Saturday, October 31, 2009

Steelhead Fly

Went up up past Salmon ID, on the Salmon river last week chasing chrome. Picked up a sucker and a steelhead of about 26 inches. So I have the bug.

I have been out on a few other outings in the last month and will blog them a bit later. But now for your viewing pleasure.... my first attempt at steelhead flies.

The proportions may be a bit off, and on the next one I will trim the front marabou back a bit so the rear color is a little more prominent. This fly is essentially hot orange marabou over hot pink marabou, some silver and blue flash with a bit of copper wrapped down the shank and a tungsten cone head to sink it a little faster. So my first big salmon/steelhead style fly is a fairly simple one.

One day I hope to be able to tie some of the georgeous steelflies you see in the books and magazines. ;)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All Good Things

The old saying goes "That all Good things Must Come to an End" and so.....

It was a Tuesday afternoon, the weather pushing 80 degrees but the high forecast for the morrow.... 40 something. With..... snow. Did I mention snow?

I had been in the basement coding all morning when I got a serious case of the "I got to get out and toss hoppers before they are gone" blues. Why am I the only one afflicted by that malady?

So bout 2ish I dressed L, packed up the gear, made sure I had some ponchos and emergency space blankets in the fishing pack and headed out with L in tow. We headed up to a creek somewhere between "No Tellum" and "Willowy" creeks.

Now L loves to fish, so he is always willing to tag along with dad. And it is always easier to get a kitchen pass when I take him along. Though he does get mad when I toss the fish back. In his mind fish are for catching, then eating. I'll have to work on his catch and release ethic ;) .

This creek has about as much water as "No Tellum" but in its lower stretches is very turbulent. The trail head starts in a narrow canyon where the water tumbles and drops off falls and rocks. Classic pool and drop structure with fish hiding behind and in front of the rocks. It opens up a bit higher on, but I must say this is the most scenic of the local feeder creeks. At least to my eyes.

The flora was putting on a show. The colors were gorgeous. L had to pick a few maple leaves to take home to mom. He studied rocks and crag, pointed up various tracks ranging from deer to bicycle and had a great time. He also got a spinning light up toy at the convenience store on the way out.... which I couldn't get him to put down so it shows up in the majority of his shots.

The fish are nice sized cutthroats. We did pretty good till the winds of the oncoming cold front kicked up, knocking every leaf in the valley into the river. I think the fish will hit a few yellow cream colored leafs thinking they are hopper and then give up hunkering on the bottom.

L landed a few nice cutts. Big fish was in the 16 inch range. He had fun tossing rocks, picking weed, and finding sticks, punctuated at time with casting and occasionally catching a fish.

I really liked the creek and will have to hit it again, but will most likely be next year. We have had at least 2-3 snow skiffs now and it is sticking at the elevation of the creeks. High temps for the last week have been below 50 and nights have all been below freezing. Think any hoppers are left?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Tale of Two Creeks Part 4: Return to "No Tellum" Creek

The second to last week of September found me up on "No Tellum" Creek again. I left the house a bit earlier determined to hike up at least past the old guard station cabin before wetting a line. The weather had definitely cooled some in the evenings as the hills were full of color (this is before the cold front we are experiencing now which produced some snow in the high country. Think there are any hopper after a week of sub freezing temps?).

The parking lot was as full as I have ever seen it with 5 horse trailers parked helter skelter. The outfitters must be setting up camps for the oncoming hunting season. And though the trail head was packed... I didn't see any other anglers on the creek. The hike up saw multitudes of hoppers, some quite suicidal jumping pell mell into the creek. A hopper in this creek is not long for the world. The fish are watching..... waiting for an unfortunate grass hopper to be their next big meal.

I hiked up past the guard station and fished the creek up to the confluence with the North Fork of the creek. The fishing was quite good with the familiar hopper and smaller terrestrial combo being a success. This time the fish were more on the larger hopper than the smaller grumpies.

The fish in this stretch were larger than what I had experienced a couple of weeks earlier averaging 14-15 inches with a fair number of twinks, but the larger fish being more common. There was some beautiful terrain. I especially liked a stretch where the whole creek narrowed through a tight bit of canyon. Lots of good fish in that stretch inhabiting the deeper pools. I also thought that the narrows would be a good place to come with a gold pan at some point.

I fished for a number of hours catching at an incredible rate. As dusk started to approach I knew that I should probably head out before dark. Just belwo where the North Fork came in I noticed a tightly balled pod of fish sitting deep in a hole. Some of decent size. I switched to a nymph and tossed the nymph at them for about 20 minutes but didn't get any takes, nor would they rise to a dry fly. I am uncertain but can only guess that they were whitefish. I have never caught a whitefish out this creek, but it wouldn't entirely surpise me to find some pods of them in its environs.

Hiking out I saw a back packer on the "high" trail about a quarter of a mile down stream of me. By sticking to the "low" road and its various fords I was able to cut quite a distance out of the trek and beat him back to the trail head.

These creeks are an amazing resource for anglers. Especially on the fly. In the late summer and early fall the appearance of hoppers seems to make them ravenous. It is most likely the best feeding season for the resident fish of these creeks.