Wednesday, March 24, 2010



I decided to head to Idaho and give The Narrows a shot today. On my way up I noticed that the ice was about half off of Foster Reservoir. Too bad the idiot canal company killed all the fish in it. Hopefully that means some of the other lakes in the area are opening up though. I began my way up the canyon and soon found myself trapped behind a road grader. I eventually got past the rumbling behemoth and made it to a long slow moving stretch that I thought might harbor some walleye. I didn't find any, but I did get to try my new spinning rod. Very nice, it casts like a dream and is ultra sensitive. One interesting thing was that I noticed a large pontoon with two people and a bunch of equipment on board was running down this run. I also noticed a truck driving very slowly with a radio transmitter hanging out the driver's side window pointing at the river. I wonder what kind of fish they were tracking? After 40 minutes of picking moss off my jig I decided to drive upstream and switch over to fly gear. I got down to the water and noticed clouds of midges and bwos coming off. I thought the fish would be going nuts, but oddly I didn't get a single hit or see a fish in several good stretches of water. I kept moving ahead and eventually encountered a very large sucker beached on the rocks and gasping for life. I remember seeing the same thing up here last March. Strange. I also found a smaller 20" sucker lying lifeless a little ways upstream. Just after that I saw my first trout, but they were acting weird too. They were sitting on the bottom motionless in a few inches of water. I dropped a San Juan Worm literally on one's head, and it didn't even move away. Maybe the DWR had electroshocked? Maybe a bait dunker had happened through recently leaving a swathe of destruction in it's path? I don't know, but thankfully I found active trout before too long. They were slurping in a big slackwater eddy. I tied on a Turk's with a midge emerger below it and worked them. It was hard to tell what was going on because of all the foam and debris on the surface. I switched flies several times and eventually I thought I saw my fly move. I set the hook and was finally fighting a fish. I brought it in only to find it foul hooked in the side with the Turk's. I kept trying different midge and bwo imitations, or at least the closest things I could find in my box, but to no avail. I got fed up and tied a tungsten head #20 green Copper John onto my dropper line. I forged ahead to another eddy. There were a couple of slurpers working the run, and to my surprise, one inhaled my Turk's. It was a healthy holdover rainbow from last year from the look of it. Unfortunately it slipped out of my hand, so no picture. I was almost out of time already, which had me pretty down. I just had to hit the deep riffle just upstream though, and I'm glad I did. I scored three more bows on the Copper John in the next five minutes.

I hurried back to the car and was off to work. Overall kind of a disappointing trip. I'm sure I would have caught quite a few had work not beckoned, but that's the way it goes. I sure hope Idaho starts treating me better.

Final Tally: 5 Rainbow Trout

Year Tally: 88 Fish

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A St. Patrick's Day Excursion


After finally emerging from the BATC Testing Center, tired and bleary eyed, I found myself free in Logan at about 10:45 a.m. with nothing to do until 3:30. Good thing I left my waders and 3/4 wt in the car. After a quick stop for some Code Red and a fruit pie, I drove down to Hyrum once again. I decided to fish the section where I had done so well my first day out two weeks prior. I got on the water at about 11:30, and was surprised when I didn't get a single hit from the first run. I spooked one fish from some heavy brush, but that was all the activity I saw. I kept working my way upstream with no strikes, and very few fish spotted. I reached a classic run that had produced several fish last time, but for the first five minutes, nothing happened. Finally my indicator went down, and I had a nice fish on. I chased it downstream and finally scooped this ugly fellow up in my net.

I released the whitey and fished the run some more. I scored one small brown, and that was it. I was beginning to feel a bit disappointed, but then I reminded myself that it was a bit earlier in the day than before, not to mention daylight savings had made it even earlier as far as the sun was concerned. So I pushed on with no success, until I reached another long deep run. I could see some huge whitefish working the bottom, and I figured they were better than nothing. I drifted my flies over them several times, missing one, before getting a solid hookup. The fish took off downstream, fighting uncharacteristically hard for a whitefish. It got down into the fast water and popped off while trying to net it. I moved back to the tail of the run and decided that with the depth and length of the run that I would switch to a straight up nymphing setup. I left the Golden Carrot's Ear on and added a small midge pupa below it. First cast brought me another whitefish that shot downstream, zigzagging wildly from bank to bank. I eventually netted this lanky rascal.

