Sunday, September 23, 2012

I've been down with a nasty cold the last week but felt decent enough to go out last night after having passed off the cold to Heather. I got to the water about 6 and had all these buffalo where I hike in from. I have never seen them over here so I was surprised. There is a herd on the other side of the river at a ranch but I always assumed it was cattle on the western side of the river. I was wrong. 

This picture is deceiving. It was blowing like hell. I knew right away that it was going to be a long and tough night trying to punch a wet fly and 80' of fly line through a head wind. No matter where I went it was always the same battle. There were a couple times when I could use the wind to my advantage and make my final cast a back cast but not often.  Just before the sun was going down I was working a spot when I heard a loud crash about 40 yards upstream. During the fall, it's common to hear this at night. Sometimes it's a huge brown chasing something big and sometimes it's a Kokanee Salmon but I have yet to see a salmon so I figured it was a brown. I quickly ran down there and worked it over but never found what it was.

This humpback brown hit a brown Meat Whistle on a dead drift and totally caught me off guard. I wasn't ready for it and it pulled the line right out of my hand. I figured it was off but the hook set was good enough. This definitely was not the fish I was hoping for but the back was impressive and the colors were loud and, along with the slight hook of the mouth, tells me it was likely a buck.

It didn't take long at all and it was ready to go and so was I. I figured I better check a favorite spot since I was close. With my headlamp on high, I spotted what had to be a 26" brown but the beam of light shut things down and even with a big fly right in it's face it just laughed at me.

I finally got fed up with the wind at about 9 and headed back to the car and changed. On the way out, I could see about a hundred critters crossing the dirt road and kicking up all kinds of dust. They were way too big to be antelope so I figured they were elk but it was a huge herd and some of them were incredibly big. I grabbed my headlamp, left the car running and jumped out and took off into the field. I made it about 30 yards in when they stopped. I probably got within 20 yards before I realized they were the buffalo I had seen earlier. I can't recall what I said as I slowly backed away and turned the light off but it was not PC.

Monday, September 17, 2012


About 6 years ago I was working with a woman and, one day, she said, "Hey are you interested in possibly buying an old car?" Being a gear head I asked her what it was. A 63 Thunderbird. Now...I'm not a Ford guy at all but the T-Bird was a pretty kick ass car. It had a 390 cubic inch motor and cool lines. I asked her what she wanted for it and she said she wasn't sure. We danced around a little bit with her hand on my ass but it never went any further. Tonight, Heather was at the grocery store and ran into her. She asked Heather if we were interested in checking it out. It's supposed to be down in storage in Colorado Springs. I have no clue how long it's been down there. I don't even know if it runs. I do know that she wants to get rid of it. I think I have Heather convinced that we should at least check it out. Between 1962 and 1963, Ford sold a few hundred models of the T-Bird that had the 390 motor with three 2 barrel carbs. It's very rare. I wonder if it could fit in my garage?  Can you picture this car, slammed to the tarmac, with patina paint and a fly rod strapped to the roof headin to the river? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Still alive

Work has been really busy this last week and this week will likely be a repeat. I haven't done much during the week because I've been working late most nights but I did get out Friday night after my wife insisted on it after making me a killer plate of home made enchiladas. I got out to the river at about 7. The fields are turning gold and the walk in was nice. There were three trucks there and all of them were leaving as I was suiting up. 

It is amazing how many fish you see at night. It's just safer for them and they really come out to feed. I'm starting to see more fish and bigger fish each week. Right when I got to the water I spooked 3 really nice ones in the first hour. I missed about a dozen fish but I suspect they were just smalls who didn't quite have the entire streamer in their eager little mouths. At about 9:30, I swung a black streamer through a deeper pool on a dead drift and this one took it. It wasn't huge but still about 18 inches with gorgeous color.

Saturday Heather and I hung out and went to dinner. On the way, we stopped at a local shop to look at toys. Last year at this time I lost my tie dyed clamps and they happened to have a set in stock so I bought them.

I also picked up this little guy. Right now there is a whole lot of big bug activity on the surface of the water even late into the night so I think there's a lot of fish looking up. I hope to be able to get out some night this week and swing it through a deeper pool for a meat eater. Hoping for a little bit of Alaska.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday Night Lights

I came home from work yesterday and took about a 2 hour nap and then made it to the river at about 7. The chill of fall was definitely in the air as I got my shit together. I decided to fish the far upper stretches of the river and parked at the last lot. This is the short hike down to the water. At the end of this fence line is where I proposed to my wife about this time of year during a Salmon run. 

Unfortunately, these are about the only decent pictures I was able to get last night. There was a little bit of weather that moved in just as the sun went down but it wasn't bad at all. The worst part of the night was the nasty wind that just wouldn't let up that forced me to get creative with back casts being used for the final cast and using the current to get my fly where I wanted it to be. I did a lot more dead drifting last night than normal because of it.

It's hard to tell in this picture but this is a long stretch of water that's great for night time streamers. The water is only about 2-3 foot deep all through here and chock full of grass weeds but there's little breaks in the weeds where bigger fish will hide and wait. It's the perfect place to quarter a cast downstream and swing it all the way back to the near bank several times before taking 5 steps down river and doing it all again.

I actually spotted this trout in maybe a foot deep riffle and really didn't think it was all that big. I watched her for a minute but just couldn't tell. I thought she was maybe a chunky 18 inches. With not a lot of enthusiasm, I made the 20 foot cast and let it swing right in front of her. She moved out of the way a few times but she was definitely not interested in feeding on it. But she didn't move far so I figured she really liked that spot so I thought I'd see if I could piss her off. I stepped into the water a bit and made another cast that swung the fly right in front of her and stopped it about 1 foot directly in front of her face. I let it drift down to her, made a few twitches and she crushed it. I saw it all. It was all about her getting angry. Once the hook was set I could tell she was bigger than I initially thought and got excited. This was the best I could do and I'm not happy about the picture but she was portly and really needed a 2 hand hold for a proper pic.

