Saturday, March 05, 2011
I managed to salvage some time for myself this afternoon. The hyde is not yet registered with the state nor is the outboard motor mounted and set up. This and the fact that the ramps were snow covered pretty much dictated my afternoon game plans. I threw the waders on and jumped into the truck destined for the Tippy Dam access. Part way there my game plan changed. I don’t know what it was but I had a strong feeling that I should hit horseshoe bend. So strong was the feeling that I immediately made a U-Turn and headed towards plan B. The road back to the access only showed signs of one other vehicle. I parked the truck and made my way to the stairs. Much to my chagrin I laid fresh tracks in the snow. We were on the front end of a large cold front system and the winds were beginning to pick up while the temperature started to dive.
The run at the bottom of the stairs is my favourite in this section so I quickly got my rig set up and made the cast to the front side of a sunken tree towards the middle of the river. It was nice to see the river has seen a level increase and was carrying a slight stain compared to the low gin clear conditions she has employed all winter. That confident feeling I had was still prevalent and I was anticipating a strike at any moment. Then after a few drifts without warning it happened. The float dipped and I was into a nice 2-3lb chrome bullet. It was a beautiful fish and once again validation as to why I follow my gut instincts when they arise. A dozen drifts later and I was into a second chromer a bit smaller than the first but a great fish nonetheless. Shortly after releasing her a jet sled come motoring around the bend and made it's way towards my vicinity. I could see it was a guide with two clients. They made their way slightly past my location and anchored the boat part way through the run I was fishing. Its funny how a guide with a means of fishing the entire river would move in and low hole a shore angler that obviously put a great effort forward to get to that location. Having had success I decided to shake it off and move up river to some deep wintering water that owed me a fish. I fished the first section hard to no avail and decided to make the longer hike up the the next river bend. A minute into the hike a large gust of cold wind screamed down the river valley and stopped me in my tracks. I began to second guess my decision to make the giant hike up to the next bend and turned to look at the river beside me.
I was standing beside a short section of deep wintering water with no more than 40ft of drift before finding yourself into a very large and nasty tree. Compared to the chilly hike this section looked like a good alternative. I made a short cast to to the top of the run and thought to myself that there would be no chance of pulling a fish out of this section with all the wood. A missed opportunity is far better than no opportunity so I made another cast with all intentions of letting my rig float right up to the wood. Just down stream from me and before the tree the river undercut the bank and there was a slight back eddy. My float cocked slightly and I initially thought it was the eddy. I began to reel it in when I realized it was a fish. I set the hook and a giant wintered hen exploded from the surface. With full expectations of loosing this fish I clamped down and made every effort to keep her towards the top of the run and out of the wood.
I slid down the steep bank into the mud and once again understood why I follow my gut instinct when it speaks. With the cold river temps and lady luck on my side I managed to put the 30" 10+lb monster hen on the bank. In complete disbelief I frantically snapped a few pictures while I marveled over the size and beauty of this fish . I had been a while since I caught a giant fish and this one could not have come at a better time. After watching her disappear into the depths I made my way back towards the stairs but not before losing yet another small chromer in some wood. Four fish in three hours under nasty winter conditions. I'll take it any day over shoveling snow. Man I'm glad I turned that truck around.