I ended up taking five more whites out of the run on the Carrot's Ear, and two browns

on the midge. All the whitefish fought much harder than usual, and I was beginning to feel a lot better about the day. The water switched back to pocket water, and I switched back to a dry/dropper. It was getting rather warm now, and I noticed some good bug activity. I tied on a bwo nymph as my bottom fly and scored some decent browns from the next few areas. I worked my way up to a nice long riffle with a deeper run at the head. I scored a small cutt, and then everywhere I cast I found small fingerling cutts checking out my fly but not committing to a take. I worked my way up to the deeper water and had a number of refusals on my Turk's. I decided to change to a smaller foam bodied dry I'd made up last summer, as well as add a new dropper I'll call "The Electric Hare's Ear With a Twist of Lime," down below. I ended up scoring a few more fish, but I had a lot of fish hitting the dropper very quickly, and then letting go before I could hook them, and two of the fish I did hook on it, were foul hooked. It might be a bit much for a sunny day I've decided. Shortly I found myself at another long deep run and I scored this pretty little cutt on my dry.

I had several refusals on the dry before moving on. I worked my way upstream catching a small whitefish and a few more trout before having to head off to work. When I arrived at the car it was downright toasty inside, and I had to use the A/C for the first time this year. Nice.

Final Tally: 21 Browns, Cutts and Whitefish

Year Tally: 83 Fish

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Change of Pace


After a morning of studying, I decided I'd give The Logan a try before work. I only had about an hour and a half, so I was looking for some water close to the canyon mouth. As I approached 3rd dam, I noticed some nice looking pocket water below the dam. I pulled over at the reservoir, and immediately noticed trout dimpling the surface. "Why not?" I thought. This way I didn't even have to worry about taking my pants off right next to the highway, I could fish from shore. So I cast out the dry/dropper rig that I had tied up from the day before, and a couple trout looked in it's direction, but that was all. I figured they were eating midges, so I put on a Griffith's Gnat. Same result. So I attached a dropper line and a size 20 midge pupa. First cast a fish slammed it, and unfortunately I slammed back. My line popped, taking both flies with it. I rummaged through my midge box and settled on a Halo Midge Emerger. I missed the next fish, but finally I slowed down and hooked this little guy.

I missed a couple more, and then I hooked into a big fish. I brought it a little closer, and I realized I had the Queen of the Whitefish on my line. At least 20" and super fat. I brought her up next to me, and then slack. My line had simply given out. I'm wondering if a couple years of kicking around in my vest and hardly being used had weakened my lite tippet. Oh well, at least it was just a whitefish. I was getting pretty low on midge emergers, and then I lost another. I managed one more small fish before the wind and lack of flies drove me away. Plus I had to pee really bad. So I drove to the next turnoff and took care of business. I had a half hour still before work, so I figured I'd try this section. Well, I can't say I was impressed. It was highly channelized with very little fish holding water. With longer runs predominant, I decided to put on an indicator and two nymphs. I worked my way upstream, only seeing a couple of fish that were up under bank side brush, when I finally came to a fishy looking run. I cast out my flies, and a trout rose up confidently, sipping in my little yellow foam indicator, pulling it down beneath the surface. So I switched back to a dry/dropper rig, and of course nothing else looked at them. I had to head back to work, but I'm thinking I just might want to grab some new 5x and some more size 20 hooks.

