Monday, October 13, 2014

A Couple Days Brown Nosing

The good old HF rolls into perfect shape this time of year, in fact, most rivers and lakes do.  It's one of the things I look forward to the most in the fall. Amid beautiful leaves and scenic sunsets, an angler can shower him or herself with the gold buttered bellies of beautiful brown trout. They're hungry, they're active, and they're eager to ruin a streamer's day, or so they think.

I have only really managed two trips wholly dedicated to fishing so far, but both have been superb.  Fish have been on the prowl and actively chasing streamers for about a month now.  Actually fish are always open to streamers if you do some looking, but the insanely accessible streamer bite has been on since September, hence all the great trout showing up on people's Instagram and Facebook feeds.

The first day was a solo outing. I didn't cover much water in terms of river miles, but I didn't have to, the fish were all too willing.  The selfies weren't the best in quality, but enough to ensure the good memory would remain. The river was filled with moss, but fighting the salad was worth it.  In the end I had such a sore arm from casting and fighting good fish, that I gave up on taking pictures of even the good ones.  I also stripped a couple pretty good cuts into my fingers. Would I do it a heartbeat.  Here are some of the better fish and photos from that day.

Nothin' but net.

We got a drooler here...
King Whitey, who apparently has a taste for streamers.

The second trip was this last Wednesday.  Shane had classes in the morning and planned on meeting up afterward.  I had the whole day so I set the alarm clock to early thirty in the AM. I had originally thought that the blood moon eclipse was going to happen around 1am, so I didn't plan on catching it, but it turned out to be at its peak around 4am. I hit the snooze a couple times before I got up so I ended up catching most of the eclipse, but missed the peak. Man we live in a world with some beautiful and cool things. After loading a couple last things I hadn't the day before, I hopped in my little black Honda and hit the road, admiring the night sky and moon. I love driving at night. The world seems so much quieter and the driving solitude is therapeutic.

It was too early to hit up Gator Jack's for their superb breakfast burritos, so I settled on a Mc-it'll-make-a-you-know-what breakfast. As I pulled up to the river there was just enough light to rig up, and enough bite in the air to need a jacket. I meandered down to the water, taking in the beauty of the morning and quiet rushing of the river. I had tied on a couple new patterns, stupid simple ones (I love a simple fly), that I have done quite well with this year.  The Skullcracker streamer was followed with a Skullchaser streamer (I'll eventually get a tutorial up for both).  First cast produced a swirling miss just before my feet.  It was a sign of the good fishing to come. I fished the morning, picking up two good fish, missing others, doggedly sticking with my streamers.  I know there were more fish to be had in the area, but this is fall, and I ain't nymphin' till I have to.

Tail ONE
Magic Dragon eater...
Tail TWO

After beating the area to a satisfactory fishy pulp, I decided to take a drive elsewhere.  Once further down river I managed a few more fish in quick succession. Shane called by this time and we decided to float the river.  After hooking, and unhooking a fish while we made our plans over the phone, I hiked back to the car and headed for the takeout so we could run our shuttle. As I pulled into the parking area, my initial thought was, "oh man, there are a lot of people floating the river today." But under further inspection I noticed a scattered group of people, all with paint and easels, a few with tight, weird looking stretchy pants and long hair, and most with umbrellas. Apparently it was a class or some kind of painting get together. We would have the river to ourselves.

We drove up to the put-in, set up the raft, hooked a few fish in the process, and then hit the water.  We hadn't gotten 100 yards from the put-in and we were already accessorizing the fish, adding new jewelry to their brown, buttery lips.  It was a great day.  The first half of the float was fantastic, lights out fishing.  Things slowed down as the terrain changed.  We probably would have done better, numbers-wise, nymphing or switching up streamer colors by that point, but we didn't care to.  The day was spent drinking in the bluebird sky, golden foliage, and cool clear water.  We watched bald eagles chilling on their perches and gracefully gliding through the air in circles.  Laughing, and discussing life, our little raft meandered with the current, until we found ourselves at the take-out.

There's probably a hobbit hiding somewhere in there...

When at the take-out we quickly packed things up and headed to one last spot to end the day.  It was Shane's turn for the honey hole. The beehive gave up a couple dandies, and then we decided to call it a day.

As we loaded the last of our gear in the vehicles, I stopped to admire the beautiful moonrise brightly reflecting in the water.  I thought to myself, what a blessing it was to spend a day on the water with a great friend, doing something I love. Yes indeed, it was a good day.

Looks light, but it was actually quite dark outside by this point.
With the fishing so good right now, it is hard to focus on anything else!  And there are so many options of good places and times to fish right now. The next trip can't come quick enough... now I need to go tie up some more Skullcrackers and Skullchasers.