I can't stand it anymore - i have to write this post. It will be the first of either 2 or 3 - not sure yet exactly how it will play out.
I got a chance to combine 2 things I've wanted to do all year - fly fish out West, and fish with a person I know only through the blogsphere. I contacted Rebecca Garlock - The Outdooress - and she was A)available to fish, and B) willing to show me around. This would shape up to be a high point of my 2010 fishing year. We talked the week before the trip and decided to spend the first day on her favorite Oregon water and the second on the Middle Fork of the Boise river. Vastly different pieces of water, which is the way I like to fish. This is the synopsis of Day 1.
The water we fished will remain nameless. She honors that request from those who fish it, and I will as well. I will say this, though - it is public water and accessible to anyone and everyone. This is NOT private water.
We got to the river around 11 AM. She mentioned that there was a lot of water she had never fished, so I suggested we try a new area and experiment. We found a pull-off, checked it out, and decided to give it a shot.
The river at the first spot
Rebecca gearing up at at the famous "Fish Cruiser"
I knew that Rebecca fishes alone most of the time, and I do as well. This river was the perfect place for us to fish in our respective comfort zones - on our own - while still being just across the river. It was a perfect blend of fishing alone, with a friend. I waded across the river while she started up the near bank. The arid land surrounding the river was loaded with grasshoppers, so we both went with the Western standard "hopper and dropper" rigs. I used a flashback pheasant tail for my dropper initially. It took me a little while to get used to the 2 fly rig, but I got into the routine quickly enough. The river has a lot of grass / weed in it , and my clumsy wading spooked a trout I estimated to be around 16"-17". I thought to myself "Geez - that was a great trout. I just spooked the only good fish I 'll see all day" Luckily, that thought wasn't anywhere near reality.
My first trout came at 12:55, a 16" brown on the dropper. These fish have BEAUTIFUL coloration.
(As always, click on the photo for a larger picture)
Incoming brown on a dropper
Now, I realized I had a (minor) problem - these fish were bigger than the ones I'm used to catching, and I'm waist deep in a river. So the only way to photograph them is hold them in one hand and take a shot with the other hand. Not the most artistic poses, but you do what you have to do.
At 1:10 the next trout nailed the dropper. Hey - this is starting to be FUN! [the way I know the times is via the info embedded in the pictures]
Another big brown trout
I had gotten into a bunch of fish in a deep run. I missed a few along the way, too - some on the hopper, some on the dropper. At 1:30, I got a BIG hit on the hopper and was into a good fish. After a 10 minute fight, I landed what is my biggest brown trout from a river ever. Rebecca saw me fighting the fish and waded over to net it (I landed all my others by hand). She also took this picture of a happy fisherman! A beautiful 22-1/2" brown trout.
Hell - after that fish, if I had fallen in the water and broken my fly rod, it would have been a great day! We decided to move upstream, get a bite to eat, and try some other water.
We moved up a few miles to an area Rebecca fishes often. We started 2 riffles down from our destination pool and went at them again. This water (initially) was a little shallower than before. I missed a few good fish (again) and got a few small streambred fish - 1 brown and 1 rainbow.
Small, streambred fish
At 5:00, things started to get interesting. I should also note that I switched droppers to a beadhead gold Lightning Bug. It ended up being the "Magic Fly" - until I lost the only one I brought. First came a brown on the Lightning Bug at 5:00 pm.
Another big brown
At 5:20, after a couple of missed hits, another trout on the Lightning Bug. This one was obviously big from the start. It actually did something I've never had happen on a trout - it took enough line out that I saw my backing. Now, understand that my reel is click pawl set light, and I use my fingers for most of the drag, but he tore a lot of line out!
I measured him against my rod's butt section and he came in a tad over 21"!
The carnage wasn't over yet. At 5:40 I hooked and landed still another big brown. I was literally getting tired from fighting these trout. (yea,yea - I hear all the sympathy pouring in)
This was the third BIG trout in 40 minutes. The fights had to be 10-12 minutes each, so the fish were all taken literally back-to-back-to-back.
I decided to relax a little and took a bunch of pics of Rebecca, who was across the river from me at the time.
The Outdooress with a big brown trout
Working the edges
I sent Rebecca a bunch of other pictures for her to post on her site, including one of her holding a 20" class brown!
The last fish of the day for me came at 7:50. I got a few other 16 inch class fish but didn't get photos of them. This last one took a hopper, and I had to bring him in through a thick weed area. I thought that he would dive into the slop, but I managed to get him in. He went just over the 20" mark on th rod.
Coming in over the weeds
ANOTHER great brown trout
We spent the last hour of daylight on another stretch of river, watching from the bank for the epic evening hatches Rebecca had talked about. Well, they didn't happen this evening. There were fish rising, but not to the extent she was used to. And - she was downright bummed! I had just experienced the best day of catching big trout in my life, and Rebecca was APOLOGIZING to me for the lack of an epic evening hatch to end the day!!! Are you kidding me? She had just taken me on a day I'll remember forever - nothing could ruin that. Certainly not by ending the day watching rising fish in a beautiful area, with a new friend.
It doesn't get any better than that.
And we still have one more day to fish!