Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wind is a Four Letter Word 3/30/12

Friday was a frustrating day.  I could have gone back to Idaho to chase big rainbows, but instead I tried to do the responsible thing and go to class like a good boy.  My professor always has a pop quiz once a week.  So far we hadn't had one so far, so I figured Friday was the day and I had better not miss any more of them.  I suffered through class, crammed in next to a girl who wouldn't shut up about some pants she had sewn, and who wouldn't leave her tube of crackers alone, only to find the class over and no quiz.

At least it was a calm, warm day when I exited Old Main, and I didn't have work, so I went up Logan Canyon again.  Since I had a little more time, I drove a little further.  As I ascended, I noticed the trees were flailing about wildly, my calm, perfect for fly fishing day now shattered by the tempest.  I found a nice looking area with some gorgeous pocket water and began to rig up.  Even this was more difficult with the wind as bad as it was.  My car doors were slammed shut violently, thankfully not on one of my rods.  I repeatedly scrambled to collect bits of refuse that the wind whisked out of my car.  I was finally ready and headed down to a nice looking pool behind a boulder.  The spot looked fantastic, but I only managed an 8 inch cutthroat from it.  I had to take a lot of wind breaks because trying to get a decent cast and drift while being mercilessly buffeted was pointless.   I worked upstream and found a really nice deep run with nice holding places on both banks and down the center channel.  I quickly hooked a nice brown out of the center on a brown and pink nymph.  He tore off downstream, using the swift waters to his advantage.  I stumbled after over the many large and oddly shaped boulders that littered the stream bed, leading my quarry to a quiet pocket where I could scoop him up.

I tried the pocket along the right bank and hooked a nice 16+" fish on the dropper who promptly rolled and came off.  A few casts later, another fish took my fly from the same spot.  Another pretty brown came to net shortly after.

The wind was quite obnoxious, but I was still feeling pretty good about the day as I was managing some nice fish between the gusts.  I pulled about a ten inch brown from the same spot again before moving up to the next pocket.  As I waded upstream, I realized that the water had gotten higher and was beginning to get a little color to it.  I saw a large cutthroat sipping bugs in this pocket.  On my first cast the fish turned and darted downstream to nab my dropper.  I set the hook, but the cuttie shook it's head violently and was free. It went back to feeding a few moments later, but would only give my flies a passing glance now.  I switched my dropper to a small green emerger that could pass for a bwo or caddis (I was seeing a few of each buzzing about), but the cutt would have nothing of them.  A typical Logan brown gave my dropper the thumbs up though.  On the left side I saw a smaller cutt working a seam and fooled him into munching my indicator fly on the first pass.

I placed my next cast further up in the pocket, beneath some overhanging brush, and a fish took my dropper, but I missed him.  I was beginning to feel the curse returning.  The wind was also getting a lot worse now too.  There were very few lulls in it now.  I high sticked my flies on the opposite bank and raised a pretty cutty, but it refused my dry and wouldn't come back for the dropper.  I scooted around some rapids, but ultimately got fed up with the rising water and high winds.

I packed up and drove a couple of miles upstream to a spot I remember enjoying before.  When I got here, the wind was nearly knocking me over and ripping the hat off my head.  There was a long, deep shelf just downstream, and I decided to switch to my 6wt and fling an articulated sculpin.  The water looked like chocolate milk here and I got no takers.  Above the shelf was a lot of shallow, swift water, so I switched back to the dry/dropper.  As I worked upstream, I noticed that the bank I was on had clear water, and the far bank's water was nearly opaque.  Unfortunately, that bank had the majority of the pockets.  I figured I had to be close to the milk factory if things were split that dramatically.  I missed a few fish from some very small seams before finding the source of the muck.  There wasn't really an inlet to speak of, just a crevice in the side of the steep, rocky cliff that was gushing brown froth.  I reached a nice run above it and found the wind was subsiding as well.  I quickly caught a couple of small browns from the tail of the run, followed by a cutthroat.

