Sunday, August 24, 2008

Marks Annual Trip - South Fork of the Snake

As I was looking at information of where to take Mark. Submersed in, maps , notes, web, stream flows, etc, when the call came in. Grizz is heading north to the South Fork of the Snake, the boat is open. I did what any right minded fish junkie would do, I said {profanity} yes!! I quickly called spicy, filled him in on the scoop... it was set. Four dudes, one dog, two boats and three days of hopper fishing!

Right out of the gate things were looking great. The weather is perfect, hoppers are abundant and the flows are stable. Grizz rowed Mark and put him into plenty of fish. Mark was rigged with a Grumpy Frumpy and Rainy's Grand Hopper and hitting every likely spot with success. It was awesome to see the nymphing maniac slamming fish on top. Even from a distance Nick and I could hear "Eat it" "Eat it" "Eat it" followed by laughter and a bentI was busy searching in rod. It seemed Grizz was having as much fun as Mark even though he was at the rowers seat.

A few riffle stops along the way were in order. Here Mark can nymph away and more importantly, give me a hands-on clinic of how to swing soft hackles effectively. It was very cool to observe. More often than not the hooked fish were flying around in mid air. Even though there are many fish aren't landed the style is awesome. I was amazed watching Mark performing two-handed/spey casts. With a flick of the rod a brilliant snap-t, snake roll, any cast, was sending flies as far as you could ever want - all with a three weight line. It was at that point in time I decided that I am going to learn how to spey cast.... and fish soft hackles. White fish really didn't stand a chance to Marks assault. His green caddis worm slapped the toughest whiteys in the face and trout seemed to eat them too. The e sign about the rainbow issue its a no-brain-er and their instinct is to help out and do their part for the fish. Most, I am guilty also, read the sign and that's about it. But to Mark there is no other choice but to kill one species so that another can survive..... I often think about this lesson and reflect on it.... and how the entire trip Mark's rod was in his hand, form 4am - 10pm, he wouldn't even set it down to eat.

At camp we unloaded the boats, grabbed the rods and headed to the water. I was armed with a camera while Mark and Nick pounded the water. Nick was way down stream when I heard the whistle.... he was tight. I ran down to try and get a shot, just as I got there the fish shook the hook on the landing. I started walking back when Mark went tight. I ran up to get the shot thinking, for some odd reason, I better hurry. I was sprinting on top of a log jam while looking in Marks direction when his line went slack. We both laughed and then I tripped and fell. Falling about two feet to my hands and knees on sticks and more sticks. After the initial shock of falling wore off I felt like I scraped my leg. Looking down my pants weren't torn but things felt a bit weird. I lifted my pant leg to see a puncture hole. There wasn't any blood, yet, just white and red meat. I hobbled back to camp in shock. Everyone was on top of things, we all grabbed the first aid kits and assessed the situation. To our surprise all three of our first-aid kits lacked, well, about everything. Someone handed me some cleaning towelettes. I didn't know what to do to properly clean it, so I stuck the towelettes on my finger and shoved it inside my leg. It felt weird and I thought that I might pass out but somehow managed to clean it out, well, as best as possible. Washing it with water and applying some neosporin type schemer we taped it up and hope it was clean enough. I was annoyed at myself, OK, mad. I can't believe that I am hurt on day one of a three day trip. Although fishing from the boat is good, the stops on the riffles and braided sections is what I enjoy most. Someone brought a pair of waders, I was in luck... but after some discussion we all agreed that it might be best if the wound wasn't stuck in a moldy pair of waders with who knows what growing inside. Oh well.... Have to make the best of it. I am still able to fish and I didn't hit anything vital.

