Friday, June 11, 2010

The Bluegill are Biting on Texas Creeks and Streams

The chartreuse popper landed with a plop sending rings of ripples across the surface. The current caught it and pulled it down stream. I let it drift over the dish shaped gravel bed of a spawning bluegill and gave it a slight twitch. The water erupted as a palm size bluegill slammed the popper and then headed for the undercut bank in the shade. The small powerful fish swam in smaller and smaller protesting circles as I stripped in the four weight fly line. I am always thrilled by the bend in the rod and the throbbing protests of these small fish as I bring them in. I leaned over, wet my hand with water and gently lifted the fish from the creek. The brilliance of iridescent colors glistened in the sunlight as I unhooked the popper, released the fish, watched it swim away and prepared to cast again.

I was to repeat this scene a hundred times or more within a span of several hours on the creek that day. The only difference was the species of fish at the end of the line and each was a surprise. Most were bluegill or some hybrid sunfish species but I have also taken largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass, hybrid bass and Rio Grande Perch all in one afternoon on this stretch of Brushy Creek . I have even taken some very large carp on a hand tied deer hair wasp imitation. I was not in some distant exotic location but a mere 3 miles from my home on a beautiful stretch of Brushy Creek that runs through the park in downtown Round Rock, Texas. I even took a two pound bass from the shadow of the famous Round Rock that marks the cattle drive crossing on the Chisholm Trail. At least he felt like two pounds to me.
There was a steady stream of traffic on Interstate 35 just over my shoulder yet I was lost in my task at hand. I had seen no one else fishing on the creek that day and had most of the time to myself. A few kids, joggers and walkers on the hiking trail along the creek stopped to watch me fly-fishing and then went on their way. Sometimes kids just can't stand it and they have to come talk to me about fishing. I always try to encourage them to fish the creek as they are the future of our sport. I have learned to carry a few hand tied flies to give to the kids that stop and ask me questions. A few show an extra interest so I send them on their way with a fly and instructions on how to fish it with a bobber on the gear they already have. If they catch a fish on one of my hand tied flies, even if fished on conventional gear, they will be hooked. Who knows, they might even turn into a true fly fisherman someday. Last time I was on the creek I had one kid wade right out knee deep in the creek and stand with me for almost an hour. I would hook a bluegill and hand him the rod to reel it in to be released. When he left his smile was ear to ear. He yelled back that he was going to get his folks to buy him a flyrod. Maybe I will see him out there beating the water and give him a casting lesson some time.

I have discovered that some of the best times may be right at our fingertips here in Central Texas. I have found that the clear Hill country creeks, streams and rivers are a fly fishing Mecca that can be enjoyed for mere pennies as far a fuel costs to and from the location. All one needs is a fly rig or small spinning outfit to spend a day catching fish. I use a four weight rod and floating line most of the time. I recommend catch and release so that we can preserve this great fishery, plus too much fertilizer and septic runoff get into Brushy Creek to risk eating the fish. Get out and try some of the water near you. You might be surprised how great the fishing right under your nose really is, Wild Ed

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Doug said...

I don't fly fish - but take the kids out with a rod a bobber and can of worms. Nothing better than catching a pan full of bluegill ( or breem as they call them here). The kids love it and it all takes me back to those lazy, summer childhood days in the creeks close to home.

Thanks for the memories.

Wild Ed said...

Doug you are more than welcome to the memories. May we both have time to create many more for us and all those younger. I can assure you there will be kids telling the stories to their kids someday,about all those fishing trips,just as you and I tell stories about those that shared time with us in the outdoors.

Bill Trussell said...

Really a great post. I have just sent you an email and it concerned getting kids out fishing. I did a couple of posts on getting the kids away from the computer and t.v. and into the outdoors fishing. By the way, I love to catch those gills on the fly too.

texasflyfisher said...

Hi Ed,

Found your blog through Bill Trussell. I've fished Brushy Creek a few times. Based on your great write up, I need to get out there soon. Here are few entries in my blog from past trips to Brushy Creek


Wild Ed said...

Luciano if you go make sure it is a sunny day and it has been a while since a rain. If the water is stirred up or it is overcast they do not bite on Brushy. I have found very small chartruse poppers with rubber legs and feather tail to be the best. My favorites have a round body but I forget the names. Have a great time or even better give me some notice and I just might be able to get loose and go with you. Ed

Donald said...

Ed, I loved the article. It reminded me of Field and Stream back when I read it many years ago. There was an article about bluegill fishing on Reelfoot Lake that was descriptive and alluring. I could smell the coolness of the clear water and see the shadows of those legendary beasts beneath the cypress trees as they inhaled the spinners the author was using.

Good to see you are still at it, and I was wondering if you are still partnered with a hawk or have you moved on?

Wild Ed said...

Thanks for the kind words about the article. My Harris hawk was killed by a vehicle on Hwy 79 out by Palm Valley and I have not been able to go to South Texas to trap another. I hope to go this fall and try to find another passage Harris if it is safe along the border down there.