Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's all about the whiskey: Yampa day 2

To continue where I left off, I need to tell you about the second day of fishing. I know you're wondering how amazing or disapointing or frustrating it was. Hold your horses, we'll get there, but I need to start at the beginning. We woke up to a cold and windy morning and one by one crawled out of the tents with sore backs, tired eyes, and cold feet. There were a few hints of the clouds clearing, but it didn't look that good.  Then again as I said previously, bad weather is to some extent good here. After some breakfast and coffee we headed to the river and saw that, yes, it did look like the weather was keeping people away.

We didn't get to the river early but we were one of the only cars there. There should be a lot of river to work with! Jonathan and I got ready first and decided to go lunker hunting up by the damn. Things started slowly but we managed a few catches. One of mine was a little frightening looking and may be a case of whirling disease. It seemed to be capable of swimming and surviving at least for now though. And I hope this isn't something new here.

But after spending an hour or more and only getting a couple bites I lost my patience and began to wander.  Aside:  I find that I have less patience than most of the people I fish with and end up moving around a lot. I slowly started heading downstream, hitting the seams that looked good. Jonathan headed down as well and we took turns throwing flies into some good looking spots with the video running (and sipping the whiskey).  No bumps and thus no good footage. Sorry.

Eventually we made it down to where Brady and John were fishing and claimed to be having some luck on dries, which was fairly exciting. Exciting enough for me to take my nymphs off and put on a dry/emerger. I moved a bit upstream and after looking around and spotting some fish began casting to them. They rejected me just like a cute girl in a bar would if I had the guts to approach her. I tried switching up both flies but nothing helped. After only seeing a couple rises in the first 30 minutes in my area, I gave up on dries and tied my nymphs back on.

It didn't take long from there that I started getting lucky again. The first fish I hooked into seemed like a beast. He ran across the stream, then up stream, then downstream, then back up to me. All the while I'm doing my best to control him, but he absolutely refuses to come up to the surface. I begin to think I may have snagged him, but eventually I do get him to the surface near Jonathan, who's just downstream of me to net the fish. He wasn't snagged and he wasn't huge. Just a very very strong fighting fish. But pretty big at 19 inches.

All four of us fished this short 30 yard section of stream for the next couple hours, and as the weather came and went, the fishing stayed very constant with quite a lot of success. Everyone caught very regularly with a number of very nice sized fish each. And of course Brady fell in the water again. This time trying to net a fish for me, and having just five seconds earlier told me "I'm going to take it easy because I'm not falling in the river again." Classic. And not a great time to fall in the river since it was pretty cold and windy. But he had a flask so it was ok.

We kept fishing even as the weather began turning for the worse and in all I think everyone caught at least 5-10 fish out of this section in a few hours. Apparently I did a poor job of documenting it, though, because I only have a few pictures. Here they are of: someone's nice rainbow (I'm sure it was mine), Brady fighting a fish, and Jonathan half hiding one from the camera.

We were having a good time, but the weather continued to turn from bad to worse. It had been snowing a bit for a while, but then the wind kicked up. It was the sort of wind from downstream where to cast all you have to do is pick up your line and it will cast itself. And this kind of wind can be a little annoying when you're trying to fish out across river like I was at the time. After painfully fighting the wind with little success for 15 minutes I decided to take a break. Surely it would pass. I stood on the bank for a few minutes before John decided to join me. Then Jonathan decided to join us for a break too. Finally Brady gave in as well.  We stood there with our backs to the wind, passing around the flask, and watching the snow fall sideways for a little while.

Eventually we agreed that it wasn't going to let up any time soon and we had all caught enough fish that it would be fun to get on the road and grab a bite to eat somewhere on the way home. So we started the short hike out and although the picture doesn't quite do it justice, it looked like this:

Back at the car we got another angler who had been scared away by the weather to get a good pic to remember the trip by.

It was a good trip. We are now 2 for 2 at this river. Sort of. The weather has been slightly painful both times, but the fishing was excellent so I'm more than happy. It was also excellent company. Sometimes our fishing trips end up being 10 people or more, which is fun, but a smaller more intimate group is a lot more enjoyable in a number of ways.

And the whiskey goes farther that way.  Or is it further?  Whatever.

Now I start looking toward the big trip of the year, which will be even bigger, better, and more epic this year. The annual Bighorn river trip. A full 8 days of fishing for large and plentiful fish this year! It's gonna be great, but I need to spend some time at the vise over the next month because this trip to the Yampa consumed quite a few of my flies. I'm officially out of RS2's. That's how it goes when you're catching big fish and are supplying the rest of the slackers you're fishing with with flies. You're welcome guys.


  1. Thanks man. I'll get to tying some replacement rs2's for you. What's up with the whirling disease? Do any of your other readers have thoughts/knowledge about it? Pretty concerning, I'd say.

  2. I just sent a note to CO-DNR. We'll see what they say. I noticed they didn't have the Yampa on their list of rivers where it's been confirmed.

  3. That's relatively normal, I think its just a deformity, happens in nature all the time... I thought whirling disease was a long gone.

  4. Bigerrfish: I have no idea. But you're right you don't hear much about WD anymore

  5. Is that picture before or after you stepped on it?