Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hiking and Fishing

I planned a small wild trout fishing trip with some friends.  I researched a bunch of different opportunities.  Almost obsessively.  Looking at maps for places to fish never seems to get old.  On the way up to the stream I sat in the back and continued to study the maps and navigate our way to the stream.  Only one of us had been there before and they weren't quite sure where it was.  The scenery changes so much with the seasons it's easy to become disoriented.  When we found what looked to be the creek we geared up quickly.
The main reason I wanted to fish this area was the opportunity to catch wild brook trout. My friend told me the bottom sections hold rainbows then once you hit a certain elevation brookies start to get into the mix. We hit the trail and I forgot how far you can go and not realize it when you're talking with buddies. We passed up a lot of inviting looking water and there was one section that was too tempting and we had to throw our lines in.
I hooked up with a small dace but no trout. We continued back on the trail and gained some elevation. There had been some recent rain and there was a mist and fog that lined the trail. It had been a while since I hiked a mountain area after a rain in the summer. A recent jeep track became a small stream with rain water. The bigger puddles were full of tad poles most likely from tree frogs. The flowers were starting to come out and the wet landscape made salamanders venture out from the creek. Eventually we couldn't take it anymore and had to start fishing.
The sections just got prettier and prettier. The stream bottom started to change from a rocky sandy bottom to mainly cobble stones.
The fishing was slow and I couldn't seem to figure out what the fish wanted. I felt something crawl on my arm. I looked down to brush it off and noticed it was a good size black stone fly. I switched up from a double nymph combo and tried a good size stimulator. On my first cast I had a hit. The fish was too big to be a chub or dace. It had to be a trout. Like most wild water you only get one chance at the fish. I moved on and continued to fish pockets that could hold fish. There was one hole close to the trail where I figured everyone fished. It was a large plunge pool that looked like it obviously held fish. Most people that see this probably fish the pool, but how many people fish the tailing run? That seemed to be the best place to find less pressured fish. The water curved around a rock and along a bank. I tried to make sure there were no mistakes on my end. Gave the fly some dry shake and put some floatant on my leader. I didn't even really cast. I just let some line out and drop the fly into the main part of the run. I watched as the fly floated down bouncing along the riffles curved around the rock then was ambushed by a nice trout. This was one of those takes where you couldn't not catch the fish if you tried. Unless the fly just broke off. That fish was getting the fly no matter what. It was a fun little fight on the 3wt.
It's always fun to find out what fish will hit but even funner when it's dry flies. I hiked up further catching fish here and there. I figured the higher I went there would be a better chance at catching a brookie. I came to a point where the trail started to get serious gradient. You could tell most people didn't travel this far. The trail became a single track and there were downed trees crossing the trail. There was a strange noise in the bushes and as I got closer I noticed a turkey on the bank scouting me out. The trail started to work away from the stream and I was worried it wasn't going to go back. I kept hoping and hiking and I could hear the roar of the creek getting closer. Eventually it was close enough to where I could do a little bush whacking and get to a nice spot. My first cast had a fish slam the fly knocking it into the air. I kept working the pool and I would get recent follows but fish wouldn't really commit. It did seem the fish were more interested if the fly smacked the water then if it landed softly. I meant to cast in the middle of a run and landed just to the right in some slack water. I watched the fly and waited then just before I was going to pull the fly off the water a trout moved out of the run towards the fly. The fish moved at a pace that was fast but slow enough that I could make out all of it's coloring and beauty in the slack water. The fishes back broke the surface and it sipped the fly in and turned back towards the run. It had to be one of the prettiest takes I had every seen. The movement was so natural it was a chance to experience what this fish probably had done 1000 times before. I set the hook and the fish instantly shot out of the water. The fish took off downstream and tried to wrap around some logs. With some patience I was able to free the fish and land it. A very fat and healthy 9inch rainbow. The experience made my day and it wasn't going to get much better than that. I fished a little more but at a very slow pace that allowed me to enjoy the scenery.   It was an amazing day even with no brookies.


  1. Looks like you had a great time. I really need to get up to the mountains soon. I've heard a lot of great reports recently. If your going up soon and wouldn't mind me tagging along let me know. thanks

  2. That's my idea of what trout fishing is. Good job!

  3. Kevin
    Outstanding streams fishing for some awesome wild trout. I wish I had access to that kind of waters. Thanks for sharing

  4. Howard, it's mine as well.

    Loftend, I sent you an email.

    Bill, thank you for the comment. Unfortunately water like this is getting harder and harder to find. I had to drive a good ways to get to this one.

  5. Nice story and trip pictures. I would imagine a barrier would be the best way to find your wild brookies in abundance. We have them to keep invasive brook trout from remnant bull trout water and away from westslope cutthroat as well, also to keep rainbows from diluting true or as near true as possible true cutthroat. Lots of water such as that here, but I don't have bowfin either.