Final Tally: 2 Brown Trout

Year Tally: 62 Fish

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Frolicking Spiders Galore


Well it was a warm and sunny Monday, forecast to be the warmest day since last fall, so of course I had to go fishing. I made a quick stop at the post office to pick up my new fishing vest that doesn't smell like cat pee, then headed off for the BSF. I decided to go up higher than I'd fished before in search of spawning cutthroat. I suited and rigged up, but before I could wet a line, I needed to void my bladder of spent Mt Dew. While I was relieving myself, I noticed scores of little spiders scampering about in the undergrowth. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see spiders before in my life. Spring had truly come, it was hard to believe. The first run brought me a pretty little cutty on the Carrot's Ear.

I worked my way upstream and passed a few more likely spots that brought nothing. I noticed some little winter stones on some patches of snow, and a saw a couple of BWOs coming off, so I switched to a size 16 dark brown mayfly nymph with an olive sparkle thorax. That did the trick. I caught a nice little brown and soon after another cutt. It kept up like this for a bit, the browns and cutts were neck and neck the first hour of fishing. Then I got to a long run with some gorgeous blue green slack water against some boulders on the far bank. My indicator went under and I immediately knew it was a little better fish. It shot downstream a good 30 or 40 feet, switching back and forth across the stream several times before I scooped it up in my net. I was delighted to behold a lovely cutthroat.

I worked up toward the head of the run, surprised that more fish didn't take my offering, before coming to an even larger pool with some fast water creating a nice seam along the far side. I spotted some smaller fish feeding in the center of the pool and was able to catch a couple. I was disappointed that I didn't catch any decent fish from the run, but before moving on, I plopped my fly in the little eight inch swathe of slack water tight against the bank. Perfect, another nice cutt shot downstream, and we danced for a bit.

As I moved up ahead, the trees grew tighter and the water faster. The browns also became more numerous, taking over by a huge margin. I was able to spot fish a couple of them and even had a take or two on my Turk's before having to head to work for a late and tiring night.

Final Tally: 11 Browns, 6 Cutthroat

Year Tally: 60 Fish

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trudging Through the Lava Flow


I've been hearing for some time about the fantastic fishing up in the lava rocks of Idaho, but I just haven't had the time to get up there and see for myself. Finally, the perfect opportunity arose, my wife was going out of town through Saturday. Well, that old skag Mother Nature had other plans, and she decided it was going to be snowy and miserable instead. What was I to do? Why skip out on work early and go Friday. I left Logan and headed north, making a couple of stops for a five dollar foot long, some Mt Dew and an Idaho license. $98.25 later, I was headed down toward the canyon. I tied and bundled up, and hiked down to the river. There were excellent looking runs everywhere, I was pretty excited. I decided to start with the Turks/Carrot's Ear combo that has proven so deadly lately. First cast was a nice little 12" rainbow. I caught 3 more and missed another in the next 10 minutes. One even took the Turk's. I was really thrilled, I thought it was going to be an amazing day, and then the cursed four letter bane of fly fishermen everywhere showed up. My casts were landing with wild and reckless abandon, my drifts were anything but perfect. I shambled over to an especially nice looking run and spotted a decent trout feeding. I placed several casts, and finally had a good drift, I saw the trout move toward my offering, and then the wind yanked my line a foot or so forward. I flailed away some more, and decided to change my dropper to a grey scud. The wind died just long enough for me to finally hook this little bugger.

