Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fishless Stream

 I finally finished a fly rod for Luc just in time for Spring break and his growing obsession of fly fishing. While the weather was less than ideal, there were still a couple of days nice enough to get out and do some fishing. He broke the rod in fast during an afternoon on the stream and was ready now for a full day excursion to chase some fin.

The rod, the stalk and the first fish
Some people just have a certain luck about them. For some this is some type of good luck, others...well, not so much. Luc is bad luck. Seems like every time we go out the fishing ends up being less than what we'd hoped. He has the type of bad juju that can affect everyone's fishing that has the misfortune of fishing with him.  Like last year when we made the hike into a stretch of stream only to find finicky fish and more people than that stream can really handle. The best catch of that day was when Luc tangled into a bird that just happened to be flying by. OR like the time we hiked down on a nice stream when we got hailed on and managed to keep pushing a couple of pelicans ahead of us for most of the day. The only saving grace of that day was when Luc stuck a nice fish. There are some people that don't believe in luck, but my guess would be that they aren't fishermen. Any fisherman in the know understands that there is some mysterious power at work that grants good fishing to some while giving the shaft to others. 

A cool old tractor cab
In an effort to hedge our bets we decided to fish on a private stretch of stream that I've gotten permission to fish. I wish there was some story behind gaining the access. A tale of working the grapevine, schmoozing the owners with promises of releasing fish, cleaning up garbage, exchanging labor for access or maybe even something a little more epic. But no, I heard that a co-worker owned a stretch of stream, brought it up to her and she said I could come fish whenever. The stream has some really nice looking stretches that have a good mix of riffles and pools with some undercut banks, trees and willows for cover. The fish food available is incredible with lots of scuds, aquatic worms, leeches, mayflies, caddis, and midges with equally incredible terrestrials with field mice, voles, and grasshoppers (at the right time of year). The problem? No fish seem to live in this stretch. We fished the whole thing which is a good days worth of fishing and if the fish were biting it would probably be more than a days worth and only saw a few fish. Perfect drift after perfect drift through some amazing looking water that brought no fish made for some frustrating fishing. We kept saying, "maybe we'll start seeing them from here up" then "Okay, from here up" then "Are there no fish, or do we just suck?" 

It really is a beautiful stretch of stream
This stretch reminds me of a stream a few years ago where the water from a dam had been turned off without warning and it killed thousands of fish. The next year there had been an explosion of Utah Chubs with very few trout in the mix, but they were really nice. Every year since we've found more and more fish, but the average size has gone down. Hopefully we'll hit it just right when there are some nice sized fish in the stream but before they begin to become stunted. 

Looks like a beatis to me
We kept working our way upstream until we found what was keeping the fish we'd found in the upper stretches from getting down to the private stretch, a diversion dam. I think it's going to take some serious run-off to flush some fish over that thing, or they're going to need to restock the stream. The beginnings of the beatis hatch were stirring, so we felt confident that if we could find some fish we could probably catch some fish. A likely looking hole that looked pretty deep proved us right once Luc switched to an indicator nymphing set-up with enough weight to get the flies down. Several fish were caught quickly, including some beautiful Cutthroat, on a BH Pheasant Tail (which we expected would work) and a big #8 Hare's Ear with a orange bead (which we didn't expect to work that well). 

After a morning of frustration, Luc seems pretty happy to be catching
From there up it was good fishing with even a few risers to keep things interesting. I managed to hook and lose a decent brown when my dropper got in-bedded into a submerged log. The cutts were definitely out in force after not seeing many of them for quite a while (where do they all hide?) and they look like they're ramping up for the spawn. All in all, another great day out on the water with good company. As an added bonus we managed to break the bad juju and catch our fair share of fish despite starting out on a fishless stream. 

Hope you can get out,

There are sharks in the water

He just doesn't like to call it a day