Friday, April 13, 2012

In the Kingdom of the Flies 4/11/12

The weather was supposed to be extremely windy with thunderstorms rolling in later in the day on Wednesday.  Much to my surprise I awoke to find calm, warm, sunny conditions.  I couldn't let the day slip away, especially with four straight days of cold and wet in the forecast, so I packed up my 3wt and headed to a favorite stream.

There were a couple of cars parked at the gate when I arrived, but I figured there was plenty of water to split up amongst us.  I couldn't help fishing the runs right near the parking area, and they were pretty good to me.  I quickly caught four small to average browns

 and a chunky cutt that crushed my dry.

About this time another car full of teenagers arrived, and the flies were thick and pesky, so I decided to hike upstream a ways.  I started at one of my favorite spots, but it was pretty dead.  Several really nice looking runs didn't even bring a strike.  I was beginning to wonder if I had put in behind one of the other fishermen.  Finally, in a shallow run, I spotted a fish holding tight to the bank.  As my fly drifted past, he did an about face, chasing it down to devour it.  He went airborne several times and tail walked across the river before quieting down.

Up ahead was a really nice hole, but you really need to sneak around through downed trees and brush to get into position without spooking them.  As I reached an area where I could present my fly, I could see a cutty feeding against the opposite bank.  On the first pass he grabbed my dropper and I quickly landed him.  I focused my efforts upstream and saw a nice brown moseying downstream towards me.  He set up shop about 8 feet in front of me.  I didn't think I had a chance, but I placed a cast to him.  He slowly rose up and bumped my dry, and that was all I got from him, though he hung around feeding for some time.  While I was fishing this run, the flies descended upon me once again.  They weren't biting flies, just those big, shiny, blue annoying poo eating buggers.  They would land on my arms and hands and seemed especially fond of my elbow and the back of my neck.  Wherever was the most irritating I guess.  Just as I placed a cast into an eddy, a pack of rabid bugs swarmed my arm.  I shooed them away just as I saw a large fish grab my dropper.  Of course I missed.  I couldn't get the fish to come back, though the flies did.  I kept working upstream and saw a large cutthroat working the head of a small pocket.  I swear the flies are in cahoots with the trout.  I crept into position, and just as I made my cast, a horde of buzzing anguish lit upon me again.  I was getting pretty pissy by now.  The next round of flies got smooshed by my wrathful hand, but they got the last laugh as their guts wreaked of dead flesh and excrement.  Nasty little buggers.

I worked up to the next deep run and had a refusal on my dry at the tail.  Luckily I was able to pull several browns and a cutt from the run.  Up ahead was another favorite run where I always see a bunch of fish working.  Nothing in sight.  I was becoming quite certain that I was tailing behind someone.  I fished it anyway and scored one lanky acrobat from the center of the run.

I placed a cast against the far bank, and as it passed some submerged roots, another brown chomped it.

I continued upstream through some pocket water and caught a few more small guys and had a nice cutt swipe at my fly a couple of times.  I arrived at the logjam where I had lost a nice fish last time.  The wind was finally starting to kick up now, but I got a good drift, and little nicer brown took my dropper.  He put up a good fight on my wispy little rod, but I was able to keep him out of the roots and brush.

I was able to pull a cutthroat out of the same spot, and he fought surprisingly well for both his size and species.

I worked up to another good run where I had a nice trout chase my fly downstream, but then do a 180 when it saw me.  I wasn't able to coax any more bites from this stretch.  Up ahead I saw a cutty feeding in a small, shallow pocket.  It was a difficult cast with brush all around and a persistent breeze.  I flubbed it up and tangled my leader.  After I retied I was able to get a cast to him, and he inhaled my dry.  I set the hook, but he flipped me the tail and was gone.

The next run usually holds some fish, and it did.  I quickly caught a brown, a cutt

and then a more colorful cutt.  It almost looked like a hybrid, though I've never caught them or rainbows up there.

Notice the flies.  They were still with me, pushing me towards a life in a padded room.

I scored a few more browns and then a nice cutthroat chased my dry down and smacked it.  He put up quite the fight, but he didn't want to stay still for a pic.  Unfortunately all the photos were a little blurry.

I was nearly out of time now, but there was one last run I wanted to fish.  If I could catch one more trout, I would be at 200 fish for the year, and I wanted to make it happen.  I got no love from the tail end of the run, but once again, as my fly landed at the head, an onslaught of entomological horror accosted me just as two huge cutts fought for my dropper.  Well, I swung and missed, then swore a bit.  One of the cutts continued to feed, but I couldn't entice him into eating my fly again.  I tried for far too long and realized that I was going to be late for work if I didn't hurry back.  I was pretty bugged that I was going to be left at 199 fish, so I was going to quickly fish the next run, but I popped an average brown in some pocket water on the way up.

I speed walked back, realizing as always that I way underestimated how far I had come.  I got stuck behind some lumbering work trucks in the canyon, but eventually escaped from them.  I didn't think I'd make it, but I managed to clock in right at 4, out of breath, but happy to have made it.

Despite the flies, it was a nice day on the stream.  I will definitely be wearing a long sleeve shirt, gloves, and a UV Buff next time.  Besides, I got a little bit burnt too.

Total for trip:  23 browns and cutthroat

Total for year:  200 fish

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