Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On a Mission: Part 1

To quote a fellow fly fishing junkie, I needed a bender. I've been lucky to get in a decent amount of fishing this season, but like all debilitating addictions hobbies- it just never seems like enough. With the wife and baby out of town with family last weekend, I had forty eight hours to fish completely irresponsibly. So, for the past two days a bender is exactly what I got. Two posts worth. Here's day one.

First on the list was another boat trip on the reservoir for smallies… this is a habit that seems to be only getting more severe. It's tough to beat the action of hard fighting bass. And casting for distance without a branch in sight is worth the trip alone. Our little streams aren't exactly the place for a double haul. But this time the fishing was not nearly as action packed as it has been earlier in the year. My guess is that bass are seeking cooler deep water. They just weren't around the shorelines in any consistent numbers. Then again, maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place. I'm no bassmaster, that's for sure.Trolling some streamers over drop offs produced a couple decent smallies, but that's not exactly the thrill of casting to feisty bass I had in mind. It was a gorgeous hot sunny day, which made for a nice morning on the water though probably wasn't doing much good for the fishing. Time to move on.

After some lunch and break from the sun, it was time for trout. I won't name the stream I visited with the friend who wisely prefers to keep it quiet, and also for my own selfish motivation to do the same. What a beautiful spot. I had low expectations for early afternoon fishing in July… but right out of the gate I connected with a healthy and large rainbow on a WD40 nymph. And it was a wily one. When I got it within reach it swam a quick circle around my ankles, breaking the tippet and speeding off in one motion. If trout could laugh, this one would be cackling for sure. We fished upstream a bit and the head of a nice little pool produced this pretty little brown. It zipped up and down the pool when it was hooked until I netted it and got a quick photo. We stuck around a bit, but it was getting increasingly hot and that cooler of beer and water in the truck was calling our names.

Next stop: the more well known and heavily fished West Branch. I hadn't been back there since that last epic sulphur hatch I fished, and I'd been thinking about it ever since. Fishing there in the evening is one of my favorite places to be. This being the weekend, I expected the pull-off to be full, but surprisingly there was only one other vehicle parked there. It was late afternoon by then, and I was wondering if there would be anything hatching. The sulphurs may be gone with the crowds, but now is the time for caddis to take over and they were definitely around. Not in any great numbers, but enough to keep fish rising steadily for the evening. I rigged up an elk hair caddis and an emerger dropper and worked my way through the slow water. I've been concerned about the water temperatures here. I've heard conflicting stories about whether recent work on the dam had fixed the issues with the water flows. Unfortunately, it seems that whatever was done wasn't enough. The water was right around seventy degrees, which is definitely on the warm side for trout. It will only get warmer as the summer goes on and this stream will soon be out of commission for yet another year. What a shame. The action wasn't as intense as my last visit, but every so often a brown would grab the emerger with a splashy take. The dry fly was mostly ignored, with maybe a couple exceptions. Given that I practically yanked the fly out of the mouths of the takers, it was hard to tell which of the flies they were going for. I'm still working on taking that crucial little pause before setting a dry fly. The often recommended time it takes to say "God save the Queen" seems unbearably long to wait for an impatient guy like me. Couldn't be any worse than a missed hook set that ends up in the trees though, that's for sure. As it got dark it seemed to slow down a little more. The rises were scarce and nymphing wasn't feeling very appealing. Time to call it a day. At this point I was almost exhausted from a full day of fishing streamers, poppers, nymphs, and dries all over the place. I needed some rest. I still had twenty four hours to fish.