I couldn't coax any more bites from the run, but there was a deeper channel down the middle that I felt I just wasn't reaching, so I switched to a double nymph rig.  A few passes later, I hooked into this gorgeous male cutthroat.

It looks like the spawn isn't too far off.  Above this was some very quick water with little holding water.  I reached a nice run where I managed a cutt, but missed a good brown and one other fish.  I saw a large cutthroat role just upstream, but I was never able to coax a strike.  The sun was now behind the canyon wall, and up ahead lay a long stretch of not so fishy looking water.  I packed up the car and went downstream in search of a spot where the sun could still reach the river.  I stopped briefly at a popular run, but found the water high and muddy with very little holding water.  I figured I should look for access below third dam for the last 40 minutes before dark.

I found a road below the dam that took me to a campground.  I should have known better, but the light was fading rapidly, so I gave it a try.  I fished several nice looking runs, but never even spooked a fish.  I finally hooked up with a river monster that nearly hit me as I set the hook.  I released the five inch brown and continued upstream.  Just as it was nearly too dark to see, I found a long, deep, run upstream of all the campsites.  I missed a decent fish on the dropper, had another flash on it, and had a few refusals on the dry. I was really curious what species they were and really wanted to catch one, but I couldn't see my fly anymore.  I had seen some caddis flitting about, so I tried skating my fly across the surface figuring I wouldn't need to see my fly to know if a fish had hit it.  One did take a splashy swipe at it, but he didn't hook up.

Overall it was a pretty frustrating afternoon dealing with the wind and high, muddy water, especially knowing I could have been slaying big bows if I hadn't wasted time in class.  Still, it was nice to be outside, and I still caught some lovely little trout.

Fish for trip: 13 browns and cutthroat

Fish for year: 172 fish

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trying Out the New 3wt 3/29/12

Work was slow tonight, so I was able to take off and try out my new 7'6" 3wt that replaced my old broken Redington.  It had been raining for much of the afternoon, and the canyons looked pretty ominous.  As a result, I ended up trying that little stretch of water I had gotten permission to fish.  The water was much higher than the last time I was there, and quite a bit dirtier as well.  I decided it was still probably fishable, but I cut straight to my favorite run just to see if it was worth my time.  It was much harder to cross the river to get into position, and the area likely to hold fish had gotten much smaller and harder to fish.  The left side didn't produce anything, and once I waded into it, I could tell that  more silt had been deposited there.  I really had to stretch to get my fly into the slower water across from me, but I finally got a drift that someone approved of, and I hooked a pretty nice little brown.  I could tell right off that the 3wt was much more willowy than the 4wt.  Mr. Brown took off downstream and alternated between getting into the heavy current, and trying to wrap my tippet around all the scraggly branches that call this place home.  At one point I had to slide under a tree to get downstream, easing the pressure on the fish for a moment.  I was afraid I would lose him then, but the hook held and I eventually scooped him up.  Kind of a pale specimen due to the chocolate water, but I'll take him.

I wasn't able to entice any more strikes out of that run.  The sun had come back out, so I decided to check out another nearby stream, hoping to find it clearer and easier to wade.  20 minutes later I was pleased to find low, clear water.  Maybe a bit too low and clear.  I started downstream of my car, and on the first run I had four trout swipe at my dry, though only one took it.  He was a fairly typical brown.  I had high hopes with that much activity right off, but the next few runs brought me nothing.  I arrived at a spot where there were two dozen nice  fish eating bwos a few weeks ago, but I didn't spot a single fish.  The next spot held some fish, but they were being very skittish and selective.  The same with the next spot.  There was a Jeep parked at the trailhead, and I was beginning to think I was following this guy.  I decided that even with a little more than an hour of light left that it would be in my best interest to hike upstream a little way.  The first good run I fished, I missed a good cutthroat and caught a couple of small browns.  In the riffle ahead of the pool I caught this pretty little guy.

