Onsite arrival: 11:45am. I geared up and decided to take a quick peek at the situation prior to my compadre arriving at 12:30pm. I dawned a pair of new waders and boots today for the first time, my first set of breath-ables, about time… Snowshoes were a noticeable help immediately, it was very apparent we would be trailblazing after a hundred yards or so. Thanks to Sershen for lending out a pair so I could lend out mine. I was greeted by three large steers watching my every movement, I avoided them for the most part but managed to get a few good poses from the group. I rigged a single #16 Pink Patrick and let loose on the first hole I found fishy enough, several passes later I had just a twig from the bottom to show for my efforts. I chose not to dwell long and instead hiked back to the truck to meet Wendy B.
12:27 on the dot I see the little blue car come over the hill, slow and come to a complete stop behind the truck. Greetings were exchanged and soon we were hiking through the snow. I’d never seen this particular stretch of stream and as such we chose to spend the majority of our time raising our heart-rates trudging through a few feet of the white stuff. The sun was glorious and made everything so much better, images taken under the mid-day sun were clearer and more vibrant than any I’ve taken so far this season. As I eluded to before after the few single digit days on the water prior to today this day with its air temp approaching if not breaching the 30 degree mark was a welcome change and made everything better. My hands did not have to reside in gloves and I could tie on tippet/flies without much frustration.
After a good hike we decided we had gone far enough and chose to fish back to the vehicles. I know before I layed hands on a single fish I had broken my rig off once for sure but I am thinking it might have been twice, always trying to get my flies under that tree branch when I know I shouldn’t. I worked on my blind nymphing skills and fished mainly a two fly rig consisting of a #16 Pink Patrick and a #20 Miracle Nymph, both took brown trout today. The glare on the water was a beast, I suppose the only downside to the sun. We were often questioning the depth and perhaps blew quite a few opportunities simply due to ignorance, not knowing what was under the surface.
All the trout caught today occured within perhaps a twenty minute time frame, first I landed a decent brown that took my Pink Patrick, a decent fight ensued and a leap or two later I was releasing the fish. With that one fish my day was complete but all goals were not met as Wendy had yet to bump a trout. We moved upstream to a deep looking trench of a hole. Wendy took aim first and after some adjustments to his rig, extending the depth on his indicator and adding a split shot he was reeling in a brown, no wait…TWO brown trout at the same time, very cool to watch as he guided both fish downstream, landed and released both fair hooked trout with out so much as a tangle let alone a broken tippet, made it look smooth.
In an effort to compare my blind nymphing with Wendy’s indicator I stepped up to the same spot a few minutes later and spent maybe more time than a guy should just to pull out one more tiny trout. I was getting down there but who knows if I was reaching the money spot, every so often my flies would catch a weed or the occasional rock but I am still wondering if we ever managed to get all the way down. I landed one more tiny brown to make the score tied at 2:2 which as it would turn out is how the count ended for the day. We migrated upstream and spied several midge clusters, some scattered in the snow but nothing rising, that would have really set the day off but I think we were both content with the outcome.
As a matter of reporting, the area was almost 100% free of ice shelves and anything we did see we watched break away before our eyes. I also noticed on my way to the stream another system that was locked up tighter than a drum only a few days ago was now flowing free with little signs of the previous couple weeks worth of ice. Flows were looking good and the trout were healthy. I predict the next week could make for some brilliant winter trout fishing if the weather holds to what is predicted, now is the time to get to the streams, oh and don’t forget those #20 Black Midge patterns, you will want them.
P.S. Thanks again for another good day of conversation and fishing Wendy, I always walk away knowing I learned something new.