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Michael Gracie

Breakfast of Champions

Cereal is for birds …

breakfastofchampions

One top sirloin steak from a grass-fed bovine. Measured amounts of Lawry’s and McCormick’s seasoning, along with a smidgen of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, infused with the must-have Tabasco. Seared in olive oil and port wine, roughly a minute and a half each side. Seven minutes of oven finishing at 475. Two eggs over-medium in the prep pan.

Zero sugar coma, and you will be hungry again. As in around 10pm.

MG signing off (thinking the Wheaties marketing team was paid way too much)

If you’re into hotspotting, best drag your feet

Hotspotting

I’ve moved from fly fishing purgatory straight to heaven over the last few weeks. Reports have been posted, and it’s time for the roundup. Why now you ask? Colorado River tributaries have been smoking, and most of my regular cohorts have now had a shot at them. The spawn is over, hence it’s too late for you to do anything about it. It’s the way I’ve gotta roll if I’m to ensure an ongoing free supply Jack Link’s Teriyaki Beef Steak Nuggets.

I’ve fished the Williams Fork four times in the last three weeks. The crew caught plenty of big, healthy (and extremely pissed off) brown trout the first outing, and even more brown trout in need of anger management counseling just five days later. Every angler of noteworthiness netted at least a dozen trout, and a few extremely lucky bastards exceptionally skilled fly fishers had days in the mid-twenties to low-thirties. Flies of note included orange and yellow eggs (go figure), Rainbow Warriors, Juju Baetis, and Mercury Baetis.

Laziness, or photographic brilliance?  You make the call.On the last two occasions, rainbows ruled the roost. I suspect the majority of browns were winding up their sexcapades, and the bows were probably moving in to raid the hen house. I fished the stretch on a Saturday with the infamous Luke Bever, creator of Beve’s Better Buckskin and catcher of large carp on drowning grasshoppers. We each posted numbers in the mid-twenties, and Mr. Bever essentially napped on the bank for the last few hours of the day. The trouts’ affinity for eggs notwithstanding, we picked up a significant number of fine finned friends on baetis and caddis patterns. I returned on Sunday with master angler T. J. Marek and occasional carp wunderkind Trent Clifton. It was another outstanding day, although it was particularly good to one certain angler because they sucked up their pride and threw on a buckskin.

Just chunkThe last stop occurred this past Friday – the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir. Water management officials, oft considered the Magneto to Gracie’s X-Men, took it upon themselves to drop the flow from guaranteed death while wading level to somewhere between bring several first aid kits and don’t forget to pay your health insurance premiums on the gauge. A group of four charged downstream, along with a full parking lot of fours who arrived just a wee bit earlier. Fishing was tough, as expected. A mysterious individual, however, picked up ten or so on Graphic Caddis and Two-Tone Olive Humpbacks, and if that particular fly fisher hadn’t been so lazy with hook sets would probably have climbed close to twenty. This outlier had an excuse though – he who shall not be named (because people think he is a decent driver so they fill up his tank with glee) generally considers this section his spring season home water, and has fished it at these flows at least two dozen times in the past few years. And as you know by now, he’s prone to keeping his lips zipped until after the fact, although he did open up his fly box to all.

Alas, this past weekend was spent playing stuffed animal tug-of-war with the Collie dog toiling away at the keyboard, part catch-up on a project leaking slightly behind schedule (who’s fault…cough…cough) and part insidious delay tactic in providing fishing reports.

You’ve now got the goods. Go into hibernation, as they’ll be worth something twelve months hence.

MG signing off (to find another fishing spot he can clean out before Christmas and not tell you about until Easter)

It’s looking like baetis weather

Sleet never hurt nobodyThere come’s a time in a fly fisher’s life when you throw caution to the wind. And it just so happens that such time reoccurs each and every autumn just as the weather moves into the idiotic unbearable stage. It’ll rain, sleet, and snow, and when the thunder and lightning start you’ll take a short break. Use it to convince yourself you are safe because you are standing in a valley. Or consider stepping back in as soon as someone else starts picking your favorite run apart, while you grow ever more frustrated with the fresh leader you’re attempting to tie on with fingers long since turned blue.

The occasional rainbow makes for wet handsGetting up at 4:30 am only works if the fish decide to wake along with you. Such was not the case, and by noon the crew was looking and feeling pretty motley. But splitting up often gives the individual angler opportunity to lie time to think, and the action (or lack thereof) both on top and in the emerger category forced an injection of common sense, known to be rarer than flawless golf ball sized canary diamonds amongst the fly fishing set.

Let’s see…the bugs aren’t showing their pretty little faces. The fish have got to be hungry and pissed, because it’s spawning season. Maybe they’re eating eggs? Ya’ think?

Number 25The sky turned grim, and we were getting pelted by sleet. And par for the course, we quickly found that anything greenish or brownish and insect-like, followed by just about anything pink, yellow, and/or fuzzy turned the docile environment we’d become accustomed to over the morning into an afternoon of absolute mayhem. We eventually got sick of hearing each other call out “net please” because we were usually hooked up about the same time ourselves. Mad scrambles ensued as angry brown trout after angry brown trout (and the occasional rainbow) hightailed it downstream. Within hours our individual in-hand counts had climbed from near zero into the mid-twenties or more. And what started with a few yearlings in the ten to twelve inch range quickly morphed into those measured by the pound. Soaking wet and cold, we had a decent walk ahead of us and only minutes of daylight remaining. The game was called on account of baetis weather. Even though the baetis never checked it themselves.

Is it possible to cancel the second day of a two day fishing trip because you caught too many fish the first? It may be a first in it’s own right, but it happened. A solid showing left everyone hankering for caloric intake and rest. We’d taken the place by storm, so waking after eight, followed by Blue Moon’s tasty if messy breakfast burritos and a leisurely drive back into town seemed fitting. Nevertheless, my gear is still dripping and I am still smiling. I am also certain that I am not alone.

Greg Drapeau provides fine entertainment

MG signing off (to plot another run before the weather clears)