I worked my way upstream and arrived at a deep run with lots of woody cover.  I made my cast from behind a log, and my indicator fly went down.  I had a pretty tough little customer on the end of my line, and it looked like a bow, which I've never caught any out of this stream before.  Unfortunately he dove into some brush while I was trying to climb over the log and popped off.  It's definitely harder to turn a fish with the 3wt, though I have to say I really like the way the typical little ten inchers fight on it.  I kept working up, but the fish were pretty spooky.  I arrived at a spot with a nice run paralleling a fallen tree.  As my fly drifted by, it darted under, and I set the hook into something big.  I caught a quick glimpse of what seriously looked to be close to 18" of spotted rage before it darted into the tree.  I tried to turn it and scoot around the tree to get it out, but it was too late.  Darn my flimsy little rod.  For a minute I wished I had brought the 4wt instead.  I made it up to another favorite run and spotted several nice trout working it.  I tried to knee walk into position, but I spooked the best trout.  Still, on my first cast, this snaky fellow did a 180 and chomped my nymph.

Unfortunately, they were just so spooky with this clear water that I wasn't able to coax anymore to bite.  It was getting dark, and the next stretch was fast and shallow.  I found a couple of pockets, and between the low light and fast water, the fish weren't so terrified of my presence.  I pulled two off the tail of the run, and got one further up to munch my dry.

I reeled up my slack and was about to call it a night, when I saw a shelf up ahead that always looked like a big fish spot.  I made several casts with no love, but as I was about to pick up my last cast, I hooked into one last fish.  He took off downstream and I stumbled through the dark after him.  He wasn't a monster, but still better than most of what I had encountered thus far.

It was really getting dark now, and I still had a half a mile or so to get back to my car, so I hurried back.  All in all not a fantastic evening, but I got to try out my new rod, and at least I wasn't missing the majority of my fish this time.  If the weather holds, I just might go back again tomorrow and hike up further as I'll have more time.

Total for trip:  11 browns

Total for year:  159 fish

Monday, March 26, 2012

You and Me and Rainbows 3/23/12

A new friend of mine had been trying to get me to go with him to his secret rainbow spot for several weeks now.  I knew it was a decent drive to get there, and a whole day would be necessary to fish it properly.  Between school, work and my wife, it was difficult to find a time to do this, but on Friday the planets aligned, and we finally found ourselves at our destination.   

I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical.  Things started off slowly, but as we worked our way upstream, I became a believer.

Things just continued to get better and better.

There were swarms of midges coming off, but I felt it would be hard to entice them to take a midge imitation with all the naturals on the water.  I noted that blue wing olives and some caddis were coming off as well, so decided to go with something that would imitate either of these.  I used a generic little fly that I made up last November that takes attributes from the Prince Nymph, Copper John and Hare's Ear.  I ended up catching most of the fish on this in various colors in a size 16.  Darker colors definitely worked better.   I also tried a size 18 bwo emerger, and had a lot of strikes on this, but fewer hookups.  I caught a couple throwing a size 8 blood colored mohair leech on my 6wt as well, and one colorful little male on a Gummy Egg.  I used my new 4wt for the most part, and I had quite the battles.  Some of them were pushing ten minutes and full of spectacular leaps.  It had been a while since I had to put a fish on the reel, and some of these guys got me to my backing.  Sadly I lost a couple that were 20+ inches.  On the first of these, the hook pulled free after a 10 minute battle.  I had the net ready to land the fish several times, when it would take off again.  The other was really large, and really colorful, but he just rolled on the surface on the hook set and came undone.  Still, I can't complain.  I caught many in the 17-19" range, they fought like mad, and had beautiful colors to boot.  The scenery wasn't too shabby either.  

Unfortunately, I have been sworn to secrecy so I cannot divulge the location of this river.  However, it is extremely dangerous there.  The place is swarming with sasquatch, grizzly bears, cougars, and ligers.  Not only that, but the Mexican Drug Cartel and the Russian Mafia are known to frequent the area.  I was lucky to escape with my life this time, but return ventures may be risky.