The next few days Mark was asking about the SF issues regarding Rainbows and about the information he saw at the put-in -->There is no limit on the bows and they threaten the survival of the Cutthroats, this place is one of the last strong holds of these precious fish. With that Mark was determined to help in the only way he knew how... kill and eat every Rainbow. So for the next few days at any given time you could hear "kill them all" being shouted. One particular time Mark was landing a fish, I yelled over "we can't eat them all", Mark heard something different. At that moment a guide and client were floating by when Mark yelled back while holding a feisty bow above his head "yeah, kill em' all!" and then spiked the fish on the rocks as if he scored a touch down. The face of the guide and client was priceless. We all laughed uncontrollable for quite sometime. Mark has an Alabama/Taiwanese way of killing his fish (that we eat) and I enjoyed watching the clinic. After the slaughter Mark twisted some grass to string up the enemy and carried the back to the boat. I tried my best to capture the moment but there is far more to the picture than I could ever hope to catch. You see, when guys like Mark read the sign about the rainbow issue its a no-brain-er and their instinct is to help out and do their part for the fish. Most, I am guilty also, read the sign and that's about it. But to Mark there is no other choice but to kill one species so that another can survive..... I often think about this lesson and reflect on it.

Yep, that's military chopper, it seems the Vise Pres was fishing as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marks Annual Trip - The Return to Football Creek

photo by; Regina Filliman

For a week or two out of the year Mark is sleeping on my couch or spare bedroom... or thermarest. We travel and fish for almost two weeks straight. Before sun up to well after sundown there is only one focus.... fish. Every year a few places get a return visit but I try to take him to as many different areas as possible... but one will always be a destination, Marks "home" river.

After a year long wait to get back on the Trout, Mark finally arrives in Utah. In less than a few hours of arrival he is off to his beloved Provo, his "home" water... around 4 am. I had to work the next morning, unfortunately wasn't able to accompany him on his return to the MP. I wasn't surprised when I saw the pictures of Mark surrounded by guides with clients and other fishers, I wasn't surprised to hear that the day was a success for him and I wasn't that surprised that a guide, finally, politely, asked him what he was using; as Mark was the only guy catching - this happens every year. I wasn't surprised to hear that the guide and client hooked up right away after tying it on. I was proud of him that day and the humble gesture towards a guide working his keister off trying to get his client into fish. I am sure the guy probably had to work up the courage for a while to ask and I'm certain that Mark didn't make the guide feel like a jack-ass. I have accompanied many of fisherman while on the Provo, never have I seen anyone slay it like he does. Its not that he is doing anything that different nor is it that he is in a secret run, its the way he approaches the fish, with respect.

365 days, minus a few, Mark is focused on one thing, Provo nymphing. A peak into his fly box you might not give a second look. As he puts it "the fish really like them but they don't catch fishermen". A closer look these tiny flies you'd see a methodically thought piece of art. I respect his Taiwanese approach to tying and the delicate flies that wait patiently to be fished. They are unique and graceful and like Mark says "sexy". One year there was an old timer spouting off to at least a dozen guys including guides and clients of what to use and how to use it in a busy run. The guy was spouting his sermon hoping that anyone would listen, the thing is, the guy never caught a thing in 3 hours. Neither did the guides and clients. Every time Mark hooked up they would creep closer and closer until they are in our same run right on top of us. At one given time there were two guides with four clients below us just as many above us and a few other guys that decided to stand right next to us. One time out of every year we "hole hog" one run or at least try and stand ground for a few hours until its unbearable. A few clients hooked up but Mark was slaying it. His fish would run down stream and he would give chase. He have other guys take a picture or two and sometimes video. When only one guy is consistently hooking fish while another guy is preaching in the background, while watching the reacting of other non-catching frustrated guys take pictures of Mark and his fish, its s hilarious... AND its awesome to see what a guy from Taiwan that's living in Alabama (finishing PHD) can do on a high traffic fishery.

Every time I fis
h I am reminded of my old friend. Mark has helped me on my journeys and travels for a few years now. To me a cheap rod with duct tape holding on a few guides is perfectly normal for the avid fisherman and I had always thought that everyone's reels were full of sand and bent out of shape too... and hipper's were still cool. I have found most of that to be, well, not so true. Mark isn't about the latest and greatest but about quality... of life. As he puts it "if it makes things easier then it makes it funner". So every year Mark bust out a rod or two that he has built and every year he somehow leaves it at my house, "forgetting" to take it back home with him... And every year he tells me that the rods wouldn't be happy couped up in the closest in Alabama, they need to be catching Trout, its where they belong, its what they were meant to do. If Mark isn't sending me cameras to take photos or rods to use or a reel to borrow, he sending me encouragement to keep on my quest for fish. He has done this for a few others as well. Possessions, objects and material things don't matter much to Mark. Its aways cool to meet one of the few genuine characters who's purpose is to live happy and encourage others to do so as well by setting an example. I like the challenge of trying to repay the favor with the best fishing of his life. Its not as easy as it seems but somehow with the help of friends we all make it happen. The rest of the upcoming week is coming soon.

