Wednesday, December 12, 2012

With only a few weeks left to our season and the ever increasing amount of preparations to look after before the big fat guy comes down the chimney, a good friend and I made the last minute decision to take advantage of the opening in our schedules. I had just fished several days prior, coming home with fishy gloves. The river was a smidge higher and more coloured than what I consider as “prime”. I had also heard that it fished better the day after I was there. We could only guesstimate where they could be on the system and plan accordingly.
Brad offered to drive which turned out to be the better. On our way up, our speed was reduced to 60km/hour as the snow was coming down nicely and blanketing the road. My car would have been all over. We eventually got stuck behind a salt truck. Though we were not in a rush as I figured not too many would be out, the reduced paced with an obstructed view ahead did not necessarily agree with two anglers whom were having visions of steelhead dancing in their heads.
There was a calming that came over me when we got out of the car. Not another vehicle around and the river still had a good clip to her and the colour mixed quite nice. Taking our time, we discussed which run to hit first. For a moment, it seemed like we were engaged in some serious business dialogue. The calming had begun to developed into excitement.  At the end of the walk in, we decided to split up and hit different drifts in efforts to locate them.
Adjusting my float and adding some shot, I hear a crash that broke the zenquility. As I looked up and over, Brad was frantically trying to catch up to his line from one of those hero drifts. The fish came back up on him and then burst across the river. I think Brad was still gathering the slack line when it spit the hook. So like any good buddy would, as he re-tied, I slipped around to low-hole him…….. and banked the first fish of the day.
Payback is a bitch. On the next run, Brad took advantage of yet another re-tie I was blessed with.

Right in front of me his float would dip under however this time, he made no mistake and set the rod back hard.

It was a big buck that would tear up the run despite the reduced temperatures.

Eventually he could not break the heavy tippet. Brad slid him onto the grass for a quick pic and admiration before sending him back.
Squared up on the hijinks, we decided to hit as many runs before the mid-way point of the day and then work the same runs and pools back to the vehicle.
We were certain there would be more than one fish in them as we could only muster one at each stop along the way. Instincts proved accurate as we connected with a few more on the latter part of the outing.
One particular highlight was a very large fish that had Brad hopping across the river in pursuit. Never seen him go with so little caution. As I got down below him and the fish, I caught a glimpse and thought it was a late entry salmon. It was that big. We had to have been close to five minutes into the battle and a good 50 meters downstream. It was no surprise that the knot gave way and sent his rig directly back at him. He was fortunate that it all hit his chest otherwise he would be asking for his two front teeth this Christmas.
There may be one more trip out before the 25th. For now, it’s off to wrap the damn presents…..

Friday, December 7, 2012

Our rivers got the rain they needed. There was anticipation and hope for a well-timed trip. More hope than anything else as I have not been timing things to its potential. There always seem to be something that takes precedence and admittedly, I don’t want to miss any of my son’s practices or games these days.
I had given myself half a day on Thursday which would leave plenty of time to return home, clean up and organize his hockey gear. Maybe even sneak in a nap. How nice would that be? What I did not plan was that the alarm sounded off at 4:30am and I decided to give myself a 90 minute snooze button option! I almost rolled over to stay in bed, contemplating a day of begging and changing appointments in order to go the following day. I have learned from past experiences to stick to the original course if I knew what was good for me.
Arriving quite past first light, several cars had easily beaten me there. I was to fish second water. Lately, I have come to accept it and have had success none the less. Today was nothing different. I started low on one tributary thinking the conditions would keep them short after entering from the lake. Didn’t think for a moment I would be alone.

And though it was never meant intentionally, I found myself drifting a piece of a tailout where I thought the fish would hold given the amount of presentations and float popping that was going on. It was also being drifted by another so I essentially pinned him from across the other side. He had more room and drift than I however I don’t think he could see the two rocks that I could see. These two rocks made a nice chute just ahead of the fast water. On my first drift through, the Oregon Cheese yarn pattern got smacked. Easily to hand but right after the click of the camera, it took my fly.
I only stayed a couple of hours here. The action slowed down and though I knew there were still a few there, I decided to leave fish for more seclusion and unpressured fish. After a drive around, several access points were occupied. It was doubtful there would be a chance at any non-spooked fish. While there was a notion to call it a day only after fishing for a few hours, I decide to drop back to a different system and hope for the best, that few would be there.
Pulling up, there were three cars cold to the touch. Assuming it would be only three others and there was plenty of water up or down, my hopes were rejuvenated when I saw the greenie water.  Double stepping to one of my favorite high flow runs and wouldn’t you know, not another around!  I should have changed floats but time seemed to be pacing out very quickly. Instead, adjustments to the set up were made in order to support the “wrong” float for the application. Within minutes, a quick take and a two second zig zag left my set up hanging on some bank brush.

My Blackberry chimed off the 60 minute warning. “Fish Fast” was what I had noted in my alarm pop up. And indeed I did. I wanted to cover two other drifts. Falling over growth that had not been knocked down by the weather, I stumbled to another run. Again, first drift into it, a feisty hen not happy that the meal she wanted was just hard plastic.
I wish I could have been on the river again today. Water levels would have made for easier navigations to various runs. Looking forward to the next outing. Perhaps I can leave the orange toque at home.