26 June 2007

Another Day on the Creek

Jan, our friend Sheila, and I fished an upper river tributary creek last evening. We began with a picnic at the Home Ranch, and then found our fishing spot.

Though cool and breezy, there were several species/sizes of caddis popping out of the water and some mayfly spinners laying eggs. The fish were rising and it was fun to catch a few larger brookies and a "trophy" whitefish--"trophy" is of course a relative term, but a 14" whitie in a small creek is a trophy. The larger rainbows seem to have left the creek--I think they stay just a few weeks after spawning, and then head back down to the mainstem river once summer arrives and flows decrease. Oddly enough, few elk were out when sunset came. Perhaps they have moved up, though usually quite a few residents stay in the valley. The antelope were a little scarce too. Maybe the wolf pack is around?

Jan, Sheila, and RTD:

Jan and Gaul Creek:

Note that the riparian area in this reach has not fully recovered from the old Anaconda Company days (it is now state land, with well managed cattle rest-rotation). In some areas, willows have fully recolonized the banks, but here it's mostly just grass. Grass does not provide as much bank stability, but it makes for an easier place for novices to fish.

It's all easier said than done, this flyfishing thing. I take for granted keeping my backcast high, keeping my shadow off the water, reading the water, throwing slack and then mending for a good drift, handling the line with the left hand, using the a flick of the rod to pick line up from the water, etc. When did I learn all of this? How? No wonder some novice anglers spend hours practice-casting on a lawn. And no wonder so many anglers who get pretty good at pounding the banks from a boat are helpless (and hopeless) when trying to wade fish. It can be pretty simple, though: I well recall catching nice browns on nymphs in brushy Pennsylvania and New York streams by simply stripping line and drifting the fly into a downstream pool.

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