Saturday, June 30, 2012

Skunks, Cuts, and The Goose

My phone croaked at me.  It's probably because I have the message alert set to do it, but it still sneaks up on me at times.  Plus it is always enjoyable to see peoples faces when they think I have a frog in my pocket.

I picked up my phone to check who I had received a text from.  To my pleasant surprise it was my good buddy Gus.  He was checking to see if I would be free later in the afternoon to do a bit of fishing.  He and I so rarely have time to fish together, so it is always great to have his company on the water.

Since there was not much time for travel, we kept things local.  This was an easy decision to make considering the "local" waters have been fishing pretty well the past little while.

We decided to begin by walking a short stretch of water that had received little to no pressure.  Tandem streamer rigs fit the bill and we began probing the water for hungry cuts.  About a third of the way into the stretch I was beginning to have second thoughts as to the area.  Then we came to a deeper slow pool.  I ran my black articulated dagwood-sized meal through the run and picked up one medium sized guy.  Gus, who was fishing right next to me, then laid a tight cast up against a partly submerged tree.  He began retrieving his cutty candy/black leech combo and a few strips in BAM!  I looked over to see an awesome fish rolling in the depths, clearly displeased that Gus had so ninja-ly stuck him.

He brought the great looking specimen to hand and we only managed two glamor shots before the fish decided he was done.  The angle the picture was taken doesn't quite do him justice.

Gus is a great buddy.  We go back quite a ways and it is always nice to spend time with him.  Since I can remember he has always had the nickname, "Goose."  I thought it fitting this trip.  Every fisherman that enjoys having a companion along appreciates a good wingman (see Top Gun if you are lost in the meaning).  You know, the kind of guy you can fish right next to without having to think about the fact that you are fishing next to them.  Fishing should be all about the natural, and if it's not, well you should go find yourself a Goose. 

Fat Lip, Fat Cutty.  This guy lost the fight.

Here's a quick ode to streamers:  It has become difficult to want to give them up.  They have become my go-to, and are quite addictive.  All it takes is one good experience with them, and then you have the desire to try again and again.  Just ask Josh or Shane!  The payoff is LARGE.  Sometimes in quantity, but usually in quality.

After hitting that short stretch and doing away with the skunk, we decided to move on.
This is the skunk.  Can you see it?  (We did not put it there, promise.  We did away with a proverbial skunk.)

We could not have timed it better.  Bugs were popping off everywhere.  It was the kind of hatch where you get nervous talking without your buff on, because you just might swallow a couple dozen.

There were gray drakes, caddis, and little goldens coming off everywhere!  We fished till the sun dipped behind the mountains.  No real noteworthy fish were caught, but we managed plenty on the surface.  The diversity was satisfying.  The beautiful sunset, with the greens, blues, yellows, and orange hues everywhere was stunning.  It was almost more fun to watch the calm golden river meander by while various sized trout slowly sipped bugs off the surface than to fish ... almost. 

The temperatures are hot on a regular basis now and it appears the runoff is pretty much done.  I do believe summer is officially here.  By way of tidbit news, I received a long package in the mail yesterday.  It was a sad deal when my trusty TICR TFO 8wt broke.  Thank you TFO, for your great customer service.  I can't wait to break this new rod in!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lifting the spirit and Dads

Sometimes all the time I need can be measured in minutes.  The time I spend on the water has a value that I find appreciates as I get older.  Less time does more now, but it wasn't always that way.

Whether it is a thirty minute lunch break.

Or an hour on the water after school is done for the day.

I used to hate fishing unless I could go for THE WHOLE DAY.  Funny how things change with age.  One grab, one take, or even sometimes one cast can lift my spirits now.  There is something very literal about the batteries being recharged by the wonderful outdoors.  I'm grateful for the beauty that exists in this world.  I can't help but think it was made just for me, especially when I see a fish smash my fly.  Those moments of euphoric adrenaline, combined with the constant enjoyment of the surroundings are a balm for a stressful life. 


