Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Search For Cool Water

What is the deal with this HOT Idaho weather?!  The creeks and small rivers are getting the brunt of it.  Every creek that I would normally be fishing throughout the warmer summer months has been low and far too warm.  As I waded through Willow Creek a couple weeks ago, I was saddened to see little dead fish littering the bottom of the stream-bed.  I suppose that there are natural cycles, and drought is nothing new the west, but this is the first of this phenomena that I have experienced in my reckoning.  I think the trend is becoming obvious and few people would argue that the weather, in general, is becoming warmer. 

With the current situation looking something like a hot car interior after it has been baking in the sun all day long, we decided to fish some cooler water.  Shane, John (Shane's amigo), and myself, decided to float a section of the Falls River via canoe.

We met up in Rigby and headed north in a small caravan.  My little black Honda looked quite amusing with a long red canoe strapped on top!  After shuttling cars and rigging up, we hit the water. 

It was a bright, sunny day and the clear water felt wonderful.  It is a bit of a trick to fish from a canoe, so most of the time it was used to commute between fishing holes.  The scenery was beautiful, green, and relaxing.  The rocks along the banks were littered with stonefly shucks!  If someone could time it just right, the salmon fly fishing would be awesome.  There aren't many large fish in the Falls River, but I'm sure you could find them a bit easier with those big bugs on top.

The day was mostly spent nymphing.  Black and brown rubber legs seemed to be the preferred meal, and the average size was nothing to brag about.

There were a few sort-of-bigger fish, but most were under 16 inches.

John was waiting for a phone call from a potential employer.  The cell service was spotty and it was pretty funny to watch him contort into various positions while trying to get a good signal.  It's amazing he didn't drop his phone in the water. (It was in his mouth in this shot)

I was hoping to throw some streamers during our float, so I stayed up late the night before tying up a few.  I did not have any sculpin/olive patterns tied up and have lately been eying a pattern called the "Provo Hooker".  I didn't have the exact materials, but used the general idea and tied up my own version.

I had gotten my fill of fish from nymphing for the day, and had also caught a few on dries, so I decided to bust out my big ugly sculpin pattern.  We were fishing a bit deeper hole and it seemed that of any place to throw a big fly, this was it.  After a long cast, the fly began to swing around and I started a twitch-then-retrieve pattern.  A few twitches in and there was a violent take!  The fish wasn't huge, but it felt great to pick up a fish so quickly on a new pattern.

I continued fishing a streamer with good results, until I broke it off.  It was the only one of that pattern I had tied unfortunately, so I went back to nymphing till it started to get dark.

When it was getting dark and we were nearing the end of the float I threw on a large black streamer and had a few bumps, but no hook ups.  The nymphing seemed to shut down as dusk came.  All in all it was a great day.  We all picked up fish, though none of us caught anything to brag about, and it was a fun day spent floating and spending time with good friends.