Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Trout

Mark has been spending his days dialing in North Park and keeping a furious pace of water time that none of the rest of us are able to really keep up with given our other responsibilities. The picture above is Mark in his perfect element. He lives in and belongs no where else but the mountains. Memorial day seemed like a perfect time to meet up in the search for trout. We got on the water early trying to beat the winds and had about 15 minutes of calm before they arrived. I was able to hook up with a rainbow that shook me at the boat on the first cast, but when the wind came up the bite got quiet. We moved to the west side of the lake to get a break from the wind and this paid off with repeated hook ups and strikes in 15 feet of water. Many fish in the 17 inch year class are present this spring. We also got a few of the younger snake river cutthroats. A couple better fish were found and I managed a 21 inch cuttbow that was quite pretty in its coloring. After lunch, we headed north to some more water in search of larger trout. Patrick, a friend of Mark's, had found a 10 pound horse of a rainbow that morning and had some great photos of the massive beast. That was enough to get us motivated and moving after a leisurely lunch. We never found the monsters but I did pick up a pair of pretty brown trout to round out the day with three different species.

Mark fighting away from the toon

A bad picture of a good 21 inch cuttbow

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting the Drifty Wet

Adam pulled the drift boat out for the first time this year and we inaugurated it on some stillwater browns and cutthroats. Any sort of moving water is completely blown out and we both enjoyed a day of anchored up stillwater trout on the fly. The day started with us launching the boat in the midst of a cattle drive. The rancher was moving the cows from one field to another and Adam got stuck right in the middle of it. After the cows passed, we parked the vehicle and set out in the boat. The drift boat is a great platform on lakes and it gives you ample space for many food and drink luxuries. We enjoyed a nice selection of microbrews throughout the day and had a wonderful time fighting many trout on midge patterns. Once we would dial in depth it was fairly constant action with a few lulls between hatches. Things did slow a bit in the afternoon as the late day hatch never seemed to materialize. We were taking sporadic fish but not the heavy action of earlier in the day. Eric came out in his pontoon and fished a few hours with us too. It was a bit chilly with the wind but enough sun was around to give Adam a bit of a sunburn. The sunscreen sitting in the car didn't do him much good without remembering to apply it. The fish were mostly younger year class brown trout in the 13-15 inch range with a few larger fish mixed in to 18 inches through the day. We also found a few cutthroats and the first snake river finespotted cutthroats of the year for me. I didn't get any of size but Adam and Eric both had some decent cutts at various times.

Adam blocked by cows

Eric sets up using the Toyota as a cattle shield

It was a nice sized herd

First fish of the day - standard sized brown trout

Adam battling away

Adam with a decent cutt

My best of the day was this beautiful brown

This scene went on all day

Adam found this better brown

Afternoon storm that never quite hit us

Beer, sun, and a sore arm finally took its toll on Adam

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Slow Windy Evening

The winds of the last few days along with a Monday snowstorm have kept me off the water all weekend. It was painful to say the least. We had 60+ mph gusts which shut down my desire to attempt anything involving a fly rod. I did manage to tie some hot head leeches and a few varied midge patterns during the forced downtime. This evening the wind was still out but tolerable so I got a little water time after work. Not too much going on with the water churned up and off color from the recent weather but I did manage to hook and fight a couple rainbows. Midges were taken by the fish I found but it was definitely slow, so I switched it up to some bugger patterns for a while with no interest from the fish. It felt nice to be out and I stopped for a hot coffee on the way home to take the edge off the wind chill in my light windbreaker. I will remember my warm hat next time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Cutthroat Of 2010

Eric and I planned a trip on the plains to do a little stillwater pontooning and search for some nice rainbow trout. The fishing was excellent as the trout were targeting the reoccurring midge hatches. We were able to dial in on the big rainbows and had a wonderful day fighting and sometimes landing these brutes. The strain here is a strong, aerobatic line of fish that really have the ability to work your rod and reel combo to its limit. I only had one rainbow trout under 18 inches. Most were right at the 20 inch mark with a few 21 inchers thrown into the mix as well. This lake also has a smaller population of cutthroats and I finally managed to catch a few this year to add a cutthroat to the 2010 species list. The cutts tend to run in the 13-15 inch range right now but they should put on some good growth this summer as this lake tends to be a smorgasbord of insect life.
First fat bow of the day

My first cutthroat trout of the year

Eric fighting a rainbow

Another chunky bow

A shot of me battling a rainbow thanks to Eric and his camera

This cutt was wounded and had a clear demarcation of color at the wound line around its body. I am not sure if this was due to the sampling they conducted within the past few weeks or not.

A view towards the distant mountains

A big hen fell for the midge to end the day. She was dropping eggs in my net.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Windline Foam

The wind was howling today when I went out for a brief evening trip after work. It had created a nice foam line running directly down the dam of the lake. Fish were stacked on the foam and I was able to catch a few in close by just working my nymph rig in the roil of the foam. The trout wanted the midge and all were on the bottom fly. I am not sure if it was depth or pattern related but the setup was working.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring Ice Out Meetup

The ice is partially off some of the higher lakes now and that means the full on season of chasing big lake resident trout is almost here. I met up with Mark, Marc, and Scott to find out if the big fish could be found and we had a nice time catching up, talking fishing, drinking various beers, and generally relaxing and enjoying the day. A few trout were found here and there but the hot fishing hadn't yet materialized. At the end of the day I did hook into a nicer brown of about 20 inches which seemed like a good way to end the evening on the water. I took a walk up the hill in a short search for some Jurassic invertebrates and came away with a couple finds but nothing spectacular. It did get me up above the lake for some beautiful evening views and I caught some pretty wildflowers blooming as well.

Mark spotting fish for Marc in the calm morning water

A typical rainbow up here on one of the lakes

Mark working to the rainbows

Jake patiently waiting on us to actually catch something

The brown trout that completed my evening

Wildflowers blooming out on the hillside

What I think is a Jurassic era Camptonectes species of bivalve

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wandering Eric

I had a few hours on Saturday afternoon to get out and explore a little water on the plains. I happened to run into Eric out there doing the same thing and we had a few hours of slow fishing occasionally punctuated with a couple rainbows to keep our interest peaked. The wind was heavy and Eric was all over the place trying to find a place to get out of the gusting forces of nature. It is nearly impossible to do out on the plains lakes though. There just isn't much shelter to find.