Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fishing, Camping, and Ramblings

So the past few days, we took a long weekend and went camping up in the Wind Rivers. Upon arrival we found one of my favorite spots in the campground. This was our first trip with our 18 month old daughter. So we wanted to also be close to home in case things went awry. Luckily they did not.

Our daughter shovels up some dirt and tries it out for taste.
The view from our campsite.

Thanks to my parents, we had a new to us 2 room tent, that took a while but we finally got setup. We unpacked the truck, boat, and my wife's car. I think we brought the entire house with us. Though, I will admit, almost everything we brought was used, except the pack-n-play. It just turned out that it wasn't needed. Due to the chilly nights, she slept in between us each night.

After the camp was mostly setup, I went to my favorite spot and tried some fly fishing. My goal was to grab some brookies for dinner one night. The water was a bit low, ultra clear, and the fish were very spooky. During my fishing time, I managed to catch one brookie, and brought him back to the campsite for the cooler.

My wife, likes to fish, but doesn't get to fish as often. This trip though, she got in plenty of fishing. Upon waking up Friday morning, avoiding getting the baby changed and dressed she quickly dashed out the tent door, grabbed her rod and hit the water. She got in some good fishing while the kiddo and me got ready for the day, brewed up my coffee. She wasn't having much luck though. As the day went on, we both would take periodic turns fishing, and once our daughter was down for her nap, we both hit the water in earnest, keeping one ear turned towards camp in case she woke up. As before, not much luck, bust! A couple of strikes but no hookups.

That evening, I geared up in my waders and headed to my favorite spot, hoping that with the sun behind the trees, the fish wouldn't be so shy. It was also a magical event. It was a full moon night, there was a cold front moving in, so instead of the typical winds blowing down the valley, it was heading west, causing an upslope effect. This was pushing waves and the water in the opposite direction of the current. With the wind at my back, I was lining out casts 70' and beyond, all the way to the top of the inlet from the bottom area. On my first two casts, I had strikes, but missed on the hookset. On my third cast, I hit paydirt. I had a strong brookie on the line. They were quite feisty and he quickly ran directly towards me. I was able to strip in line quick enough and kept pressure on the fish. Eventually I brought him to net, and he was large enough for the creel. Next cast, I cast to a slightly different area. Again a quick hookset and the fish played strongly, and came to net, then to creel. Repeat with a few more casts, and I had plenty of fish for the creel and our dinner the next night, plus two smaller ones that I put back.

The next morning, the thoughts of how hungry they were on the flies, I decided to switch one of my standard rods to a fly on the bubble rig. I don't like fixing the bubble on the rod, so my setup is to put the bubble on the line, tie on a bearing swivel, then add 6' of tippet tying the fly to the end. In this case, I was dropping a beaded prince nymph off the line, so I also added a 1/2" thingamabobber just below the swivel. Within, a couple of casts with this rig, I hooked up my first fish on a standard rod. After catching the fish, I went back up to camp, and told my wife that the change worked. She grabbed my rod, and went down herself. Shortly thereafter, she caught her first fish of the trip. What was odd, was that all the fish we caught were rainbows, save two very small whitefish, the first I've ever pulled out of this lake. Most of the trout were in the 8-11" range. However, I did hook into one night 14" rainbow that even went airborn for me.

Since we did have the little one, we decided to head down the mountain and give her a proper bath (I think she brought half the mountain of dirt with her). We did a couple of other errands and made our way back up. I fileted the fish from the previous night and cooked them up for some nice trout for dinner.

The next day the sun rose, and another couple, who we are friends with came up, with their daughter. I avoided helping setup their camp fished while their camp was being setup. Eventually though, my wife came down to the lake, and asked for my help. I handed the rod to her (Hmmm... wonder if she just wanted to fish more) and headed up. Soon enough, we had their tent finished. Shortly thereafter we all sat around the campfire while the girls played.

Clouie, our beagle sits nicely between the girls as they play.

The next morning, we awoke as our friends prepared breakfast. It was also the day we had to pack up, making it a bummer. But all in all, we thought it was good.

Friend making breakfast... Yum!

Having another couple around, while packing up was quite nice. We were able to take down the campsite while we took turns watching the kiddos. After we were all packed up, we headed back down the mountain. Reaching the top of switchbacks, I found myself staring down a cow. After a bark from our beagle, she quickly moved out of the way.

Traffic Jam! Open Range!
It was great. Here's hoping our next camping trip goes smoothly, and that we get to spend more time with friends.



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