Happy Fathers Day to a great dad.  Thanks for all the fishing trips, even when you knew it was going to be extra work.  Those are some of the moments I treasure most from my childhood.  Thanks dad.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Friends

A while back I received an e-mail from Mr. P.  A fellow fly-carper from Washington.  He and John Montana (an Oregon resident) had been making plans to visit Idaho in pursuit of a large mirror, and their sights were set on Blackfoot Reservoir.  It's a decent sized reservoir chocked full of mirror carp (and some healthy trout too) that is becoming more and more popular for it's carp offering.

The following months meandered by and intermittent messages were exchanged.  As the time drew closer I began to realize that our rendezvous on the res. was set for the same month my wife was due.  I let them know, to which they issued hearty congratulations and said they hoped to still meet up if possible.  These two are great guys.  Determined to explore new carp water near and far.

Fortunately I was able to meet up with them on one day of their trip.  Shane and I were able to get away Thursday afternoon and all day Friday (the day to meet up). 

Day 1:  Scoping Things Out.

We headed out just as our classes were finished for the day, and made it to the drink by 2:30ish.  Clear blue bird skies and temps were in the 70's.  It looked to be a good day.

The carp still made us work.  We found large pods of fish but very few were feeding and most were easily spooked.  Shane picked one up quick at our first location, but then we couldn't get any legitimate takes so we moved on to another place.  The second place turned out to be fairly productive.  There was plenty of vegetation for the carp to root around for food and there was a decent amount of carp as we had suspected.  We picked up some fish, in between inadvertently snagging them.  Shane had good success with his brown bodied bugger with yellow legs, and I managed a few on random offerings.

We decided to try one more location as the sun was reaching the horizon.  It also proved to be successful and a good place to end the day.

Shane is one fish-catching-machine.  It's always a pleasure to watch someone be so good at something and not make any fuss about it.  There are many times we've fished together where I will look over only to see him landing a fish.  Then I usually ask him how many he has landed while I wasn't looking and he will tell some good number.  I will have had no idea and he never makes a big deal about it.  I admire that trait because he never makes you feel like a poor fisherman, even though he has an amazing knack for sticking many (and big) fish.  Kudos to you Shane.  Don't let it go to your head though. ;)

Here's a classic shot.

Now going for the JM one-handed shot and failing as the fish slips.

 really failing...

Day 2: New Friends

Friday started nice and early and the weather looked potentially ominous.  As Shane and I left town and headed to Soda Springs we eyed the dark clouds covering the Snake River valley.  Fortunately the thick wet clouds stayed to the west for most of the day.

We met John and Mr. P for breakfast at their hotel (thanks again John), and headed to the res. shortly after.  The weather was surprisingly sunny and looked promising despite what we had seen leaving town.  John picked up a fish pretty quickly as we hit our first spot.  The water temps were much cooler from the afternoon before and the fishing showed it.  We spot-hopped for a while but it wasn't until the afternoon, when the sun had warmed things a bit, that things really picked up. 

First for the day.

This has to be the ugliest carp I've ever landed.  The head looks disproportionate to the body!


Shane with a solid fish
Quick end to the photo-shoot!  I would be curious to see what captions could be put here.

Mr. P with one on.

Blackfoot Gold.

Fly carping presents a diverse fishery.  I did not realize just how diverse until meeting up with Mr. P. and John.  According to these two great fisherman chasing carp on the big C is completely different from BR.  It was interesting to witness the radical paradigm shift these C fly-carpers had to make.  It was a definite reminder that of all things a fisherman must be adaptable.  Not only in going from watershed to watershed, but also when going from one part of a single body of water to another part of it.  In general though, it is clear that we have more aggressive carp here in our Idaho waters.  You won't find me complaining.

In SE Idaho carp-dom there are days where you can't keep fish off the hook and your arm gets tired from fighting them.  There are days when it can almost be too easy.  This coin flips, and can do so quickly.  Some days you can go the whole day without seeing a single carp, or only carp that have no interest in eating.  The latter is more maddening than the former.  Blackfoot carp fit into both categories, some days are easy and some are tough.  The weather is always a factor in the equation, and temperature is generally numero uno. 


Mr. P. and John took to the water on Saturday and part of Sunday as well.  You can check out the results on their blogs.  They had tough conditions as the weather got colder but still managed to get into fish.

It was great to make some new friends and learn some new tactics.  Those two truly are amazing carpers.  I hope to get out on the water with them again.