Monday, August 27, 2007

Marks Visit to Uath - Day 4

Today's journey started early, packed the car, called Andy and off to the river. I was warming up Mark for this trip. I didn't say much other than we are going to be hiking for a few miles. The drive went rather quickly, the anticipation was flowing, I was anxious. So that left me no choice but to put the "petal to the metal". In no time at all we arrived.

A quick pack and down the trail we went. The hike went quickly. I kept the pace rather fast, the brisk early morning air felt good on my face and the delicate scent of wildflowers really added to the pinnacle of the moment. I was feeling up, really up. This is my favorite part of the day, always has been. Pre dawn has a great feeling and is exceptionally complex to express, but perhaps it the anticipation of what lays ahead carries the true emotion. I don't know, all I know is that this morning was bad ass, the feeling was thick and the early morning hours added a sense of cheesiness to it all, and it was awesome! Over the hill and around the bend led us to the entrance of our dreams. This majestic place is another slice of heaven. The towering mountains steers you towards the canyon then down to a small stream. "Not quite they're yet, actually only half way," I said. Then we proceeded to hike the trail until finally arriving at our destination. Even though that air was cool when we started, hiking in waders gets rather hot. A quick cool down while rigging up usually does the trick. Rest now and eat something because when it starts you won't want to rest.

The first thing you need to do when arriving at this stream is to quickly figure it out. If not you'll pass up too many good fish. So as usual Andy beat me to the Grumpy Frumpy. Mark was going underwater so that let me with a bit of a dilemma. I decide to toss on a PMX, always a good first string. Mark was on right away; Polish nymphing does have it benefits, especially in the hand of a skilled angler. Andy was next and hooked right up on the Grumpy Frumpy. As the day went on it became a bit of a challenge. Fish were certainly shopping but wouldn't quite take the fly. After a while I was almost thinking about getting discouraged. On went the Grumpy Frumpy. This particular one has been tested extensively and produced beautifully the last time I had visited this area. I forget who hooked up but someone did and we were quick to do a stomach sample. As I was removing the sample I saw that the tube was full. I really never see that so I couldn't wait to see what it was. WOW, look how many flying ants! There were over a dozen. So that's what they were eating. The scramble through boxes and packs began. Trying to find all ant patterns. Well, I remembered an old pattern that Nate was kind enough to share with me. A perfect match! Every hole produced a few with this great pattern. My rig was unstoppable, a Grumpy Frumpy that trailed a flying ant. The fish were taking both. Andy was hooking up and was on fire…until he lost his Grumpy. A quick huddle and we realized that everyone was out. I had parted off on a bruiser Andy as well; we both had a flying tree-fish break us off as well. We were down to one Grumpy and to flying ants. I gave away my last ant. Other patterns were producing squat! Mark went back to high sticking with nymphs. Andy switched over to a Caddis and I still held the golden rig. Well only for a moment until we came to a stretch here fish were feeding on Caddis. We watched as the entire stretch was feeding. Andy was up and it didn't take long for him to hook up. I quickly switched over to a Palomino Caddis and it was slammed right away. Mark stepped to the plate and cast in the same area that two fish had been stuck. He had on a fish in no time. Huh, this is interesting. So, I moved to the top of the run, Andy in the Middle and Mark was at the tail end. We all caught fish one after another at the same time. Any rising fish was cast to and stuck with in seconds, what a great few hours. After playing leapfrog we ended the day on fire. Everyone was hooking fish, there were some big fat fish taken and the scenery was amazing. We reeled up and decided to head home. As we were hiking out we looked down to see feeding fish taking Caddis recklessly. The decision was made to rig back up and get one more. Well, that was a great idea. I stuck the fish of the trip on a caddis pattern and it was a Cutthroat of all fish! Mark and Andy both got their fish and we hiked back to the car. It had rained, as it always does and the sky was painting away at sunset. It added to the great day feeling. We were all tired from the ten hour fishing day, exhausted from the miles of hiking and yet somehow full of energy. Only smiles could be seen… Another day getting home after 11pm and tomorrow Mark and I are headed to the Green River…bright and early.