Here are the pictures of "Football Creek".... Mark, Ralphy, Regina and me....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shots Published - Rainy's Catalog

New Rainy's Catalog

I was lucky enough to be asked for a submission for the new Rainy's catalog... and even luckier when they took three shots from my submission.

There are a few other new additions to the catalog that I am stoked to see....

Nate got a shot published as well!! and so did Corey !!Its a shot of my fish with the Grumpy Frumpy stuck to its face and I snapped a shot of Nate's fat Tiger Trout..... oh, and they accepted Cheech's Grumpy Frumpy pattern!!!!!! (along with a few other flies) I am really stoked about this as I was fortunate enough to able to work closely on the GF project behind closed doors. Cheech is a creative artist and friend, and its awesome to see someone recognized his skills. I'm sure this just the beginning.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Utah Browns - Secret of Nimh


The theme most of the year has been larger oversized bugs. Today's adventure followed suit. Drew and I met up at the standard time of early, really early… pre-dawn early. Then we are faced with the "where to go" syndrome. Drew is relativity new to the areas around these parts, so the decision landed in my lap. Over the valley and through the woods we finally arrived at the target…when we discovered a car parked in the lot already. How in the hell did someone beat us, it's early, remember. The question - "are they fishing"? We'll see, rigged up and headed to the water… conveniently walked by the parked car looking for the obvious signs of a fisherman; rod tubes, bags, packs, waders, scattered flies, empty Red Bulls, power bar wrappers, empty ibuprofen bottles… you know, the usual stuff. We spotted a whole lot of nothing, nada, not even a speck of dirt could be seen. I'm not sure what they are doing. I suspected that if they are fishing, it’s a quickie before work. We entered the water and as luck would have it, I landed a fish right out of the gate. I'm sure we both thought in our minds that this is going to be a good day. A few nice holes later we hadn't moved a fish, nothing spooked, then we discovered the problem and answered the big question. Up ahead three fishers are walking down stream, headed in our direction. We talked story and learned they had only fished up around the bend before they turned around… and they are headed to work. We exchanged some information before walking up to where they left off, I couldn't get the grin off my face.

It was pretty apparent where they stopped fishing, as soon as we entered virgin water fishing started to pick up… and fast. It’s a rare time when likely holding water is actually holding a hungry fish. Today was one of those days. Drew tossed on a Rainy's Marshmallow hopper and I had been tossing a Rainy's Mudfoot. For the rest of the day we took turns smacking the water and releasing fish. Half way into a perfect day a few unexpected surprises caught us off guard. After a few hefty fish things couldn't get better… but they did.

Approaching a long slow run we conversed about how to approach it. We broke it down into three sections; back, middle, head. Drew took the back and pulled a few beauties out, things were going as planned. A few pictures later it was my turn. I took the middle of the run leaving the head of the water for the last section. The hopper hit the slow quiet run with a large splat. Drew and I were in the middle of a lazy conversation when out of nowhere a trout latterly did a cannon ball on my hopper. It was the biggest splash that either of us had ever seen, like a large boulder would create with the "vacuum after splash" effect. We came really close to getting wet, I felt as if I was at Sea World. I didn't get a good look at the fish but the splash hinted at a large specimen. The fish dove as I set the hook; the odd tugs directly afterward felt as if it was false hooked, my heart sank. I tugged, he tugged right back, and now I thought for sure it was false hooked. I at least wanted to see it before he broke me off so I horsed it in to get a hopeful peak. When the fish came into view the first thing I noticed was the behemoth size, the next thing I noticed was the hopper sticking out from the corner of the mouth… its on. For the next few seconds the fish did everything it could to break me off, take off up stream, dart for the bank, rub me off on the steam bed and then it turned and headed down stream with lightning speed… towards the very fast water filled with many large sharp rocks. I did what anyone else would do, held my rod high trying to avoid my line from snagging up on the rocks and made a run, literally sprinting down the slippery river after the fish. A realistic 4-5 minutes later after a brilliant fight from the fish, it was now coming in for a soft landing. Due to the size of the girth my only option was to try and tail it. Luckily the spring Tiger Musky handling lessons paid off and the process was a gentle one. After releasing the fish, I clipped off my fly and I reeled up. I was satisfied and wanted to enjoy that experience for the rest of the day. On the way back to the car I was able to show Drew a different method of fishing that he had never done. Its kind of a Czech nymphing/streamer style mixed in with a dead drift. Think of it as fishing a wooly bugger and all the possibilities that its capable of. It was awesome to watch someone have so much fun while fishing. A few dozen fish later Drew was on fire and really getting the hang of it… I still had a smile on my face and am still trying to relive that 4-5 minute battle to this day… I love fishing.

