(photo from Outdoors International)
If it doesn't blind em it may catch em
Another look at the bottom, this fly just looks fishy to me.
The fishing on the Boise River, in my experience, can be a bit hit and miss but there is a good population of Rainbow and Brown trout and there are some fish in this river that grow quite large. Besides trout, the Idaho Fish and Game releases several truckloads of hatchery Steelhead that are trapped below Hells Canyon Dam, where they reach a large barrier to any further migration, into the river offering a little extra sport each fall. The first truckload this year arrived this last Thursday and so I decided to get out and put a few of the Steelhead flies I have been tying recently to use.
I tied on an Egg Sucking Leach (I love Steelhead Fly names) and some split shot to get it down deep and wore out my arm working a very good looking, deep hole. I only had a couple hours to fish before I needed to get over to the Stadium and reserve some seats in the General Admission section for the Boise State football game for our group.
It was a beautiful crisp fall morning and the marching bands dull thumps in the background only confirmed this is the greatest time of year. When else are you going to try and catch a steelhead all morning then walk a half mile to the stadium and take in a great college football game. Ahhhhhhhhh Fall! By far my favorite season.
Well my brothers and I went out for a day fishing on the Owyhee River this weekend. It was a fun time as usual but the fishing was slow. The morning was especially slow. Many of the Browns are spawning this time of year but there were plenty of fish off the redds feeding in the long slow stretches. I was frustrated all morning by a midge hatch with fish so finicky I nearly deemed them impossible to catch. Finally about 2:30 in the afternoon I got into a pod of fish feeding on a very nice BWO hatch and managed to land several fish but they were all much smaller than I usually see on the Owyhee. In the last hour I managed to pick off four 12-14 inchers during the hatch and called it a day. It was a fun time out on the river with my brothers even with the fishing being slow. Todd landed his first Owyhee Brown on a fly, a nice 18 incher that gave him a good fight, and Tom landed the most fish on the day.
There are people on eBay selling their life's worth collection of fly tying supplies all bundled together for prices that are very reasonable. Now I am no eBay whiz, this is for sure, in fact the only time I have ever used it, I used the "buy it now" feature so there was no bidding or anything involved. Just click and pay and I was done.
Being a rookie I learned a few things along the way, and had some fun. I started searching the site and found a whole set up, with a very good vise and a whole lot of materials, that at the time was very reasonable and well within my budget. There were 4 days left in the bidding for this set and in my exuberance I placed a bid right then and there. I was in the lead...for exactly 12 hours. Soon the item that had started out looking like a good deal was spiraling out of control in a price range that made me feel queasy. I bowed out. Then I found a great deal on a Regal vise. There were no materials with it, just the vise, but I figured I could always get the materials later. The deal on the vise was just too good to pass up. I started bidding early again and had the item won for a price so low I could hardly believe my luck. Then while I was at work the bid ended, and five minutes before it ended some one swooped in and outbid me, by $1. Oh the agony of defeat. Now this was getting my competitive juices flowing. Just the emotion that I am sure eBay thrives off of.
Determined to not be out done again I found another great deal on a whole package. There were enough skinned animals, and full bird capes in it to make any small fur bearing, or feathered animal very nervous, and a very nondescript picture of a vise with very little information on it. Now one thing I know through all this is I have done my homework when it comes to vises, and I was pretty sure by the shape of what I could see in the picture that this was an older Regal vise. Just what I wanted, a Regal vise with enough material to get me going and keep me going for a while. Time was running out on the item and the price was still right. I emailed the seller about getting more pictures of the vise to confirm my suspicions regarding it's maker, but it was the night before the items bidding was to end so I was not sure he would even get my email in time to respond. I withheld the urge to bid and simply noted the ending time when I planned to come back and make my move.
Time was winding down this morning when I jumped into the bidding. With 3 minutes left I placed a bid that put me in the driver seat with $21 to spare. Then I watched as the time ticked off. At two minutes all was well, no more bids. One minute, all's quiet...good. Then my cell phone rings and it is my lovely wife.
"OK I can talk and do this no problem."
