Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another Lake Fork Weekend

The Lake Fork is fishing well and I am definitely looking forward to moving to Lake City for the summer. On a Friday afternoon guide trip my client landed several nice fish and lost one big rainbow. The next day I managed to lose a big rainbow out of the same hole but it felt good to hook into a big, wild, unpressured fish. I managed to land a few nice fish including a beautiful cutthroat just before dark but my hands were numb and I decided to skip the picture. Before the cutthroat I drifted a weighted stone and a prince nymph through a deep hole and landed a beat up rainbow. This was definitely a tough fish. The gill plate on one side was broken and there were a few scars on the body. This fish must have been in a fight with a hungry bird or something but it is definitely a survivor.
On Sunday I hit some lower sections of river and the water was a little high and off color. The fishing was tough but I managed a few decent browns. When I finished the drive home to Gunnison I hadn't had enough so I drove up to the Taylor. It was crowded and the fishing was a little slow. I was broke off by one big fish that wrapped me around a rock as soon as I set the hook. I didn't stay long but I may be back up there this week. Hopefully next weekend the Lake Fork remains productive but with the warmer temperatures runoff has to hit hard soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Hog Trough Beauty

What a better way to study for finals than a day at the Hog Trough. The fishing was tough today. Nobody seemed to be hooking up this afternoon including myself. There were tons of visible fish and I threw the kitchen sink at them without success. After a while of being rejected I spotted a big rainbow and settled in. I tied on a RS2 under some split shot and a balloon indicator. I made about 15 presentations to this fish before it flashed and the indicator ticked. I set the hook and chased it down stream after the initial Walter Payton run and landed it quickly in shallow water, using my net only to trap the head before a few quick pictures and measurements of 27". Two casts later I landed a nice 18" rainbow on the same RS2 and that was the day for me. I fished a little longer without result. One other guy caught 2 nice fish as darkness was approaching. Some midges were coming off late in the evening and a few fish were boiling on the surface but I packed it up and headed home. Hopefully tomorrow Nick and I will get into some good fish after class. It's better than studying anyways.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lake Fork of the Gunnison

I went up to Lake City last weekend to help get organized and get The Sportsman ready for the guide season. Friday after work I hit the river for the last few hours of daylight and I almost forgot how much I love this river. I started throwing some oversized streamers hoping to move a big fish in a deep green pool but nothing took. I switched to a prince nymph and a #18 BWO pattern under a balloon and the fishing picked up. Every cast it seemed like I had a strike. After several nice 13-15" rainbows and browns I hooked up a nice fat rainbow pushing the 19" mark. Immediately after I hooked up a solid 18" brown. The water was cold from snow melt but the fish were feisty. I hit the water again Saturday before heading back to Gunnison but the warm day sent some fresh runoff downstream and the water was a little high and off color. The fishing turned off and I moved out. I wanted to head downstream to check on conditions but it was near dark. I'll be back up next weekend and hope the river isn't blown out. Either way the fish are in there and once the runoff clears it is going to be an awesome season.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Carcass Season

Beneath each new layer of melted snow lies a host of animal carcasses that have been hidden through the winter. This is my first winter in Gunnison and I was wondering if this was normal. Some of the locals informed me that this is one of the worst winters they have seen in terms of snow and road kill. It is not only road kill though. On a recent trip to the Lake Fork of the Gunnison we saw dead deer and elk sprawled across fence lines. Although this looks like a gruesome way to die, the living wildlife don't seem to mind as they continue to feed around their deceased brethren. The hard winter is evident in the deer that endured. They are thin and sluggish and have not moved far from the road yet. With the open ground they are eating constantly not even lifting their heads from the feed when cars come whizzing past. It may take a few years for the herd populations to rebound. Hopefully they feed well all year and catch a break next winter.

Recent snow melt uncovered this fawn near the Gunnison River.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taylor River Beauties

I took a little trip to the Taylor River with my friend Nick, his Uncle and his Dad and we had one exciting Sunday. The day started out with Nick getting broke off by a monster rainbow that torpedoed out of the water dolphin style. After that we nymphed the day away catching some nice rainbows and browns with the beautiful coloration typical of the Taylor River. As afternoon began to approach things had slowed down and the fish were getting tougher until...

Nick caught this monster rainbow. He stretched his tippet to the max and did an amazing job of landing this beast. Once he got it in I took the undersized net and trapped the fish's head for a few quick photos and an easy release. After that fish we were all satisfied for the day but we continued fishing. Nick spotted a rainbow for me from the bridge and I made a nice slack line drift over the rainbows head. After a few casts the indicator ticked, I set the hook and the fish torpedoed out of the water. Luckily I had some slack in the line and it moved toward me or it would have broke me off. After the ensuing battle and some help with a guy who had a long handled net the fatty was landed. After netting the fish we found Nick's fly stuck in it's mouth. This was the same fish that broke him off in the morning. A few more pictures and the beautiful rainbow was safely released. Now we were really happy. Right before we called it a day, Nick's Dad caught and fat brown and we went home on a great high. The Taylor can be an exciting river and with a little effort you may find great rewards.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Book Review

I was digging through some books last night trying to distract myself from the flu that is making me miserable and I came across this book by James Babb. I read this about a year ago and forgot about it until now. I have realized that the title of the book is the same as my blog which is interesting because I never thought of the book when I created the title. Perhaps my subconscious was busy playing tricks on me again. I will say that Fly-Fishin' Fool is an awesome book and that James Babb is one hell of an author. His essays and short stories move in rhythm and capture the essence of the relationship of fly fishers and nature despite his self claimed visions of aging clumsiness. I highly recommend this book to all fly fishers and non fly fishers. Fly fishing has a rich history of literature but some of the literature has the aroma of elitism. James Babb, like John Gierach is a down to earth, real world kind of guy. Their writing transcends social status that is sometimes associated with fly fishing and in the world of literature I would compare them to the likes of Jim Harrison. The appeal of moving water and natural ecosystems create romantic feelings that few authors can put into words. Those authors who can will be remembered when the wild places are gone.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The One Cast Curse

Headed up to the Hog Trough today with a friend and realized I'd grabbed the wrong reel when we arrived. It was the right line weight for the rod but it was set up for streamers and I wanted to begin with nymphs. I threw on the ugliest streamer I could find, figuring I'd change leaders after a few minutes and go back to the streamer around dark but on the first cast I hooked into a nice brown. After that I had to keep the streamer going. My friend caught two on midges before switching to a streamer and catching two more while I made great presentations and never had another touch. Every time I've caught a fish immediately the rest of the day is ruined. Well, not entirely because I'm still fishing but not catching. It was however a very nice fish.
We didn't start until late afternoon as we planned on fishing streamers after dark but the sun started to set and we packed up before frostbite set in. I need to remember the thermals and a mug of hot liquids next time. Being in a canyon the sun sets early and the wind can make things very cold. When the guides ice over every other cast it is time to go home.