Day 2 of our adventure shaped up a little differently than the first day. I would be on my own for the first half of the day - Rebecca had some things that needed to be attended to. The plan was for me to drive up the Middle Fork valley, fish wherever I felt like fishing, and meet up with her in mid-afternoon. This was fine by me since, as I've stated before, I usually fly fish alone anyway.
Middle Fork of the Boise
The Middle Fork is a beautiful river that cuts through the steep mountains northeast of Boise. It is not an undiscovered piece of water by any means - when I talked to a biologist in the DNR, he recommended I fish this water as well. It is crystal clear and full of rainbow trout, redbands, some cut-bows, and some bull trout. The 'bows and redbands tend to be small, so I think that puts most of the more serious flyfishermen on the highly touted South Fork of the Boise. That's all right with me - more room for me!
Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I love small waters and the fish they hold. But my version of small trout water and the biologists version of small trout water are 2 very different things! I brought my small water gear for this one - a 2 wt. rod. In retrospect, the water was too big for that outfit, and I would have been better off with a longer 4 wt. But - I got by, and had fun doing so.
The drive in is, umm - interesting. It contains 2 distinct components. First is the seemingly never-ending , winding , shoreline hugging route that parallels the 2 reservoirs you drive past. Then comes the never-ending, washboarded, dusty, long dirt road that parallels the river. Its not a long drive on the odometer, but it feels like it takes forever. It's even more fun coming out at night!
This river is, to me, a classic, beautiful western mountain stream. Fast water, gin clear, beautiful setting. I loved it from the minute I laid eyes on it. I decided to go upstream a few miles before I picked out a piece of water to start fishing. This day I would be wet wading in the refreshingly cool waters.
First spot I fished
I decided to stick to my usual array of small fish, small water bugs. Throughout the day I used: Humpy, Lime Trude, Elk Hair Caddis, Godlike Caddis, Parachute Madame X, and a H&L Variant. THE fly to use here is the Royal Wulff, but I'm stubborn. And, it didn't really seem to matter.
First trout - a tiny, spunky wild rainbow
I know this fish is tiny , but believe me when I say they put a bend in a 2 wt. they ARE spunky. The river was crystal clear, but these 'bows are tough to see in the water.
The hits came frequently, but the fish are both small and quick, so I missed a lot of hits. My next fish felt bigger, and showed the throat markings and spotting pattern of a cutthroat. It also had an underlying rainbow to it. I don't know which type of cuts are in these drainages, but I'm pretty sure this fish is a cut-bow.
I moved up to a different spot where a couple of trees had fallen across the river. The currents running through the branches made for some great seams and current breaks, and I picked up 7 or 8 small rainbows in this stretch.
Lots of fish below this tree
I met up with the Outdooress and her husband about 3 pm. Since they know the river, I followed them downstream to some areas they like. It continued to produce these beautiful rainbows, and I got to do some more photography. Hope you enjoy the shots.
the Outdooress and the Fish Cruiser
Rebecca and Banyon
Which fly, which fly???
Got the right one!
Another rainbow coming in
Love these little fish!
The Outdooress and her dog, in their element
We caught lots of fish, missed lots of fish, and ended up spending the last hour of daylight sitting by the river talking. It was another memorable day fly fishing, one that will stay with me forever.
So, you might wonder how I could enjoy a day catching little rainbows as much as I enjoy a day catching big browns. I don't know why, but I TRULY do enjoy them equally. I'm in awe of big fish, regardless of the species. But I love wild fish in small streams, too. And a foot-long bow or cut on the 2 wt. felt just as good as the 20" browns on a 5 wt. from the day before. I guess it's actually a blessing - I'm VERY easily amused!
The only thing left to do is make return plans to this great area of the world. And I might do that sooner rather than later. The Fall fishery on River X might just be something I HAVE TO experience! I'll leave you with a picture of me and my new found Idaho friend, Rebecca the Outdooress.