The Pet-Fly Smackdown went down this last weekend, this “tournament” that is more of an outing, is just a reason to get together with like minded people and fish your ass off. We met at the chosen cafe to start the morning off right with coffee, eggs and the rest. Introductions and a bit of business were processed and after a bright orange fly box (that you could find buried under six feet of dirt) was filled with the flies for the day we ate and the split to find fishy water.
I fished the Pink Page this year as my entry, Serhsen and I decided to pool our brains and pick places we knew we could pick off multiple fish without much effort in the way of hiking. Starting in the first spot I think I landed the first fish but Heath quickly got going putting me behind pretty much from the start. We found several rainbows and a monster brown eating feverishly on something unidentifiable, something really small. Working a no weight rig with a #18 Pink Page I took a few fish here and there able to watch from a higher elevation as the fish would pick off my fly, nice thing about a bright pink fly with clear water is that if you can see it, you can see the trout take it.
After several hours of working these fish many had become weary requiring the perfect drift in order to convince the fish to take, this worked for a while but even with great casts and actively feeding fish after a while they would have no more, a down-side to fishing an attractor pattern. We moved to the second location hoping to find more of the same, sure enough we spied from the banks a nice long line of rainbow trout just begging to be picked off one at a time. Each of us took several more before “Pink Syndrome” set in again. Making good use of my roll cast I had yet to spend any time un-tangling knots or tying on new tippet/flies making my time better spent tempting fish. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a good roll cast, infact it would almost serve you better around here to roll cast 100% of the time if possible. After a quick lunch at the car we set-off for the afternoon spot. I remember thinking how even a 12hr day of fishing seems to dissapear in the blink of an eye.
After a bit of a car ride we were on the water again, this time hiking much of the way picking off each riffle, run and pool we crossed. Each fish was measured and tallied according to the stream we were on and the type of fish. Fishing the afternoon I switched to a double Pink Page rig using a #14 as the lead fly and a #18 for the trailer, both picked off fish in almost every type of water, I just had to adjust the weight to fit the situation. For the most part I fished without an indicator but for several of the deeper runs on this stream I added one to the mix. I actually lost fish using the idicator as a few were hooked momentarily only to get off due to an improper hookset caused by the lack of a definitive take on the part of the indicator. Light-biting trout….
I came across a cluster of mayfly spinners fluttering around a bridge and after seeing no rising from the trout I slipped in to try and grab a few. What were they? The Baetis typically hatch this time of year but more on cloudy/crappy days, not under bright sunshine with high temperatures, also Baetis only have two tails, with three tails this mayfly is a mystery at this moment but research is being done.
After hiking through a serious mess of burning nettles, along with the fishing slowing to a crawl we decided to pull out and head to one last spot that was close to the final meeting spot offering the potential to take a fish or two. I took one here and Heath nabbed one there and one with a bite missing from its back-half. We were still casting as the sun went down working every last minute, it’s not that often you get to fish for an entire day so you’d better make the best of it. After being hollered in by Otte, Heath and I left the stream satisfied with a full day.
We were hosted by a couple willing to let a group of whacked-out fly fishermen invade their home and kitchen, thank you very much for that. Dinner pot-luck style was prepared and eaten quickly, twice baked potates, chili, butter curry chicken and a polish sausage salad, not to mention the peach pie. The group of us talked mainly fish and the events of the day, longest fish went to Mike Otte who scored the “Italian Loaf” brown trout at 18.5 inches. I should also note that the term “loafy” will be added to my fishing vocabulary as it perfectly describes the longer thinner beasts in our water, as in “What a loafy fish,” haha. My longest for the day topped out at 13.5 inches but I some-how managed to get 19 fish to hand making for a decent total, I took the 3rd individual score and MVP. Heath took top dog for the second year requiring him to retire his deadly weapon the Pink Lab, a good thing for the rest of us. After the agreement that next year would be in Minnesota again one last photo of the crew was taken before splitting. Thanks to Craig and Matt who did most of the organizing for this event and all who got down with the smackdown as it was a damn good time. Very cool to meet and hangout with this group of guys.