Total for trip:  39 rainbows and cuttbows

Total for year:  148 fish

A Quick Trip to Brown Town 3/21/12

I had a little time between class and work, so I decided to take a quick jaunt up Logan Canyon again.  Because of my lack of time, I tried a spot lower in the canyon than I'd been fishing.  I also had just read a great report where someone had caught some very respectable fish on sculpin imitations.  Well, either I had the wrong spot, or wrong fly, because I flogged away for about 30 minutes before hightailing it to my favorite pocket water section with my 4wt.

I found a pull off and rigged up my favorite combo from last time.  I scrobbled through the willows and ice shelves and finally plopped into the river.  I spotted a good looking pocket behind a boulder and quickly scored a decent brown.

He put up a spirited little fight.  I quickly spotted a good fish in a quiet little pocket up against the bank.  He slowly sucked down my dry, I waited until he took it all the way under, I set the hook, and then nothing.  Soon after I had another fish swipe at the dry.  They were really looking up.  It was about this time that I realized that I had actually started at the exact same spot as last time, I just parked at a different spot and entered just downstream of that nice little pocket instead of just upstream of it.  I reached some runs that had looked awesome but not produce last time.  This time I managed to pull the dropper out of the mouths of two large trout.  This new rod is much faster than my old rod and I had to remind myself to be very gentle on the hook set.  I realized I only had a short while before I needed to head into work.  I fished in fast forward, moving upstream, flicking casts into pockets as I went.  I managed several smaller browns and one tiny cutthroat.

Finally I arrived at my favorite cutthroat and whitefish hole from last trip.  No one was home toward the tail of the run, but a cast alongside a large boulder brought a good sized snout out of the water to swipe at my dry.  He didn't connect, but a couple of casts later, the fish took the dropper.  He looked very dark and had a lot of red on him, so I was thinking cutthroat until he leaped two feet straight out of the water and then tail-walked across the pool.  Finally I netted the little acrobat and discovered a very darkly colored brown.

I worked up to the whitefish pocket, but I found another brown instead.

He kept with the tradition of fighting harder than he should have.  I was nearly out of time.  I spotted a good fish sipping insects, but just as I was making my cast to him, another fish darted out from a rock and into the pool, spooking the riser.  I hooked another good brown from behind a boulder, but he darted into the rapids and bent my hook before I could follow.  Darn light wire hooks.  After that it was time to go.  As I was climbing up the bank, I saw a true sign of spring, the first empty case of Busch beer lying in the brush.  I'm not sure what it is about people who enjoy this particular brand of swill, but they love to litter.  When I got to the road I discovered a wide array of empties littering the pull off.  People never cease to amaze me with their brilliance.  I'm not sure what it is that makes people decide to drive to the curviest, most treacherous part of a canyon to get wasted, but it seems to be a common urge around here.

Kind of strange that last time I got into a ton of cutts, but this time it was almost all browns.  How strange.

Total for trip:  7 browns, 2 cutthroat

Total for year:  109 fish

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Curse is Lifted 3/15/12

I decided that I wanted a break from losing my flies in overgrown, brushy streams, so I thought it might be time to head up to The Logan.  I realized I hadn't been there in about a year and a half because of all the high water last year.

It really felt like a Moon and Antarctica kind of a day.  I figured if I was going to a place I hadn't fished in a long time, I might as well listen to an album I hadn't enjoyed for a while.  As I drove through the marshes and river bottoms on my way to Logan, I spotted pheasant, Canada geese, and the first pair of sandhill cranes of the season.  I thought those were some pretty good omens.  Logan tried to take the positive feelings away by placing an endless barrage of large, lumbering vehicles in front of me, but I finally left them behind just before entering the canyon.

As I drove up the winding path of my old friend, Logan Canyon, I was thinking about sasquatch as I had just watched the season finale of "Finding Bigfoot" which took place in our very own valley.  I was suspiciously eyeing a dark shape in the bushes, only to find it was one of those brown, wooden signs that are so common in the canyon.  Luckily I looked back to my left just in time to spy a cow moose standing in the middle of the river.  I contemplated stopping to snap a few pics, but it was a curvy section of road with few pull offs, so i carried on.  Besides, I got up close and personal with a moose on The Blacksmith last year.

