One of those lazy mornings. Lots of errands to run this afternoon, but none of them are too important. As a young kid one would just brush off all the days chores. A kid I felt like being today. But I did not want to sit in the car for long, nor did I fell like doing the normal. Something I had not done in some time was the only thing appealing to me. I wanted to chuck big dry flies for wild trout! “Is that too much to ask for”? But not the smaller wild trout close to home and easy to access. I wanted something that was hard to find and would take some searching. But is still in reach with the gorgeous warm fall weather we are having. The hoppers are still jumping around, the caddis are coming off, the big stones shucks are covering the river side rocks. So this thought was in fact, in reach.
I grabbed some snacks and water, grabbed the dog, packed my waders, my pack and a rod rigged with a big dry fly. A quick and casual jaunt up and over the pass. The aspens are painting the hillside with the usual bright colors of fall. Down the canyon and up the hill and we are at the river. But the fish we are after aren’t gonna come easy. They are gonna take some searching and some miles on the boots if we are going to find what we are looking for. It’s a nice warm afternoon, the frost from the cool morning is long gone. The grasshoppers are bouncing about the trail. The dog is chasing them as we wander our way down the long dirt path. Just as we are getting a bit hot the river pops into sight. We jam down and the dog couldn’t be happier settling in chest deep taking a nice cold drink. The river is pristine right now! Lots of water still from the ginormous winter we had. The water has cooled into the mid 50’s from the nice mild mornings we have had the last month or so. The trout are active and the bugs are plentiful before we dip into our cold winter. Everyone is appreciating this warm October we are having up here in the Sierras.
As the afternoon produces some gorgeous smaller bows, and some pristine views of the painted mountains and cliffs of this beautiful canyon we ask our self one more time, “Is it too much to ask for to get a nice wild fish on a big dry, close to home”? It kinda seems that way. The dog looks tired. We still have to walk all the way back to the car. It’s pretty far and it’s getting warm out. As we walk down the rivers edge perched above a small cliff I notice a few good fish feeding mid water column. These fish are nice! This is what we have been searching for. The dog and I sit and observe the fish sliding up and down the multiple seams as they casually feed. As they reach the bottom part of “their” zone they slide up into the shallower water into an eddy and hang a few seconds before sliding back into their feeding lanes. We observe for a few minutes. They continue as they have not noticed us yet perched behind and above them in some cover. I toss my dry dropper rig out. They come up to my dropper, but it’s not what they want. I see a few gentle sips off the surface in their lanes. So rather than continue to cast my same bugs over and over hoping for the best I decide to downsize my flies before they notice us and hide back down into the depths of the hole right in front of their lanes. Once they are there my cover is blown. First cast with the new smaller flies grabs some attention. One of the bigger fish of the pack takes interest. He is not the biggest of the group. But he is definitely what we came in search for. He comes up pretty quick at the small ant I tied on. But he hesitates and sharks it, and slides back down into the mid water column. “Shit”! But wait, he still seems interested. He tracks it quickly downstream. He is slowly coming up for it. His eyes are locked on it good. Ever so slowly he comes up and gently sips my ant off the surface and turns his head back down. SET! I lift the rod tip and bury that fly into his lip. He bolts down towards the bottom and off the far bank. Up the seams and back down. I hop down the embankment and steer the fish out of the faster water before he is able to rip downstream I lift his head up and slide him into the net. “YES”! He is in the basket and after a quick pic he slides back into the river to join his buddies hunkered down deep in to the depths where they can no longer be seen. Both my dog and I sit there in awe for a moment. It actually panned out.
So every great 0nce in a while we get lucky. The plan comes together and we actually get what we had hoped for. So rather than taking that lazy day off on the couch, get up and go fishing! You can sleep later.