Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Laundry Day

Yep, I'm down to camo and cotton underwear and sitting in a rower's seat all day in 94 degree heat is no fun in cotton. What that means is I have a few minutes to write and catch up but it also means I've been incredibly busy as have all the guides out here. The weather has been stupid hot and the water is low and we're all kind of wondering what that means for August on the Mo. We may have some significant time off soon...

Tricos started a few weeks ago and we've had crazy good hatches and plenty of fish eating them. Everything is about two or three weeks early this year; even the weeds. Yes, the weeds are thick in the canyon, which is sending everyone up to the dam. To be honest though, I remember last year it was around the Fourth of July when the great migration occurred. So far, people have been pretty well spread out until the last week anyway. I went Pelican to Cascade, (the lowest stretch,) yesterday and only saw one other guide boat--Mountain Palace to Pelican today and again, one other boat. That's awesome. I heard the Dam was ridiculously busy. The guys at the shop said you could probably walk across the river on boats and not get wet.

Since my trip to Big Sky over the Fourth, I've been working the Al Cucci group for Mitch Kowalski. They're here for ten days. I've worked with this group before through other outfitters but said I wouldn't do it anymore because a.) they expected the guides to do doubles every day and b.) they told their clients the guides were getting paid more for doing it but we weren't. On top of that, they kind of have the reputation of being jerks. I decided to take the trip because Mitch made sure we wouldn't have to do the doubles. To be honest, I'm glad I did. I've had a great run with this group.

The first couple I took was a husband/wife duo, Jim and Georgia. They were awesome and wanted to get away from the crowds so that's what we did. Fishing was a getting tough on the Mo but day two I took them to the Blackfoot. Jim was a little under the weather but Georgia rocked it. The next day Jim took off and Georgia wound up doing an evening half-day. I thought the Dam would be good to see and didn't think there would be that many people...wow. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The caddis were thick up there but the wade-fishermen were even thicker. It was total combat fishing. I could only imagine what it would be like in the morning when you add 50 guide boats. Fish were up all over but you couldn't find a opening to get to them. I've seen it busy up there but nothing like that.

I also got to fish with a long-time client of Al's, Sandy. He has trouble getting around and he can't see a fly ten feet off the boat but he was great too. We didn't knock 'em dead but we had a blast and although at some point I really thought my skunk-free streak was going to end, Sandy came through. I also took him down to Cascade on day two with him and again, it wasn't great but good enough.

One thing about the Cucci group is that most of them are DFO's, which means dry-fly only. Bright sun and heat makes fishing dries on the Mo pretty tough. They all know this and also know that it is what it is and if fish aren't going to come up for a dry-fly they just aren't. However, as a guide it still sucks watching someone cast over and over again knowing they're probably not going to catch anything. Some of the guys take it so far that they won't even throw a cast unless they see a head. In that case, they get to take a pretty expensive boat ride. The cool thing is the Dam show is pretty much out so you don't have to deal with that.

I did have the pleasure of fishing with Al and his partner Gerry the other day. Given their reputation, I'll be honest, I was a little apprehensive. The day started off with Al and I arguing about what kinds of flies were hatching. He basically wanted to throw a PMD dun over fish that were feeding on Tricos and said since there were PMD's hatching, they would probably eat it. He had a double dry rig with a PMD and a Trico.

I told Al he wasn't seeing PMD's but that they were just bigger Tricos and that if he threw a PMD at them, he would put them down. He quickly corrected me and let me know that he's written three books about the entomology of rivers and I didn't know what I was talking about. I told him I spend every day on the water and maybe he should listen to his guide. He didn't. He threw the PMD over a few fish and promptly put them down and when I suggested that I could change his flies he said, "Ok."

The day got better and we actually had a pretty good time. I think we gained some respect for each other but as the sun got higher and the water warmed up, no fish were looking up and what started out as a good day of fishing, was basically left to that expensive boat ride.

At one point, Al and Gerry had both fallen alseep while I rowed down stream. So I grabbed Al's rod and started fishing while letting the boat drift. It was tough because the wind was blowing and I had to try to hold the boat on a line at the same time throwing at seams and riffles. I also had to be careful because I didn't want to wake them up. I remembered looking over at another guide that we passed during nap-time and as I waved I could see the look of dis-belief on his face. I just shrugged my shoulders and chucked my hopper at the next seam.

Yes, I was throwing a hopper, which to some would seem a little weird since hoppers don't usually start working until late July. To other's you probably don't know what I'm talking about but the thing is, is that grasshopper patterns and other terrestrials such as ants and beatles work well when nothing else is happening and if the timing is right. Again, everything has been bumped up a couple weeks so I figured, "what the hell," and since these guys are DFO's you got to throw something.

We didn't get anything on the hoppers that day but the ant was working early and I also have had some success on golden stones. The last couple days I've been fishing with a solo guy and have been experimenting quite a bit. We've even gotten fish to eat damselflies and today I'm proud to say we've got the first two legitimate hopper fish. Woo! Hoo!

Keep 'em where they live...

No comments:

Post a Comment