Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back to Trouting

I headed back to the Rockies over the holidays and of course was excited to sample a few of the tail waters I had grown accustomed to over the years. In the Midwest I have made the transition to warm water fly fishing, mostly in stillwater. I love the mixed bag you find in warm water fly fishing but I was excited to see if I could dredge up a few trout out in the frozen tundra. David and I headed up to a tailwater that sits in between two reservoirs and found a beautiful looking stretch of river. We had zero hits in the first good looking hole.

We moved down to a fairly deep and uniform stretch just upstream from a small bridge and after several drifts David hooked up with a decent brown which put a nice little bend in his rod.

It was all good water but the fish didn't feel like playing all that much so we headed down to a different section of river.

I must mention I tried borrowing Jim's fly rod, but when I went to open the tube and piece the rod together there was nothing inside except a rod sock. It was not a big deal since David and I usually trade off drifts anyway at the best holes. We did just that and David made a really nice drift on his turn and something munched on his nymph and tore off downstream. We were hoping it was a big brown which are fairly common to the river but it turned out to be a Rocky Mountain bonefish (a.k.a mountain whitefish). David let me show it off to the camera.

Not fast fishing but the inversion resulted in a beautiful day once you got out of the valley.

I made sure I grabbed the right rod tube the next time we headed out. We went to one of my favorite holes that holds large numbers of fish but most are 14 inch cookie cutters. I have seen some large browns porpoise in the hole but most are middle weight and pretty scrappy. If you hit a good hatch at the hole in can be nuts with dozens of fish rising. Despite a few midges the bug activity was fairly minimal. We worked hard and nymphed up a few stubborn browns of the cookie cutter variety.

We tried heading up ice fishing the day after a big storm and we could not make it up to the reservoir because deep snow was covering the road and the plows had not cleared the way in. We should have brought our fly rods but left them at home. We still wanted to get some fishing in so we decided to hit a river with our spinning gear. We had our big white tube jigs on and started getting some good follows right off the bat. I casted into a fairly small side channel and as my jig bounced up into a shallow riffle I saw a fish in hot pursuit. He nailed it and I landed the fish. The fish probably went 13 inches and I was surprised it hit such a large jig. I have heard fish will hit large prey in comparison to their body size but this was the best real life example I had seen. I wish I had taken a picture. While on the river we used some ski style masks we got for Christmas and I had to get a picture of David looking like a river ninja.

A few days later we tried heading up ice fishing and we made it. It turned out to be a perfect afternoon. The best bite is early morning and it proved to be slow. We thought it might turn on as the sun faded in the late afternoon and we were right. There was a burst of activity as the sun started to disappear behind the mountains. In fact, I probably caught the largest trout of my life but it was too cold and my camera would not turn on. It was a beautiful Bear Lake cutthroat that was probably around 23 inches and it had some girth to it for sure. We did get a picture of one of the other fish we caught.

Before the early evening bite turned on David tried hiking up a hill in the deep snow and sledding down it. The snow was too deep so his attempt ended up being more like a belly flop. It was pretty funny. Overall it was great to get out fishing with David again back "home".

1 comment:

Hanks Family said...

Love seeing you two boys having fun! That picture of you Ben with the sun coming through the clouds and the fly rod extended should be a poster! I didn't hear about the belly flop.