Thursday, February 18, 2010

jackson Wyoming 2009: Part 4 of 7

A sweet shot of releasing one of the big browns at Lewis River.

October 6, 2009
Part 4

Day 3 began much better than the previous two. Kevin luckily had a back up plan and we were able to stay indoors, with a dry floor, hot showers in the morning, and a small kitchen that allowed us to cook breakfast. After we were up and ready to hit the road at about 7:30 AM we walked out the front door to be hit with some classic Wyoming beauty. Fresh snow, clearing skies and sunrise makes for some amazing photography, so Greg capitalized on the moment and riffled off a few shots that will surely make him some money in the future.

The plan for day 3 was to head up Yellowstone way to the outlet of Lewis Lake. In Jay's time guiding in the area he had discovered something amazing up there. Where most guys head up to the Lewis River for the Brown Trout spawning run, Jay discovered large quantities of fish, holding in certain pockets, moved into the river just before the spawn to bulk up on food. Interestingly enough, these fish are extremely difficult to spot, and only hold in select pools so Jay's knowledge of which pools held fish and which didn't came in very handy.

Life is sweet when your just fishing a single fly, below a micro indicator and picking up fish like this!

The nymph rig was simple, just a single tungsten pheasant tail (size 16), below an indicator set a the proper depth and you could be in 19" brown trout heaven. Unfortunately, as the seasons would have it, the fish had not moved into the river in the numbers we were hoping for yet. We seemed to be about a week early. That doesn't mean there were no fish, but just not as many as the same week in October in years past.

In one of the deeper pools we found that there were many more fish than we first thought. Jay and I spent some time peering into it with no avail, but as I moved below the pool and across the stream for a better look Jay saw the motherlode shift from me spooking it. We had brought a paint pole with us to attach the smaller waterproof camera so we could go down to some depths and we decided this would be a good opportunity to test it out. It wasn't until we got the footage home, and blew it up on a laptop that we realized we were indeed fishing to a larger pod of fish than first expected. By the end of the day we had pulled out 3 large fish, and a couple of smaller ones, but had no idea how many fish we were drifting through. Jay did note that sometimes in Lewis River he had encountered hooking a fish or two and then the rest of the pod getting lock-jawed, so we had to assume this was the case.

It's not always easy to see, but if you keep your eye on the video and watch it a few times you'll realize just how many fish were in that hole!!! Crazy!

At around 2PM we decided to cut our losses and move up valley to the Firehole River ... this was a mistake.

We showed up to the river to find the temps had dropped considerably for only driving 20 miles north. We were faced with stiff winds and about a 15 degree temp ... not normal for an October day. After an hour or so of attempting to film some nymphing techniques we decided the 8" rainbows weren't worth it. Our thought of warm weather had us hoping for a baetis hatch and some rising fish that would be a little bigger. That was not the case.

Yep, it was cold.

The day ended with me getting mocked profusely by my cohorts because I was the only one who ordered a double cheeseburger that cost me about $11. The bitterness wasn't from eating a burger that taste like cardboard, we were all doing that, but the fact that I ordered one that was twice as much cardboard as my comrades and I had paid much more for the unsatisfactory meal. I tried to hold onto my dignity by claiming the chicken noodle soup (that only I ordered) was really good, but I don't think they believed me.

A good day.
Check out below for addition photos and some cool footage that we got.

We called this shot "The Terminators". Kinda funny.
Below is a couple of other videos that turned out pretty sweet!

On the River: Taylor River C and R, Gunnison, Colorado

Jan. 23, 2010

Winter fishing is some finicky business. You spend a lot of time planning, preparing and gearing up for an event that may get kiboshed by a 4 degree temperature swing. That was not the case, however, on the morning of January 23rd. Everything lined up, and the temperature swing went in our favor.

Michelle and I had been watching the weather and things looked good, so we headed up to the only "ice free" water within 1.5 hours drive and arrived at around 10 AM to find only one other car (a rare feat indeed).

The fishing itself was your standard fare. To tell the truth, I don't think we caught fish on anything but egg patterns. The winter is an odd time. It's all just opinion and theory, but I'm not sure any of the fish on the Taylor C and R stretch ever successfully spawn. In the winter you get the highest concentration of rainbows or browns "going through the motions", but you never seem to see any of them in sync, and I think I've only caught one fish up there that actually spit eggs or sperm. I personally think that the invention of dams, and controlling water flows for recreational use, messes with the fish's biological clock so much, that you don't have any normal spawning activity until much further downstream, where other streams flowing into a river make the flows a little more normal.

I say all that not to justify fishing an egg pattern, per se, but to ... well ... justify fishing an egg pattern. In the winter, it works on that stretch of river. To be honest, it works at just about anytime of the year on the C and R, though the summer makes an egg pattern much more of a wild card with midge and baetis being much more reliable patterns.

Nevertheless, Michelle and I fished, spotted fish, and hooked fish pretty consistently all day long, including a few "destroyer" sized fish. One of the highlights of the day was a rainbow that crushed my fly, screamed upstream 20 feet, tore back downstream and jumped - 2 feet out of the water - right at my wife! It literally almost hit her! It was a solid 26" fish, that continued downstream. I pursued it, running and weaving around rock, until it finally bested me deep under a sharp rock.

The other highlight of the day was hooking a 20" cutthroat. To be honest, I didn't even know there were cutthroat in that stretch of water, but after a 5 minute fight I was holding a sexy looking Colorado Cutt.

We smiled, we laughed, we froze just a little bit, but there were a few moments where your blood pumped so hot you could almost think it was a balmy June afternoon.

Here's to reprieve.