Monday, March 28, 2011

The Big Orange

When you say you are going fishing in Los Angeles county it usually entails either fishing in a reservoir or the ocean. This is so because we have a lot of coast and a lot of dams. When I went up to a local canyon to see what kind of fish may call it home I was transported. The day was wet, not just damp. Wet all over though the rains had ceased. Water oozed, seeped, gurgled, tumbled and fell from every side. I felt like it was a small stream on the east slope of the Blue Ridge, the flora being made up in part by lush swaths of ivy covering all it could, namely vinca minor. The last time I dropped into this jewel it was much drier and the year was roughly 1992. I recall how steep the canyon was, most notably because my sister's dog could not make it back up the trail to the car on her own, but rather stuck her butt on the ground like a mule and whimpered, forcing us to carry her back and quit or hike ahead of schedule. I didn't bring a dog because I don't have one but I wish I did if it was a good dog that would rock hop and trail romp without ever complaining.

The water was high, as it is on most every wash, creek, and river in the state. At times this tiny canyon watershed looked to be draining an expanse at least double its size. As for the fish, well they were there. They were there, there were plenty, and they all looked to be taken care of quite well by their fish mothers, I mean these guys were pretty much all a little bit on the fat side.

The coloring of the fish was interesting as it started to become clear that there were rainbows like the one above with a more orange than pink lateral band, mixed in with typical rainbows pink sided.

There were some epic pools as I climbed the drainage to the upper reaches. After each large plunge I passed I expected the fish to be non-existent above it. Instead, not only were there fish, the fish got more and more interesting.

In the above pool I got the Mike Alstott of trout you can see here. Look at the shoulders on this guy.

Go on home, it's time for your real dinner.

A prime example of one of the larger typically colored rainbows I caught.

This was the largest of the pink sided rainbows I caught, just as I was brining her in.

I came to this pool and didn't think much of it at first, until I realized how deep the water was behind that rock. Then, I noticed something moving just down from the whitewater. I had been varying my fishing from dead drifting and stripping streamers mixed in with a short time catching on a stimulator. Here, I diced to just toss in my streamer and dead drift it back. On the first case I placed the fly just where I wanted, toward the left seam and let it skip along back with the current. After a moment, bam! something hit and I saw a better view of what I had previously only halfway dreamed I had seen. He hit, but not hard, I could see a very light complexion on the fish's side, something was different with this fish. I cast again, immediately, to the same spot. Within seconds the fish struck again and this time I set the hook! It was a pretty serious fish, maybe the biggest I have encountered in the local mountains. As I brought him in, I was slightly confused and mostly stoked. The fish was, well, orange, and cream, with dark spots. It looked like a Little Kern Golden trout!

Definitely the most interesting fish I have yet to catch. Looks to be a male as you can see a slight hump on the top of the head just back from the eyes.

After this fish I was ready to go, but hiked and fished a bit further just to see what was around the next bend. This was a really unique place to fish and it is certainly going to be difficult to wait 19 years to visit again.

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