Sunday, December 4, 2011

Most Challenging Fishing Ever

Last week while I was in Colorado I convinced my buddies John and Brady to spend a day fishing.  Brady suggested hitting up the Dream Stream because it was cold enough and close enough to a holiday to keep the crowds down.  Sounded like a good enough idea to me, mainly because I had already gotten out to actually catch a few the day before and could risk a day doing some tougher fishing.  I've been there once before and though it was some fun but challenging fishing.  Big fish, but very very smart fish.

We got up moderately early (6am) to try and get to the river before too late.  As we drove into the mountains and were getting closer and closer to the river, it was hard to not watch the thermometer readout in the car tick off the few remaining degrees of warmth outside.  18 became 15 became 10 and finally stopped at 8 degrees, which is pretty damn cold.  We've all dealt with cold before so it wasn't the end of the world, but it does tend to make you feel just a little tinge of dread when the car comes to a stop and it's time to get out.

What was much worse than the cold, though, was the 20mph winds howling through the valley.  On the drive up snow was blowing across the road and the car was getting tossed around but we had been hopeful it wouldn't be as bad at the river.  We were wrong.  It was just as windy at the river.  The tumbleweeds rolling across the tundra told us so.

I made the mistake of choosing my first spot to fish facing pretty much directly into the wind.  Cast number one landed in a pile a few feet away from me on some ice at the edge of the river.  "That's ok" I told myself, "just recalibrate."  Cast number two landed in the grass on shore upstream of me.  "Ok, one more try."  Cast three was still ugly but actually landed in the water.  Eventually I figured out that if I threw enough power into the cast to toss 70 feet of line, I would get out a solid 15 feet.  Just enough to get to the spot I wanted to hit.  I also realized how cold it really was when ice was flaking off my fly line as it entered the guides.  It's fairly common to get ice in the eyelets because of wet line, but I have actually never experienced such extreme windy cold that the water on the line freezes before it even gets to the eyelet!  At least we didn't have to periodically pick our eyelets clean.

The cold didn't bother me too much, but it didn't take too long for me to get frustrated trying to beat the wind, so I moved upstream. I hit a number of decent looking holes, but being a new river it was a bit of a crap shoot.  Within the first hour I did get one bite, but the fish was on for less than a second.  I got a glimpse of him and it was enough to know he was of good size. 

I did find one hole where a few nice fish were visible sitting on the bottom behind a big boulder.  Unfortunately they were in one of those spots you can't really effectively fish because of the currents and rocks surrounding them.  Of course we all gave it a try anyways.  You can't pass up at least trying to fish to fish you can see!  No one snagged those, but Brady and I both hooked and lost a couple out past the hole we could see into.  Neither battle was all that long.

Not a whole lot else happened.  A lot of time was spent just walking around checking out the water.  I tend to do a lot of that when I'm at a new place that I really can't tell exactly how to fish effectively.  And I didn't figure this one out.  I don't have much experience fishing really grassy/weedy rivers, and this is one of those.  I need pocket water, and there was very little of that.

Eventually we all lost hope got hungry and sat down on the shore to cook up some soup and coffee.  It took quite a long time in the windy cold, but eventually we got some water to boil and split it between coffee and soup.  Both were good, but neither stayed warm for very long.

Looking back on this day, I think it is the toughest day fishing I have ever had.  Going 0 for 7 hookups between three people is only part of that too.  I've been to tough rivers with smart fish before.  I've been skunked before.  I've fought the wind before.  I've shivered in the cold before.  And I've driven hours to have a bad or mediocre day fishing before.  Never have I had all of these combine in a single day...until this outing.  It goes down in infamy as less of a dream and more of a nightmare.  Brady doesn't get to pick rivers anymore!

But hey, at least I wasn't at work!

1 comment:

  1. "At least I wasn't at work!" That says it all. A bad day of fishing beats a good day at work anytime.