I met up with my brother in law at the mouth of the canyon Friday morning for yet another fishing adventure. We arrived at the river only to find the water level had risen. There was also a lot of "cabbage" or vegetation floating in the water. Not only does this usually make it more difficult to catch fish, but it also means you would have to clean your flies and line off after almost every cast. We starred at the water for a minute or so then decided it would be best to head up to another section of the river. I hope the rise in water level on the lower section was due to a higher volume of water being released from the dam and not from some sort of early spring run-off. The best fishing yet is coming soon and an early run-off could really foul the fishing up down there. Another half hour and we were up to a spot just below the dam. The water was nice and clear and that was good enough for me. We headed upstream passing a nice hole just under a bridge. We fished the edge of some riffles for a few minutes but decided it was not the best spot probably so we went back down to the hole near the bridge. We knew there had to be a big fish or two in the area. After fishing it for a bit I decided to look down off the bridge to get a better vantage point. Our suspicions of some big fish were confirmed as I made out several thick shouldered browns hugging the bottom along the edge of the current. We were not concerned with numbers so we decided to target these beasts. We took turns, one being the scout looking down off the bridge and the other being the fisherman. Our method though fun was not too effective at first. One time I was off the bridge down by my brother in law and he hooked what he thought was the bottom. We were pretty sure the bottom of the river was not moving when we saw the fly rod start to pulse up and down...fish on! David played the fish nicely and we managed to land it about 30 yards down stream. Not the biggest fish in the hole but a very respectable brown trout.
We had a few other hits and toward the end of our time at the bridge hole I managed to hook and land a short but chunky brown. I had what felt like a nice fish on afterwards but he ran downstream and came unbuttoned. I should have followed him downstream, but I spaced it for some reason and he came unhooked beneath the shadows of the bridge. It was fun experimenting and trying to catch some of these picky fish. We eventually were ready for a change of pace so we headed over to another section of the river that seemed pretty crowded so we opted to head to a different river. We saw a nice hole below an angler access spot so we went over the cattle fence ladder and headed on down. I immediately hooked a very fat little rainbow that put up a heck of a fight and had absolutely no quit in him.
Shortly after that I hooked and landed a whitefish which was fun. This second river we were fishing is known to have a good population of whitefish. We started catching quite a few whitefish, some very fat and quite large.
We had quite a few tangles with a tree at the head of the hole and while I was re-rigging one of the rods David hooked into something very large. After a second or two I saw it flash out in the current and I started yelling, "huge brown! huge brown!". David played the fish perfectly. This fish did not want to budge from the current. After what seemed like an eternity we beached the fish on a shallow gravel bar. This was an impressive fish. I need to remember to buy a small tape measure but I would estimate the fish around 20 inches plus. After a few quick pictures we sent him on his way. That was the best river caught fish I had seen in a long time. It made the trip that much more special. David has a knack for pulling out the big boys and I am glad because I have just as much fun watching as catching.
Neither of these pictures do justice to this fish, in the first his tail is bent away from the camera and in the one below the rod and reel were held in the air well in front of the fish and not down at his level, the reel circumfrence would have easily fit inside his tail.
We ventured downstream but for some reason no other hole produced a fish for us. We eventually came back to the magic hole of the day and landed a few more whitefish and David caught another smaller brown with extremely light coloring. This was a trip where David was able to add one more fish to his Wall of Fame. Until next time, tight lines!