Monday, December 3, 2012

Two Friends on the River

These Were on the Bottom
When Steve sent a text to get back on the boat, I knew it would be hard to live up to the expectations. The last time Steve was on the boat, with his son Adam, we had a great time, caught nice fish and in spite of the wind, the weather was good. As the day Steve booked grew closer, reports from the river were worse and worse. And my trips to the river weren't outstanding. The day before Steve and Rick's trip, several people, reported dismal results from the river. So I tied up some flies that "should" work, bought a new fly rod, reel and line and met the guys at the ramp when the Army Corps turned off the generator.
Fall Colors
Rick had not been around a fly rod much before the trip. We spent a while showing him the roll cast and how to cast with some distance. We discussed mending, how the water comes at different angles and of course how to mend in those conditions. The wind also would play a role during the day and it wouldn't always positive. However, we came to the river and the guys expected a good day...So I pulled up the anchor and we started drifting. Steve remembered the things we worked on during his last trip and he hooked up first with a hatchery brat rainbow that came from some structure. We had Rick fishing down the middle and drifting a nymph along the bottom. He hooked up and soon had his first fish, a dark rainbow, in the net. Alright the skunk was off and we were getting results.
Steve Gets the Skunk Off the Boat...
One of Steve's Brown Trout
We brought several hatchery brats to the net and concentrated on the hi-value areas, and they produced. We kept bouncing nymphs, and bouncing nymphs, and bouncing nymphs... Just when anglers think they have snagged the bottom a fish will flash. The guys were bouncing nymphs and both soon had a hook-up. Rick had a nice brookie, but Steve stuck a real good brown. The day was improving and it was still early.
20" of Brown Trout Goodness (The Brown is the one in the Middle of the Photo)
Then we floated into a spot on the river that has been good for everyone this year, except me. I have taken more anglers into this area this year and we have came away empty handed. So with the guide season coming to a close....what the heck. We drifted in, Steve was fishing right down the gut as Rick started picking his way through the blowdowns. Somewhere between a heavy wind gust and trying to keep the boat under control, Rick's indicator took a dive. He set the hook just as I regained control of the drifter. We pulled the brown out of the wood and into the deep pocket. Rick did everything I asked. We made it through several runs and even a jump, then Rick brought the brown to the net. He did everything just right and the rod, I bought the day before, already had good mojo! Not only that, we had two good slams and it wasn't even lunch. The trip was coming around to our way of thinking.
Completing a Grand Slam
Rick Happily Hooked-up
Steve was happy to see his friend catch a nice fish and make the 20 + Club. We bounced some nymphs and just drifted. The guys picked up fish along the way and we had some stretches where it seemed the fish just didn't want to cooperate. Then, Steve's indicator dove as he fished some structure...(see a theme here). He set the hook and started backing the fish out of the blowdown. Rick wasn't content and a short time later had a fish on too. Another double. Rick waited patiently as  Steve brought his fish to the net, Rick brought his fish around and into the net as well. Steve scored his nice brown just before the lunch bell rang...We really don't have a lunch bell.
Steve With Some Brown Trout Goodness
After lunch the guys said it would be great if they could catch a couple more fish before it was too dark to see. We picked up a few more than a couple as we kept the boat off the banks and battled the wind. We fished a lot of the same spots that were fished on Steve's last trip. Some of those spots produced and some did not produce. The guys kept at it and seemingly never getting tired of casting and mending.
Phisch Tails
The guys were obviously two friends who go way back. These long floats give folks plenty of time to talk about all kinds of stuff, while they catch up. As they talked and I told my same two jokes, we were now three guys having a nice day floating down the river.
Rick was fishing a ledge when he set the hook. The fish began a run around the front of the boat. "Someone" in the boat commented on the way Rick was fighting such a small fish. Since we hadn't caught a glimpse of the fish it seemed OK to give Rick a hard time. Then the rod tip started bouncing as the fish started head shaking. The fish continued around the boat. Rick kept the leader out of the anchor arm, anchor rope, anchor and Steve's hat. The fish made a lap around the boat as we backed over to a gravel bar. Rick gained control of the feisty rainbow and got the fish's head up. Then the fish came to the net and Rick had another entry into the 20 + Club.  We took a couple photos, then made sure the fish was ready and released the rainbow back to the ledge.

Rainbow Goodness
We kept floating as other boats made their way to the takeout. Then we fell in behind them and continued to fish. Finally the darkness was catching us. By the time we made it to the takeout and got the boat on the trailer, it was dark. We had good discussion on the way back to the top of the ramp. Steve and Rick caught their share of fish and then some The thing about these two is they ask questions until they seemingly completely understand. They weren't afraid to ask a question more than once if I wasn't explaining things clearly. I believe this is one of the keys to their success. Well that and a little fly rod mojo never hurts.

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