So when Daryl called me yesterday morning calling due a favor (he gave me a desk this spring for my office on the condition that I take his father and him fishing later in the year) I had to say yes.
The day was beautiful, sunny and mild and the foliage has fairly much all changed color. The valley is very pretty right now. I can't remember the last time we had weather this nice for Halloween. We got into a few small cutthroats and rainbows in the first hole we stopped in a hundred yards below our put in at Spring Creek and I thought that we might have a good day, but it really slowed down after that.
We saw a bald eagle with a fish in his claws winging down river, and he did better than we did for the most part the rest of the day. Which is not to say we didn't catch fish, but by Dan's reckoning white fish count negatively against your tally for the day and so I was well into the negatives, approaching double digits. At our third stop I picked a medium brown on nymphs, but outside of that it was whitefish city.
We continued down the river and hit a small side channel maybe 15 feet across. It was a good drop into a deep channel and it looked very fishy. I picked up two white fish and moved down a bit when wham. My indicator screamed up stream quickly followed by something huge and dark that came about half way out of the water and powered away. At first I thought I had some how hooked into a muskrat but saw as it tailwalked across the channel that it was a BIG fish. I couldn't tell if it was a brown or a cutthroat. We fought for a bit and I finally got the fish under control and into a slow spot of water that afforded me a good look at it. Turned out to be a large brown.
For all my friends from Utah who read this blog and talk about the stunted fish on the Lower and Middle Provo here is what a stunted South Fork Brown looks like. This fish went about 23 inches.
I took the pictures while Daryl held the fish. I still need to work on my photo skills as my composition leaves much to be desired.
Daryl managed to drop the fish on it's head, which seemed to stun it a bit but it revived fairly nicely after about 1/2 a minute of resuscitation in the river's current, and hunkered down on the bottom a bit before taking off.
I picked up one more whitefish, so by Dan's fish tallying system I was still in negative territory even though the brown could have eaten the better part of all the whites I caught at one sitting without feeling like it had over eaten.