This will never get old.
Let's just say the fish won today and leave it at that. I fought hard winds over the hour I spent on the water but that was no excuse. The fish were there and they were feeding like crazy. I managed to mess up every stalk I put on a feeding fish and put down large pods of hungry trout with inopportune bad casts. Of course I will blame the wind but in the long run this was a learning day, and I learned that you can never take it for granted that the fishing will be easy.
Hook: #18 TMC 206BL
Thread: Olive 8/0
Tail: Malard flank
Body: Gray/Olive Turkey Biot
Thorax: Olive Ice Dub
Wing and Wing Case: Single Natural Brown CDC feather
I guess you get skunked sometimes. We arrived on the river a little early. On the water at 1:20 and the only bugs on the water were midges. Fish were not rising. About 2:20 I noticed a few BWO's flying around and soon after fish were up rising to them but it was time to head out. I guess we learned that sometimes the hatch happens a little later in the day. We will get to the river a little later next time.
Soon after I tied on the fly I noticed a good rise directly across the stream from me. I flipped the fly just upstream of the rise rings and watched it enter the zone. Sure enough, the fish took it hard. Then went on a series of good runs up and down the slow pool probably spooking nearly every other fish there out of the country. It was a nice 18" fish. After releasing this fish the surface activity in the run shut down. I really think that the struggling fish managed to rid the area of his fellow feeders. I fished the Skwala up into the riffles for another 15 minutes before deciding it was time to head out. Another good lunch hour.
I worked this area for a while and it was a challenge as the fish would cruise around a bit in the slow stretch of river so you had to anticipate which direction they were headed when you noticed a rise. I was frustrated by several fish over the next 15 minutes.. Finally I was able to intercept a fish rising across the river. It doesn't get much better than watching your tiny fly moving slowly along in the current when slowly a big nose pokes up and gulps down the offering. This fish was the biggest of the day stretching 20 inches. After he was released the fish just quit feeding on this stretch so we moved up stream about a quarter mile.
Fish were rising all over in a pretty long stretch of river here. I took the lower slow water and Kelly fished below a riffle where the fish were going ballistic. On one of my first casts I landed a little 8 inch brown. The smallest fish I have seen up here in a while. I moved up above and in the riffle above a large rock garden and fooled a couple more fish. The first was about a 15 incher but was very fat. The final fish came right out of the middle of the riffle. A very nice 18 inch fish that was very bright and colorful. Very good day on the river.
I fished a tough slow stretch of river today. Fish are all over in there but the river moves so slow it is a struggle to get a good cast without spooking them. To top it off the wind was blowing pretty good straight down the river making casting upstream almost impossible. Especially with my three weight. I think I will have to break out the 5wt again as the wind is pretty much a given in the spring. Punching a #10 pattern through the wind with my 3wt is not easy. I made several good presentations downstream to feeding fish and had a couple takes on the midge but could not connect. Also had one big nose take down the Skwala but I missed on the hook set.
Finally I moved upstream to a big eddy where fish often lie and sip midge pupa to their hearts content. They where in there and on my first good cast I had another big fish gulp up the Skwala, but again I missed it. I was beginning to wonder if it just wasn't my day and I tried one more cast up into the top of the eddy and sure enough another nice snout poked up and took down the Skwala. I set the hook and had it. Finally. I was quite surprised though when I brought the fish in close to see that it had the Zebra Midge in it's mouth, not the Skwala. My only explanation is that the big fish ate the midge on the way up to the Skwala. When I set the hook, I missed with the Skwala but the hook on the Zebra Midge found pay dirt. Fish are definitely starting to key in on the adult Skwalas though. It was frustrating to miss on those other two. Very nice outing though.
The lunch hour started innocently. I caught this spunky 16 inch fish on one of my first casts. The sun was shinning the wind was minimal, and the temps were in the range where t-shirts are comfortable. After I released the fish I noticed one small black cloud in the sky but thought it couldn't be very menacing for how small it was. Then it started to sprinkle as I made my way upstream to fish to some risers below a riffle I had never fished before. When I got there I was excited as the fish were going crazy, but before I could even make my first cast the rain picked up from a light drizzle to a steady pour. Again I looked at the cloud and thought "this will be quick, that cloud is still not very big." I fished the run but once the rain picked up all surface feeding stopped. I picked up one very active 15" fish there and noticed as I released it that the rain had made a steady progression at this point to torrential down pour status. It was virtually impossible to pick my fly out on the water with all the rain pelting down on the rivers surface so I headed back to the truck. Halfway there a few of the raindrops began feeling a little solid as they pelted my face. I got in the truck just as a pretty good hail storm hit full force. As I drove out of the canyon the hail had already built up and was covering the road. When I broke out of the canyon walls the storm disappeared and the sun was back out. Interesting turn of events but I will take a drenching any day if I can pick up a couple fish in the process.