Fall fly fishing full of wonder

Particularly if you are hanging with a motley crew like us!

October 6th, 2007 is a day that will go down in the annals of fly fishing (in the world according to my cohorts and I) as a day full of wonder. We wondered why Bill wanted to stop at this godforsaken crowded place and try salmon fishing with lead cores and barrel eyed streamers. We wondered if good photography and stupendous fishing action could go hand in hand. We wondered why people get so worked up about fly fishing. And we wondered why fishing couldn’t be this easy all the time.

Why Salmon?

It didn’t take long to answer that question. Bill walked downstream with a 6-weight and enough lead to sink a medium-sized cruiseliner. Meanwhile, Todd and I decided to avoid the crowds and wandered up. As we rounded this bend we saw nothing but super fine trout water – off came the lead cores and on came the beadheads. It didn’t take long to figure out what the trout were into…eggs! I started with the usual, a #16 Prince, and followed it up with a green egg pattern. As expected, my first two casts produced hookups that I subsequently lost – that happens to me every time, despite warnings from my colleagues to pay attention from the get go. The action persisted from then on – I split my catches between the Prince and the egg, and things slowed a bit about ninety minutes in. But Todd came to the rescue, after discovering the fish had simply decided to go pink versus green – thank goodness I carry plenty of pink eggs. We still wonder whether the fish actually key on a particular color as a natural inclination, or whether the changing light spectrum as the sun moves higher has something to do with it. Nevertheless, we were quick to realize that despite the crowds most of the folks were both giving us our space and spending most of their time gawking at us instead of fishing (always nice). We’ll never wonder why Bill bagged the salmon chase and joined us.

Why is Michael such a crummy photographer? Don’t worry – he has plenty of excuses.

bill-in-constant-formIt was hard to get a good close-up of Bill in action. Everytime I looked over at him with camera in hand he was casual as could be. Every time I glanced over when my camera was in pocket he was hooked up and I was too! Combine those facts with a new camera and a photo dummy such as myself and you see the result. Something tells me nobody minded.

I didn’t get much chance to test the new camera’s underwater features as I wasn’t carrying a net. It’s a bit difficult to hold a rod, snap an underwater photo of the fish on your line, and then get the camera back into your pocket so you can grab said fish and release (particularly when you are pretty convinced the next cast will likely produce another catch). Call it no net, not enough hands, simple procrastination, or all of the above. I did, however, get a little better with the electronics as the day progressed, but it took a lunch invitation to get me there.

Bill brought food. Who’s taking a break?

The lack of photog flurry had a lot to do with the fact that every time I put my fly in the water some trout would grab it and go running for the closest rock/merry-go-round. You simply didn’t want to leave your flies in the river unless you were concentrating specifically on them. If you strolled over to another hole and your rig was dragging behind you, a fish was likely to follow it with eating on their mind. At one point, my colleagues declared the morning over – it was time for lunch.

lunch-time-or-landing-timeBill wandered my way and sat on a rock directly across from the hole I was working. He made a quick flip out with the intention of straightening out his line and leader on the way back in. Unfortunately for Bill and his meticulous gear care habit the trout had other ideas, and he was quickly back on his feet trying to get another pesky rainbow off his line. Here’s Todd having to deal with the same issue – reaching down for yet another fish when all the poor guy wanted to do was pack up and go munch a ham and cheese sandwich and some chocolate chip cookies. I was smart enough to take my rig completely off (after wondering whether a fish would have it in them to actually try jumping out of the water after dangling flies) and had the camera ready.

Results are facts. What you make of the rest of your day is up to you.

Feet were wet at about 9am. By noon we had roughly 50 fish between us, ranging in size from 10 to 16 inches. The trout were primarily rainbows, and a few scattered (and quite beautiful) cutbows. We ate lunch as planned and then ventured north for an afternoon on the Colorado. The production up there paled in comparison to the Blue morning. We also had a run in with some guy who thought he owned the place, screaming something about etiquette and “the 100 yard rule.” We wondered who the heck can maintain 300 feet of distance from fellow fishermen on a public stretch of river roughly a third-mile long, particularly when there are a dozen vehicles in the trail head lot. Personally, I think he and his cohort were “overly geared” and weren’t catching anything. We, on the other hand, were still dancing from the morning, and the fact that I hooked a decent fish roughly ten seconds after we arrived which subsequently ran me downstream to within an eye-shot of him didn’t exactly add to the camaraderie. Nevertheless, we wound up wondering why people get so stressed out about fishing, particularly fly fishing, and concluded that those who do probably need to find another sport.

My new Garmin Vista HCx was cranking away all day, tracking our progress across Colorado from Denver and then up through the Blue River Valley. The day covered 232.1 miles, including a little foot traffic, on a minimum altitude of 5,226.5 feet and maxing at 11,088 feet. We made a few stops and marked some waypoints. I’ll give those to you for ONE MEEELLLIIIOOON DOLLARS. I wonder if anyone will take me up on that offer, particularly considering I’ll just tell you where we were at if you ask.

And here is one of the fish of the day – a 20 inch female rainbow who from her appearance was definitely having some tough goings heading upstream – we named her the “bone of contention,” and hoped she remained happy:

reeder-creek

We wondered how many of her future offspring we might have the opportunity to catch in our lives.

Editors note: the word “wonder” was [over] used precisely 12 13 times during the construction of this post, much to the readers’ wonder. Oops, that makes 14 – add the tag, and its 15 (but still less than the number of fish we each caught over the course of the day).

Comments

DreamsOfFish says:

Nice (or is that wonderful?) shots on that new camera! Did you touch these up? What model is that? How about a review on said product(s)? Didn’t you used to do such when you got new toys?

That Garmin Vista is dropping (wayyy) too many waypoints! It will run out of them and you’ll be left with squat. What, you made a new mountain range along the way? (Mtns, not “bread crumbs”.)

Wounderous comentary on “mr. 100 yrd rule.” JAMFs should stay home, watch football and scream at the idiot-box. Better that, than flogging the water and the fish below and then screaming at your fellow fishermen on a fine fall day. High contrast to the other fine folks we usually meet on the water! Shoulda’ given him the MGA award just to cheer him up.

You look so smug and casual with your fish in that last shot. Tough to be the big-fish-of-the-day guy, eh? If fishing were this easy, all the time, would you still do it? I know I wouldn’t!

Michael Gracie says:

Model is a Pentax Optio W30, and I’ll do a review once I have some underwater pics to show off. The Garmin is up and back (hence the pounding along the path), but I do need to figure out how to make those Google Earth markers a little smaller.

I do hope Mr. 100 Yard stays home from here on out…quite pathetic. And you’re right – we do meet a lot of nice folks on the waters.

As for the fish, I’d rather everyone have a hoot even if I have to give up my holes to make sure of it. Having a great (and ridiculously productive) time seems a common occurence this season ;-).