Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day On The River

Adam and I had a day to explore the river with the flows dropping and bugs popping.  Mayflies and stoneflies were coming off with regularity throughout the day.  It seemed we should be able to find some willing trout and we did bring a few to the net, but it was a bit baffling how the fishing was slower than expected.  It didn't matter much to us as we soaked up the river time after the long wait for the water levels to drop in our area.  After some of the meandering lower stretches, we headed into the canyon in search of a few more brown trout.  Everything in this river carved swath of rock seemed to be blooming and flowers and colors dotted the slopes along the trail.  After a couple of hours working the water, the blackness of a sudden afternoon storm edged over the top of the canyon wall and with the dark clouds and a clap of thunder we hightailed it back upstream to the safety of the car and enjoyed a cold microbrew.

A nice river bend that held trout

The browns we did find were beautifully patterned

Fishing the big rocks of the canyon entrance

Big flows subsiding in late July

Canyon cactus in full bloom

A promising run before the arrival of the storm

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Beautiful Cutthroats

I went back into the mountains with Eric to look for some more of the brook trout George and I had found on the 4th of July. It turned out that the brookies were still active and we did manage to find some nicer fish up to 16 inches. These were some of the hardest fighting brook trout I can remember battling for quite some time. To top it off we found some beautifully colored cutthroat trout interspersed with the brookies. I was able to add another species for the year with a white sucker taking one of the midges under an indicator. This is the first one I have seen from this lake. The action was consistent all day and we finally packed it in during the afternoon to head back to town.

A cutthroat that was attacked by something, perhaps a giant brown trout (at least that is fun to imagine)

The white sucker finding my species list

Eric working to a concentration of trout

One of the beautiful cutthroat trout that we were finding on the indicator rigs

Big brook trout that put on a big show with some aerial displays

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stormy Evening

I had time for a quick trip out of town to try for a few rainbow trout. I didn't find any fish but there was a massive cloud of tiny mayflies coming off the water along with adult damselflies and midges seemingly everywhere. The fish were not in working the shore and as a result I could simply watch the few that were feeding sporadically in the deep water. It is amazing how green things are around here still but it is due to all the water we have been getting from daily thunderstorms. I barely skirted the storms as they moved through tonight. I was far enough north to be spared while at the lake. The sun, low in the west, did a great job undercutting the storm clouds and lighting up the landscape below the dark clouds.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Testing Some Higher Waters

George and I headed out early to get a nice start on the 4th of July holiday. A day on the water sounded perfect and with higher temperatures forecasted for the valley we went up in the hills and cooled off at some waters right at the 9000 foot elevation line. Roads had been opened a couple weeks earlier and George had tried it out having some good fishing, especially for sizable brook trout. I kicked around in the tube and George worked from the shore. I hit a smaller brookie on my first cast kicking out. Thinking that was a good sign, I kept at it for the next two hours but couldn't get any interest from the trout. Heading back to where I found that first fish proved to be the key. They were stacked in one small area and once I casted back over it I was immediately back into fish. It was a good mix of bear river cutthroats and brook trout with the brookies out numbering the cutts about two to one. I didn't get into any of the monster brook trout but did have several 14 inchers and a 14.5 incher for the best one of the day. The cutthroat were in the 12-15 inch size range and beautiful as ever with orange-red slashes and some still showing spawning coloration as well. With it being the holiday I was surprised how light the crowding was at the lake. George and I finally called it a day and enjoyed a little 90 Schilling to celebrate the 4th in style, overlooking the vast Snowy Range in all its splendor and watching a thunderstorm cast its lightning strikes across the mountain valley.

The lake in the early morning - clear blue skies

One of the better cutts this lake produces

An assortment of quality brook trout - these fish fight so well for their size, they really are a great sporting fish even with their non-native encroaching status here in the west

Sunday, July 3, 2011

First High Country Trip Of The Year

I couldn't wait any longer and had to head up to check out what the open water situation was at 11,000 feet. There is no way around it... the high country snow that is. I just had to climb over it and stagger/slide my way around the lake to open water areas. There were many large ice flow chunks that had been piled up on the west side of the lake from the wind. I couldn't get to my normal favorite wading spot but did fish from the enormous shore drifts. I had a little interest from some very snaky and cold bear river cutthroats. The fishing wasn't super hot but the scenery was beautiful and it really felt great to be up in the high country in the cool temps and knowing we could possibly still yet salvage a backcountry season on the high lakes. The only drawback is that it may be mid-August before that happens without snowshoes being an essential part of the equation.

Lake view

These poor cutts had a long winter under the ice judging from their condition

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Overcast Rainbows

I had a couple hours to fish and headed for the plains to look for some rainbow trout. They were on the midge patterns heavily and with the clouds of midges in the air this wasn't much of a surprise. I managed four to hand with quite a few phantom takes and LDRs. Definitely a relaxing way to spend the evening.

The typical 12 to 14 inchers that were crushing the midges. It is good to see these fish getting a little chunky as the summer progresses.