Monday, March 23, 2009

TIme well spent

As noon rolled around on Friday, looking out the back window revealed azure skies, and plenty of sun, and the weather site was reporting temperatures pushing 60 degrees. As we haven't seen a day over 50 in 5 months or so it was much too appealing out to remain cloistered in my basement writing code.

I asked my older son, who turned 3 a few weeks back if he would like to go fishing, and he excitedly replied in the affirmative. He knows that dad disappears about once a week to fish, and has fished with me quite a bit in the past. In his first summer, while he was still small I would put him and enough formula and diapers for a day into my car and head out for a bit of creek fishing. I would cary him in a chest pack and he would watch for a bit, find the fish interesting, but usually fell asleep within about 1/2 hour of arriving upon whatever creek we chose for the day.

SF Snake at the Ririe railroad bridge

For the following 2 summers (once he learned to walk) I would take him out on some of the smaller branches of the Snake and various "safer" spots around our house. He can cast a little, and last summer actually cast, hooked and landed a whitefish on a dry fly. No small task for a 2 year old.

My wife objected strenuously to my taking my boy fishing, but once she realized that he was going, she then switched to a litany of "you keep an eye on him", and "don't let him drown." I think she fails to realize just how low the river currently is, and just how little incentive a little boy has to play in water that is not over 40 degrees. Despite that, I did keep him under wary eye, though we fished in slow water areas with very gentle banks.

Lucas overlooking the river. Let's go FISH dad!

I called John to see if he would like to go, and upon learning that my son was coming, he decided to also bring along his 2 year old. Whose birthday it just happened to be.

Parker fishing

We drove out to the Ririe railroad bridge, and again the area was crowded. The nice weather seems to have brought every fisherman in the area out of their homes and onto the river.

Parker, warily eyeing a trout

We fished a bit and let the kids fight the fish and land them. Lucas (my boy) likes to just walk up the bank until the fish is landed. He used this technique on a number of whitefish (John caught the only trout). Parker, John's boy, was a little afraid of the fish. Causing quite the ruckus every time his dad went to release one.

Lucas landing a fish

John and son fighting a fish

We had hoped for some dry fly action, but nymphs were the order of the day. The river is still running very low and very clear. Hopefully some BWOs will start coming off soon in better numbers.

Only trout of the day, but the boys didn't mind

The kids were fairly well behaved. They threw rock and sticks into the river, poked around with this and that, chased bugs, demanded to cast and generally had a good time of themselves. Lucas cast chanting "forwards" and "backwards" in portuguese tryng to get the timing of his cast down little better. And fought fish like a pro. He wanted to keep every fish we caught as he thinks fish tasty, and became upset as I released them. I tried to explain to him that whitefish are not real good eating, and that we would keep any rainbow trout that we caught (doing our part with the cutthroat restoration) but he still did not like the fact that daddy kept tossing his fish back.

I plan on buying him a 3 wt, overlining it with a wf 4 wt line and taking him out on the SF during the salmon fly hatch..... now if I can only convince his mother to allow my plans............. I really like making memories with my family.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Originally I had planned to head back up to the big lost this week at some point, but John's (fishing buddy) schedule didn't allow for it. So yesterday we snuck out for 2 hours on the SF of the Snake near the old Ririe railroad bridge hoping to find some top feeding fish.

When we got to our normal parking spot for this stretch there were already three cars there and fishermen up and down the river for hundreds of yard. So we drove up river another 1/4 mile. As we pulled over another car pulled up and a carload of hardware huckers disgorged 5 people who beat a hasty path for the river. Above us at Cress Creek there were more cars.

The fishing was pretty good on zebra midges, there were a few feeding on the top sporadically, but not consistently enough to warrant switching to dries. I picked up fish on my first 4 drifts in the hole we fished. John put the hurt on the whities catching half the whities in the river.

On the drive back home we saw 3 different cars at our normal pullout. 3 cars at Twin Bridges by the north bridge, people on the dry bed.... basically people every where. Amazing what a little nice weather will do. With the number of people on the river you would have thought it prime salmon fly hatch, and not a Wednesday afternoon in mid-March. I was quite surprised by the sheer number of people on the river. Side note: The river is running low and clear.

