Sunday, June 14, 2015

Busy June

I was at the Trout Shop yesterday and was asked how the house was coming. The typical response when talking about it from other guides and outfitters is how bad the timing was to buy a house and renovate it at this time of year...true that but we didn't have much choice. Combining that with the busiest June I've had in my ninth season and I'd say I'm a little stretched but it's all good. Today I did have a day off after a great day on the river yesterday and it was a good change of pace; hanging an elk head, mowing the lawn, picking of dog crap, painting the banister...the list goes on. But you don't want to hear about that. Let's fish.

Like I said, yesterday was a great day on the water. I often get asked what are my least favorite guys to fish with and I usually say it's the guy that thinks he knows how to fish and doesn't listen, resulting in his wife kicking his ass and him whining about it. Well, Randy is that kind of guy but in a good way. He wants more than anything for his wife to catch a bunch of fish and doesn't want me to pay any attention to him. He said it last year and he said it again this year.

"I know how to fish," he said. "Don't pay any attention to me. Just make sure my wife catches fish."

Perfect. That works for me and to be honest, I have a lot of respect for guys that want to figure things out on their own. That's what I'd be doing and in the end, if he has a good time and more importantly; his wife has fun, it's all good. And the other thing is, I actually learn from the things he brings to the table. He's no slouch.

I had to pick Randy and Pat up at Prewett Creek Inn and as we talked about options, we watched over a dozen boats drive past to put in on the Lower River. It's also mid-June, Saturday, and hot so you know the rec-floaters will be out so my theory is that most folks wanting to fish will either put in way up stream or way down stream thinking the middle will be packed. The upper is also the only thing some guys know and it's easy so you know it's going to get pounded. Rec-floaters will either want a short easy trip from the dam to Craig or they want to see the canyon so they'll put in at the beginning of the canyon and take out at the bottom so I figured we'd put in at Craig and maybe get behind some of the rec-guys and in front of the dam guys. It actually worked. We pretty much had the river to ourselves and it was definitely on.

Pat caught her first big bow on her second cast. Randy got his on about his third cast. It stayed that way for about the first two hours before we got down to the islands below Craig and every fish started looking up to eat PMD emergers. We got close to a pod working in about two and a half feet of water and I dropped anchor.

As enticing as these guys are, they are picky when they're eating the emergers. In fact, I've had a few decent anglers in the last week try their skill on these fish and they've all walked away with their tails between their legs. A couple got eats but it was few and far between and we weren't able to land any. With high sun and fish looking for bugs in the film, it doesn't get much techier than that and yesterday was no exception.

"They're eating emergers," I said. "So if you want to throw a dun with an emerger behind it I can give you a couple bugs."

"If I'm going to throw dries I'm only going to throw one fly," he said.

So I gave Randy the one bug we've gotten them to eat on top, which is just a CDC dun and he tied it on. He stepped out of the boat and into the riffles where they were coming up while Pat and I chatted and ate lunch.

About 20 minutes later, Randy comes back and asks for his nymph rod. It's humbling. I'm not kidding. They're right there, ten yards out gulping right in front of you and they just won't eat anything that isn't perfect. But they are there and they are eating and you just can't help but take your shots.

So Randy hands me his dry fly rod and I give him back his nymph rod and then ask, "Do you mind?"

"Absolutely not," he says. "Show me it can be done."

I stood up in the middle of the boat and started chucking line. The fish were a little far for the four-weight he had rigged up and I didn't want to get out of the boat so I kept hucking as much line as I could but just couldn't get the drift right at that distance.

As Randy walked away from the boat, the fish settled down a little and actually moved back towards us where they originally were when we dropped anchor. Eventually they were well within range again and I put a few cast over them that I thought for sure would get eaten. Nothing.

"Screw this," I thought. "I'm cheating," and I dropped a little CDC emerger behind the dun and in a few cast, I was rewarded with a "gulp" and I was on.

Again, Randy is a good angler and he really doesn't have an ego so he was happy to see that I actually hooked one of those pricks. At least someone did and for myself, it was vindication and a lesson on what these guys would eat.

We went back to nymphing with Pat because she really didn't care to throw dries and was just happy to catch fish and she did. We all had a great day. Randy caught some great fish on his own rigging, Pat got a bunch and I actually got to catch a really tough fish too. A perfect day with another great couple.

Keep 'em where they live...

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