Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bighorn River Post #4

It looks like this series is going to be a five parter, and the best is yet to come! Unfortunately the best is not this one, so you should stop reading now and wait for the next post. Maybe I shouldn't tell you that though....too late.

Anyway to remind you, the first weekend we had a group of eight people. It was cold and we bailed on camping for heated cabins, which were quite nice. Then there were four of us for a day, after which some more peeps came out. By then we had more or less figured out the river and were catching quite a few fish and enjoying nice weather.

The next big change to the group dynamic was the addition of my brother and dad, and we went back to floating the river on boats. An important reminder from the previous day is that we had had lights out success at split island. Now we had boats and I considered taking my dad and brother there immediately. It would have been smart and I could have gotten them on a bunch of big fish right off. In the end, though, I didn't. Something seemed wrong about fishing the same spot so much. Then again it would have been nice to get them on a bunch of nice fish immediately. Instead we picked a random spot and gave it our best, but had no luck right off.

After a quick walk up and down the bank I found a couple spots that looked good and put my dad and brother in them, after fishing them a bit first of course. I had to check the holes out and make sure they were good, of course! Dad and bro both got on some fish here, which lightened my load for the rest of the day. And it was good to see them not struggling, getting frustrated, and/or bored. It was also good fun for us to net each others fish because it seemed like at least someone had one on every 10 minutes or so.

We floated and fished all day, periodically meeting up with the other two boats to exchange info, food, beer, and the like. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable morning and afternoon, as my dad can attest to, although I'm not so sure a PBR can makes a great pillow. We fished, but honestly not that hard. We drank, but not that hard there either. Mostly we just enjoyed the nice day and nice company. Everyone would take turns dutifully wetting a line while everyone else sat on the bank, chatted, and drank beers. I think the festivities on the bank were actually winning over those in the river for a good part of the day. It wasn't really what I was aiming for for my dad and bro, but it worked and I went with it.

A little later in the afternoon we moved down stream to another place because no one had been catching much, probably because no one was fishing much. We headed to a spot where we had had luck in previous years. It worked out just fine and we started catching. Then someone made the mistake of telling me that they had seen a bunch of carp get spooked from a hole a ways upstream, and I immediately went in search. It still seems silly to me to go after carp when you're on one of the best trout streams in the country, but I just couldn't help myself. Surprisingly I found the huge sewer trout and managed to get a hook into him and after a decent fight landed him. He looked a bit sickly and fought like it to so I shouldn't take too much credit, but it was a cool experience.

Next up people were hanging out in the boat not fishing again so I wandered over to take a gander and drink a beer, but I noticed a bunch of fish sitting off a seam right there. Literally right there about 20 feet from the boat. I can sit on the shore and not fish, or sit in a boat and chat and not fish, but not when a pod of fish is sitting right there in front of me. So I dutifully unstrung my rod and tossed my bugs into the seam and fish on! I pulled a couple out of that seam then let it rest and my brother Isaac jumped in to give it a whirl. He managed to catch a few as well. Then someone else jumped in and by that time the hole was pretty dead, so it got left alone for a while. But just to show everyone who was boss, after 30 minutes or so I grabbed my rod, went back and tossed the bugs into the seam and in one cast had another fish on. After the release I went back to the boat with a smile on my face and sorta laughing inside. The guys who were there at the moment were mostly newbies and didn't realize that hole had had time to reset and thought I was some kind of god (that might be a bit of a stretch) by jumping out there and catching a fish in one cast when they had just been shut down. I should note that it is here I began to learn how tight-line nymphing is sometimes monumentally effective...but more to follow in the next post on that.

The rest of the day faded just like the sun dropping behind the threatening late afternoon thunderheads, and we all headed back to camp for good food and booze.

The next day was pretty much more of the same so there isn't a ton to tell and I don't have many pictures so I won't draw it out.  One item of note is that Isaac and I found a hole where a million suckers and carp were hanging out, and we fished it for a while with just a little bit of success. They didn't seem to be too hungry. Nonetheless we hung out there for a while and my dad was actually the big winner of that area because he managed to find a good hole and pulled a number of nice trout out of the river. Eventually, though, we moved on down the river because we had a long way to float. As always when we decide to float the first 13 miles rather than just the first 3, we find ourselves at mile 4 at about 6 in the evening and we have to rush and row out the rest of the way to the boat ramp to get there at a reasonable hour. 

At the boat ramp the law was waiting for us with handcuffs and six-shooters at the ready. This was the first time I had been checked in MT suprisingly, and it brings my grand total of fishing license checks up to five if I'm remembering them all now. Yes five. I fish somehwere around 50 days a year and have been doing so for round abouts 8 years now and I have been stopped 5 times. Anyway, the law checked us out, found everything in order, chatted with us for a bit, then we were on our way. Oh, and an interesting fact we discovered was that the law had been there since noon and we were the first group to keep any fish.  Let's hear it for catch and release (except we were the group that didn't...)!

And that was it for dad and brother. It was a whirlwind trip for them, but they had a good time and hopefully will be planning to come back next year, maybe for more days so they can catch the epic days next time.

1 comment:

  1. Good start to the story. Waiting for the next one.