July 9, 2016
July 9, 2016
This morning I fished Beat #4 where I knew there would be no Trico hatch. Saturday is the busiest day of the week in terms of Members and Guest fishing the Double R Ranch. I didn’t want to take a beat in the upper field water where Tricos have been hatching. Eventually the Trico hatch will make it down to beats 1 through 4, but not yet. The reports I got today were that there were plenty of Tricos in the upper field water but it was tough to get the trout to take a Trico imitation. Like always, the Trico hatch comes off early.
I had a satisfying day even though I did not encounter Tricos which is my favorite hatch of the season due to its difficulty. I ran into a massive flight of White Miller Caddis. I landed one Rainbow on my #14 Pheasant Tail soft hackle. When I noticed that the trout were starting to dap the surface in egg lying flights I switched to my #14 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher (my go to dry fly for these huge caddis) and landed another feisty Rainbow. When the caddis finally disappeared I started to choke on the Blue Winged Olive spinners that surrounded my float tube. The wind laid down and “glass” conditions arose. I spied two large looking fish up against the reeds on the east bank and tied on a #20 BWO spinner. I lengthened my line and measured my cast in the middle of the creek. When I was comfortable with the length I launched a cast towards the reeds and the fly landed a foot and a half above where I had seen the two trout. Geez, I was on my game today. One of the fish came up and I could see it grab the spinner n the glaze of the sun due to the bushy gray poly wings of the fly which protruded well above the water surface. I prefer spinners with a tuft of poly above the fly as compared with the spent wing variety. The fight was a classic battle. I didn’t expect to bring the fish to net as I had lost 3 or 4 fish in the thick weeds of Beat #4. But, I was successful and it turned out to be a 19 inch Brown, my third of the season. I haven’t been able to break the 20 inch mark on a Brown trout this season. It was a good morning in my book even though I only landed 3 trout.
As I drove down to the Picabo Store for a soda I started to think about what makes a good fishing experience; how do we judge our day? Some of us go through the typical progression. I remember the initial wonder of catching bass on the fly as a teenager in New Jersey. When I moved out west and encountered trout in freestone rivers framed by majestic scenery it was a whole different ball game. Initially, I considered it a good day when I didn’t get skunked on largely unfamiliar water confronted by insect I couldn’t identify much less match the hatch. In time, I judged a day based on how many trout I landed. Then I became obsessed with catching large trout. Then the large Browns had to be caught on tiny dry flies. These days I don’t have to land the large quarry. I just have to see the fish although I confess that from time to time I need to land them. Currently, I consider it a good day when I learn something new or encounter something fishing-related for the first time. For example, I recently observed several dozen tiny beetles floating down the creek, dispelling my long held assumption that it is always the case that the wind blows individual beetles off the bank. But, in the end, my view is that the best day on the creek is spent with an old friend. I have several coming to visit me this season and I am looking forward to their arrival.
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch