light is key. My Tenkara rod of choice is made by Tenkara USA and is their Rhodo model. I really like the Rhodo because it is a zoom rod. You can set it at 3 different lengths, and adjust the length of the rod to the canopy of the stream you are fishing. This is perfect on blue lines because you may never know what the canopy of a stream is like until you actually step foot there. The Rodo's set lengths are 8'-10", 9'-9", and 10'-6". You can fish at 8'-10" in the tighter spots, then extend it to 10'6" if the streams canopy opens up. These rods are very light and sensitive so picking up even the slightest take of a 4" native brook trout is easy to feel. Sshorter length, zoom styleTenkara rods and fishing methods are a perfect match for blue lining.


Now, me being the blue line enthusiast that I am, I built my own set up that I call a “Brookie Stick.” I need something shorter than most Tenkara rods available for the micro streams I fish. I took a 6’-6” 1 weight fly rod, created a custom Parachord grip handle, and use a fixed line fly fishing approach. This is a fun way to approach blue lining. With that road though, I have a limited casting distance of around 12', so I must rely on stealth to not spook the fish. This gives you a Zen like feeling, and you have to be in heron mode to have success. Catching a native brookie or wild brown on a rod you built yourself with a fly you tied yourself is an amazing feeling, but that is a whole other blog post in itself.



I use very simple fly patterns to catch blue line trout. In most of these streams there isn't a lot of food choices, so Ifind small streamers and mop flies to be very effective. I would suggest using brighter colors so the fish can see them in the fast flowing water. Below is an example of my blue line fly box at the beginning of the season. I don't spend a lot of time on my blue line flies and most are very fast and simple flies. I know these flies are ugly, and not what you are used to seeing posted from me, but native brookies and a lot of wild browns are that picky on blue line streams. Most of these flies are two minute or less ties. A lot of my flies are also rejects, that I would not sell to customers, but they will still work.  I don't do a lot of dry fly fishing, but hoppers and any dry fly that will float high like a stimulator, humpy, or caddis will be effective.



 Other gear that all blue liners should have are a set of breathable waders, or hip boots. Most of the streams you will be fishing are tiny, so even a pair water proof hunting boots can work. I would suggest having a backup battery source for your phone as well. Depending on how far off the beaten path you are going to go, it would be a great idea to have simple survival items like, small first aid kit, fire starter, compass, etc. It is important to let someone know where you will be fishing in case of emergency. You should at least give them the general area you plan to target.  This can pay dividends if you happen to injure yourself and need medical assistance. Also a blue liner should have an insect repellant of some sort. Permethrin, like Sawyers Premium insect replant, is a great idea to spray on your clothes to deter ticks and reduce your risk of lime disease.  OFF is a good idea to spray on any exposed skin as well.
 
Blue lining is not for everyone. It takes a different type of trout fisherman to roll the dice and take a chance on adventure. It may seem crazy to some to hike 3-4 miles to an unknown stream only to catch six trout that are less than 7”, but to me it is my heaven. You most likely won’t see anyone else on the stream. The scenery is beautiful and the trout are way more colorful than those found stocked streams. So I challenge you, the reader, to take a step out of your typical trout fishing trip, and give blue lining a chance. Accept the possibility that your trip may result in zero fish and dig deep inside and reignite your spirit of adventure.

32 comments:

  1. Video was great. More, please.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In the spring as surface water temps approach the 50's, wiper will become more and more active. lươn đồng

    ReplyDelete
  3. To modify the cast control(a handle on the baitcasting reel), tie a draw toward the stopping point and reel the trap six crawls from the angling pole bar. Press the spool to discharge the line. folly beach fishing charters

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great job for publishing such a nice article. Your article isn’t only useful but it is additionally really informative. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. Bahamas Fly Fishing

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. touring kayaks

    ReplyDelete
  7. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. fishing rods

    ReplyDelete
  8. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. Headbanger Fishing Lures

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. fly fishing for tarpon

    ReplyDelete
  10. Fishing reels, like cell-phone covers, jeans, or anything else, come in all kinds of styles, shapes and colors. If you are an angler, in search of the perfect reel, rest assured that you will have quite a few options available-perhaps even a handful too many. best fishing reels

    ReplyDelete
  11. A baitcasting reel is a cylinder shaped metal that is made of aluminum and stainless steel. The baitcasting reel is always attached to the fishing rod. It's purpose is to help control and wind up the wire or line on the spoon. Fishing Reels Guide

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice to be visiting your blog once more, it has been months for me. Well this article that ive been waited for therefore long. i want this article to finish my assignment within the faculty, and it has same topic together with your article. Thanks, nice share. Hiking Bariloche

    ReplyDelete
  13. Took me time to understand all of the comments, but I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! Its constantly nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I am certain you had enjoyable writing this write-up. this site

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nearly everyone has a hobby or pastime that they enjoy. For me, it's fishing. Like most people, I enjoy acquiring new gear for my hobby. My fishing tackle box is full of gizmos and gadgets as well as a few key items, like fishing reels. For spinning, one reel I reach for quite often is the Mitchell Blade ALU 4500 reel. Here's some information about this affordable and full-featured reel. Kayak Feature

    ReplyDelete
  15. Spinning Reel Cast
    Casting with a spinning reel still has a learning curve with it, and it does take some time to get to the skill level to put some distance on your cast and develop some accuracy.