Above pics shot by Drew K.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Myth or Legend - West Fork of the Allred

"I'm in, see you at 5am", hung up the phone and frantically started packing my gear. By 3am my eyes slammed shut. Alarm goes off, I swear just closed my eyes. Grizz and his trust sidekick will be here shortly, I better not hit the snooze button, dam it's early. Load the gear and were on the road to….

"Where are we going again?" I asked

"Not sure, any ideas?"

You have to understand that some of the trips are all planned out but the others, well, nothings really decided, and nothing is ever set in stone, this was one of those times. On the freeway, with a map in hand, the question not easily answered, we estimate that we'll be at the crossroads in about one hour, so we need to decide the path to take. Our options… left, right or straight.

"I'm going to close my eyes and put my finger on the map" I told Grizz

"Sounds good" he replied.

I opened my eyes to see an area that I am not familiar with. Grizz knew of it (of course), he had heard rumor about a place that's supposed to be a myth and it's hypothetically in this area. Because none of us know anyone with first hand information that would be reachable (not me) I did what anyone that needs off-the-beaten-path info would do… I called Ralphy. No answer, oh well I am calling him at work. Ralphy had some good information. A few things stood out from our conversation, first its private and there's very few, if any, public access and none that he personally knows of. Second, it's rumored to hold monster fish and third, it's a very tight-lipped river and its not talked about lightly. Sounds like a challenge. We made a choice in about 2.9 seconds, West Fork of the Allred it is!

Within a few hours from the outlaw signature we should be in the tiny town. As the co-pilot I am trying to locate any information on this fable and the whereabouts of its treasure. Then I spotted it,

"There's a fish and game office in town" I blurted out in excitement.

"They'd know what's going on if anyone does" Grizz replied.

Arriving in town we have one goal, to get information on the river… at all costs. Rolling down the "main" road the sign to the F&G office was spotted. We took the turn and are now headed down the information highway……. After some time…. like 20 minutes, things are not adding up.

"You think its down this far?" I asked

"Not sure, but I've been down this road before", "hey, look at that fire over there"

Off in the distance and following our same course is a wild forest fire. Its on the ridge line and appears to be in control at the moment, that’s right, the fire is in control. Twenty minutes goes by before we figured that we must have passed it. So the back tracking began and we ended with the same results, no F&G building located. What the …… Heading back into town we noticed a Town Hall, were both thinking the same thing; they have to know where the building is. It's an old building, more like a old house, something that reminds me of New England. Two ladies are working behind the counter, one is what you think of when quiet small town comes to mind, simple and kind, the other, well, she looks to be weathered and not to be trifled with.

"How can I help you" The kind lady asked

Grizz replied, "Were looking for the fish and game building"

The conversation quickly went from directions to the West Fork. That’s about the time when the lady in the back came out… with a glare.

"Its private property" she said in a stern commanding voice

That caught both of us off guard. With only a millisecond to respond we asked if there is public access. "Its private property, you're better off at Lower Blue, there is plenty of access there".

"Nah, were looking to get on the West Fork" Grizz told the lady "is there public access?"

"Well, yeah" she replied "but its private... how many of ya?"

"Two and a dog"

The lady slightly dipped her head when she asked "what kind, do you have it with ya?"

I am certain that Grizz was thinking the same thing, the dog is our in.

