Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fishing the Green!

I fished the Green River a couple weeks ago with friends Darren and Brad (they just happen to be guides for Western Rivers, which is an added bonus). I headed out Friday and made sure I stopped in Evanston to load up the Subaru with tasty contraband. Black Butte Porter $9.99 for a 12-pack!! Gotta love Wyoming.

Spent the evening drinking beer with the guys, talking fishing, and getting stoked for the following day when we'd hit the river. Darren showed me how to tie his version of a Quiggly Cripple and being new to tying, I tried to repeat his pattern. I forgot the dubbing so it turned into the HB's version of Darren's version of a Quiggly Cripple. Whew! Hey- who needs dubbing?! HA.

We launched Darren's drift boat on the A section. Never having caught a fish on a fly I've tied, I started the day with the Crippled HB. First cast, fish on! Nice little rainbow. Pretty stoked catching a fish with something I tied! Still think it might have been a fluke, but I'll take it!

Fish were rising consistently for the first hour or so (I caught two including my rainbow), but then the downpour arrived. Thank goodness for my new waterproof wading jacket over multiple layers of fleece. It rained, no poured, for pretty much the rest of the day. No more rising fish, so we switched to throwing streamers. However, not being good at streamers and not wanting to take someone's ear off, I opted to row for a bit, and then transitioned to the back of the boat where I tried choking down ice cold beer. You know it's cold when it's too cold to drink beer!

Darren and Brad caught some nice fish throughout the afternoon until Darren broke both the six and seven weights. (Note to self: don't let Darren use rod). One of the day's highlights was hearing boulders tumble down the cliffs and echo off the canyon walls. Kind of freaky, but really cool.

As soon as we reached the takeout and loaded up the boat, it began dumping! Snow was sticking to the road in a matter of minutes and I was so glad I wasn't heading back to SLC that night. Sunday morning was a beautiful bluebird day (why wasn't it like this when we fished??), but I was headed home. Booooooo!

Thoughts of big fish and beautiful canyons motivate me to plan another trip soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Most recent trip on the MP 1/28/11

Gorgeous day on the river- saw a bald eagle, deer, and the sun! So nice to get out of the crappy inversion and into some clean air. Didn't catch any fish, though I saw a few rise. Great day.

Green Drake Hatch

Note: I entered this essay in a contest hosted by fishingporn.com. It took first place and I won a custom 9 ft 5 wt rod. Sweet!!

I took up fly fishing last March as a way to fill the void between ice fishing seasons in Utah. I thought there was nothing better than sitting on a bucket on a frozen lake, carefully selecting the appropriate colored jig and tipping it with a glob of chartreuse Powerbait, cracking a Pabst Blue Ribbon, and waiting….jigging….and more waiting.

This was my idea of the perfect day of fishing… until I fished the Green Drake hatch on the middle Provo River.

Since throwing my first fly on a chilly March morning, I have spent nearly every weekend exploring the different stretches of the Provo and other local waters, learning to read water, the hatches, which fly to use, and working on my cast.

It was May and I had heard rumblings of the upcoming Green Drake hatch from my friends at the fly shop. I was intrigued by the madness which was to ensue in a few weeks and I wanted to be part of the experience.

The hatch was on! I load up my fly box with a variety of Green Drake flies, throw a couple Black Butte Porters in my pack, and am on the road by 7 a.m. With Robert Earl Keen cranked, I drink my coffee and choke down my Jalapeno bagel. My body is filled with nervous energy- would I get my favorite spot? How many people would be on the river? Do I have the right flies? Am I sure I know what I’m doing?

“The road goes on forever, and the party never ends,” Robert and I sing, while my foot gets a little heavier on the gas pedal and I sped up with anticipation.

I exit the freeway and turn onto the frontage road. The sky is getting brighter as the sun rises to welcome another day. I am pleased when I arrive and am the only car, but it is the drake hatch and I know it is only a matter of time before the masses come pouring out.

Pulling on my waders and boots, I grab my rod, coffee, and pack and head downstream to my favorite stretch. The island is about 30 feet long and 8 feet wide. Lots of water to fish- faster riffles up stream, slower water between the island and bank, and a nice eddy below the island. With my rod rigged up and coffee in hand, I sit and watch the water…looking for noses. This is my favorite time of day.

I finish my coffee and begin casting. I cast for a while hoping to start seeing some action. I tie on a dropper and catch a tiny brown on a nymph. Not seeing any fish, the novice, impatient angler in me starts to wonder if I really knew what I was doing and if this would be another day skunked. I crack a beer (it’s never too early for a beer on the river) trying not to get discouraged. I watch the water flow by, trying to convince myself it’s not about catching fish, but the experience of being on the water. I take another swig of beer. Patience has never been a virtue of mine.

As the morning air begins to warm, I notice the action of bugs in the air and on the water. Wings looking like sails on tiny ships float down the riffles, while others flutter newly formed wings while perched on willow branches. My heart beats faster…the hatch has begun.

I grab my rod and begin casting above the noses I see rising from the water. I’m giddy with excitement, but tell myself to stay calm. I throw my line, watch it drift…..and fish on!

“Yeehaw!” I say out loud and to any ears who might be listening. I strip my line, grab my net, and land a nice fat brown. I remove my fly, take a photo, and release him. I quickly dry my fly, shake, and cast. Within minutes, I have another fish and I am fired up! Fishing porn left and right and I LOVE it! I laugh out loud as I land number two. Four. Six. Eight. I haven’t seen this much skin and action for a long time, if ever. (wink wink)

After I release number nine, I cast a while longer, but the action has slowed- time for a celebratory beer. I take a seat on the island, grab a Black Butte, and feel the adrenaline still flowing through my body. The grin on my face, the fish porn on my camera, this has been the best day I’ve had on the river yet. I sit back, watch the water flow by, and revel in the experiences of the day.

I feel different than I had before arriving on the water this morning. “Maybe I really do know what I’m doing on the river,” I chuckled to myself. “Maybe I’m not such a novice after all.”