Friday, September 26, 2008


Colder weather in late September can usually be counted on for a couple of things, beautiful foliage in the hills and fun fishing at the "Bathtubs" for large, hard fighting rainbows.

Fall Aspens and Maples.

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.

View for the hike in.

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.

Nice trout sitting on the bottom in 5 feet of water.

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.

Smaller rainbows.

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.


Cutthroat Stalker said...

Most important things first: Congratulations with Josh and it's good to hear that he and mother are doing well!

Nice little report. Kind of like the start of my day on the Portneuf last week (though I stuck it out for a full 10 hours of fishing and I'm glad I did because the afternoon turned out pretty decent).

It sounds like the "Bathtubs" hold some nice fish. I'm assuming some type of ponds. Are they human made, or natural? Are the fish year-round residents, or have you noticed before a migration of the bigger ones?

How is the fishing typically on the Bog Elk this time of year?

Take care.

scott c

jabberwock said...

Bathtubs are the nick name for the headwater stretch of a local river. This stretch is called bathtubs because of the incredible water clarity, as the water at this point is 99% spring creek it is gin clear. The big fish move up out of the reservoir and into the upper stretch of the river in mid-fall.

I won't disclose the name but you can probably figure out where this is. The incredible fishing for 6-8 weeks in the fall is kind of a locals secret.


Cutthroat Stalker said...

Kevin, The only such place I'm familiar with is close to "J.S.'s place" (if I'm right you'll know what I'm talking about, if I'm wrong, I don't need to know). But for some reason I thought that area was off limits to fishing.

I didn't even get up to your neck of the woods this year which was disappointing. I used to fish the railroad Ranch a couple of times a year just to keep myself humble.

I did look in the spring at some property up your way (closer to Ashton). Just a trailer on some land, but I would love to have a summer launching pad for some fishing excursion. You have so many options within an hour drive--I'm jealous.

Can I pick your brain for a second? Just north of Blackfoot Reservoir and east of Blackfoot (the town) is a place called Brush Creek. Are you familiar with it? That's a potential trip for next summer if there are any cutthroat in it.

jabberwock said...

you are right on the money. You fish below the sign (about 1/4 mile downstream from the cabin) that says "no fishing above this point." Right below the sign i the first bathtub hole. During most of the year it is ok fishing from the sign down to the bridge for trout but from late September till it closes it can be really good for large fish on dead drifted midges.

jabberwock said...

Oops missed the second part. Haven't fished Brush creek, but there can be some decent fishing on the Blackfoot through the canyon (below the res) and in Wolverine canyon.

I used to spend a lot of time on the creeks you fish. Back when I lived in Poky; Pebble, Topance, Diamond, headwaters of the Blackfoot etc. Up here I spend most of my creek fishing days on feeders into the SF.

jabberwock said...

Looking at my fishing logs from last year, the first time I went in on September 28th the big fish were not in. But, when I went back on the 12th of October the fishing was quite good. Will go back in around the 12th to see if the big fish are in.