Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Rolling Thunder Adventure

Well, I'm back!  Oh, you say that you didn't know that I went away???   Well, after fishing with a bunch of sheep last week, I decided that it was time to head up to Montana to meet up with my favorite finned friends.  And there were so many to greet me!  I love it when the word gets out.  And if the weather would cooperate... we would be in business.

The weather forecast was kind of questionable.  That is why I didn't know if I was going.  And the barometer wasn't looking too favorable either.  But, I took my chances and decided that Montana fishing on the off days is still pretty darn good.  For three days, it was mostly cloudy and about 29.92 on the barometer.  Just couldn't get it to rise over 30.

But, none the less... the brown trout party was on!  I was a little worried that there would be the Memorial Day crowd.  But, there really wasn't anyone around, except for the usual drift boats that would come through and ruin a good thing every hour or two.   I would just wave and ask how their day was going.  Then, reel in my line and find a new stretch that wasn't in their path.

The first day brought a brown trout in every 15 min, so I instantly could justify my driving all the way up there.  Ha.  Mission accomplished!  It was already worth the five hour journey.  The clouds would threaten rain, but wouldn't deliver.  Yet.

The second day had a little more blue sky and sunshine.  Could we be maybe coming out of the grayness for awhile?  Time would tell.  I just went about my business and looked for trout.  A little bit slower than the previous day, but still enough in the net.  I was enjoying the sun upon my face... until...

Now wait a minute, here!  Where did my blue skies with fluffy clouds go?  A dark sky quickly settled in.  I did have my rain gear just in case.  But, what I wasn't ready for, was the wind that came blasting across the water.  I could see that this was going to get ugly very quickly.   So, one more cast and I would be heading back to the car.  Boom...Crackle...Boom!!!  Great.  Now we have a thunder and lightening show and I'm holding onto a fly rod.  Oh sure... a fish on.  And of course it had to be the big boy of the trip to make me wait longer than usual to bring him in...

Good ol' Mr. Whitefish...

Grip, Grin, and Run!!!

Day Two was over.  Well, it was 6 pm anyway... 
But, that brisk walk back against the fierce rain, thunder and wind of 25 mph was something else!!!  I am an adventurer, but sometimes it's nicer to be inside.  = )  Howard might have something there...

Day Three was going to be a short two and a half hours.  So, I wanted to pick a new spot of water, but the right spot of water.  I had been scouting the river from the dam downstream about ten miles for the past couple of days.  The fly shop had said that closer to the dam was the hottest fishing, and I hadn't even tried that yet.  So, bright and early... I drove to a section of water that I had seen other fishermen standing in a row.  Ahhh... no one was there.  Perfect. 

 All I can say is that I stood virtually in one spot for two hours.  I don't think that I have done that in a very long time.  But, that is how good it was!  I only moved about ten feet either way at the most.  What a morning.  Browns and rainbows.  Gorgeous trout!    Did I really have to go home?

I kept saying, "just one more", then I will leave.  
The alarm had gone off.  It was time to go home.
The barometer had made its way to 30.02 with partly cloudy skies.
I had hit the low, the thunder, and the high of the barometer.
All was well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Postlude ~ The Frying Pan River 2013

Now, where were we?  Oh yes, "The Gathering" had said their fond farewells.  And I lagged behind to fish another day or so... Well, who can blame me?   It was quite a long ride out and I finally had good weather, so the extra time would be nice.  I could have even slept in a bit, but no... I got up at the crack of dawn and headed out.   And where would I start the morning?

Back throwing Mysis shrimp at the "Toilet Bowl". 

A few friendly browns.  And then I turn around and the fly fisherman that fished with us a few days before had come to try again.  Now, this guy was having a tough time catching a fish the other day.   Dustin had helped him out by giving him some shrimp, which he didn't have in his box.  And now he came prepared from the fly shop with the Mysis shrimp.  I sure hoped that he would catch something!  

He was a really nice guy.  He offered to take this picture of me.  And after I lost my last shrimp,  he offered me one of his newly bought flies.  Looking at it, I  decided to give him his time to catch something without me bringing one in to make his "sting" of not catching anything any worse.  After chatting a few minutes, I found out that he had only been fly fishing for a few months.  So, I gave him a few tips... (Not that they would help any)  Ha.  Well, about fifteen minutes later, he had one on.  And it was a pretty nice 16-17 incher!   That was a fun moment on the trip.  To see a newbie pull one in!   So, he told me it was my turn, while he put together his line again.  I told him there was one thing that I was still wishing for.   A Big Ol' Rainbow!

