Stalking trout with dry flies. Floating, wading, and camping along the rivers. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winter trips to Mexico.

Nov 14, 2015

Winter (2430cfs)

Got a new toy, a nice one.  Had to try it.  Not much sunlight in the canyon these days.  No hatch.  A tiny little midge here and there.  Some skinny risers in the scum holes, which didn't even have much scum.  Some of them pulled back, a few jumped.  Still ok for mid-November.  It wasn't blowing.  There wasn't ice in my guides.  I have rising fish 45 minutes from home every day of the year, so I can't bitch, right?  A rising trout is a rising trout.  They ate too.  A few hours of this now and then will hold me until the spring baetis start and the healthy fish rise again. 
Hardy on a Hardy!


Used this #24!  What the hell?  They ate it too.

Old Man Fairweather.

Oct 28, 2015

Late Season Special

The morning frost feels like late season.  I don't see any fall leaves.  Hatches are sparse and short-lived.  Fish are rising to midges.  I hear shotgun blasts.  My tomatoes are dead.  All sure signs.
Frosty start with some skim ice.

First Riser

Didn't take long.

Traditional Adams

Perfect holding spot

Today's "glory hole."


Good cloudy day glare bug.

Old guy with an old Fenwick and a stick

Frost gone.

Loaded with these for next time, next year.

Oct 16, 2015

A "perfect" day?

Earlier I posted some pictures and words from my fall travels.  The "too good" post has had me thinking ever since I wrote it.  Can we (I) ever be satisfied?  Its either too sunny, too hot, too cold, too windy, raining like hell, no hatch, fish too small, or something else that just isn't quite satisfying.  Or, its just so fucking good that it becomes too easy.  Cast and stick a pig.  Then another, and another, and there's another pod of big heads there, and stick some more.  It becomes routine, with little decision-making, few variables, and sore arms.  Too good?

So just what is a perfect day?  It sure doesn't happen often.  It's not the day where pods of fish rise nearly recklessly filling their mouths with bug after bug, including the one on the end of my line.  But, it's kinda fair weather, and there sure as hell ain't no wind.  Not too crowded either, for that matter.  I mean, I'm talking perfect here, not just awesome. 

It starts in the mid-morning.  This allows time to awaken from a good night's sleep, eat breakfast involving bacon and eggs, casually get dressed for the day, rig the rod and leader of choice, and get to the river without any rush or worry of missing the beginning of the hatch.  Its not hot or cold, and rain gear isn't needed.  There's likely some clouds though, either to start, or coming.  This shit really doesn't happen much on sunny days. 

Upon approaching the water, a large head is soon spotted eating the first insects of the hatch-of-the-day.  It could be pmd's, mahoganys, caddis, baetis, yellow sallies, or even big drakes.  My perfect day could not involve big stoneflies or terrestrials because it will be time spent hunting heads, fish rising in a particular rhythm, in a particular lane, to one or more abundant floating insects.

Now here's where it gets tricky separating "really good," "great," or "epic," from "perfect."  The fishing won't be too easy.  It takes a few minutes to find the head that makes my knees shake a little.  There's a riser here and there, more than a few, but the river ain't boiling with 'em.  Each fish is spotted and evaluated for size and degree of difficulty, but not easily approached without some consideration of the current, light, obstacles, and just how close I think I can get.  But I can approach, carefully, stalking each one like a heron, as I like to say.  Another couple of minutes and I'm finally in position.  The fish is still up.  I can cast, but the lane is not straight and true, and there might be some moss or a limb to deal with too.  The tougher, the better, as long as its possible.

I might have to change flies because not every fish is going to take the fly (Last Chance Cripple!) I have tied on all day on the "too good" days.  Some just won't eat the cripple, Adams, caddis, Hanger, CDC emerger, or other all-day fly.  This is a good thing, because I need to use something else in the box of a thousand at some point, don't I?  All those hours tying, all those dollars buying, "just in case."  The perfect day is one where I need a few of those, but one or two changes will get an eat with a good cast.

So not too tough now, I do want to catch a bunch of "good" fish.  Perfect?  I'd say that's a hooked fish about every 20 minutes or so, on average.  Three fish an hour, from tricky spots, with careful approaches, skillful casts, and some luck.  That's just about right.   That allows for some eats that I miss too, so its still pretty fast action.  This won't go on all day.  It will last about 4 or 5 hours.  Just long enough to enjoy the hell out of it, but not too long to get bored with it.  I want to leave the river because the hatch is over and the fish are down, not because I'm just hungry, need to take a dump, or my body has had enough.  10-3, 12-4, something like that is about right.  I can leave the water to go make a sandwich, use the outhouse, and sit a spell knowing I'm not missing anything I traveled so far and spent so much time and money to find.  I can sit and think to myself, "THAT was PERFECT!"

It's still fun to have "epic" days where its too easy, just don't make a habit out of it.  Additionally, required are those that leave you scratching your head, getting schooled by the fish you can't make eat, or are in just plain shitty conditions where a fish won't be caught regardless of what you think or want.  It better be ok, because that's the way it goes most days. Its all these other days that make that one special window where everything is just right, perfect.

I've had a few.  One on the MO earlier this month.  One on the Fork in September.  But then again, too few to mention.

Oct 11, 2015

Low, Weedy, Sunny. Oct 4-9. 30cfs.

Not the best conditions for this place.  Could not buy a cloud or decent hatch in 6 days.  Oh, there were bugs, and some rising fish, but mostly working hard and covering lots of ground.  The bear cub was cool, especially since it was not aggressive, and is not a normal sighting on this water.  After nearly a week of bluebird weather, the big 3-day wind came, and I left on day one.  It wasn't epic this time, but there were fish to be had.

The "Glory Hole"

A few stray PMD's' left on the first day

Look who came down for a drink this evening!

My "3-legged Cripple" really shined

He came around the corner the next day, but u-turned

Then he came back by me and continued down river.

It took 7x and a #24 Griffith's Gnat in here one evening.  This pool is pounded.

That fly again

Look who else showed up

Dead stuff, but it wasn't the bear.

"The rock", where a fish rose in the tiny channel between the moss, on the bank, daily.

Love using traditional patterns like the original Adams.

The 3-legged Cripple was the fly of the week, hands-down.

The "wet rock" above the Glory Hole.  Held fish daily.

He's still around, eating berries.