Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brown Trout Hunting

Well this morning I managed to get out of the house for a morning of fly fishing a local river loaded with Brownies. I started off the morning with a Humpy fly. Not much happened with that, so I switched up to a hopper. There was sporadic surface action, and after a couple of missed hits on the hopper, I decided to put on a nymph and see what I could find in the next hole.

So I quietly got myself into position, made a few shorter casts on the near side seam. After working that area, I put my cast into the current. The current moved the fly quickly, and pushed it into a nearby seam. Then my indicator just stopped and slowly sank. I set the hook, and felt the tank of a fish on the other end. You see, I decided to take out my 3wt again, even though I know this river can produce some very nice trout. It seemed like it took forever, before I got my first glimpse. Then I got excited. This was easily the largest trout I've fought while fly fishing. Everytime, he started to get close, and I made a move with my net, he'd take off and take off a bunch of line with him.  Eventually, I was able to wear him out enough that I was able to make a swing motion with the rod, and bring him into the net. I took a couple pictures of him in the net, hook still in his mouth. I then wet my hand and prepared to remove the hook, when the barbless hook had already fallen out. So I picked him up and posed for a quick picture. I put him back into the stream, and within a couple of seconds, he was ready to go and took off.

18" Brown Trout

I decided to take a small break since he thrashed the hole pretty good, and ate my breakfast. After that, I started fishing again. Soon enough, I caught a little small brown that was no more than 5" in length near the end of the run. There was this nice fishy spot though, where I could make a cast between two overhanging tree branches and beneath it the main current channel in the stream. I cast my fly into the spot, one of those rare times I made a perfect cast. As I watched my indicator drift perfectly down the seam, I heard a large splash just to my left. I turned my head quickly, and when I looked back, my indicator was gone. I quickly panicked, jerked the rod, and felt the tug of a nice fish on the other end. I quickly got him onto the reel. He didn't have the muscle to pull the drag much, but he eventually succumbed and ended up in my net. Just as before, the hook fell out of his upper lip as soon as their was slack on the line. I took a picture of him in the net, but he would not cooperate with a hand held picture.

14" Brown Trout
Afterwards, I had a few more bites, in one case, I had another decent brown hooked up, but he ran straight at me full speed, working the hook loose. Towards the end of my morning of fishing, I hooked into one more ok size brown trout. He took to the air (abnormal I'd say!)  and was able to shake the hook. By the end of my day the Prince Nymph that has been serving me so well on recent trips was officially retired. It's just been shredded by trout teeth!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Camping 2011 - Day 3... Boating, Family, Fishing

Day 3 arrived, and I was up and at it early that morning. I made myself some pancakes for breakfast, then launched the boat into the lake for the first time finally all week. My goal was to catch enough trout to feed my wife and me. So this means, trolling. I was fishing for about 15 minutes when the winds started blowing. While heading downwind on the lake was relatively easy, heading up wind was very difficult. I had started trolling with two polls, but with the wind, I switched up and decided to only troll with one. I caught a brookie early on. Eventually I stopped having luck with a gold Jake's that I switched over to silver. I then caught my 2nd brookie of the day. It was getting close to 11am, when my wife was planning to arrive at the campsite. I was making my last pass when I hooked into a nice rainbow. He put up a nice fight, partly because the anti-reverse on my reel decided to malfunction and stayed in the off position no matter what. I finally got him landed in the boat. Put him on the stringer then, headed to shore.

As I was cleaning the fish, Katy and my darling daughter arrived. We spent the afternoon enjoying a campfire, some smores and hot dogs for lunch.

Darling Daughter playing

Mom and Darling Daughter

Dad and Darling Daughter
Around 5pm or so my wife packed up and headed back down the mountain. Meanwhile I geared up with my waders and my 6 wt rod and proceeded over to one of my favorite holes. However, there was a grandfather and kid on the other side. Not terrible, but the kid did not understand fishing quietly. Three times while I was there, the top half of his pole went flying into the water. I let them have the water, and fished some other areas nearby waiting for them to move on. After a while, they moved up stream so that Grandpa could drop a fly in the pockets of the stream.

About five minutes after they left, I started catching fish...

I continued fishing catching a fish here and there...

By this time the fish were surfacing pretty regularly to small midges. I put a griffith's Gnat on my line and tossed it out, eventually hooking my last fish of the night. As it was getting dark, and I was getting hungry, I decided to call it a day...

Last Fish of the trip.
I spent the evening enjoying my dinner, my beagle who had come with Mom and daughter stayed with me also got to spend the evening with me.

The next morning I packed up camp and headed down the mountain. For dinner my wife and I had great trout, and wow that Rainbow tasted really well compared to the brookies. I may have to start keeping a few more rainbows next time I catch fish for dinner.

Tight Lines!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Camping 2011 - The Hike

For Father's Day, Katy got me a nice backpack that is perfect for hauling my wading gear on a hike. I decided that I would put it to use in grand style. Most of my previous trips have been a maximum of 1 mile into the back country. This time, I'd be hiking 3 miles into the Middle fork of the Popo Agie River.

The hike into the river requires me going up and over this hill side...

10 minutes into my hike, I was able to look over my shoulder and see where I started...

I was also given the opportunity to view Roaring Fork Mountain.

The hike in is rather short uphill, but very long downhill. I start at 8,800 feet roughly, ascend to just over 9,000 in the first mile, then make my way down to 8,200 feet. The last 600 feet is a straight downhill, with no level areas... important to know for the trip back!

After hiking for an hour and a half, I was greeted with a nice deep pool of clear water, loaded with brook trout.

The trout were not shy at all...

After setting this brookie free, my fly was laying on the water, dragging, about 3 feet in front me while I was getting more fly line out... This little guy happily took the fly... not caring about how it was being presented.

As a treat, here is an underwater shot. Can you see the Brookie? (Click the image to make it larger)

After a while, I took a break on a rock ledge, with this little eddy in front of me.

While drinking water, eating lunch, and taking in the sites, a trout kept feeding on the left edge in the dark spot. A trout can't keep teasing me like that, so when I was finished, I dropped my fly in the hole and out popped...

After this point, I'm getting tired, and realizing that I have a long difficult hike back. It is a lot of uphill climbing, often times, feeling like I'm going up an endless stair case. The hike back takes me a total of 2 and a half hours. But I happily made it back.

From there, I went out to civilization to let my wife know that I made it back to camp safely. While talking to my wife, I saw the remains of one of the 2 plane crashes in our mountains from this past winter being trucked out. Additionally, my wife told me of a mountain rescue that took place earlier that morning via helicopter from a women who fell and broke both ankles. (I could hear the helicopters during my hike ferrying out the plane and the women).

After we were done chatting, I drove over to the Little Popo Agie River fork, and managed to full a small brookie into taking the dry fly I had used earlier. I hadn't planned on making this trip to fish, so I didn't have any flies on me but the one I used earlier. The fish here are much more educated, thus they require different flies to full.

At 6pm, I left, and headed back to camp for dinner. Upon finishing my dinner, I decided I wasn't finished. I went back to my favorite hole, rigged up for nymphing and caught another 6 fish.

I fished until 9, went back to camp, built a small fire relaxed for the evening then headed off to bed, reminiscing how I managed to catch so many fish from 3 different waters.

Tight Lines.