It didn't take long before she eased out of my hands but she only slid up about a foot from where I was kneeling in the water. She stayed there for about 10 minutes. I wasn't worried because she looked good but I stayed with her until she finally slid into a deeper hole.

It was a kick ass night. The pack of coyotes came to see me again as did another porcupine and 2 curious foxes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Not yet

I've held a lot of trout that a lot of guys would love to have held but I want a trophy trout. Fall is when it can happen and I increase my chances every trip I make. I went up again tonight. I made my first cast at 7 when the sun was dipping down on the Divide. Tonight I fished the Dream Stream and was all alone but decided to head downstream from the spillway. Right away I was getting into Rainbows but they were small. Eventually, the weeds were making casting difficult and I really wanted to fish upstream so I started walking.

This is looking downstream towards 11 Mile Reservoir. The rains came shortly after this photo.

This was much further upstream. The crawdads in this stretch of the Platte are huge. The trophy trout come out at night for these and tonight I was throwing big meat. The streamer I used tonight imitates a shit ton of things like crawdads, baitfish, and even leeches. It's ugly.

I wanted to fish a particular hole. I made it there but it's not an easy cast and it's the drift is even worse. I analyzed things for a few minutes and then had at it. I actually only made about a 12 foot cast (quartered downstream) right in front of a big ass boulder and then let it swing my way and down when something hit it. It wasn't huge (maybe 16 if I stretched it) but fun. I released the Bow and made the same cast. More of a dead drift. Hit. I missed it the first time. I'd strip in 2 inches and then let it back down 2 and repeat. It hit again on the second strip and I buried the hook. Right away I knew it was a bigger fish but still not the one I was out at 10 at night looking for. When I reached down to scoop her up she took a run and I felt the hook go in deep. I let her go and sat back and looked at my finger. I knew it was a problem. I brought her back in again and grabbed her and saw my streamer and another fly in her mouth. I unhooked mine and grabbed my forceps to get the other fly. It looked like someone had hooked her with a Caddis and had a Trico dropper on there too and that's what got me. Once i had all the hooks out of her she took a bit of time to revive but came out in the end.

I fished that hole for another hour or so but got nothing else. I went upstream a bit further but I kept getting the line caught on the buried hook while casting and decided to hike out and figure out what I was going to do. I've had several hooks in me before and sometimes I can get them out on my own. I got home and called a friend because I didn't know if I could do it on my own. I drank 2 beers and then cut off all the material to get down to bare hook and then cut the eye off. Then I grabbed the clamps and went to pop it through the skin and the hook just bent. It was really buried. My buddy suggested we go to the ER.Eventually I gave in and we went.

All is good now although I thought the nurse was kinda sassy and ungentle with the Tetanus shot which I thought was total overkill. Super bummed things had to end that way tonight as I had a good vibe going. Oh well. Pinch your barbs down...fuckers!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bachelor weekend

Heather went back home to check on some things this weekend and left me all alone. I don't know that I've been living the bachelor weekend I might have done 15 years ago but I know I wouldn't have things any other way. I came home Friday after work and was beat. I drank a beer on the deck and then my skin started crawling. It was Blue Moon Friday. Things are cooling down and the fall Brown Trout spawn is just around the corner. Late at night, trophy Browns come out to look for bigger meals and these next 4-6 weeks offer the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime on ugly streamer patterns. I rounded up my gear and headed out to the Dream Stream. I got there at about 8 and found just one truck. I could see another headlamp every once in a while on the hike in and soon came upon another guy. He was working a real deep hole stacked with boulders and told me he had seen a guy land a 23 inch Cuttbow just a little earlier. We both giggled like school girls and I headed off to find deeper water. I was almost hyperventilating from excitement as I fished. The moon was so bright that I could see the streamer hit the water. The night was cool and quiet. At one point, I had 6-8 Coyotes come near and start barking at me. I love being out at night. I eventually got into 2 Bows but they weren't what I was hoping for. At midnight the wind really picked up and made things interesting and I started to get tired so it wasn't long before I hiked out and headed home. I think I got in bed at about 1:30 and then got up at 6:30 to get ready to hike down into a smaller canyon with a friend from work to fish some skinny water. 

The creek we fished flows out of a small reservoir. It's super small, very thin water, technical casting with dry flies to a brazillion small Brown Trout. This was actually a deeper run. Usually this is not my favorite kind of fishing (particularly in the fall) but I figured I'd go see what the buzz was about since he talks about it all the time. 

This is what most of the water looked like. It's only a few inches deep through here but every once in a while there was a deeper hole with several Browns shoehorned into it. They were all eager to eat though and, most of the time, would crush the fly as soon as it hit the water. It was rare that they would inspect it and then pass but I did have a few wiser ones go that route.

This was actually the first spot I fished. If you stood up, it was all over so I I spent a lot of time crawling or on my knees to stay undetected.

I have no idea how many I caught but it was easily in the 20's and I spent a lot of time looking for Elk, bears and Bighorns (which I eventually saw about 15 of). I'm also having some issues with my back now that only really become a problem when I'm fishing. It gets so painful that I have to lay down for a while.

It was a beautiful day and I got home at about 2 in the afternoon. I was hoping to do some night fishing again but my back was killing me and I felt bad about leaving the dogs again so we stayed in, had dinner and swapped stories.