Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Return

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." - Heraclitus 

The Twitchell Fire back in 2010 decimated trout populations in clear creek and its tributaries shortly after my first, and only, trip there. Before the coals were cool (figuratively) there were already plans at using this opportunity to eradicate non-native species in the drainage and further a native cutthroat restoration effort already underway. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, along with Trout Unlimited, worked to remove the unwanted rainbow and brown trout, restore habitat, and move the creek towards a self-sustaining, wild, native population of Bonneville Cutthroat trout. (Read the SL Tribune Article HERE

Fast forward to today (February 19, 2017) and I'm struggling to get out of bed after a long night of tying flies and being indecisive about where I should go fishing. The first inclination was a lake, possibly with my kick boat, but several people on the interweb told me it would be a mistake. So I decided to hedge my bets and hit one of two streams. The first stop would most likely not be in the best condition for fishing, which meant that I'd finally be heading back to clear creek to see what had become of it. 

As the name indicated, the water was indeed clear which is always a good sign. With all the flies I've been tying I was tempted to just throw some experiment on and see what happened, but instead I flipped some rocks to see what they might be eating. There were quite a few mayfly nymphs and a bunch of cased caddis, so I put on a new fly that would work for the cased caddis and a bead head pheasant tail for the mayflies. 

The calendar says it's still winter, but the weather feels much more like an early spring day and the fishing followed the latter. The Bonneville Cutthroat were anxious to have a taste of my new pattern (as with any pattern I come up with, I realize that several others have probably tied the same fly before me) and a few came to the pheasant tail. 

While the fish weren't big, they definitely made me glad that there were people with the presence of mind to step up and re-establish their population. I'm a sucker for cutts, and I enjoyed being back on the water chasing them. Once I'd caught enough I headed back to the car to start heading home.

It didn't really hit me until I was almost back home, but the stream wasn't the only thing that has changed since I'd last been there. Back then, I wouldn't have been able to decifer the aquatic life on the bottom of a rock and know what flies to start with. I also wouldn't have noticed the awesome cliffs in the canyon (that were obstructed by power lines, typical Utah treatment) or the four bald eagles and two ringneck pheasants on the ride home.
Hope you're as lucky,