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