He went airborne several times and then darted into a small waterfall bending my rod like a trout twice his size. I snapped a pic and released him. I turned around and saw a young man wave at me. I waved backed, and then realized it was a fish and game officer. I trudged back across the stream to show him my license. He told me he'd talked to another fisherman a moment before that had been scoring some respectable fish to 17" on a small Copper John. I really hate fishing such small flies, but then I realized that I could use more flies up north than I can in Utah. So I slapped a size 20 midge larva below the Carrot's Ear and began trying to fish again. I think the officer cursed me as things went pretty dead. The wind was howling now, turning my springish day into a frigid and frustrating experience. After a good half hour of nothing, I spotted another nice trout feeding. My Turk's darted under, and I set the hook. It flipped the tail at me and was gone. I remembered I really need to be gentle with these dinky little hooks. I fished on in frustration, having to retie several times because of wind knots and wind caused tangles. I was moving toward the next hole, when suddenly I found myself up to my crotch in silty sludge. People had told me to wade carefully here because of sudden drop offs, unfortunately they failed to inform me that you also need to test every single spot before putting your foot down because it might not be solid. I struggled my way out, only to discover all my flies had been sucked down stream and were now enveloped in a pound or two of worm riddled vegetation (if I ever come back here, I'm bringing some orange San Juan Worms). I picked away at the mess, eventually deciding to retie once again. I also decided to go to a straight nymphing rig with an indicator. Certainly not my favorite way to fish, but I figured it would fair better against the wind than the Turk's. I also rummaged through my box and found a size 20 Copper John. I cast out my new rig and right away I had a fish on. I caught a couple more from the run, and then it dropped off again. I worked my way up to the bridge and scored a couple of spirited little bows below and above it. I kept hopping from rock to rock, avoiding anything that might give out beneath me, hitting some very pretty water, with nothing to show for it. I was pretty much ready to go home, but then the wind died, and I decided that ending on 13 fish would be bad luck anyway. I moved ahead and found a perfect shelf. My indicator reached the end of the run and I lifted up for another cast, but to my surprise there was a heavy throbbing weight at the end of the line and a big tail flapped out of the water at me. And then he was gone. A few casts later it happened again. And again. I threshed the water for a few more minutes then decided I was ready to go, bad luck or not. It was going to be dark soon, and I didn't want to drive the deer infested route home in the dark. It was a good decision. Just outside of the parking lot I encountered at least 30 deer that of course ran in front of my car. I ran into several herds along the way, but thanks to the sunlight I was able to see them well in advance. I'm undecided if I will ever return. I think the river has some great potential, and those bows put up some great fights, but it's further away than I usually go. I could go chase wipers, smallies and walleye at Willard in the same amount of time. I am curious to see what might happen if I returned under better conditions with more midges and worm imitations though. Time will tell I suppose.

Final Tally: 13 rainbows

Year Tally: 44 fish

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blacksmith Revisited


I'd been thinking about last week's trip to the Blacksmith Fork quite a bit the past few days. It was a fantastic way to start the season, and I really wanted to get back up there. Well the sun was shining, and though it was a bit on the cold side, I decided to head up there again. I got a late start as I'd been stuck at the hospital cleaning up a bit of a mess that had drug into the wee hours the night before. I realized I only had a couple of hours before I had to return to work again, so I settled on the lower section near the mouth of the canyon. I don't really have a lot of experience with this section as it seems to get the most pressure and I tend to pass it by. It also has a fairly high gradient and isn't always the most fun place to wade. Nevertheless, I trudged down through some soft and mushy snow to the river. Pretty quickly I caught a pretty little brown from in front of a boulder.

That was rather quick, and I was feeling optimistic, but overall the fishing was steady, but not fantastic. I caught six more browns like this one and missed a few more from similar pocket water. Along the way, I pulled a pretty cutt from a large pool where BWOs were hatching. It was tough to get a good drift, but I finally got into a good position parallel to the head of the run and caught him.

He made some nice darting runs about the pool before being led into the net. I pulled another smaller, but equally pretty cutthroat from a shallow riffle a bit later. The last fish of the day was once again the lowly whitefish.

A little smaller than last week's, but he gave a spirited, though rather brief little tussle. Most of the fish took the golden carrot's ear once again, though a few took a dark brown electric p wing nymph. Nothing on top today, though a pretty decent trout shot up to my Turk's and immediately shot back down to the depths. Overall not a bad two hours, but I think next time I'll sacrifice a few minutes to driving time and head upstream. I'm also not especially in love with the old camera I'm now using on my outings, but perhaps I'll get used to it.

