Fished with my daughter June and a good friend today from 10am-3pm. Given the time of year and the high likelihood of running into other anglers we decided to do some exploring figuring if someone was already on location we would just go find another place to hike around. I’ve often thought about fishing this stretch of water but after looking at it a few times I’ve always passed it over, turns out that the old rule applies. If you don’t hike it and fish it, you truly don’t know. To our surprise we were the first ones on location followed shortly by a fella who parked behind us and asked if we were going downstream. We had planned on it but he made it clear that “upstream is for fly anglers.” He made the argument that the downstream section of this creek was too snaggy, thick and cluttered with debris for fly anglers to fish. He hasn’t seen where I love to fish, I’ll fish downstream another day. We let him head on his way and we fished upstream, a few casts in I had a very pale brookie on the end of my line.
We opted to fish streamers despite the width of the water, it was deep enough with cut banks everywhere and until I saw rising trout I figured we’d be able to cover more ground tossing streamers. I missed a few before Ryan was hauling in a nice 16 inch brown which would end up the fish of the day. I tried my hand a a dry fly after seeing a few random strikes but the streamer was pulling trout out consistently so I made the switch back. June hung out in the pack and giggled at every trout that was caught, she touched a handful of them today and came darn close to giving one a kiss. All browns after that first brookie and none of them smaller than 10 inches. Conditions for the day saw sunny skies, moderate to high wind at times with a decent amount of stain on the water which I wasn’t expecting at all. I couldn’t come up with a reason why the stain was present, maybe it was bovine interference further upstream but I had no idea. The initial water temp at 10:15am was 48°F.
Neither of us had fished this creek before and it was a pleasant surprise to find such a nice deep running stretch of water, it got me thinking about hopper season with all the tall grasses laying on the bank edges where I kept seeing the random rise throughout the day. At noon I started seeing the first handful of grey caddis, the water temp was 51°F. I wasn’t expecting to see this considering the water I normally find them on has a much different feel and substrate. This stream was mostly sand and as the afternoon went on I was floored by the quantities of grey caddis we ran into, at one point the emergence was very heavy with trout on certain runs rising frequently. I found it interesting that on some runs many trout were not rising despite the abundance of flies in the air and around the stream banks, my only thought here was either a. the stain on the water was preventing some from rising or more likely b. that the majority of the trout hold deep down in the cut banks and were feeding subsurface.
At 1pm June and I hiked far upstream and found a spot to sit and enjoy lunch. A turkey vulture flew overhead and she pointed at it, I explained what it was and looking across the valley floor to the other bluff I thought to myself that sitting here with her was the best part of the day. I took the time to sit and enjoy the long lunch, after I took her down to the stream and dunked her feet in. It was a bit cold and we didn’t spend much time in the stream but those days are not far off. Sunscreen re-applied and with a full belly we went back to find Ryan who was landing fish on a streamer while we were eating lunch. Shortly after June passed out for a nap it was about 2pm. I fished a deep hole and Ryan swapped to a dry fly. The caddis were as thick as I’ve seen them this year I wouldn’t have guess I’d have seen it like this at all today. A final water temp showed 54°F at 2:15pm. We fished in the sun until 3pm and hiked downstream back to the car. It’s these days I hope to never forget. At 14 months old she’s very inquisitive and pays attention to everything. By the afternoon my daughter was silent. I thought she was asleep but no, instead she had figured out that my fly was catching trout and was paying attention to it every cast I made tracking it and when a trout would strike she would scream and giggle, this made my day.