A short while later, I arrived at my destination, a stretch of pocket that is usually swarming with stocky cutthroat.  I rigged up and then hiked a few hundred yards downstream until I found a path through the willows.  As I entered the river, I noticed a really nice looking pool behind a large boulder just downstream that was just too inviting to pass up.  I normally don't work my way downstream, but I figured I would give it a try.  First I checked under some rocks and saw hordes of small, dark mayfly nymphs.  I tied on a dark, flashback Hare's Ear Prince with red ribbing, then crept into position and made my move.  My fly drifted through the run, but just as I was starting to life my fly up for another cast, I saw a nice fish flash at it.  I lowered the rod tip, allowing the flies to drift back down when a feisty brown absolutely clobbered my dropper.  I set the hook, and after a nice battle, I was able to net the speckled beauty.

I was really impressed with the colors on this fish.  I moved up to a really nice stretch of runs, and was able to nab another brown from the tail of the first run on the dropper.

So far so good.  Two strikes, and two fish in hand.  This area really opened up, so I felt it would be a good idea to ditch the shorter leader that I had been using on the little creeks, and go with a nine footer.  I worked my way upstream, high sticking like a champ with my new leader, but I got no takers.  I worked up through another beautiful run, but nothing.  I was beginning to feel discouraged, when I made a drift down a tiny seam on the far bank, sticking my first cutt of the day.

I worked up through some lesser looking water and caught some average ten inch browns here and there, but nothing spectacular.  Still, it was nice to have landed every fish that struck.  I even got one to come up and suck in my dry.  Eventually I arrived at some amazing looking water.  I had just switched to a size 14 rubber legged orange Copper John to see if that what entice more fish.  The first drift a nice cutthroat flashed on it, but I missed him.  I worked the run a little longer with nothing.  I went back to my little dark pattern, and quickly caught a brown up against a boulder.

A couple of casts later, I pulled out a cutthroat.

I worked my way a little further into the pool so that I could high stick an especially nice bit of water along the bank.  I missed a brown at the front of the rock where I caught the other one.  Just up from there, I finally hooked what I came for.

I worked the run some more and got the same results.

After I exhausted the hole, I spotted a small pocket of calm water between the swift water just upstream.  I spotted a large whitefish working this spot, and thought, "Why not?"  I have no pride.  First drift he snarfed down my nymph.  The ensuing battle was a grueling scramble over rocks as the fish bulldogged downstream.  I finally got him into the slack water where I had been landing my cutthroat, and scooped him up.

He stretched from the tip of my finger to the crook of my elbow, a full 20".  Sure it would have been cool if that had been a trout, but it was still a fun time.  For me anyway.  I placed a couple more casts into the pocket, and soon hooked into the wildest, most insane whitefish I have ever met.  Whoever said these things don't fight has never met this nasty customer.  Immediately after the hook set, he leaped out of the water and then peeled off across the run faster than most trout I have caught.  He zipped back and forth across the run at breakneck speeds.  Finally I got him right in front of me and scooped him up, but he sprang forward right out of the net and cleared it by a good foot.  Back across the pool in a flash, I pulled him back, only to have him make another mad dash for freedom, which he obtained.  My hook popped out, and that was the last I ever saw of Senor Spazz.  However, I met his wily brother about a minute later.  This one didn't jump, but still achieved some insane levels of speed.  He didn't fly out of my net either.

I always thought that whitefish looked a little like little river bonefish, and these ones had the attitude to go with their looks.  Just to the right of this pocket, up against the bank, was some quiet water with some overhanging brush.  The second drift through another nice cutthroat came up and sucked in my dry fly.  He knew the routine and took me downstream to the landing site.