    Like we have mentioned before, spinning reels use a fixed spool so the weight of the lure is what is doing the work. It can be tempting to try to overpower the cast, and this is the perfect way to cause a mess of line on your spool.

    The basics of casting start with using your index finger of your dominant hand to pull the line just above the bail and line roller and bring it back to the rod. With your other hand, open up the bail to give yourself a “free spool” where line can now leave without resistance.

    From here on, it is just like casting any other rod and reel. At the point of release, simply release the line from your index finger. Unlike a baitcaster, you do not have to put pressure on the spool because it is fixed. The line will stop leaving the spool as soon as the lure hits the water.

    Though it sounds simple, it is going to take a little time for the uninitiated. Don’t sweat it though, there is a reason it is one of the most popular reels for the casual and more serious angler. You’ll have it down in no time. best spinning reels

    ReplyDelete
  16. An expert custom manufacturer endeavors to guarantee that segment joining is cultivated to inspire the absolute best exhibition from each casting pole.UFSHN Spreader bars

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks Pergolas Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  18. This particular papers fabulous, and My spouse and i enjoy each of the perform that you have placed into this. I’m sure that you will be making a really useful place. I has been additionally pleased. Good perform! detail desk pads review

    ReplyDelete
  19. เป็นบริษัทกำจัดปลวกเชียงใหม่ ฉีดปลวกเชียงใหม่ราคาถูก เน้นความคุ้มค่า เพื่อลดค่าใช้จ่ายของลูกค้า. มีขั้นตอนการฉีดปลวกเหมือนกับบริษัทใหญ่ราคาแพง.เรารับงานทุกตำบล ทุกอำเภอ ในเชียงใหม่ , อำเภอเมืองเชียงใหม่ , ศรีภูมิ , พระสิงห์ , หายยา , ช้างม่อย , ช้างคลาน , วัดเกต , ช้างเผือก , สุเทพ , แม่เหียะ , ป่าแดด , หนองหอย , ท่าศาลา , หนองป่าครั่ง , ฟ้าฮ่าม , ป่าตัน , สันผีเสื้อ , อำเภอจอมทอง , อำเภอเชียงดาว , อำเภอดอยสะเก็ด , อำเภอแม่ริม , อำเภอสะเมิง , อำเภอฝาง , อำเภอแม่อาย , อำเภอพร้าว , อำเภอสันป่าตอง , อำเภอสันกำแพง , อำเภอสันทราย , สันทรายหลวง , สันทรายน้อย , สันพระเนตร , สันนาเม็ง , สันป่าเปา , หนองแหย่ง , หนองจ๊อม , หนองหาร , แม่แฝก , แม่แฝกใหม่ , เมืองเล็น , ป่าไผ่ , อำเภอหางดง , หางดง , หนองแก๋ว , หารแก้ว , หนองตอง , ขุนคง , สบแม่ข่า , บ้านแหวน , สันผักหวาน , หนองควาย , บ้านปง , น้ำแพร่ , อำเภอฮอด , อำเภอดอยเต่า , อำเภออมก๋อย , อำเภอเวียงแหง , อำเภอไชยปราการ , อำเภอแม่วาง , อำเภอแม่ออน , อำเภอดอยหล่อ , อำเภอกัลยาณิวัฒนา , ฉีดปลวกเชียงใหม่

    ReplyDelete
  20. A fishing trip as a blessing experience additionally settles on an ideal decision for the one who is famously hard to purchase for, or who likes taking up the game, however might want a presentation first.
    camping portable garbage can

    ReplyDelete
  21. However, they are more manoeuvrable in narrow waterways. best fishing kayak

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks ฉีดปลวกราคาถูกขอนแก่น

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts. fishing charters myrtle beach

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dehydration could creep up suddenly on you, and the dizziness and exhaustion it brings could make you fall from your boat. So, keeping hydrated can be vital to a safe fishing trip. tjbistro.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Fly out to distant regions: Definitely expands your opportunity of an incredible fishing experience, yet additionally an extraordinary Alaska experience. buy best fishing equipment online

    ReplyDelete
  26. Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign. sandkeyrealtyporta.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. nice http://www.fullcircleoutdoorlifestyle.com/2018/07/intro-to-blue-line-fly-fishing.html

    ReplyDelete
  28. There are many vital angling instruments applied by people, for example, fishing lights, fish finder for kayaks, rods, fly fishing reels, and even more. Green lights are considered the ideal as opposed to blue lights. In case you visit this http://cirandas.net/meennund/blog/lets-get-deep-inside-underwater-lights-online site, you'll get more information regarding fishing lights.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The blog was having very informative content and very useful for me. Well done post and keep it up... Thanks for sharing such a Useful info.best propane ice auger

    ReplyDelete
  30. This unique in fact perhaps even a very good arrange that i believe it or not in fact really enjoyed looking into. It is not necessarily consequently routine that i range from the substitute for verify a precise detail. Order Weed Online

    ReplyDelete
  31. A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one. 交友平台

    ReplyDelete
  32. A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one. 約會

    ReplyDelete