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.