Thursday, November 24, 2011

November: Winter fishing at Bennett Spring S.P.

I enjoy Bennett Spring State Park in the winter. There can be an outstanding mayfly hatch that appears in the afternoon and at times will last several hours through mid-January. The trout have been in the stream long enough to recognize these insects as food and will actively seek them out along the edges and near the aquatic plants.

The number of people fishing may be a crowd of twenty on a Saturday afternoon in zone 1 or a stretch of water all to you on a Friday or Monday. A snowy day may find you all alone in the park with a few eagles perched on the Sycamore tree over the stream.

A mayfly hatch is common with a #20 BWO; imitating celery green body, a white tail and white legs Baetis emerging from the slough or back waters near the concrete access structures. I use a 4 wt 10 ft rod with 6X or smaller tippet. You will find me wading upstream looking for trout hunting these insects. Even if you never tried to fish a dry fly, these trout are blind to the many mistakes a fisherman starting out may make.

For more information of these mayflies check out:

Nov 14, 2011: Rod Pennington and I made plans to fish Bennett Spring S.P. I called Frank Moran and invited him to fish with us. Since, I have not been at the park recently, there was concern if the BWO hatch would be present. Monday morning, I woke at 6 AM. Started some coffee and tied a few flies hoping to match the hatch of the day. I met Frank at 10 AM, with Rod driving alone since he would have to leave early. We fished Zone 1, just above the dam. The water level was normal for this time of the year with some changes due to erosion and the holes in front of the dam filling in. There were a few BWO seen throughout the day, with a minimal hatch event. The trout seem to be looking for duns. There was a mild breeze blowing upstream, providing some cover for the trout with a cloudy day. Frank’s first cast of the day, brought to hand a nice 14-inch rainbow with others to follow much smaller. Rod and I had a good day with a total of 25 trout released. Rod left early, Frank and I stayed until 4 PM. An eagle flew into view at 3:30 PM and perched on a limb over the stream. I was able to walk to him and capture a nice video of this eagle in flight.

It was good to get back to the stream and hope to get back at least once a week.

Nov 21, 2011: Rod and I made our plans and returned to Bennett Spring S.P. There was a light mist with a dark sky. The wind was light with a smooth stream surface. The temperature was in the mid-forties. There were few a fishermen around with no one in close proximity. I returned to a pattern of habit and started at the dam and fished to the concrete access ramps. A pair of eagles were seen near the spring on our drive in and later sat on the Sycamore tree across the concrete access ramps.

There was a sporadic hatch with low numbers of mayflies. The dreaded white midge was present and we saw a few black adult caddis. We released from hand twenty trout with most of my hook ups on a #20 parachute BWO. We saw a few groups of turkeys in field on our drive with the deer in hidingsince opening day for gun season.