The quiet lady in the corner piped up "she's the local dog catcher". I looked over nonchalantly she was staring at us with a sinister grin on her face. There goes that I was thinking to myself. But the lady started to ramble, naming a few areas and offering us access on her property. Sweet!

Finally, I thought, now were getting somewhere. Walking out he door I felt as if we had just gotten the crap beat out of us. Instead of asking questions we somehow ended up getting interrogated by the local dogcatcher. We did gain a few puzzle pieces, such as the fire has tripled in one day, the river is private, locals hate the rich bastards a few mountain ranges away and that we should have brought our bullet-proof vests as we might get shot at for fishing it… but at this point things are quite foggy. F&G will know something so that's where we headed next. After talking to the lady there, we left F&G with the same basic information, same as town hall but without the attitude. The lady was helpful and gave us a ton of maps, but they were for another river all together. We are now faced with one last dreaded option, the fly shop. We discussed our strategy. We are going to wait until all customers leave before we ask any questions, as we know the words West Fork are not openly spoken around here, especially from out-of-towner's. We'll buy some flies and make small talk, that's when one of us will pop the question. As we entered the shop we immediately noticed that nobody was around. The old shop guy greeted us with a smile. We laid it down, right then and there. He started off with the same rubbish that everyone else has fed us, "its private property" and the over played "go down to Lower Blue, there are lots of access points". I started to fumble though the fly bins, some cool flies I haven't seen but overall a weak selection. Finally, the guy cracked and started talking. Nice going Grizz! Every time he answered a question, somewhere in the rebuttal, references were made to what a pain the access is and how the land owners are watching with spotting scopes to make sure that nobody is trespassing, etc, etc. Then a map came out and more information was being spilled. All was going well when the owner, I think, walked in. The guy quickly pulled the maps down off the counter and hid it underneath. It's all over now; the guy's not going to talk any longer, I thought. Small talk was made and we again heard about he rich yuppies coming into their turf. Jeez, it's like Hawaii here, tight lipped and locals only…. I love it! The owner walked into the back. We bought our flies, grabbed he map (a piece of yellow-white paper with smeared black lines) and left… a bit confused.

There were a few key things that the shop guy said…. Everyone uses the same shuttle service; the river is private (again) meaning no anchoring, no wading, and no standing, floating on the water only. The fact that everyone is trying to detour us from fishing it makes us even more determined to get on it. We decided to follow the information. Instead of booking shuttles from that shop, who'll call the only shuttle service as well, we decided to head straight to the source. If anyone knows access points it has to be these guys. Getting out of the car I couldn't help think that this is our last hope. The shop wasn't really a fishing shop at all, although there were a few things here and there, but there wasn't much. A nice employee greeted us and we laid it out, blatantly. He knew the river, but when he didn't know exactly where the access was he shouted over to a fellow employee who was putting line on a spin reel. Over in the corner of this little shop, but packed with a ton of stuff, was a short and stout fellow. You could tell that he was a climber by the way he carried himself and the clothes that he was wearing…his name is Josh. Josh is nothing flashy, actually the opposite, a humble honest dude from the mid-west living the life way out here in no-mans land, raising a family, climbing and fishing. After five minutes of talking with Josh we had more information than all the other combined. One of us finally just asked, "Where would you go?". He shared that information without hesitation. He pointed on a map, "here but it’s a 12-hour float." We booked a shuttle for tomorrow morning without blinking. Josh also told us where to camp, its relative out of the way yet close to town. The fly selection he used (along with everyone else) was basically three patterns. A generic Chernobyl ant, a muddler minnow, and another sub surface fly was it. Nobody has heard of anything that we were packing, no articulated flies, no 4" death monsters, no sinking lines, no sink tips. Interesting, very interesting. We thanked our new found savior and skipped to the car… well, Grizz walked, I was probably skipping.

We found the camp exactly where Josh had told us. It was right next to a beautiful stream and tucked out of the way. Unloading our gear I realized that I tossed my newly bought flies in the garbage at the grocery store I didn't want to go back for them but I hoped in the truck and headed to the garbage. At the garbage can I was getting eyeballed by the locals, the bag of trash was buried but I dug it out anyway… I found it! Now the travel back to camp, hope I can find it.

