August 8, 2011 Big Creek (below confluence of Smith Creek) Dry Fly Fishing Report

Posted by Nate at 5:12 PM on Monday, Aug 8th, 2011

Day 2: I started the day at the confluence of Beaver and Big Creeks, approximately three miles down the trail. On the second cast a big cutty rolled up and ate my #14 Beetle. After a bit of a tussle in fast water the first westslope cutthroat was being admired at the bank. After a few more casts another cutty came calling--this one even larger than the first. I worked the Beetle through the soft water of a fairly large hole and then switched off to a #8 Bullethead Hopper. Bingo! Another big cutty was looking for something a little more delicious. I landed about six more fish in that run and moved up to a semi-long deep riffle (because there are no long holes in Big Creek--she falls). There was a wonderful side chute dropping off into a deep hole. First cast--big cutty! Landed him and then another and still another. There was a deep slot out in the main current so I casted there. A gigantic fish rolled up and turned away from the fly. I took a few more casts but no big fish. I moved away from the run and caught a few more cutties then delivered the Hopper over the big fish again. He rose again but wouldn't eat the bug.

I went to my box and immediately saw a #10 Slow Stone and said to myself, "That's a pretty big fish fly." I lobbed it to the fish--nothing. I casted upstream and caught another cutty, dried the hook, and zinged it over the big fish's head. It was a perfect drift and the big ol' guy rose and ate it. I saw him--his mouth was black. I set the hook and he immediately rolled and headed out of the hole downstream. He had serious power! After a 25-yard run, I held him then he started upstream. I got him closer and he was enormous! Then he took 2-3 hard runs to the middle, got above me, and immediately I put the screws on him to the bank; he came begrudgingly. He began to wallow, and big fish are hard to move when they wallow! I got his head and immediately moved him up the gravel bar and forced the issue on him. He said, "No!” And we had to do battle at close range. I hate that! I caught his head and landed him on the gravel bar. He was still in the water. I shot photos, revived him, and let the 6-lb. Chinook Salmon (yes, salmon!) swim away. Wow! Was that real? You don't catch salmon on dry flies but that's a Slow Stone on the side of that fish's head--truly phenomenal.

It was hard to fish on after that, but fish on I did. I changed back to a Bullethead Hopper. Cutties, cutties, and more cutties. Beautiful cutties. Then all of a sudden, bang! I set the hook and immediately I know it's a big fish. It ran downriver. I couldn't stop him, and he continued on. I began to follow. I didn't see the fish but he felt big. He got ahead of me downriver and I began chasing him downriver. I thought I might have snagged him. I turned his head and began to slowly turn him upriver. I saw a small inlet on the bank so I nosedived the fish into the slot. For the first time I saw it was a Dolly Varden (Bull Trout). He was absolutely gorgeous with beautiful orange spots and perfect body color to blend into the river. I admired him, revived him for a long time, and watched him swim away (Check out the underwater photos online). I knew I couldn't top that so I just kept catching more cutties on that Hopper.

So went my first fishing day on the Big Creek. Tomorrow I am going deeper into the canyon...stay tuned!

Flies that Caught Fish:

Black Adams Caddis - Adams Caddis Black Black Adams Caddis $2.45
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Beetle - Terrestrial Beetle BeetleThe most realistic beetle pattern available. It has a peacock belly, a sculptured body, and exactly 6 moose hair legs. DFI beetles are killer... $2.25
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Bullethead Hopper - Terrestrial Bullethead Hopper Bullethead HopperWhen you dry fly fish for over 50 years, you have the unique opportunity to fish a lot of hopper patterns; and at one... $2.65
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Brown Slow Stone  - Slow Stone - Brown Brown Slow Stone $2.95
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