Monday, November 2, 2015

Back to Fishing

It's been way too long since I've been fishing. This is the thought that's been keeping me awake more and more throughout the month of October, a month in which I didn't fish at all, especially since the white stuff started creeping down the mountain. So, despite getting home late on Halloween and the fact that no one wanted to go with me, come hell or high-water I was going fishing to start November out on the right foot. So the only thing keeping me awake last night was the decision of where to go. So I tried to weigh my options (should I fish a stream? which? a lake? kick-boat?.....) as I slowly got down to getting a couple of hours before light. 

Pretty cool to see wild turkeys
Finally, I was heading out the door with enough fishing gear to fish no matter what. I brought the backpack loaded with everything I needed for a hike. But, just in case, I also brought the waders and everything I'd need to hit a stream for a back up plan. Once I reached the jumping off point I noticed that I was above the snow line and the wind was making a valiant effort to flip my car. Typical Kidder attitude took over and I mounted up and started on the hike. 

The hike wasn't too bad since the deepest snow was only a few inches, but I knew the hike out would be a muddy mess. Along the trail there are a couple of small ponds where I swear I've seen fish out of the corner of my eye but they always seem to disappear before I can get a second look. Well today those fish materialized in the half light of dawn and I even hooked one before moving on towards my intended destination (not without promises of another try on the way out of course, more on that later). 

Kink of a weird pic, but there's fish in that hole
Once I reached the small reservoir that was my main objective for the day I noticed that the summer weed beds were still out in force and the water was lower than the last time I was here. That's not a very good combination as it leaves very little of the water table open for fishing, especially since I was stuck to shore fishing. I hurried over to a spot where I've been pretty successful and spooked the only fish in the neighborhood (a nice brook trout that I'd have liked to had a closer inspection of). I continued fishing my way around the small reservoir, but I only spotted two other fish and had no success. Thoughts of the back-up plan resurfaced and if I'd have been on the right side of the water for a quick escape this story would've ended very differently. As it was, I was on the far side, away from the trail, and although it would make my escape slower I decided to keep close to the water to keep an eye out for anything that might change my fortunes. The beaver lodge that made an outcropping far enough into the water to give me access to deeper water was exactly what I needed and after tying on yet another new fly I had a nice brookie follow. On the second cast I let the simi-seal leech fall through the water column a little longer and it was more than he could stand.

Mighty fine brookie
After reviving and releasing the beauty I made a couple more casts from the lodge, making sure to let the fly sink as long as possible, and picked up another fish. This time it was a decent little cutthroat and I was thinking that my day was finally picking up. 

I love the spot pattern
Too bad no one told the fish. Those were the only two fish that would come to hand from this reservoir today, so I made the muddy hike back out to the car. Along the way I stopped at one of the ponds but the fish had gone back through the worm-hole and were nowhere to be found (where could they go, the water's only a foot deep at best?) but followed the water up the hill to find a cool little waterfall before finding the car.

It seemed a bit bigger in person...
It was getting a little late to make the drive to a stream that I've been itching to fish, so I elected instead to fish one of the many small reservoirs in the area that I often overlook. I knew the fish probably wouldn't be large ("probably", isn't that the great part of fishing? We never really know) but figured that I might be able to scare up a few more before heading home. I was right, and I landed quite a few on my leech before they started surfacing. Of course I made the switch to a dry and enjoyed casting to riseforms and watching the small rainbows inhale my Parachute Zebra Midge until it was past time to head home. It felt great to fish again! Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

A good place to finish the day

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