And there it was... The tug on the line and my rod holding steady at 11:00 !!  (Thx, Josh)
I am such a silly girl.

So it was back to other parts of the river.  What a beautiful, scenic tailwater this is.

Thanks to my tutorial time on the water the few days before, I enjoyed a spectacular day.

I even had a time out for lunch and another visit to the fly shop in Basalt. 

And the afternoon was full of Rainbows...

And back to Rainbow Run.  Where fish are at your heels waiting for you to make a step (and no, I was not shuffling...just trying to get away from them!  They knew they were too close to catch!)   So, since I knew where they were in the shallows... I would make my way up to the riffled run and cast down to where they stopped following me in the calmer waters.   Heehee... I'm so smart, eh?

Smarter than they were anyway...  The best kind of fish are dumb fish.  = )

As dusk grew near and I was pretty much the last one out...

 I could only think of the great time I had the past few days. 
Learning a special go-to knot from the Midgeman.
And much more fishing knowledge that I would take home and practice with!


 Seeing my fly fishing blogger friends was foremost on the trip.  Second, learning and growing with my fly fishing passion was achieved.  And thirdly, I was grateful that I didn't see this...

 Thanks, Rod.  For not telling me that he was watching me fish one day...
It would have ruined my perfect drift for sure... Lol.

(And yes, I was carrying bear spray with me on this trip) 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Frying Pan River ~ A Gathering Of Friends

Just when I thought that my last fishing trip can't be outdone, another amazing one comes along.  My last few journeys have been unbelievable.  Good fish and good friends.  Everything that you could ask for.  And when Rod, "The Midgeman" and I started talking about the Frying Pan River in Colorado last year, I knew it would be a special time on the water.  The time went slow in waiting for it to approach because Rod had told me that he was going to help me with some technique work on the river.  So, I was anxious.  I'm always ready to "tweek" my bad habits and catch more fish!  And an opportunity to learn from one of the best too... Lucky me.

I would find myself driving on I-70 going East for six and a half hours.  And in pouring rain most of the way.  When I reached Basalt, Co., the heavens opened with a ray of sunshine beaming down upon me.   But, it would be short lived, as Day one would bring out the rain jackets and we would fish with a few sprinkles.   It was good to meet up with Josh from "Bigerrfish" for the first time, as I have followed his blog for the last couple of years and I know that this guy catches fish!  He's a great guy and so easy to learn from.  He would be teaching me how to bring the big guy in on 6x tippet the next day...  And the Midgeman would start assessing my casting, mending and the most important thing, my drift.   So it had begun...

After a couple of hours in the afternoon, we headed back to the motel for dinner.   A heavy discussion ensued about leaders, indicators and knots.  Ahh...the fireside chat of fly fishers...  Ha. I have had a few people teach me about rigging up my line.  But, this was a truly amazing leader and tippet set up that I was building for the next day.   If the Midgeman system worked for me, why not change things up?  I had nothing to lose.  And a whole lot to gain!  Like fish... = )

Day 2 would bring us all together with our small nymphs in hand.  More cold, more rain.  A lovely morning at 38 degrees...  But, we were all happy to be there.  And a few fish followed.  I had a few nice browns and I showed the Midgeman that I am dedicated to the sport by casting out about 200 times that day to a couple honery, fat rainbows that wouldn't have anything to do with my near perfect drift now.  Oh well.  Their bellies were full.  So, we moved on to where some trout would be more interested in feeding...the tail end of a riffle on a different section.  Hello, Mr. Rainbow!

It was break time for me to head back down the canyon and get a bite of lunch.  Now, I have a thing for finding new places to eat on my journeys.  And I certainly found one of the best places in Basalt.  Yes, "Dam Good Tacos"!!!  Sorry, Rod and Josh.  It really isn't a secret.

Pork taco with guac on the left and pastrami...yes you read it right... and a marinated red cabbage that was out of this world, topped with thousand island dressing.  I know...sounds weird.  But I LOVED IT!!!  (You can find the taco man here...)  Haha.  Gas up and get your tacos!!

