Finding big fish on this stretch of spring creek is a matter of timing. They move up out of the reservoir, and average about 25 inches and 5 lbs.... when they are in. As we had a new baby last week I haven't been out lately and was hoping for one of those "magical" days. One of those days where the alignment of the stars is just right, and the fishing is memorable. Again it is all a matter of timing, too early no big fish. Too late in the season..... well it gets awful cold and snowy in that high country, quickly.
The two buddies who were supposed to fish with me bailed out at the last minute. Maybe just as well for them. The hardwoods on the drive up the butte have changed color and the leaves were a site to behold. I took it as a good portent, and there were no other cars at the trailhead.
The hike in is short and I went to the top hole to scout things out. The very top hole is crystal clear water with a beautiful cobble bed. Perfect for bugs and spawning. The fish in this first hole are super spooky, though I have landed a couple from time to time including a large cut several years back who I was able to coax to the top for a large hopper. There were a couple of decent sized trout immediately visible and I saw a couple of kokanee move through the hole. The kokanee were in pretty bad shape, they have been in the river for a while now.
I went down to the first bend, rigged up with a pir of zebra midges and started casting. I quickly tied into a fish but his fighting style told the story which was only confirmed by bringing him to the net. Whitefish. The next two fish were trout. The first about 16 inches, this one was a jumper and performed some amazing acrobatics. Respectable but not what I was there for. The next was larger. I fought him for about 45 seconds before he spit me, and I thought the day would turn out ok........ but I was fooled. The rest of the day (well next 2 hours anyway) earned me nothing but whitefish and 13-15 inch rainbows. I kept fishing on the hope that I would eventually find one of the large trout that I knew might be in there. Fishing on faith...... I have done quite well on this stretch in the past at about the same time of year, but I guess the big fish just haven't moved up yet. This years plentiful water had all of the major hatches about 2-3 weeks late so perhaps the run up from the reservoir is delayed.
I was waiting to take pictures, holding off for larger trout that never materialized. And so I finally took some shots of the smaller fish, missing out on shooting some of the larger, but not huge by any means, fish that I had landed earlier.
As I hiked back to my car I couldn't help thinking that I should have gone and fished hoppers on one of the two hopper creeks I have been thinking of hitting, but hadn't been able to as they were too far away and out of cell range, factors unconducive to fishing when ones wife is very pregnant. Well as little Joshua is now here and both mother and boy are doing great..... I will get back up to hog hunting soon, and this time, hopefully the fish will be there too.