Too many good pics...had to post all of them, well not all but the ones I couldn't delete...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Marks Visit to Utah - Day 3

Waking at 4am wasn't a big deal yet. Each day I felt a bit older though. It's been only three days and the back is a bit stiff, knees are screaming at each other to keep up. But my mind feels awake, alert and has images of small creeks with magical expectations. As always, it’s the areas not the weight of the fish that bring me to these treasures. These places have stood the test of time. They remain humbly in the backcountry waiting for those that are willing to seek them out. Although the trees and mountains have been weathered they have not retreated, but have remained; they have stood the test of time. Even the fires won't make them move, they will eventually return, stronger and a bit wiser. If your thinking the same thing that I am thinking, then yep your right, trees and rocks can't move. True, but they do have roots, firmly planted, believing without question their purpose, their place, and their souls are pure, after all they are living things. The place we are going has years of legends, folklore, scars of time and a stream that is picture perfect. It’s a place where Mark (the nympher) will have a blast catching fish on a tiny glass rod, casting dry flies to tiny, well-built fish with vibrant colors. Here no crowds will be seen and there is a potential fish every other cast…if it's an off day. This stream flows fast and furious, which makes wading a bit spooky. Its fish are made of the same mold, and what I find interesting is that they holding in water to fast for a normal sized human to wade. These six-inch tanks thrive in these conditions. They will leave the comfort of the rock blocking the current to slam a dry fly. (The comfort by the way is hardly such, like saying that one bite of a sandwich is a hearty meal). Then there is the power of these small brutes. One might think at first that they have hooked a large fish until the initial leap, then the fish reviles it true size, a trophy foot long…. Crazy to think what roots really are…

The arrival was a relief; a four-hour drive and we are finally here! Water!! Why my life has revolved around water I have no idea. I have chased some sort of water almost my entire life and until recently, past fifteen years, have been serious about it. Frozen or not it’s a full time year round passion. For some working for money to better their life, to make living more comfortable, is the way, is the norm. For some raising a family, buying a house and working the old nine to fiver is considered peaceful and also customary. For some an education at an luxurious school, to a high paying profession is the only way. They go on to be outstanding citizens because they are so sophisticated and a being a studier of books must lead to wealth and knowledge, it's considered the norm and expected. For some politics and religion that entwine lies and arguing is considered upright, righteous and of all things godly, even though more people have been killed in the name of a god than anything else in the history of the world, yet I also find it remarkable how they all think they are right and the other is still wrong even after all are gone, this is the norm and sadly is absolutely predictable. Out there are a small number of the other normal citizens, as the same goes its also expected. They think that the rest are not normal and go a different path, they make their own roads by paving the way not following blindly. Living is usual achieved through hard work, respect and eating cheap Raman noodles, picking fruit of the land and enjoying food that has been grown by hand. Saving pennies to go exploring what others disregard and staying elusive to the concrete jungle they scour the earth looking for something uncontaminated and unaffected. Possessions are not held in high regards and are not considered wealth, for all is created equal here…. and that my friend, is supposed to be the norm.

These sacred areas are pure and free from the temptations of the world. They are not caught up on the latest news, they don't act wearing the latest posh styles and actually they don't even care. I enjoy these places where time stands still and trips tend to go by much too quickly….We were lucky enough to see a small glimpse of something pure.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Marks Visit to Utah - Day 2

Day 2 of Marks Utah adventures started at 5am. Grabbed a bite to eat, a couple Red bulls and started the journey. After getting to the river we noticed that there was not a breath of air, no wind! To you that might not matter but for us, we get to fish the Glass rods! Mark had given me an early Birthday present, a stunning Japanese Fiberglass rod, 7' 3 wt 6 piece little yellow gem. What a gift!! Mark had a fine-looking Japanese Fenwick that he was dying to catch Trout with. We rigged up and hiked to the water.