Final Tally: 7 browns, 2 cutthroat, 1 whitefish

Year Tally: 31 fish

Tuesday, March 2, 2010



Nearly 4 months in the making, today was the big day: my first fishing trip of the season. It's been an especially bitter, gloomy and generally crappy winter. The only time it wasn't absolutely frigid and foggy was when it was snowing. The temperature really struggled to get above freezing the entire months of December and January. Finally, in the second half of February, Old Man Winter's sadistic little claws began to loosen their grip. It was supposed to be up around 50 degrees today, but alas, another inversion was hunkering down, trying to discourage me from going out. Well I waited as long as I could wait to head out, and around 11 a.m. I finally went for it. After a quick stop by Bep's for a friendly chat and a mug of Dew, I was off. I headed south, Doug Burr gently serenading me as I munched pretzels and sucked down the nectar that is oh so dear to me. Surprisingly there was far less snow in the canyon than there was in my own yard. Still, there was enough of it to make finding an ample pull off difficult. I ascended ever higher. I caught up to a big expensive pickup that appeared to be doing the exact same thing that I was doing. For once my dinky little car came in handy as I eased into a small bit of shoulder that was free of snow. As I got out of the car, a chilly breeze caught me and I began bundling up. I rigged up my little Redington with a small Turk's and a golden carrot's ear dropper. I remembered this nymph really cleaned up last spring, and I was hoping for a repeat performance. I shuffled down a steep hill to an inviting little run. I flicked out my flies, nowhere near as rusty as I expected, and watched the little Tarantula bobbing downstream. Much to my amazement, it popped under on the very first drift. I set the hook against some surprising weight and my line began to shoot downstream. I eventually guided the brute to my net, a lovely fish pushing 18".

Unfortunately it wasn't a colorful trout, but the lowly whitefish. All kidding aside, it was a lot of fun, and I was glad to hook a larger fish after such a long time. I worked the run for maybe five more minutes, missing another whitey and catching one of maybe 16". I moved upstream and plucked a hand sized brown out of a small pocket. The next pocket brought an even smaller cutthroat followed by a little better brown. 6 hits in 15 minutes. Not bad for my first trip out in the early season I thought. Up ahead was a series of amazing looking runs. I squaddled up to the first one, keeping low so as not to spook it's residents. I flipped my flies out, full of anticipation....and nothing happened. In fact nothing happened for the next 45 minutes. I moved up through several nice runs, sweaty and discouraged, wishing I hadn't worn so much wool, and never saw any fish. I reached some really fast, deep water and decided to get out and move upstream a little way. I got to a really deep slow run and could see some fish feeding. I got one decent sized fish to inspect my offering a couple of times, but he just wouldn't commit. I moved a little further up to some faster water toward the head. Finally, I hooked into a couple of small browns and missed another. I switched to a cased caddis larva for the dropper and scored another. The transition to the next run was difficult due to brush and deep water, and in my struggling, I spooked 3 nice trout out of some very shallow water by the bank. I started fishing this faster shallower water, and to my surprise, a nice brown sucked in my Turk's.

And then my dropper. And then my Turk's again. This was more like summer fishing, not early March. The next run brought a refusal on the dry and a miss on the dropper. I wondered if there were still fish down in there that wanted something different, so I switched back to the golden carrot's ear. First cast, fish on. I worked my way upstream popping fish quite frequently. My Turk's drifted past some brush on an undercut, and a 12" brown darted out and snarfed it down.

The next cast brought the same results. I hooked another big whitefish somewhere in there too.

I looked at my watch and much to my chagrin, it showed 2:20. I had to wrap this up an head to work, but first I had to hit a classic run that lay before me. While no more fish rose to the dry, several slurped down the nymph including a spastic brown who thought he was a rainbow, jumping six times, another big whitefish,

and a pretty decent cutthroat.

As I hurried back to my car, I felt satisfied. Even though I only had two and a half hours to fish, it was the best early season first trip of the year I'd ever had.

Final Tally: 14 browns, 5 whitefish, 2 cutthroat