Thursday, May 23, 2013

Birthday Fish

Nothing like crappy weather to try out a new tent with the family.  So with the spring turning cold and wet again we took to the hills to get a little camping in.  This year was a bad one as far as snowpack's concerned, so I figured we'd be able to get up to a lake that I've been fishing on and off since I was really young.  "Really young" can be a relative term, but I don't remember going to this lake for the "first time" which is where the feeling of always knowing it's been there comes from I guess.  Even though I've never put any serious time in on it, I feel I know it pretty well just from stopping for a few minutes now and again.  

Coming up over Fairview Canyon the weak winter followed by a warm spring was in evidence.  Huntington Reservoir (Mammoth) had open water around the edges (with quite a few people fishing), and Cleveland Reservoir was completely ice free (with no one around).  There was very little snow on top for this early in the year which will make for a rough summer, as far as flows go, later on.  But with the lack of water comes streams that clear off earlier, and in some cases don't get real high at all, so there's always an upside, unless you're a farmer.  Huntington Creek looks to be in good shape below Electric Lake (also ice free) for about the first mile or so until you get a feeder creek in the recently burned area.  Some people are very optimistic about the burned areas, especially with the low run-off this year, but I'm still pretty skeptical.  I think it'll be at least another year before things start to get stabilized.  Another year (unless the DWR drops some catchable sized fish in there) before those areas are worth fishing.  Part of me hopes the fish do get planted, and hopefully they're Native Cutthroats.  I really enjoy fishing a stream that has multiple species in it because it keeps the catching interesting even when if they aren't particularly large.  Now I know that there already are Cutts in the Huntington, but the Right Fork, and even the lower Left Fork, has been predominantly Brown Trout and it'd be nice to help the Cutts gain a larger foothold.  

The ride down the Canyon was real pretty but pretty eventless as well.  Soon we were making our way back up the mountain to where we'd hoped to spend the night.  Luckily, the roads only had a couple of small spots where the snow was holding out and we made it to our lake with little trouble.  The new tent is a 10'X14' Kodiak Flex Bow, pretty much like the ones I used back in Scouts.  Definitely not a backpacking tent, but more of a heavy duty home away from home type tent.  Especially with our Queen sized cot with an air mattress on top.
Great place to camp

Once camp was set up and we'd had dinner, I made it down to the lake to get some fishing in before the warm afternoon turned into a chilly evening.  I was quickly into fish using a Stimulator on top and a Rainbow Warrior dropper, with most fish coming on the Rainbow Warrior.  This lake has always fished pretty consistent for medium to smaller trout.  So I was truly shocked when the biggest fish I've ever caught there took the fly!  Not a monster most places, but a nice fish, and one that is still swimming and hopefully growing till we meet again.  Not a bad way to celebrate my birthday!
Nice surprise

I hope you can get out and enjoy the water.