Friday, December 27, 2013

A River Damsel Christmas

So, another Christmas Day has come and gone. Hoping that all of you wonderful readers had a special day.  It's been clear skies and a bit warmer, but with all of the festivities with friends and family, I didn't even think about the river on Christmas.  Ok... I have to admit it, I did go out for a little Christmas Eve fishing...

A few browns and a few rainbows, while in my Santa hat and we called it good.  I only had a couple of hours before I had to head home and prepare for the crowd the next day.

Then, I  put out a little Christmas card for my Facebook page...

Christmas Day was a day for sitting back and being grateful for what I have. Sometimes when our day to day life gets so cluttered with work and lack of sleep, we don't appreciate all that we have.  So today was a day of contemplation.

First thing in the morning, the monkey bread (cinnamon pull-aparts) was put in the oven.  Then, the traditional Christmas breakfast at our house with the devouring of the hashbrowns, sausage, and egg casserole.  And for me, blueberry pancakes which are my favorite!  After that was all cleaned up, we headed to the computer for a Skype visit with our son, Ryan, who is on a church mission in Arizona.

Yeah, a happy mom, as we only get to talk to him on Christmas and Mother's Day.  A great hour and a half.  So, what did I get for Christmas, you ask?

Well, my family knows me well...

Daughter Diane, thinking that some "fishy" earrings would be appropriate.  Ha.

Then, I turned on Facebook and found out that a dear, blogging buddy and friend was in the hospital.  Howard has not been feeling just right for a couple of years now.  And he is a guy, you know... and guys tend to pass off health things.  Well, he just got to the ER in time.  They performed heart bypass surgery and I'm sure he isn't quite himself yet to be teasing the nurses and using that wit and charm... haha.  So, my thoughts and prayers have been in that direction for a few days...  And in a few more days,  I will direct my prayers for the nurses.  = )

The day after Christmas brought me to a river of my beloved brown trout.

I just love those black, brown, and red spots...

So, that is my Christmas vacation week...
And this bunny was the only house guest that didn't  make a "peep"... = )

Hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday season!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cookin' On Home Waters

Ok... So, I don't say much about fishing around the hacienda here in Utah.  Most of the adventures that I post up are about "out of state, out of mind" places!!  I have been very fortunate to fish some of the most prestine and most beautiful places that one could find.  I love to travel and see new water.  Being an all year round flygirl, I tend to spend more time around home when the snow starts flying.  Out come the neoprene gloves and handwarmers, the wool hat, and three layers of fleecy warmth next to my body!  And honestly, I haven't been all that cold so far this winter.  Until... Oh, let's talk about that later...

It's especially gratifying to find a new river and a few holes that produce time after time after time...  I guess that you could call it the "secret place" that you kind of want to keep to yourself.  A place to go to when you need a "pick me up".   A place that isn't crowded with other anglers.  A place that can take two or three flies without having to put the guessing game into play on what the finicky fish are going to take!  Oh, I'm sure that most of you have one of these type of places!

 Non-Finicky Brown Trout #1 on tan sow bug

Non-Finicky Brown Trout #2 on tan sow bug

Non-Finicky Brown Trout #3... what's your guess?

The ice breaker... goes after a pink sow bug!

That is how the day went.  And then, I got out something that I wanted to try, just for the heck of it.  A Facebook tier and friend, George Benavidez, tied up some sweet Czech nymphs for me recently...

Yup, his Copperback Nymphs Size 16 worked like a charm...  = )

So, I have my homey brown trout water.

Next, I have found a little spot that gives me my share of rainbows...  I mean, I am an equal opportunity angler.  The first time out, I got a little excited about what I found there.  And the fish were excited to see me too!

Just don't ask me to do that again... Ha.  No way could I get an action pic like this one with my fish flying out of my hand while the camera snapped as it went down my waders... Lol.  

This little getaway place has a lot of rainbow "planters".   But, it keeps you busy catching as they are very hungry little varmints!  And then after maybe the first dozen of those, you just might get lucky and haul in the trophy of the bunch.  

I was just about to leave, when my buddy insisted that I give it one more try... Never say never. (And I didn't believe him when he said that there were BIG fish in that hole earlier... teaches me!)

So, I think that I'm set for the winter months.  I have a couple of places to go to get my fish fix for the week.   New "home water" has actually surprised me.  I have put my go-to river on a temporary hold while searching out new places to fish.  New water is fun and exciting!  

Just keep me from falling over rocks.  Oh, that is how I became so very cold on brown trout day...  An awesome day ended with me trying to hold onto the "whopper" (no, not the one in the photo above) at almost dusk.  After tripping over some large rock  and leaving me with a tight line high in the air while still on my knees... that darn trout took off across the pool and wrapped my line around something down under.  Fish gone, Flies gone, A cold, River Damsel!  It was epic.  And since it was in the twenties and at the end of the day, this "snowman" headed for the car.  Sorry... no vid.  = )  It was one of my better moments... haha.

But, I had a great time, none the less...

Till next time...

Stay dry.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Brown "Magic" Bug Adventure

When I went down to New Mexico this past weekend, I loaded up with flies in size 20-24, thinking that was all that I was going to throw.  Sure, I had my spare back up boxes just in case I wanted to throw a streamer, copper john, or a prince nymph.  But, I knew in the back of my mind, that it was going to be a weekend of "small stuff".  This river is just well known for tiny midges and annelids.  I had my red larvae ready to go too, as this is a staple down there.  I still had half of a box of flies that someone nice had tied up for me back in Feb. when I headed to NM.  So, I was in good shape.  Little did I know that there would be a new favorite bug on this river.  But, there will be no photos of the Brown "Magic" bug, as it is a creation of this guy... but, just trust me... it works!

Thanks David, for sharing your expertise on the water...
I learned a lot and "mending" is my friend!!

We had two half days with traveling and two full days.  Two rivers to experiment with and find the "trophy" fish.  As I went down thinking "BIG FISH"... I was pretty much like a hound dog... searching for holes that would hold fish down deep.  I don't normally care how big the fish is that I catch on a typical day... But, I got myself into this darn Facebook contest and had to come up with something respectable to submit.  It had to be tape measured for the entry.  I will tell you know... that is the last time that I try to measure a fish.  It was ridiculous!!  For me and the fish...  Even with David helping me out with the tape... I just don't like keeping out the fish out of the water for any length of time.  Usually a quick 10 sec grip and grin photo and back they go.  Here are the results... No, I couldn't beat a Pyramid Lake fish from Nevada.  Whitney had that one made in the shade. Sydney from MT and I tied with a 20 inch fish...  All said and done, I believe that we were all winners.  Wouldn't you agree?

I definitely can't complain about my netted beauties.  In a river of 150k of planters this past year, (yes, I said 150k),  I did find some nice fish with one common denominator.   Almost all were caught on the Brown "Magic" Bug...  = )   Barbless and 6x is the requirement down there... but, I cheated opted out and put on a 5x.  And sizes 20-24 all weekend long.  Darn fish!  Don't they know that my eyes are getting old!!!

So, thank you New Mexico and Colorado... I love your rivers and beautiful trout!  Even your friendly trout that never leave your feet!

This will be my last journey out of state for awhile.  Now, it's time to fish the home waters for the winter.  Until we meet again...  
Brown "Magic" bugs and all... 

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!!!  
 = )