The day would end at the "Toilet Bowl" of the Frying Pan.  The deep water under the spillway is very inviting to the fishermen who want to get hold of a biggun' on their line.  Big trout lie underneath with mouths wide open for the Mysis shrimp that come from the reservoir.  I was up for it.  Or was I?  I had no idea how I was going to catch one of these guys on 6x tippet...
I think that the picture tells the story here...  Ha!  I was soooo excited.  Josh was my hero as he gave me some instruction on how to keep this 20+ brown on my 6x tippet.  Whew!  This fish took me down deep in the bowl five times!  And almost to my backing on the reel.  It was an amazing time that night as the sun went down.  My cheering section behind me enjoyed it almost as much as me.  Rod was a little afraid though that I might be hooked on the dam and never go back to the rest of the river!   Ha.  It was a lot of fun though.   All I could do after putting Mr. Brown back into the water was to share a high five with Josh.  We did it! 
Now, I haven't introduced the Midgeman's wife, Lisa, yet.  What a wonderful mate he has.  I really enjoyed getting to know her on our canyon drives.  And she make a mean lasagna!  (Thanks for the invite!)  She braved the cold and damp and always kept a smile going.  A true delight to meet.

Day 3 would start at the Frying Pan "Toilet Bowl" with Steph, Dustin and Drake from "Antlers & Gills".  Yeah, Midgeman knew that I would be hooked.  The others decided to sleep a little longer than brave the 7:00 shiver... Ha.

 After a few hours, I headed back down to see what the rest were up to.  The weather finally gave us warmer temps and just a sky full of clouds without rain.  So, more fishing stories (and he has some) and more instruction from the "professor" as I tried to be a quick study and practice what was being taught.  I finally started to feel more at ease with my fishing.  "Tweeking" gave me a better drift.  And a better drift gives you more fish.   I doubled my catches each day from the previous day on this trip.  Really... What more can you ask for? 

Who are these guys?  They are fly fishermen that just go about their business... And took time out to share their knowledge with me.    Thank you, thank you!

We said our goodbyes, but knowing that we would meet again in the future on another adventure.   A special thanks to all for a great "gathering" time of friends and fishing.  It just doesn't get much better.

Rod put together a very nice video of the time together on the water.  Enjoy the vid and come on back for Sunday Tippets when I tell you what I did after everyone went home.
 I still had some time on the water!!


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Prelude ~ Frying Pan River 2013

The River Damsel just rolled in from a five day adventure to Colorado!  A beautiful river, The Frying Pan, was the destination.  I have so much to write about and a vid that needs to be done... But, until then, I am going to direct you over to the "Midgeman" at The Midge Manifesto.  He got back a little earlier than I did and has already put together a wonderful video called "The Gathering".  Thanks to the others who joined in the fun, (Josh from Bigerrfish and Dustin, Stephanie, and Drake from Antlers and Gills).  It was a few days of fly fishing on one of the most scenic rivers with beautiful trout that I have ever seen...

One quote from Rod's post that is up now, "In addition we all got a good look at a couple of trout over 25 inches that the Damsel worked hard for, got them to take and then found out that 6X makes for some interesting battles with the big guys.  I believe the quote was jokingly "This ain't Montana Emily, leave the 3X in the car", but to see her eyes when that big old boy rolled up on the surface and we all got a look at him was priceless!  Sometimes a fish lost is the most lasting memory!"

Yes, I lost a few of those "pigs", but I also hung on to a few...  = )
 Practice, practice, practice!!

See you back here in a few days for the wrap up of an incredible journey.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Testing ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

I finally put it to the test.  Would the front of a front in the weather system be my great day on the water?  Recently, I had a guest post by Kerry Almond of Bud Lilly's Trout Shop, regarding the subject of barometric pressure.  I have kind of tetered and tottered on whether this could really be the reason for my light fishing on certain days.  But, with the barometric falling before the storm, I headed out to try my hand at a few, hungry trout.  And what did I find?  A quiet river on top for the most part.  But, active biters down under.

Yep, they were down under... eating my midges, sows and pheasant tails.

In the beginning, I had four whitefish.  Still looking for the cutthroat that had visited my net the week before.  Oh, there he is!  A little guy, but that was ok.  Then, another four whitefish.  I'm seeing a trend here...

Yay for his older cousin...  A few more spots and a little more color. 
 I liked him.

Yep.  Another four whitefish and then another Cuttie.  This was getting ridiculously funny... Well.   Sort of.  I was starting to think that the weather had something to do with it.   That barometric pressure was doing strange things...

And then it happened... A barometric prize.  Mr. Brown Trout was there after  all.  I hadn't seen a brown all day long in a mostly brown trout river... So, I knew that it was time to go home.  My job was done.  Testing was proven postive.  Falling barometric pressure on the front of a front
 has the trout falling too!

Sunday Tippet 
Barometric Pressure ~ Test it yourself.