I had originally planned on spending the day fishing a stream in Idaho with a new friend, but a severe case of insomnia put the kabosh on that. Eventually, after a meager two hours of mediocre slumber over a ten hour period, I drug my weary carcass out of bed.
After I got my aching head and knotted bowels under control I decided I couldn't waste a beautiful day off from work. I headed for a small stream with hike in access, thinking nobody would bother with it this time of year. When I arrived I thought I had made a wrong turn and ended up at Cutler Marsh. The parking area was under several inches of muddy snow melt, and littered with cars. I guess I wasn't the only one with that idea. I didn't feel like playing leap frog or hiking a long distance under the circumstances, so I left.
I ended up settling on The Blacksmith for my angling venue. I drove further up the canyon than I normally do and finally found a good pull off. The day was warm and I only needed a light hoodie. I sidled into the stream and began to fish a nice riffle. An average cutthroat refused my dry right off, so I switched to a smaller fly. I couldn't get the fish to rise again or take the dropper, but I eventually caught a small brown from an undercut at the head of the run.
I worked my way upstream and found a nice long run full of rising trout. I wish this was the part of the story where I launched into a photo laden account of my amazing day on The Blacksmith, but it's not. For some reason I kept losing the fish. The better ones anyway. They would take the caddis larva dropper, I would set the hook, feel their weight, and then they would roll and be off. I switched to a dark mayfly nymph, and finally I hooked a decent fish. He darted back and forth across the run before digging into the current next to me, and then he was gone. With my fly no less. I'm not sure what happened. I had checked my knot several times like I always do, perhaps his teeth nicked the line. Anyway, I scored a few more out of the run, but sadly this was the best fish.
I moved up to some really fast pocket water where I found a pod of large whitefish, but was unable to coerce them into biting. Things didn't get much better. In one pool I had a decent cutthroat inhale my fly and pull it down, but when I set the hook the fly pulled out of it's mouth. I worked up to the next run and caught a couple more small fish, but that was it. I had only 8 small browns and a fingerling cutthroat to show for my two hours of effort, so I decided to move downstream to another stretch.
Unfortunately, every pull off was full by now. I reached the mouth of the canyon with a little bit of daylight left. I was still geared up to fish, so I hightailed it to the new spot I've been fishing lately. I didn't waste anytime dillydallying around the access and went straight for the run where I had hooked 20 fish two weeks ago. The water was murky again, so I tied on a golden hare's ear with a hot orange beadhead. I managed two small browns of maybe 8 inches and then nothing. I worked the run a while longer before switching to a rubber legged black stonefly nymph. After a few casts I hooked a scrawny but spirited little brown that jumped at least a half a dozen times.
It was nearly dark now and I could see my breath. I took the scenic route home and was happy to see Cutler completely ice free, complete with frolicking carp.
Not the most exciting day, and definitely not what I had planned on, but spending time outside in the spring weather was certainly an improvement over driving home from work in a frozen hell just a few days prior. I'll take it.
Total fish for the day: 12
Total fish for the year: 58