Ohh and I forgot my camera again..... DOH!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Lost River Range

I must admit I count fish. When I am planted in the middle of a small gin clear, alpine river, casting tiny 18 and smaller bwo patterns over the heads of a myriad of fair sized rainbows, I tend to keep track of numbers. I am not sure why, it really shouldn't be all that important, but it does help me to quantify the day. As my fishing ooportunitues are not as numerous as I would like (but probably more numerous than my wife would like :) ) I try to maximize my outings, and counting does help to quantify the day. I count when I catch 4 in 5 drifts or when I pick up 9 fish from the same run in under 40 minutes. When I am having a day to rival some of my good days of the SF during the mega hatch in July, I pay attention.

Though my eyes are seemingly going out because I have to tie a bigger size 14 parachute bwo on with the small fly as a dropper so I can use the bigger fly to direct my poor eyes to the smaller fly, the fly that the fish are actually intersted in.

Fishing in the shadow of the tallest mountains in the state is always a treat. I wrote Scott (of Cutthroat Stalker fame) on Monday and had talked to another buddy Daryl about hitting the Big Lost on Friday. Every day of the 10 days (farthest out weather forecast) leading into the trip I checked the forecast for Mackay. And all the forecast stated hi 30s to lo 40s and sunny. I thought that a bluebird day of such would surely bring the midges and bwos to the surface and hopefully make the trout take note.

Crag above the river

Daryl and I drove in from Idaho Falls and Scott from Logan. we met up with him in Arco, The morning started out well on midges, with me catching a few on a red zebra and then a black zebra. I was starting to approach double digits on nymphs when I noticed a pair of bwos on my chest pack. The hatch was on.

I wondered back down river looking for Scott and Daryl. Scott and I had worked our way up stream for about 1/4 mile with me nymphing and he casting dries to risers, but he had disappeared a while earlier and I knew Daryl was down on the slick water close to the campground.

I found Scott most of the way back to the campground casting dries at a pod of risers and we made a few more attempts before heading back to the car to find Daryl nd hit a bite to eat.

Daryl was in the slick slow water casting to the 100s of risers. There were fish rising everywhere in the slick water. Some looked absolutely huge down in the depths. The only difficulty in slick stuff, is despite the 100s of riser, they have all day to inspect a fly and decide if it looks right. A dozen or more refusals found me upstream a bit where there was a little more chop, and finally a fish.

The rainbows in the Big Lost are amazing. They tend to average 15-17 inches with a few outliers on either end and are brilliantly colored. Deep green backs, bright magenta stripes, lots of spots and they are currently staging for the spawn and so are turning deep spawning red and orange.

They are hard fighting and like to leap. Daryl brought a 2 weight and was a little under-gunned. Every fish felt like a king salmon on his 2 weight.

Scott moved on downstream, while Daryl and I ate a leisurely lunch. After eating I headed downstream and found Scott casting to a pod of risers on the downside of a big riffle. He had just released a big bow of over 20 inches and was using stealth tactics to fool the fish.

Scott working risers below a riffle

I moved down about 50 yards below him where I saw a pod of risers. I hooked up with a couple, only to loose them both when the hole went cold. I must of spooked them and put them down.

I moved down another 50 yards and proceeded to slay them on the small bwo. the bugs were every where and the fish were rising. The hatch lasted about 2 hours, and I really only caught the beginning and end of it, having broken for lunch in mid hatch.

The fish continued to rise after the hatch cooled and then after a while, no more risers. So I switched back to nymphs. I followed Scott downstream around a couple of bends and tied into one more large fish that promptly spit the hook.

Reviewing the day.... good company, great finish and great scenery. What more could one ask for?

I did take some pictures of Scott fishing and of the scenery, but I like to fish too much to really take pictures of catching them. As I plan on heading back next week, I will try to get some more trout shots.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finally HB 187 is Dead

It's dead Jim.

Voted down this morning 31 yay to 43 nay. Won't come back till next year. Hopefully now the recreation user community can draft a bill that will be acceptable for presentation during the next legislative session.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Utah HB 187 defeated! Back from the Dead

Thanks to all the grassroots work from the angling public at large. This largely anti-fishing bill has been defeated thanks to the efforts of the community, and a lot of time and sacrifice from a few key members of our community!

Update: As of this afternoon (March 4th) the bill has been "reconsidered" and is circled. Looks like the fight is not yet over.