The first few casts felt weird, I was not used to the slow speed. I kept slowing it down, then I slowed it down some more and a little bit more, there it is, ahh… so this is what its all about. I finally felt the rod, so smooth. It's crazy how well this noodle performs, its almost as if its apart of your appendage, and extension or your arm if you will.

Now the real test; catching a fish, hope it doesn't bend in half : )

The first fish was caught right away. First fish on the new rod, man it was incredible. As we took turns fishing I noticed that the fish were a bit finicky. It's not really unusual here but this time seems different. Walking up the river I was trying to spot the days insects. I didn't see much activity, observed what looked to be a stonefly flying about. I saw a few more but that's it. I switched over to a small Stone imitation, it didn't produce, tried another, same window shoppers. Mark was up… as he was fishing I saw what appeared to be an incoming Stonefly; it was fluttering directly towards me. As it came closer I did what any frustrated fisherman would do and plucked it right out of the air. Holding it in my enclosed hand, it felt smaller that a normal Stonefly. I quickly peeked through the cracks in my fingers, what I saw was certainly a big surprise…. A massive Green Drake!!! What?? This entire time I thought that these fluttering elusive insects were Stone's. I ran over to Mark to show him the goods. "Look at this I can’t believe it," I shouted, to my surprise Marks reply was a calm "cool", I was in shock as his reply. Do you know what this is? It’s a Green Drake I shouted! I was screaming and shouting jumping up and down as if I had won a major sporting event, although I can't remember if I did a victory dance. I explained that it's very late in the year for these miniature Dragons, went on to say that for some the Green Drake fishing is the holy grail of dry fly action. Then it hit me, oh no I thought, where is my Drake box, my heart sank, despair was creeping in, all hope was fading. I started to panic, taking off my pack and rummaging through my pack like a mad man. "Where is it?" I was mumbling while tossing everything out, I was getting upset that I had all these boxes of useless flies but where was the Drake box?? Great of all the days, no good rooten midge and BWO box , I should of, oh few there it is, the Drake box. "Here it is, here it is" I screamed, why I was screaming I have no idea, I held the Hair wing Drake from the box, held it proudly high above my head like a idiot, looking at the fly as if I had found a religion, "hurry, hurry and tie one on" I yelled, yeah I was still shouting. Mark was probably trying to figure out what the fuss was all about and why I was screaming, mumbling and panicking all at the same time. "I don't have any" he replied, oh yeah duh why would he, being from Alabama (really Taiwan) why would he have any. I gave him one and the rest is history. The first cast made clear why the fish were so picky, fish on. We continued to pull fish out of every run. It was a fantastic day catching fish on Japanese glass rod casting size 12 dry flies, not to mention that they were Green Drakes. Today lesson proved that larger fish can be caught on a dry : ) I am happy to report that nymphing wasn't even a thought, congrats Mark!!…LOL… Mark had a great day catching fish on top while using the glass rod. I was glad that we somehow scored this miraculous hatch in August. You have no idea how lucky we were, truly awesome…

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Marks Visit to Utah - Day 1

A friend from Alabama was coming to visit. The friendship began on a river over a year ago. It all started one early morning before dawn. My buddy Andy and I were targeting a great section of a pressured river. We found that the earlier the better, no crowds and great fishing. On the fifth day in a row, never seeing another soul, we arrived in the parking lot before sun-up to see another car…. Huh?? Great the word is getting out… somehow… As we were starting to gear up we hear the car door open. Out comes a guy who started walking straight towards us. Looking at the car again I saw the rental sticker on the plates, great a tourist. Andy and I quickly looked at each other, we agreed to state the usual standard saying, fishing was pretty good, not bad. The guy never asked how the fishing had been but stated that he didn't like to fish by himself and asked to join. I really didn't know what to say, never been asked that before, sure we replied… and that's the beginning of a great friendship. That guy was Mark the nympher from Alabama

We fished together that day and every day until his departure. He was a great nympher and I was not, I fished dry's and he did not. I taught him the way of the hopper and learned his techniques on fishing below the surface. I think that he was shocked to see someone wearing rubber hip-boots and fishing a $25 rod, catching a few. The last day Mark gave me a rod to use, he stated, "it would rather be catching Trout". I respectfully declined and turned down his offer. He refused that decline and insisted it stayed. That is what kind of person he is, a truly honest giving person. I fished that rod many times and I was always glad that my piece of crap was in the closet.

