Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm Back!!

After eight very long months, I finally made it back on the water. The last trout to grace the end of my leader was a greenback cutthroat in Lawn Lake (RMNP) on August 9, 2011. I have been fishing all of my life and eight months may be the longest period of time I have gone without fishing.

Due to work I had to pass up several opportunities to fish earlier in the year, including multiple 80-degree days in March. I finally found a window at work where I could slip away for a day...and I was off!

We left Parkersburg at 5:00 AM and by 8:30 we were wet wading in 40-degree temperatures. The fishing started out slow and it took me nearly an hour to land my first fish of 2012 - a nice, little (less than spectacular) wild rainbow. I landed one other wild bow before we decided to try a few miles upstream.

First drift in the first hole produced this pretty little wild bow.

By this time the sun was high in the sky and you could feel the slight increase in water temperature. With the air and water warming, it was as if somebody flipped a switch and the fishing was lights out for the remainder of the day.

This section of one of my favorite streams gets pounded with both C&R and "meat" fisherman, but with outstanding water quality it still produces excellent numbers of brookies and wild bows....

...and some decent size to boot!

We fished until shortly after noon, when we decided to hike out for lunch back at the vehicle. On the way out I noticed several spring wildflowers were already blooming - two days into April!

I checked the dates on photos I have saved of these same wildflowers and they are over a full month ahead of normal bloom.
Red Trillium

Squirrel Corn

Dutchman's Breeches


Trout Lily

Following a quick lunch, we decided to head back to where we started early that morning, but instead of fishing the main branch we headed up one of the smaller tribs.
Different stream, same watershed, same result...brookies and wild bows.

We fished about a half-mile of new water before calling it a day on this stream, with plans to quickly hit one more small trib before heading back home.

One the way out, we saw this nice set of cascades. If you look closely, you can see the cascades originate somewhere high up the mountain.

On the last stream I took time to snap a few shots of my new 000wt, which had made a very successful inaugural trip.

I was very impressed with the action! The brookies and bows in the 8' - 10" range bulldogged just like my 1wt Vandalia bamboo but the extra 2' made mending and high-sticking much easier. I give it an A+ !

In short order I was able to pick up a brookie and a wild bow in this small trib too.

The sun was dropping behind the mountains, and the light faded fast inside the steep walls of this stream. After picking up a brookie and bow in this stream, I decided to call it a day - a very successful beginning to my 2012 fishing season.

As I stood on the bank above my partner, watching him finish his day on a nice plunge pool, I looked down at my feet and spotted this:

I'm not a superstitious person but I sure hope this is a sign of things to come during my 2012 fishing season.


AZWanderings said...

Great to see you got out Chris and very nice post. Looking forward to following your great year ahead.


Chris S. said...

Thanks Ben! I started the day with a dry/dropper and the dry was one of your mini-hoppers. ;)