Friday, December 14, 2007
What a Difference a Day Makes
Decent water levels, promising weather forecast, time off work, and an opportunity to hook up with a fellow Steelheading Machine drove me once again from my warm bed at 5am. On the heels of a rather successful outing it wasn't too difficult to muster up the ambition to hit the cold highway with little more than 4 hrs sleep. I looked forward to this trip as I did the day prior but today was different. Rewind 3 days earlier where I received an email from Dave Wallace asking if I would be so inclined to hook up for a day on a favorite trib. I would have been solo otherwise so I welcomed the idea and we made plans to meet Friday morning at the access point for first light. Fast forward back to Friday morning where having fished the day prior with much success I felt pretty confident that I could put Dave on top of a fair amount of stellar fish. All of the factors were aligned and it seemed like a straight forward venture. We met at the agreed time and made our 25min hike back to the Wintering pool where we would start. I had fair success come first light the day prior so I figured we would start there. There is a reason why it is referred to as Fishing and not catching. I have said this numerous times but I will say it again, Once you think you have it all figured out it changes ;0) We worked the best pool on the river diligently without so much as a sniff aside from a small shaker that was long distance released. We talked our options over and committed to the hike up to the top end. If it had been untouched I was confident that we would have much success. Once again we were faced with a rough go. By this time the weather made a turn and the cold front had moved in. The wind was increasing and couldn't decide it's preferred direction. The temp dropped well into the negatives. To top it off I hooked a nice fish only to blow it shortly after. Have I ever said how much I love blowing the first two fish of a morning. :-/
Well desperate times call for desperate measures so out came the fly box and caution was thrown to the wind.
As fate would have it a rather long and handsome chromer couldn't resist a bead head Olive Wooly bugger and I was on the board. Many a time the old fly box has gotten me out of a funk. I don't try to figure it out I just go with the flow. Besides it drives Norland crazy when things like that happen. Dave was soon to admit it drove him over the edge as well. :0) YES!!! Two homo's with one stone.
Shortly after Dave hooked up only to suffer my similar misfortunes.
Well, we're back to that whole fishing vs catching thing again. By now we had taken it on the chin big time this morning and decided to drop back down to our starting point and finish the day off but not before fishing a swift run below the river crossing. This run has changed substantially this year and affords a clean deep swift drift along a large 1/2 sunken tree. A few drifts in and I hooked up on a 29" Monster of a Buck in pristine condition. This fish couldn't have come along at a better time. My day was complete right then and there and I had to take a few moments to absorb it all in. Dave soon hooked up with a nice hen and put himself on the board. I was happy because the funk was now shaken and our day would only get better from there on in.
We made our way back to the wintering pool where my suspicions were to be realized. The pool was now on. We managed a fair amount of fish and salvaged the day. Considering the front that pushed through and the lack lustre start we sure tied it all together for a memorable winter steelheading experience. One predominate theme that played out today was how fiesty these fish were for December. A couple of days of above zero temps sure recharged their batteries. My thanks to Mr Wallace for his company, conversation, and sharing a drift. I look forward to the next time..