Saturday, July 21, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.-Albert Einstein
Friday, July 13, 2007
The temptation of the unknown is my biggest weakness. The curiosity, mystery and adventure seem to plant a small seed in my head. That seed eventually sprouts, all I can think about are the possibilities that the treasure I seek could be found there. Then off I go. I was lucky enough to get to go on another adventure with a friend of mine. Nate seems to always have a good grasp of what going on out there. No just from hear say but one of the few who have spent the time searching, exploring and actually fishing these waters. It's actually very hard to find in today's easy parking and no walking fishing. Either, in my naive ways I have not evolved to this or that this type of fishing has never appealed to me. I like to think it’s the second of the two. The time will come when a parking lot next to the river will be a grateful site, the few seconds it takes to walk to the watering hole will be cherished but until that day I am going to beat the crap out of my body trying to get as far away from that as I can. Why you might ask? Why not… because I can I guess.
The trip began early. Nate had his coffee and I was downing a Red Bull. The talk of a Moth hatch in the high country and the lure of big fish made the drive fly right by. Down the road and over the hill lies "river-x". We made our way to the trail head and began the walk though sagebrush covered hills. As we crossed a few streams we came to a bend in the trail as we were walking around the bend I scarred the sh*& out of myself, Nate too. There was a small dead sheep on the trail; you had to actually step over it to get by. You just couldn't see it until your about to step on the thing, we laughed at how big a scare it was then we ventured on. Down the rocky path we bumped into two strangers. They were dressed the usual fly-fishing attire, vest, waders and of course the dead give away the fly rod. They were friendly and told us that they came from the river but didn't fish it. They said the water was too fast and warned us of the high flowing water, in a way they were trying to detour us from reaching our destination. We thank them and said the usually good luck and kept on going. Back on the trail thought were going though my mind, thinking about the flows and what we were going to do. I was in limbo when I looked up to see the entrance of the river. Before me stood a tall and massive canyon, the color of the rock was amazing. The landscape took on an entire new look even the vegetation changed. I was stating at the gates of Zion, I was certain of that. The negative thought of the wonders turned back into the adventure. We came to the river and they were right it was high, actually raging. The choice was simple… fish it! We didn't have a caffeine buzz for nothin'.
Wading was tough, the water was moving so fast with so much power. The streambed was full of life, insects and slippery at best, it made for a careful approach. The fishing however was very good! Actually great! Some of the Cutthroat's were very large, all were healthy and the Browns were simply heavy weight fighters. The trees were green and the forest was alive. Wildflowers were in full bloom and the deer that we spooked looked healthy and fat. We were getting into fish when Nate got into a good one, a trophy fish for this river. The fight went well and right before he landed it shook free, noooo!!! Although the fish was not landed the moment was great, Nate was all smiles like he had a pocket full of candy and I was in shock that this river had that big of fish in it, wow. Spirits were high as we made our way up the river hooking healthy fish and trying not to get swept in. I came to a large rock in the river that has made a small eddy near the far side with enough room to dab a fly into. At that moment I saw the monster Cutthroat; it slowly slips behind the bubbles and into the shadows. I placed the fly on the water and let it drift into the back, under the bubbles and then pulled it out setting up for a new drift. He took it. The fight was a short-lived one, I hooked him and he shook violently until he was free. What a fish, too bad, once again noooo!!! : ) Although two big fish were lots there were only smiles and laughter to be seen. Hooking the big fish isn't really the point just one of the added bonuses. We began picking up fish and trading hook-ups until again, Nate had on a monster. History did not repeat itself this time and the fish was landed, photographed, then let go to live another day. It was almost as big as the one that got away but it was still huge!!
The sun left the sky but not before a firework display of colors. Passed the local boy scouts who were on a backpacking trip, talked story for a minute then made a beeline back to the truck. Hiking back we had forgotten about the dead sheep and again were startled. Feet were sore, calves were burning and stomachs were hungry. All in all a great day and one too remember!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I really wanted to fully test out a new fly that I have been using lately that a friend of mine gave me a few trips ago…. But since that day I was curious how the fly would do on a heavily fished river. I felt that this would truly be a great test and this water would either make or break this fly, in my book.
The past week I fished this certain river three times. All with the same results, hands down dynamite! I have never fished a Caddis hatch where almost every cast was a strike, unbelievable.
I would arrive at the river about "Caddis time". I would gear up as everyone was making his or her way back to the paring lot to go home. My thought was that either the hatch wasn't as good as I had hoped or that these particular folks aren’t aware of the hatch at all. I found it to be the latter. Arriving on this river you might wonder where all the people are, isn't this river supposed to be a zoo? Un-crowded to say the least, I was the only one in sight. After gearing up instinct kicked in and down the trail I went, hiking for a good half-hour if not more. Why I walked all the way in I have no idea. Perhaps I just couldn't believe that I was the only person there and needed to find out if anyone was down here, so I just kept walking.
I sat on the bank and started rigging when the first sign of fish appeared. A slurp here a splash there, slowly it was beginning. In no time at all the river came alive, every run and pool was full of energetic feeding fish. A slow start gave way to a full-blown kamikaze hatch. Bugs covered the air and the water and so did the fish, airborne to say the least. First few casts had hits, and then the hook-ups came. One after the other, this went on until you couldn't see any longer and it was dark. The walk back to the car was full of smiles, laughter and I was simply amazed how great this fly did, not to mention how well I could see it in the twilight.
A few days later I decided to give it another try. Same exact thing! Everyone is leaving as I am getting there, walk in, yada, yada, yada, fish going nuts and me catching more than a fair share using one fly and no dropper. I again left feeling like I was fishing a secret river that nobody else knew of. The fish didn't refuse my offering agin! Not only is the size too big compared to the naturals it not even the right color, awesome. I was still not really convinced started to think that maybe nobody is fishing here during the day and these fish haven't been pounded to death like other spots. Yet I was still amazed that I fished in solitude and did really, really well on pressured water.