I worked my way upstream, but didn't find any really spectacular runs for a while.  A couple of promising looking spots didn't really yield much for me.  I tried switching nymphs to a #16 rubber legged ice dub pheasant tail Prince, and was rewarded with a 10" brown on the first cast.  I didn't realize that I was being watched until a moment later when I missed a nice cutt and cursed him as my fly launched into some branches.  That's when the mink that had been observing me took off up the bank.  My fly came out of the tree easily and I moved one.  I saw a really nice cutthroat in a little slack pocket, but he just glanced at my fly with little interest.  I realized I was nearly out of time, so I hurried upstream to a run that always seems to have some good cutthroat feeding in it.  Just below the run was some riffles where I missed a fish and caught a small one.  I moved up to my honey hole, and just as expected, the fish were right where I left them, slurping BWO nymphs.  On my first cast, a really nice sized cutt made a b-line for my nymph and slurped it up.  I set the hook, my rod bent in half, and he was off.  I was a bit fearful that my curse was returning.  I made a few more drifts, and got some lookers, but no takers.  One solid fish suspended under my fly for a good ten seconds before wigging out and bolting away in a splashy froth.  I switched back to the dark Hare's Ear.  I made a few more drifts with nothing.  At the tail of the run, I lifted up for another cast, only to find another good fish on the end of my line.  I followed downstream and quickly scooped him up.

I had about five minutes left to fish, and looking at my clicker, I realized that I was at 99 fish for the year.  I saw a promising slot of slow water just upstream, so I hit it.  I soon had number 100 on the end of my line, and it was back to brownville.

There was a really nice run just upstream, but I had to force myself to hurry back to the car so I could get to work on time.

Overall it was a really great few hours, and it reminded me of why I like The Logan so much.  I will definitely be back sooner than a year and a half this time.  I think it's funny that people told me that the fish wouldn't survive last year's runoff and that it would need to be restocked.  Fish are resourceful.  They managed and are looking healthier than ever.

That trip was a little bittersweet as it was the last my old Redington Red.Start will ever take with me.  That rod has been all over Utah, Idaho and Wyoming with me.  I used it to catch four kinds of cutthroat, browns, brookies, tiger trout, rainbows, cuttbows, lakers, whitefish, largemouth, smallmouth, carp, chubs, shiners, bluegill, green sunfish, crappie, perch, and probably some other species I'm forgetting.  We had a really great 13 years together, but I shipped my friend back to Redington today as the time had come.  The split in the blank had become two splits, and was growing longer each day I used it.  Farewell my favorite creek rod.  Lets hope your replacement treats me as well.

Total for trip:  20 cutthroat, browns and whitefish

Total for year:  100 fish

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Curse 3/12/12

I had planned on getting up at a reasonable hour so I could get on the water before everyone else started showing up.  Well, I woke up sick and didn't feel like it would be in my best interest to go traipsing around in the brush until I got things under control.  Eventually my body settled down and I made it down to the trail head a bit after noon.  I was relieved to see the parking area empty and much drier than on Friday.  I went over to the creek to have a look and was surprised at how low and clear it was with the warmer temps.  I also noticed some sizable scat on top of a rock.  I turned around and saw this:

I was both a little concerned and excited at my prospects of running into what left it, but on closer inspection I realized it was just two prints from a large dog overlapping.

In the short time it took to get geared up, two different vehicles came into the parking area, but I was relieved to see them both turn around and leave.  I decided to give a neglected 6' 3wt some attention today.  I was planning on hiking in a ways before fishing, but I noticed a really nice deep run full of feeding trout right by the parking area.  I eased into some riffles below the run and caught this pretty little brown on my first cast.  While I was in the riffles, I turned over some rocks to see what sort of forage was available.  I was quite impressed by the hordes of small mayfly larva, great big free living caddis and drake nymphs clambering about the rock.

I worked up to the run I had been admiring earlier.  I knee walked into position and promptly scored this lovely cutthroat on a dark hare's ear nymph.

I have to say I'm really pleased with how well this little rod handles and how light it is.  I had another fish flash on my nymph but it didn't hook up.  I scooched a  bit further up, placing a cast against some tree roots.  I saw a nice sized cutt flash and felt a solid throb as I set the hook.  I bent the whippy little rod for a bit until I was able to land him.