Marks arrival was right on time, 2:30 am. By the time we got his luggage, rental car and drove home it was around 4:00 am. We decide sleep is for suckers, ate some food, geared up and off to the river. We met Andy there. Ironically, it was almost one year ago to the day, on this very same river, we all Mark. Today's adventure was a reunion and a place where Mark could finally nymph. He always called it his "home river" because this is where his Trout fishing began. I am sure he has waited for this day to come; actually he has waited a year. In his three trips to Utah this will be the first time exploring other places and with the help of some local knowledge, me. I thought that he could get his fix now, shake off the nymphing daydreams.

The day was great one, some great looking fish were caught and Mark managed to hook into every single porker White fish, Rocky Mountain Bone fish is the local terminology, on the river. His underwater technique seemed so favor the deep areas where these fish thrive. The first Rocky mountain bone that was hooked was fat; I think Mark thought he had the Trout of his life. It ran, shook and put up a fight. To his surprise it was old whitey. He managed to catch many more of these hefty fish, one that he for sure thought was a Brown, ran down stream and I yelled over to him to follow, "chase it" I hollered. Three pools later Mark finally landed it, a massive Bone!! He picked up many fish that day with his Czech nymph abilities but to Marks surprise the fish of the day was caught on a dry. After he had his fun I was up. On my turn I showed him why I dry fly!! It's the on going joke, Nymph vs. Dry, it doesn't really even matter its just fun to jab at each other. The rest of the world if full of rights and wrongs, my way or the highway, this is better than that type of gibberish. Fishing is supposed to be fun and it's the freedom of it that we enjoy, regardless of the methods.

Tomorrow is going to come early… Tomorrow is when the real fishing begins. Little to Marks knowledge I had big plans, it will be the trip of his Trout hunting life, also my plan was to get our Alabama boy to give up the "bobber" and try Dry-Fly fishing : )

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back to the search - Remote streams

Funny how one picture can cause a sense of adventure? Prior to the trip we both, Cheech and I, separately, discovered a promising gem. It unbelievable we both received the same information from the same source at the same time without knowing it. After collaborating the next short weeks were crammed with anticipation. Maps, compass and any gathered information were carefully gone sifted through.

The beginning of the trip is always a great feeling. My mind always seems to mosey about, daydreaming of the fish and the potential it might have to be the "one". I really enjoy this part of my fishing adventures. Perhaps that's why I choose to seek out the less traveled waters. It's not only for the fishing, the sense of exploration and wisdom of peace but the vision that is implicated. These journeys never seem to go the way I imagine them…its usually far better.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Oasis

I was itching to catch some larger Trout. Where to go? "There is an oasis in the middle of nowhere," I was told by a friend. We made plans and off we went.

A little background….