The last test was actually the toughest of all. I went to a place that I know for sure gets pounded by guides, locals and beginners alike. As I was looking for my reel I remembered right where it was… at home. The next thought was %%^& &^&& (*@#@% )$%^ &^$%!!!!! I was lets say a little bit frustrated, with me being to blame I did what anyone else would do, swore until I was out of words and made up words that don't really sound like anything, too mad to swear. Good thing nobody was around to see me throwing a hissy fit, oh except my buddy that was with me, he laughed.
I almost left my rod in the car but at the last second I brought it along. The plan now was to just go along for the ride and enjoy the river… yeah right… On the walk to the bank I had an idea. I found some 3x tippet and strung it though my guides. I secured it right above the handle; the tag end was about two feet in length past the tip of my rod. I then attached a 9-foot leader and tied on the warrior, the Palomino Caddis. I could kind of cast but not efficiently. My buddies first two cast produced fish. Now I was waving my rod frantically in the air, trying to get the line to lie out. If I shortened the overall line it would cast better using a double haul. I was figuring it out when I realized that the fish are about 15 feet further than I can cast. Well #@%#!!!! I realized that the only way this is going to work is if I am right next to them. So I crawled in to the zone as if I was fishing a spring creek. Slowly got into position and started my wand waving technique that I picked up from watching a Harry Potter movie. The line went out and I found out that I can only get a five foot drift, need to still be closer. Now I am in arms length of rising fish and cast out again. This time at the end of the drift I skidded it back to another feeding lane, started a new drift and bam, I was on. The fish went nuts and I now was faced with the task on landing it. I had not thought about this yet, but managed to pull it in just fine. Well I figured it out and continued to pick of fish in arms length for the remainder of the night. My buddy didn't catch another fish. What a week, the fly has proved itself once again. No more wondering about this fly, it’s a workhorse for sure!
Monday, July 9, 2007
Geared up for a high-elevation fishing trip and headed to scope out some areas that we had not been to yet this year. I think that everyone else had the same exact idea. I have never seen it so busy. We hiked for miles to get away from the crowds but at each place the crowds were there. We made the best of it and got to see some amazing terrain, catch a few fish and realize that the father in we go the better
Sunday, July 8, 2007
The rules of the day were; each person had to use a dry fly only, catch a fish and your turn is over, hook a fish and turn is over, have three hits and your turn is over. It was a fun way to fish side by side in a small river. We ended the day with too many fish to count. Another great day on a small stream with nobody around!
We made it back to the car with plenty of time to spare. The question was, do we fish another stretch of the river or do we go to the lake and toss a rodent at some Cutthroat's…
Friday, July 6, 2007
Got a chance to fish with a friend of mine. We headed out and had hopes of getting another famous Drake hatch. Casting size twelve dry flies is one of those things that most people dream about, hope to do and rarely does it happen, even if you put in the time. This is a very finicky hatch and most people who dry fly fish target these big bugs. The rivers are over crowded and fish become wary and pattern choice and drift can make or break your day. Over the hills and far away lies another small gem with these tremendous and peculiar big bugs that is known to fewer fishermen, mostly veterans of the lifestyle.
Well day two on the river was nothing less than fantastic. Big green monsters were out and we had no problem tossing them to feeding fish. After mid-day the hatch slowed down and fish were not keying in on them any longer. The pattern-switching race began. Each pattern caught a few but still wasn't quite good enough. We were getting impressive looks but the fish would put on the breaks and come to a screeching halt right before the prospective strike. The Caddis weren't as thick compared to the other day. But the Spinners were thicker than we had ever seen them. Nate tied one on and cast it into a hole that I had been working for about five minutes with not luck. His first cast landed…and…. Bingo, fish on. He picked up a few more in the same hole. So this is what they are keying in on eh? I have never had much luck targeting the spinner fall, seen it many times before but never had the fish so focused in on them. Luckily for me Nate had a few more of these flies and gave me one. For the next few hours we took turns catching fish out of most every nook and cranny. What a great trip!
Well the sun was lowering in the sky and it was setting up for a brilliant sunset. I am always in "ah" how deep the colors can get and the moment in which it presents itself, simply amazing. The decision was made earlier to hit a Stillwater and toss some rodents at some large fish. Yep, we were going mouse chucking. I was excited as ever and hoped to get just a strike. For those of you that don't know I love mice! We rigged up and started chucking (yes chucking) unconventional large flies into the darkness. There is really no casting involved with these things, its not very graceful at least for me. I am just glad that it's so dark that nobody can see my horrible cast. You would hear a fish rise and then cast like a mad man a hope it was in the vicinity of it. Then technique is this; strip in line at one inch increment as fast as you can to create a wake then pause, and repeat until nest cast, I felt like a cobbler that was behind schedule. After a while we started to make our way to a small inlet. I was casting and striping when I came to a spot on the trail where it veered up and over creating a small ledge then continued back down to the water. My first sets of strips were complete and on the pause I quickly followed up and over, in the dark it’s really not that quick. At about the time I made it back down to the water I heard a gigantic explosion on the water. Too my surprise I was tight. The fish went berserk, thrashing around weaving left then right. I was fumbling at the reel and trying to gain control of the fish. Got it to the shore and just started to laugh. Nate came over and took a few pictures. The rest of the night went by without another strike. Nate had a few hits but unfortunately the fish didn't get a good hold of it. We reeled up admired all the Crayfish that were everywhere and ventured home, tired yet full of renewed energy. Another epic day!