I was feeling pretty good about the day, and then it happened.  The curse returned.  I set the hook on the next fish, felt his weight, saw him flash, and then my flies launched into the tree behind me.  The same thing happened on the next fish, and the next.  I was going through flies rather quickly and was feeling frustrated.  I  wondered if the shorter rod didn't have enough leverage to hook the fish well, and I was having a hard time high sticking with it.  I decided to switch out my rods and try the 8' 3/4wt.  When I was putting it together, I noticed the blank was splitting.  I guess I'll be sending it back to Redington to be replaced.  I can't complain though, I've had it for 13 years and caught thousands of fish on it.

I eased back into position and was amazed at how much heavier this rod felt in my hand.  Well, I guess it wasn't the short rod as I launched a couple more flies into the tree before finally landing a nice little brown.  I wasn't able to coax any more fish into biting, so I felt it was time to hike in.

Since the longer rod hadn't helped me on the hook sets, I switched back to my 3wt and hiked up about a quarter mile or so.  I wasn't especially thrilled by all the shotgun shells, dead song birds and beer cans littering the area.  Why is it that these kinds of people always drink such crap beer?  I guess it's because they're tasteless waste too?  I entered the stream below a shallow run and spotted a trout feeding at the tail end. I threw him a drake nymph and he slurped it up.  After a brief tussle I netted about a 10"  cutthroat.  I worked my way up to a deep run where I had seen a large fish last year, but unfortunately the hole gave me nothing.  I was feeling frustrated by my inability to high stick as I couldn't get a good drift.  I hit a small riffle above the pool and caught a fingerling brown.  I decided to hike all the way back and switch rods again so that I could high stick.

15 minutes later I was back where I left off.  I arrived at a very deep run with a log jam about midway up.  There were 15-18" trout feeding wildly.  The first cast brought a strike, but one again I missed him.  I quickly had another flash on the nymph, and then hooked into a really nice brown.  He went nuts and started peeling off line towards the head of the run, when of course, the hook pulled loose.

Things went on like this the rest of the afternoon.  I caught some fish, mostly browns,

but the better fish, especially the cutthroat, would come off almost immediately.  They browns weren't huge, but their coloring was gorgeous.  This little guy had some very odd markings, I'm not quite sure what his deal was.

Well, things had gotten slightly better, but overall I had lost a ton of fish.  It was getting dark now, so I decided to end the day at 21 fish.  It should have been something like 60 or 70 fish with a lot of nice ones, and I probably lost close to two dozen flies.  I wonder if the crack in the rod is affecting my hook sets?  It doesn't seem to be handling as well either.  I guess I'll find out when I get the replacement.  Kind of a frustrating afternoon, but I guess I can't complain about catching over 20 fish on a sunny 60 degree day in mid March in Cache Valley.

I climbed out of the deep gorge I was in and walked back to the car.  I hadn't realized just how far I'd hiked.  When I came around the bend to where I could see my car, I noticed a nice deep run.  I stood and looked at it, debating whether I should donate another fly or two to the trees, and decided to go for it.  On my first cast, the indicator fly went down and I did launch the flies into the tree.  Luckily I was able to shake them loose.  A couple of casts later, it went down again, only this time I hooked something solid.  I battled the brown for a short time before netting him, my size 12 hydropsyche larva perched perfectly in the corner of his mouth.

Ending on that nice brown when I had already given up on the day really made things seem a little better.  I did noticed that my hooking percentage was a little better when using larger drake nymphs and caddis larva, so I think I may tie more of these larger flies.  Hopefully when I get my new rod, it won't be so noodly and I will have a higher hook up rate.  As I'm sitting here typing this, my legs are stiff and sore, and my knees bruised from all the squatting and knee walking.  Though it's uncomfortable, it's kind of a nice feeling knowing that spring is here and it's just the start of a year of adventures.

Total for the day:  22 browns and cutthroat

Total for year:  80 fish