Thirty seconds left, "yes, sweetie I will pick up some milk on the way home."
Twenty seconds left, 19...18...UH OH we have another player in the game. I was bid up. By now I was not sure what my wife was saying on the other end of the line, I was focused on the task at hand. I upped my max by 10 dollars with 5 seconds to go in the bidding and by the time the screen refreshed it had confirmed I was a winner! I felt like a champion. I had been beaten down by those veteran eBayer's for the last time. I went back in to check the bid history and sure enough, my bid had beat my wily opponents by 3 seconds...for the exact same amount. If he had entered one more penny or 4 seconds earlier I would be mourning my 3rd defeat in as many days.
The thing with eBay is, after you get that little thrill of victory feeling a screen pops up to burst your bubble.
"Shoot, I knew there was a catch."
I never did hear back from the seller on what type of vise I just bought but I am not overly concerned as the tying materials alone in this lot where worth more than what I paid, and if my suspicions are true that this is a Regal Vise you will hear another round of celebration once I receive my item. Now I just wish I could buy that milk my wife asked me to pick up on eBay. That was kind of fun.
I think I am slowly developing a thing for fishing streamers. When you talk to fly fishermen they always like to brag about the nice trout that sipped his delicate little size 22 trico spinner so subtly he barely noticed it was gone. Not me. Yes I do like to catch fish on a dry fly but there is something down and dirty about tugging a big ugly strip of feathers and rabbit hide through the water and watching a large wake cruise up behind and smash it. It may not be where the glory in fly fishing is but it sure is where the adrenaline is.
Tuesday night my heart skipped a couple beats each time I saw that big swirl all around my size 4 gray Zonker. The fish were not hammering it on a consistent basis but they were even aggressive in their investigation. Often they would come up and take a look at it and then give a big tail slap on the surface of the water that would have made many a beaver proud and turned back to their ambush site. A few fish grabbed at it after their investigation but failed to get the hook in their mouth. But there were two fish who fell for it and they did it with passion. The first, a 23 inch fatty, hammered the streamer right out in the middle of the river and I knew immediately this was a nice fish. So far this is the biggest fish I have caught on the Owyhee River. It pulled hard and made several good runs before finally coming to hand.
After reviving this monster and watching it swim slowly away I turned to grab my rod and noticed I was in a virtual cloud of Caddis. I have to admit I chuckled to myself when I thought about the massive hatch that was happening all around me and yet there was no way in the world I was taking that big Zonker off. If you want to catch the big, mean, ugly Browns, you have to think big, mean, ugly thoughts. Or at least throw a fly that fits that description.
Well the fishing was so-so last night on the Owyhee River. I spent more time simply observing the more subtle everyday happenings on a river than I usually do. I am hoping my observations help out tonight when I go back. Here is a quick summary of the evening.
All my usual spots had fishermen in them so I ended up at one of my not so favorite spots. It is a place I always try when everything else is filled up because it looks like a great spot but it has yet to produce like it appears that it should. I fished for an hour or so, caught one small fish on the smallest pheasant tail nymph I had, and then started really noticing all the bug activity on the river. There was a tiny caddis hatch and by tiny I mean the Caddis were tiny, not the hatch. There were midges all over the water. Then there was a hatch of larger caddis and I even saw what appeared to be a smallish stonefly I am guessing a Yellow Sally. I also noticed a lot of callibaetis nymphs floading in the water so that would explain the success with the pheasant tail. Then came the exciting part of my outing. In trying to wade a little too fast back down stream after taking a few pictures I slipped and fell. In flailing around trying to get my feet under me I reached out and grabbed at the nearest peice of brush along the shore which just happened to be a nice patch of stinging nettles. My right arm is still tingling today. It is funny I never remember nettles hurting this long when I was a kid but I am sure I didn't marinate in them like my arm did this time as my priorities where more along the lines of not falling rather than worrying about what it was I was grabbing on too. Meanwhile my arm was in there getting well introduced to the nasty stinging plants. After this debacle I moved to one of my favorite spots in the last hour of light and had numerous hookups with what felt like very nice fish but for some reason couldn't keep the fish on the hook. Maybe next time.