I had thought about going back up to Idaho for some more still water fishing, but alas time wasn't on my side. I decided I'd go see how the Blacksmith Fork was looking. Runoff has begun. Nowhere near as bad as the title suggests, but it's definitely murkier than it was the last time I fished it. I was actually pretty happy about it, a little color can make the fish less spooky. It was a roasty toasty day and I didn't even think about wearing a jacket. I suited up beside the remnants of a teenage love fest (blanket, pillows and undershirt left to rot in the bushes. People are filthy.) As I approached the water my expectations were raised even higher when I encountered clouds of caddisflies. Unfortunately the caddis emerger situation in my fly box wasn't too good. I scrounged up a rather large October caddis emerger from last fall and gave it a try anyway. I had a fish swipe at my Turk's in the first run, but that was it. I worked up through some likely water and didn't even see fish eating the naturals. Definitely disconcerting. I approached one of my favorite runs and spotted a couple of fish holding by some brush at the tail of the pool. They didn't so much as glance at my offering. I soldiered on and finally a nice cutthroat nailed my Turk's.
I pulled a typical brown out on the emerger a bit further up before turning my attention to a nice seam across from me. I fished it quite a while with nothing before getting just the right drift and I missed a fish. I tried the same cast again and scored a whitefish. After getting back into position I noticed a smallish brown rising in the run and took him on the first cast. I fished that stretch of water a little longer and moved on. Nothing happened until I got to another larger run. I ended up having to switch to an indicator setup with two nymphs before getting a good hit, though the trout quickly flipped free. I worked a bit longer, getting just the right drift to get my flies all the way to the bottom, at which point this homely customer came calling.
He munched my new creation, "The Timmy." I fished it a while longer and was about to give up, when another whitefish ate Timmy. I switched back to a dry/dropper rig and kept working upstream, scoring a small brown here or there, but nothing too exciting. I received a number of refusals on my dry in a set of riffles, but no takers. I've never seen the fish in this stream be so particular. Lame. In one deep run I could see a trout actively feeding on emergers up in some brush. This was going to be tough. He wouldn't turn around for my fly if I dropped it below him, but he was surrounded by branches. I kept at it and was eventually able to tuck my fly in to his right. He immediately shot over and nabbed my emerger.
I also managed a couple more whitefish out of this hole before moving on. I fished on through some great looking stretches, but nothing really happened. I switched my dropper to a Carrot's Ear even though I'd only seen a few mayflies hatching today. Soon I came to a good bend pool with some nice undercuts. I let my flies drift up against one of these undercuts and a brown yanked my fly under the bank. After a short but spirited little skirmish I held this little devil in my hand.
I was nearly out of time, but I managed a couple more browns of similar size in that run and the next. Overall a pretty fun couple of hours, but I had expected more under the circumstances. Perhaps if I had come prepared with smaller caddis emergers things would have been different.
Final Tally: 15 Browns, Whitefish and Cutthroat
Year Tally: 163 Fish