Living the Dream!!
It’s all good when your third cast of the day nets a 22” “Brownie” on a Slow Stone and by afternoon, you’re hooking one fish after another on a BWO hatch that stretches from one side of the river to the other. And so it went on the “O” March 13, 2012.
I started the morning at the Ginger Bread House with the wind swirling in all directions. I fished the boulder section on the high end of the run, and there were no fish feeding at the surface. The tie-on bug was a Slow Stone, and I was serving it over the boulders on the low side of the run. As the skwala pattern intersected a deep edge over a boulder, I see a very large fish slowly materialize at the hook, open his big mouth, and eat the bug. A soft hook set, a respectable fight, and the first “Brownie” of the day slid into the net.
I dried the fly as the wind began to intensify. Working the bug against the banks and around the boulders, I hook another small fish and land him. By the time I dried out again, the wind is gale force stripping through trees. Dust is rolling off the roadside and tumbleweeds are inundating the river. I continued to deliver the fly, and at the top of the run, I hook and land another big fish. For another hour I worked the bug and lured about five more fish to the hook, but they would come all the way up open their mouth then refuse to eat. I may have been setting the hook too soon, but the end result was 0 fish in the net. I finished at the Ginger Bread run by landing another 20” fish.
We moved locations to a run of water below the bridge at the dam. I fished the slack water while Geoff and Joe fished riffles below me. There were white caps on the slick; and even though there were a few fish rising sporadically, there were no targets in range to make a cast. I decided to walk down river and see how Geoff was doing.
As I approached Geoff’s run, I see he has a fish on, so I went way wide to make sure I didn’t boo his hole and then slipped in just in time to land a 20” for him. He was going maniac on a BWO hatch, and the fish I netted was the fifth fish he’d landed in 45 minutes. I did what all good Dad’s do…I honed in on his run of water. Geoff worked one side of the water, and I fished the far side of the river. I tied on a #20 Single Upright Wing BWO, and on the first cast, I hook and land a 16” “Brownie.” The fish on my side of the river had not been worked and they were big on the bug. I landed two more fish back to back, then Geoff hooks a monster and begins an epic fight in and out of the boulders. At one time, the fish bolts by me within 6 inches of my leg. Geoff finally lands the fish, and I came over and photo’d it.
We reposition in the river, and I immediately see a big guy peak his head up and eat. I landed the fly slightly ahead of him on a quarter-angle cast, and right on cue, he eats the bug. Fish on; and after a bully fight, I slide him into the edge of the river for photos. He’s another 20” fish with big spots and shimmering sides. I land one more fish and the hatch quits; no more targets presented themselves.
We moved down river for our final run at the fish before dark. Geoff and Joe tied on skwala patterns, and I kept my 6X tippet on and decided to continue fishing a small bug. After a few minutes, Joe yells down that there were fish eating small bugs at his location. I was the only one geared to fish a small bug, so I went up to meet Joe.
When I arrived, I could see it would be difficult to approach the fish. They were in a section of river that was very narrow and there was brush against both sides. I went to the top of the run and immediately I have two fish feeding below me. I serve the first fish a BWO No Hackle, and without hesitation, he eats the bug. It was a very lively 16” fish jumping twice and running up to a big slick. I finally work him in. I look back and the other fish is still feeding, so I server the fly. Second cast he eats, and I land him also. He wasn’t very big, about 12” long, but a nice healthy fish.
I had two more targets down river from me, but one fish wouldn’t eat, and the other took my fly and I missed him. I finished the day landing another small fish just before darkness on a BWO colored emerger!
Flies that caught fish:
BWO No Hackle #20
BWO Single Upright Wing #20
Slow Stone #12
BWO Colored Emerger #22