Dawn came and I was stoked, Grizz was too. Over a cup of coffee and a Red Bull we discussed our options. We'll rig up a dry rod and a streamer rod and go from there. We arrived at the launch site. "Are we in the right place" Grizz asked "hell if I know" I replied with a surprised look on my face. Were both in bit of shock, the river is about as wide as the middle Provo, maybe. Josh had told us that the only way in was a small tributary, which flows into the larger river…. this has to be it.

The start of our journey was filled with excitement. The stream was small, really small. We bounced off walls of brush, scraped bottom more often than not, crossed though large orange tarps that are draped across the river and dogged barbwire. The large orange tarps are attention-grabbing…. they have large slits every few feet creating, imagine an old school car wash that you'd see in the movies, the ends of the tarp sit in the water conveniently collecting moss, algae…what I'd call sludge. There is only one way to get past these things, straight through. The long rectangle strips of florescent orange tarp slap you in the face as you make you way underneath the hanging cable that holds this giant eye sore. Now back on track, the odd thing about this tributary, it's the gem clear water but not a sign of a fish. Grizz was on the oars as I pounded the water with no response, no movement, and no nothing. Almost an hour later of battling the tight S-turns we came to a fork where the water spits, now the tributary is half the size. By this time Grizz is pushing and/or pulling the boat over the shallow river bottom. Trespassing? Perhaps, but we have no choice. I put the rod down and grabbed the back-up oar to push us away from the brush wall of the river… or at least slow us down from ramming speed. The river is tight, really tight and some areas it's moving rather quickly. Grizz was killing it on the oars. I am a rookie at best and am dreading my turn.

Just when we'd almost had enough of playing bumper boat Grizz spotted it, the entrance to the West Fork. Off to our left was the other half of the water that left us earlier. To its side were other smaller tributaries pouring into this larger water… the river is whole again. Immediately entering the junction the bottom of the river was alive. White fish covered the pools and the trout held on the outskirts and near any structure. Tens, twenties, even thirties of Whitefish held tightly to the bottom then moving out of the way as we floated over, The bottom looked busy. The first large trout was spotted pretty quickly; it was large to say the least, then another and another. This was a gem in the middle of nowhere. It banks are filled with Bald and Golden Eagles, Ospreys, other birds that I don't know the name of, Deer and Beavers, its untamed… oh and the moose, up close. We heard an awkward bird cry and looked up to see a Bald Eagle squawking relentlessly. Neither of us had ever heard this particular sound before, so we watched this bird with curiosity. Floating by, our eyes still fixed to the bird, we rubbernecked all the way around the bend waiting for something to happen. That right about the time we spotted a bull moose standing right in the middle of the river and that's right about the time when we started scraping bottom in the shallow small gravel and right after that, we came to a complete stop just a few feet away from the large animal. Holy shit, we need to get "beeping" out of there. Grizz quickly hoped out of the boat and started pushing. The moose wasn't bothered though, it actually he walked away with a disgusting look on his face. The last few hours of the float it started to rain, actually pour, we pushed out to the car.

Back at camp we planed our next assault. Were going back to the same stretch. The basic scenario is this, we have one shot at each hole and a few casts per run and the fish we are targeting are rather large, not to mention that we didn't move a fish on top. There was only one choice, streamers. We achieved our redemption, another great day. We picked of some hefty fish, lost even more. I learned the "what not to do's" on the oars and feel pretty good about the technical crash course (literally) that I had the pleasure of participating in. As soon as I got behind the paddles I was nervous, alert and realized that its way harder than Grizz makes it look. I am glad that I didn't wreck the boat and was able to get him in range of a fish… even if it’s a crazy behind the back cast with an awkward mend, I'm still trying to figure it out.

We thanked Josh on our way out of town and learned that this will probably be the last week to float it. We had no idea that there is a two-week window all year to float it. The rest of the year is private property…. The fishing God's were definitely smiling on us this trip.

Above pics shot by Grizz

Friday, August 1, 2008

Utah Fishing - Along the Tracks

Drew and I headed out at the crack of dawn. We had an epic day of tossing the big bugs a few weeks back and we are anticipating the same results. Spicy had some good Cicada Intel, so that pretty much sealed the deal on the location. The fishing this year has been fantastic. the last four months consisted of slapping large oversize dry flies. As of late, Cicada patterns have been producing brilliantly… but a good thing never lasts.

