Sunday, April 11, 2010

We Have No Cutthroat Today


It felt really good to get out and fish after all that cold weather, so with an even warmer forecast today, I decided I really had to go back to The Blacksmith. I really didn't have a choice in the matter. I drove quite a long way up the canyon, sipping Mt. Dew and munching pretzels as I went. I pulled over at a favorite spot, Damien stating, "The papers say I'm a killer. Papers lie," as I turned off the car. I took off my indicator rig and tied on my big ugly attractor pattern from yesterday, a Carrot's Ear dangling below. Today was a special day, I was able to bring the good camera along. Oh happy day! I'm tired of out of focus washed out blah. After about a three minute pee I found myself in the river, working my way upstream. The first little pocket I cast to brought a respectable trout up to slurp my dry. I hesitated a moment, as I should have, but I missed him completely and he wasn't coming up again. I hit a couple more small pockets before moving up to the tail of a really long run. I could see a decent cutthroat holding against the bank. My fly came drifting toward him, but before he could take it, a small brown darted out from the undercut bank and nailed my nymph. Oh well, he was a pretty little guy, nevertheless.

I kept fishing my way upstream, but nothing was holding in the shallow riffles. Toward the head of the run I found some deeper water. Still nothing was happening, much to my surprise. I looked at my dropper and decided it was a bit short. I tied on a longer line and a little bit heavier fly, a green Copper John. That did the trick as the next cast brought me another small brown. Up ahead was a truly delicious looking run, with fast water down the middle, and deep, slack water on the sides. I decided now was a good time to ditch my jacket in the car as I was beginning to overheat. This was the first time outside in a t-shirt this year, and it felt pretty good. I hurried back to the gorgeous stretch of water, ready to get down to business. First cast I missed a fish. Soon I found another small brown in my hand. I cast up a little further, then something distracted me long enough for a rather large fish to blow up on my dry. I instinctively set the hook as soon as I saw the splash, pulling the fly from the fishes mouth. I kept working the run and soon had a whitefish on the line.

I kept fishing the run, missing two or three fish for every hookup, when I hooked up to this butt ugly bruiser.

I caught a couple more big whiteys, and then things started to slow down. I switched back to a double nymph rig, a small flashback bwo with a midge pupa below. I managed a few more whitefish as well as another small brown or two. I had probably hooked or missed 25, 30 fish out of this run, so I decided that was pretty okay and I really ought to move upstream. I skirted around some fast water and found a deep, strong run with slower water along the bank abutting some large boulders. Oddly I didn't get a single hit, and I didn't the last time I fished this run either. Some spots are like that. Somewhere in there I lost my bottom fly, so I put the trusty Copper John back on. I saw a really nice looking spot along the far bank, but unfortunately it was under an overhanging branch. I made several presentations before finally getting my flies to drift under the branch. That was the ticket. I set the hook on a nice trout that shot around the pool like a crazy wonky cat that has just discovered crinkly plastic drop cloths before it took off downstream. I pursued my quarry and eventually cradled this stout little brown in my net.

I kept hiking upstream through mostly fishless fast water, though I lost a truly gargantuan whitefish to the current along the way. I found a huge bend pool with water that was likely over my head. Below the pool was some seriously powerful current, so I had to come down the bank at the tail of the pool. Unfortunately I spooked two particularly handsome trout that were hiding up against some rocks. I crossed the stream and got into a better position. I cast to the spot where the trout had been and actually got a hit. It was a fish that was maybe a third of the size, and he popped off anyway. I worked the entire run with no more action. I moved upstream to another, shallower bend pool, and still nothing. AT this point it was time to get to work unfortunately. Stupid meeting making me get there 30 minutes early. Oh well, at least that one run was amazing, and the sun felt wonderful on my now toasty brown arms.

Final Tally: 14 Whitefish and Brown Trout

Year Tally: 115 Fish

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