Saturday, November 30, 2013

Where's Wald-ina Now???

My last adventure until March.  Yes, it's time to be a homebody... At least a local fishing winter time homegirl.  The Thanksgiving weekend sent me to a far away place in lieu of a little fishing contest that I am in.  Yeah, something that was way over my head...  But, I'm a good sport and I will measure the beast minnow that I catch this weekend and submit the photo.   It will be ten small fry to one large fish here, but we will put our best effort into it... I will give you one hint...  2 days in Colorado and 2 days in New Mexico.  = )  

One thing in my favor... I had a friend join me yesterday from a Facebook fishing group and we had a good time on the water.  Lost about a 22" rainbow though 2 ft from his next...  That wasn't fun!!  And that might have been my best entry... Oh, that's fishing!!!

But, still a good day with friends...

 Today, I meet up with the Back Country Fish Nerd, David Goodrich... With him helping me scout out some new water, we just might find what we are looking for.  We had a chance to visit and do a little bit of "fish talk" in preparation for today's adventure...

David knows this water like the back of his hand...

So wish me luck... We will see what we can hook into today... And then, we will put Wald-ina on temporary hiatus from her vagabond life anyway...


Sunday, November 17, 2013

November Browns ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

One week I'm minding my own business...

And then the next week... the brown trout spawn begins. Welcome to late fall.  The time of the year when the browns take to the gravel.  And when anglers make a choice to fish or put up the rod until December.  For those who hunt for deer and elk, it is an easier choice.  For me, the passionate fly fisher only, it is a time to find water with other species that might take the fly. I recently went out to a stream with hopes to beat the activity of a full blown spawn, but to no avail... They were already digging in the gravel and doing their horizontal mamba!

Brown trout reproduce in relatively specific habitats.  They prefer riffles and moderately moving waters in depths of 12-24 inches.  So, rather shallow.  Tails of pools are also sometimes used.  The female scoops out and cleans a place in the spawning bed (referred to as "cutting a redd")  with her body and tail.  Usually, this bed consists of pea size or slightly larger gravel.  She will guard this area from other fish.  The male browns will fight around the redd to aquire the spot next to the female.  There can be quite a display of splashing around and jumping to and fro during this fight for the right to the princess's palace.  This macho struggle can go on for quite awhile, but finally the eggs are fertilized and the next generation begins... Another layer of gravel is placed on top by the female.  And in about 60 days, the small fry will swim up out of the redds and start their swim...

So as they say in the fishing reports that you look at...
"Please avoid the redds and spawning beds".  There is a good reason.  It is best for the future of our rivers in the long run.

But, in the end, it is up to each individual whether to fish or not to fish during this time.  As a friend and I watched this redd activity from behind the brush the other day, it was only an hour or two later that an angler came along and fished straight into the riffled waters of spawning brown trout.  Maybe not educated on the process of reproduction of that species or maybe diliberate.  Don't know.  We just bit our tongues and walked away.  Here is a short video on what to look for during a spawn.

We walked aways down from gravel staging areas and found a few deeper spots of non-spawners. (Juveniles for the most part) We fished nymphs and smaller bugs and they were responsive in the slower water.  So, the day ended up being rather productive for us, even though the graveled areas were otherwise occupied by dancing browns!



Showing respect to those brown trout spawners, I put in a little bit of time at a lake full of beautiful Colorado Cutthroat. (In Utah)  There is always more water to search out.  Think outside the box and you just might find that little piece of heaven that you didn't know existed! And then you will have a new "secret" place to fish later...

You never know... You just might find the unusual...

Just a cutthroat with a brown trout soul patch... = )

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Searching For The Great Pumpkin" Adventure

So, how does the story go...???   Linus goes out to a pumpkin patch every year looking for the Great Pumpkin to appear...  One of the quotes from the story is:  "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:  Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin."  Yeah, he never does meet up with the Great Pumpkin...

Did anyone ever tell him that he might have been looking in the wrong pumpkin patch?   Hmmmm...

The reason that I bring this up is because I just went on a little trip to Colorado where we fished on "Pumpkin" River.   Could it be that the Great Pumpkin appears right on that very river that we were fishing?  Well, we were a little early for the potential Halloween sighting, but there were plenty of Great Fish to be had... so, it was all good.

Well, three friends decided to journey from Utah to Colorado to seek trout... Rainbows, browns and cutthroats... 

As we journeyed up the canyon to our fishing destination, we saw many orange, squashy looking balls placed here and there.  In fact, they were in the funniest places!  They found their homes on rocks, fences, branches and even cliffs!  Even in frying pans... hmmm

It was a fun greeting.   Maybe this could be the stage for the Great Pumpkin in another week?  We got to our battleground and loaded up our gear to see what we could find.  Now, I'm really not a quick catcher most of the time...  But, on my tenth cast or so, I landed my "Fish Of The Trip"...

Ok... End of story...  Ha!  Just kidding.
For me, whatever I would find after this beauty, would be just gravy.
My first ever cutbow.  I love this gorgeous fish.

Then, Kevin hooked up with a nice Mr. Brown trout,..

And Jeri got herself a feisty rainbow!

It was a quick couple of hours on the water as we traveled for half of the day and stopped at the fly shop on the way in.  But a great start, don't you think so???  = )

Yes, I had rainbow dreams that night.

The next couple of days would bring more sightings of pumpkins, great and small.  And more fish great and not so small... Just beautiful, vibrant colored fish.  We would find great runs, pools and yes,,,.
Hungry fish.

This brownies liked my size 20 purple passion nymph.

Kev was just having too good of a time!  Haha

The beauty that surrounds "Pumpkin" River is like a piece of heaven.

Bet you aren't surprised that we took about 500 photos between the three of us.

Jeri catches... yes, literally catches her Big Fish!
And is a very happy lady...

Job well done.

Kevin will never doubt any of my fishing destinations... He was amazed.

We found a new fishing buddy named Dagoberto...  He later turns out to be my stand-in photographer.  Haha.  Cool guy that didn't mind sharing some knowledge of his home waters.

A nice bend with my 5 wt on this bow. 

Even though this rainbow was my largest to date at almost 24".,.. he couldn't be my favorite of the trip.  My bright and colorful first fish and my first cutbow ever, will stay in my memory for a very long time.  

But, this guy was a chunky feller... no doubt about that.

Well, after a couple of epic days on the water, it was finally time to say goodbye to one of the most beautiful canyons that I have ever been to.  Yes, this was a repeat trip for me.  And it won't be the last.  For "Pumpkin" River will always be in my heart.

Not just for the beauty of the fish that live there.  Not just for the beauty of the trees and red rock.  Not just for the best food in neighboring towns (Can you say "BEST ITALIAN FOOD THIS SIDE OF ITALY"??).  But, for the great times with friends who share the same passion of fly fishing that I do.  For I have some memories that can never be replaced.  Even if the Great Pumpkin does show up...

It has been a tradition on this river for many years to count how many pumpkins someone (or more than one) have placed strategically around the river and canyon road...(about 15 mi.)  No one knows who does it.  But, it is a fun tradition before Halloween each year.  Who knows?  It could be the Great Pumpkin himself!!!  
 = )