The drive is distinctive. It leaves the pavement and winds through sagebrush and scrub Oak. Suddenly, the road gains elevation rather quickly and the steep climb to the top of the ridge-line begins. Once on top of the mountain ridge the road travels for a few miles along the top. The view is of the surrounding peaks and ridges, its pretty dang cool. Looking below into a dark valley you can make out that small blue line of water in the gut of the gorge. Traveling along the ridge you get a sense of being in the middle of nowhere. The road starts to drop in elevation right about the time the vegetation smoothly changes from grass and sage to Aspens and Pine trees. The temperature drops as we head deeper into the forest. Winding down the last hundred yards my eagerness grows… ah, water.

We rigged up and headed off, up the tracks to solitude… right as another car pulled in to the lot. Well, there goes the solitude. I walked over to talk to the guy, who's in a hurry to get his gear together. I thought a little friendly communication would be best so that everyone can have a great day. There's only three of us and miles of water so nobody needs to be fishing behind the other. I introduced myself and told him we are headed up a ways. He told us that he was headed up also, then explained that he's fished the area for a long, long time and knows it quite well. Sweet I said and asked a few questions and rambled off a few obvious stretches… that anyone familiar would know. He fumbled around, started to answer that was followed by a bunch of nothingness. I finally just told him we headed 3 miles up and that should be plenty of room for everyone…. noticeably he's foreign with most everything around these parts. We finally headed up the tracks and laughed about what had just happened.

Hiking next to the river causes me to be restless. I needed to remind myself to push on, even though I was staring at a beautiful pool that looks oh so fishy. The hike is full of conversation and topics usually include, fish, patterns, nature, life, ideas, solutions, jokes, the dude who knew too much, etc, etc. It's an enjoyable part of fishing and it passes the time. I looked back a few times to see if the guys had started his walk yet but we never saw him.

Drew picked up one and another came unbuttoned. I however was getting rejected and spooking all my targets. After two Red Bulls I had "wings" (Red Bull ad), instead of changing patterns I tried to just shove it down their throats with a few hundred more casts. It got their attention all right…they swam away. We reevaluated things. Drew picking up a few fish on Cicadas didn’t help matters. I didn't know what to do. Cicada or not to Cicada, that is the question…. Then I heard it, or didn't hear it…. no sound of the Cicadas, no crazy clicking or buzzing. Dam it. I shouldn't have been in such a hurry. Observing the water, foam line and back eddies where we found some PMD's. We heard some faint Cicadas but not what we had been previously accustom too. SO… on goes the PMD emerger.? We spotted a fish feeding at tail of a nice riffle. The river bottom suddenly drops straight off, like a ledge. The water is fast and at the seam of the drop and slows suddenly in the deepness. It's a perfect feeding lane for a fish, the faster turbulent water makes it a great place to hide and the location of the ledge would be compared to the end of a conveyor belt, the fish is basically holding at the end of the line. I told Drew to get em". A few casts with the Cicada were presented with good drifts, all rejected. Drew then gave me the go ahead. Once it saw the emerger it eagerly ate it. Sight fishing to a picky trout and sticking it makes all those other times that failed seems meaningless and forgotten…. Although, this wasn't one of those times, the fish just wanted a PMD emerger, it really didn't care who tossed it or what pattern it was. Things started picking up after that, we spent the rest of the day hooking fish. …and spooking the big ones. We harassed some large Carp, picked up some trash and headed back to the car.

We fished on the way back down the tracks, Drew was really fishing with confidence and it was showing. He hooked and lost what would have been the fish of the day along with a few other fatties. I'm sure by the end of the day he was sick of my "coaching", five more feet to the right, two more feet to the left, yada-yada-yada, mend you line, set set set, etc etc etc. I just want him to catch them and I get so excited that I find myself, well, a little too excited. But he listens and humors me…and then makes fun of me. We ran into a few other guys fishing right by the parking area and proceed to target sipping fish. A few more and we called it a day. At the parking lot the first guy's car was gone. It seems that both of these parties are just fishing from the car and up a half a mile….if they only knew what was up river. I suppose that it pays to be curious, eager and willing to hike miles.