Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sometimes it's just not your day

Everything starts out well enough.  Yesterday's greyness gives way to blue skies over the mountains as the sun burns through early morning clouds.  I am on my way to a favorite trout stream that treated me very well last October.  My mood brightens along with the day.

Arriving at the stream, I find that the water levels are perfect. Temperatures are just right for wet wading and hiking without breaking a sweat.  This is going to be fun.

I fish an elk hair caddis with no action for a little while and then switch to a big stonefly nymph when I see empty shucks here and there on the rocks.  I had been hoping for some dry fly action but it doesn't really matter because I'm about to slay 'em with nymphs.

I make my way farther and farther upstream and can't buy a look.  I switch back to the dry.  No dice.  I try a different nymph.  Nothing.  I should be catching fish but I'm not.  I grow impatient.  In my haste to get to the next spot, I go too quickly and it happens.  My foot comes down on a slimy rock so slick it feels as if it's covered with ice.

I go ass over teakettle in the middle of the creek.  Laying on my back, wedged between two boulders, I utter some words that would not make my Mom proud of me. I have wacked my shin hard enough that it takes several minutes to stop hurting.  I stand up and start to collect myself and realize that something is very wrong with my reel. Then I look at it.

The frame is bent so badly on my prized English made Hardy reel that the spool cannot turn.  I utter a few more words that are the foulest I can think of, but which I feel are entirely appropriate for the occasion.  This does not make me feel any better.  I remove the spool and pull enough line off to be able to make a reasonable cast, replace the spool and continue upstream.  I still have caught no fish today.

I fish for another hour or so, but my heart is no longer in it.  I hit the trail and retreat down the mountain with no fish and a busted reel. 

Along the road back to the parking lot I pass the flower bed fisherman and think that I would have been better off down here with him. 

Sometimes it's just not your day.  But there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I can run and jump and fish

After a few months of doing nothing but spring creekin', I was ready for something different. To that end, I broke out the brookie flies, strung up the trusty 7030 and pointed my truck towards one of my favorite places in the world. My plan was to do it up right and start the morning with some biscuits & gravy at the Mountaineer Cafe in Madison but the snooze button won out. I got a later start than planned and had to be content with a blueberry muffin from Sheetz - the brookies were waiting.

My usual starting point. There's a stretch of fairly unproductive water above this spot that I decided to skip today - I would keep to the trail.

Problem is the trail kicks straight up as it climbs the ridge above the creek. A summer of walking flat meadows has made my legs soft. Nothing to do but make the slog.

Finally the trail swings back towards the stream and I jumped off above the marginal water at the top of the first big waterfall. Time to get down to business.

This stream produces some big brookies on a pretty regular basis - big being relative to the size of the water and skimpy supply of food.  The bigger fish were shy today but the ones that did come to hand were so purdy it didn't matter. 

The scenery ain't half bad either.

Nothing really happening today in the bug department so I picked a yellow stimulator on the theory that brookies like yellow - and stimulators. It works as often as not.

And I finally arrived at the spot that occupied my brain last night and most of the morning. I stood and took it in for while.

The honey hole was being moody today but did give up one chunky char.

That was as high as I was going today and good enough for a first trip back. Back to the truck where dry clothes and the cooler were waiting.