Wednesday, August 27, 2008


are in Big Elk Creek. Like bright bolts of electric magenta speeding up and down the creek and holding behind the rocks. They would run right over your feet, between your legs and down the river when spooked, and you had to work pretty hard to spook them.

This photo was borrowed from off the intertube thingy.
I need to fish with my camera more often, though one of the guys I fished with may have a shot or two from this evening
and this photo may soon be replaced.

My son (2 & 1/2 years old), a couple of buddies and one of the buddie's wife came along. My little boy was all for fishing for about the first 20 minutes. Then he was more interested in playing. This included examining sticks, chasing a small snake, and throwing rocks. Thankfully the kokanee are fairly hard to spook, meaning you almost have to poke them to get them to move, almost. A well placed fist sized rock propelled by a two year old can get them to vacate their lie.

Daddy's Fishing Buddy

He (my son) did mention that he likes to eat fish and the adjectives that he used to describe the kokanee were "good" as in tasting and "yummy." He is really starting to understand the way of things. As I kept one medium sized koke, he questioned me about when I was going to "cut" (clean) the fish. Of course this was all in Portuguese which he is fairly fluent in. He also does a good job switching between English and Portuguese depending upon what he notes going on in the conversation around him.

He is learning to cast and waves my rod while chanting "foward" and "backwards." Sometimes he actually gets it to cast, and in July he hooked a whitefish on the SF from a pod of risers that were hitting mayflies. I think my 9' 5wt may be a little big and plan on getting him a 6' 2 or 3wt next spring.

My best fishing (when not entertaining) was on an adult salmon fly pattern weighted down heavily and high sticked to the fish holding behind rocks. For some reason they liked the salmon fly better than the white rabbit zonker that I tried before putting on the big rubber legged dry fly.

Beautiful area. I may have to go back. Now my debate for Labor Day is what creek to fish.....? One of two nice area creeks for cutthroats on hoppers or dead sticking large weighted flies to fairly decent sized kokanee. Maybe I will do both; kokanee in the morning and hoppers in the afternoon. I will try to get more/different photos up as soon as I have them.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Willow Creek

Took my 2.5 year old into Krepps Hollow on Willow Creek above Ririe Reservoir a couple of weeks ago and got some tiny little trout. Willow Creek is a meandering not very big Creek above the reservoir that has some beautiful bottoms and cottonwood flats, but with very limited access.

Well that trip got me thinking that the water quality (at least temperatures) must be better right below the dam (Ririe Reservoir). The dam is a big eathwork construction of the same vein as Palisades dam, and the Teton dam and has at least generally about 100 cfs coming out of it. So I snuck out for a quick scout into the creek after lunch.

There is no easy access to the bottom of the dam. With our terrorism paranoia the road across the dam is closed. I parked about 1/4 mile away and bushwhacked and scrambled down the talus piles to the bottom of the dam. Hiking back up made me remember that I am no longer as young as I used to be. The whole time up and down the canyon I was being cautious about rattlers as it was a warm day and there were lots of nice rocks and shade for a snake to hide in.

The creek is small, gin clear and mostly glass smooth below the dam. Resembles a spring creek more than a freestone. As I was approaching the creek I saw a decent trout rise to a hopper on some of the slick water. I cast to him a few times and couldn't get him to move. I saw another riser in a riffle about 30 feet above me. Snuck up a bit and cast to him. Whack, he took my hopper on the first cast. He was a fast running and hopping trout, probably a rainbow but I'm not sure as he spit me out after about 30 seconds. Decent size and pulled hard.

Moved up closer to the spillway but didn't get anything so I moved down to a deep bend about 50 yards below the dam. As this was an impromptu adventure and I was in jeans and sneakers, I didn't want to wade and so was standing on the bank about 10 feet above the water making rollcasts at a rising fish with willows and scrubs right at my back. There was a small rising fish in this hole as I moved in, but I couldn't evoke a strike but I did move a big bruiser up from the bottom who followed the hopper for about 10 feet before refusing.

I may have to go back into this creek when I have a little more time..... and possibly a float tube. It is slow moving meandering creek, and looking at the maps at terraserver it looks like I could make a nice couple of mile float form the dam to a bridge down a ways. Looks like it could be fun, but with the spring creek like conditions could prove to be very tough fishing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Big Fish Small Creek

I decided to finally put a fly fishing blog together detailing and documenting some of my outings. It is a work in progress and the format will be transitory until I get it nailed down.

It is hard to beat the fly fishing opportunities that the Gem State offers. Spent a few hours this afternoon on an alpine creek in South East Idaho. The creek is 12-15 feet wide in most places but still offers cutthroat of surprising size. In other similar creeks close to this the cuts average around 10 inches and a 12-13 inch fish is large. In the creek I spent the afternoon in a 12 inch trout is average, a 14-15 inch fish good, and 17 inch fish is a large fish.

I used to fish this creek fairly regularly, but it has been almost ten years since I last tromped up this trail. I had heard a few years back that a low water year had killed the fishery and since then I just never made time to return, instead fishing other small local creeks. My loss, the fishing is fantastic and this will return to the number 1 position in my list of fun creeks to toss hoppers on to wild native cutthroats in the late summer/early fall.

The creek is a little remote and requires about a 20 minute drive on washboard covered dirt roads to get to the trailhead. There are wild raspberries hidden in the shady spots around the willows. The north facing slopes are carpeted with deep and dark growths of white pine mixed with the odd clump of aspen and the south facing slopes are covered sparsely with juniper which transitions into lodge-pole and douglas at higher elevations.

A thick growth of willows surrounds the creek and the meadows are full of wildflowers and sage. As you walk the trail up the canyon clouds of large hoppers with light cream yellow bellies take flight.

The cutthroats were hungry and a well slapped hopper pattern produced hits on almost every drift. In one deep spot under an overhanging willow, the first drift produced two fat fish knocking each other askew. The second drift resulted in the larger of the fighting pair and the third drift produced the other brawler.

These fish give you 2-3 tries max, rising and nibbling on your fly before they refuse to rise. So if you miss in the first two strikes, well you are best advised to move onto the next hole. They have a habit of grabbing hoppers by the legs and slowly rolling them under, a mannerism that is tough on rubber legs. and as the wriggly legged flies outfish the no legged flies it is best to have a good supply of hoppers in you arsenal.

Three hours of fishing produced almost 20 fish. The majority in the 12-13 inch range but 4 or 5 went 15 inches or better. All but one were hooked on a hopper pattern. The exception was hiding in a deep and tricky lie at the base of a tree. He came up 3 or 4 times and looked at my hopper but I could never quite get him to bite so I tied a wet fly on the bend of the hoppers hook and drifted through a few more times till he took the wet fly.

As the creek is remote but still gets a fair amount of pressure it will remain nameless. Those who are familiar with the area already know where it is, and those who don't well they can try to wheedle it out of me.