I am not snooty, catching wild 12" Trout is very rewarding, but every year I get the sickness, bigger fish. Something around twenty-two inches and healthy would do. In the past the remedy was always cured with Stripped Bass, Bluefish and the mighty Blue-fin Tuna… truly a Giant! But the Ocean is not possible at the moment at yet in some way that's fine with me. I have experienced half of my lifetime catching large salt water fish, even caught two of the largest game fish, many, many times; Blue Marlin and Blue-fin tuna both exceeding a thousand pounds. That addiction leads me to one of the greatest travels in my life. Looking back, it was still about the adventure. Even those large fish could satisfy me. For some folks, getting one fish of that size is an accomplishment, a cherished moment that will be reflected upon for years to come, generations of tales will be told. Unfortunately for me, the thought of getting one, and then actually achieving that goal, is just the beginning to my dedication of the search. The adventures are really about getting to the end of your world and then keep on going, exploring the vast unknown. It's a place where life reflections happen and arrogant becomes compassion and the truth is assured that concrete really sucks. Its where life's empty moments getting re-filled again, recharged batteries if you will. I guess, like modern medicine, that the more you take it the more tolerant to it you can become. It requires just a little more each time until it doesn't work any longer and a new cure will be needed. Well that's where I find myself at this point in my life. A new yet old yearning is calling, back to the mountains. I am from the Rocky Mountains, born and raised following streams and chasing wildlife then I left in search of far off places and salt-water adventures. I am intrigued again by the Mountains and often ponder what my life would have been like if I had never left this place. Sometimes I wish that I had never left. Always thinking I would have become a better this and a greater that, and how I might have missed out. But I am glad that this is all new to me again, it gives me the freedom that I enjoy. I think its something good and pure to look forward too in this corrupt world we live in. But most of all I am glad it didn't get old and boring and who knows perhaps after the next few years I might have quit.

Now searching for large tout we came around the bend, over the horizon looked to be a baron wasteland for miles. A few turns here and a few turns there, over the hill and wow, I was shocked. He was right, an oasis in the middle of nowhere. How peculiar to see Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Osprey, Red-tail Hawks and at night Owls in the middle this forgotten part of the world. It was very strange indeed and I learned again that the old saying still holds true, "never judge a book by its cover". Not only were the birds huge but also the fish are something that can be boasted about but never revealed. It was the first time that I actually saw a true trophy Trout, well I saw them swimming away before even getting the chance to cast. My fist attempt at catching ended in a few seconds, I blew it bad. The cast was good until the wind took it at the last second and it landed off course; right on top of the fish. Two shakes of the tail and it went out of sight. @#*@%%@^!!!!!! No!! How could this be? I was humbled and vowed not to be so anxious the next time. Walking up the stream we spotted a bubble line in good "happy" water. This spot looked very promising. Nate was up, casts at the tail end… fly lands perfectly tight to the bubble line… got the drift and of course got a nice fish, Rainbow, not a trophy but man a fighter! Seriously, it fought well beyond its respectable size. Well, Nate gave me the go ahead to cast at the front, very generous. His exact words were something like "your going to get one there", yeah those were the exact words. I had on my recent go to fly. A local tier's prototype pattern with a peculiar name, its still in the works and has been a true soldier everywhere these past few months. I made the cast; fly hits the water and nothing… repeat… Picking up the fly we see a follow then a retreat back to its feeding position. Ummm, I thought hopefully it didn't spook like the last fifty fish. Cast again and I was surprisingly on, so surprised I was fumbling at the reel. As I was pulling it together the fish turned and ran down stream. I was trying to put the fish on the reel and that was all it took to loose the fish. So close, we saw it and almost touched it. That was tuff loss. I am going after downstream next time, lesson learned. We managed to pick a few off here and there during the duration of the day, not many but any means. There are far fewer fish that live here, so covering water is the name of the game. On one of the last spots I was working the shoreline, just like I have done all day. When again I was caught off guard. A rather large surface attack, I was tight, this was a nice fish. The fish started to run downstream, so I ran after it. After a few moments running side by side I think that the fish thought that this is crazy and tuned back heading up stream. Well after all that I finally got on in the net. Woo-hoo!! Finally!! The rest of the night didn't really matter. I was content and the next few hours were very enjoyable. E fished into the night tossing caddis and mice. I landed a nice 6" trout on the mouse pattern, crazy little fellow. The drive home was a tired one, but made it home in one piece. Overall it was a superb trip and I guess I owe Nate a huge thank you for bringing me along, Thanks Nate!!!