Monday, January 25, 2010

If it Rained an Ocean I'd Drink it Dry

The rain came this past weekend. The water fell and the rivers flowed.
It was high time I got back on some fish, so considering the weather was supposed to
warm up to over 50degrees I figured it would be a good day, despite the forecasted rain.
I got on the river by daylight, but with the clouds thick like phlegm and rain coming down in buckets, I actually had to turn on my head lamp to tie my first fly on. The water was pretty high, and rising.
It was nearly impossible to take a clear picture with the rain coming from every direction including from below.

Since the water was so high I worked upstream. I moved from pool to riffle, to pool, and everywhere in between flicking a sz 14 stimulator on top and a sz 18 lightning bug dropper. I caught a few rainbows as I moved along that were all about like this beautiful feller.

The action wasn't that fast on top with the stimi or below with the bug...on top of that it was freezing, the water was about 38 degrees and the air temp was still hovering at about 40. My hands were numbing up, almost couldn't bring my fingers together at one point. So worked up to the falls and decided to eat some jerky, warm my hands, and work downstream with a different approach.

The goal was to just throw big nasty flies in the raging, rising, waters and get them deep so the big boys could see them. I was warmed up to the point that I could tie on a big sz4 olive bugger and I started swinging the thing in every deep pocket, hole, or pool as I moved back downstream. On the third pool I hooked up with the most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen. It was so dark red on the side it reminded me of pictures I have seen of mckenzie river Oregon redbands. It was maybe 15in, a really nice fish for this piece of water. The fight didn't last long though, on the third jump he shook the hook. Despite losing the fish I knew that I was on to something and kept working downstream with my heart beating a bit faster.
As I moved it seemed to just get colder, and the rain heavier. It was the kind of weather that usually prevents most outdoor activities from occurring.

The ice stalagmites were all over the place along the creek. As I moved downstream out of the higher gradient portion I passed a quintet of kayakers putting in. I watched them and ate some more jerky, looked like fun, but I was having plenty slinging flies. Made it down to some of the big water and it was ridiculously high and stained at this point. I started working a pool with a big tree at the front end of it and got a huge strike on the first cast, but it spits it just as hard and fast as he struck. I saw the beasts side as it turned on my fly and I knew I was in a good spot for the big boys to feed. A couple casts later, I had a huge strike set the hook and was about overcome with joy, but then my line snapped! I saw this one turn too, and it was a monster no doubt. No more fooling around, I tied on a new leader and a big black sz 4 bugger and started swinging my fly like a steelheader, shooting it across the river to my left and then working it down and across towards my right. I worked like this for a while, getting more than a few strikes my heart in my mouth the whole time after losing the big one. After working down toward another downed tree I hooked up with this brown trout!

A real predator, faught pretty good, even a few jumps to show off his skills. By this time I was absolutely freezing, so started working back to the car. Saw a couple other guys swinging big flies and little midges as well, everyone I talked to had landed some big fellas as well.
All in all it was a great day. There's something special about being out on the water, on such a "horrible" day, when most don't even want to walk to their car.
Just another reason to love rainy days, to smile when it's cold and grey.