It was stifling hot over the weekend, I wanted to head for the mountains and fish a cool trout stream, but the plans were for us to do our back-to-school shopping for the kids during the tax-holiday. I was delegated to transportation and purchasing a new computer for my college bound son. I had pretty much decided on a HP laptop from Best Buy, but when I arrived at the store there was an amazing line 25 to 30 people deep to purchase computers. I bailed and returned home to purchase one on-line, fortunately the same tax holiday applied from the internet store.
So after taking care of some business on Monday, I split for the river as soon as possible. I was a little after four and the thermometer was pegging 96, clouds were building in the west as I hit the off ramp onto the interstate. A brief downpour followed but I knew that I was going to climb 2,100 feet and cross the continental divide, where I hoped the weather would be clear.
When I arrived at the river there was a lot of cars parked on the far side of the bridge, so I pulled over on the near side, only to be greeted by not one but two new signs that informed me that this spot was only to be used to launch or load canoes and kayaks and that I parking was on the west side of the river. Fortunately, there was plenty of parking along the fence on the far side of the low water bridge. Crossing the bridge I glanced upstream to see a fisherman in a kayak and three more in the upper riffle, where I planned to fish.
As I rigged up, several canoes pulled in along with the fisherman in the kayak, he reported one 12 inch bass and commented that they were hitting the surface earlier. As they loaded up their boats, the clouds darkened the western sky and thunder rumbled in the distance. I fumbled around in the trunk looking for my bass fly box, it was not to be found, but I managed to scrounge up some poppers, a slider and a few other flies and I stuffed my rain jacket into the pack and head up to the ledges. The water was as low as it's been all year, the gauge at 1.85 feet and 178 cfs., easy wading and hopefully a good top-water bite. I hit the likely spots and didn't get a bite, so after a short while I looked though my limited selection of flies and picked a wiggle minnow. A slow strip was the ticket, the couldn't resist it and I caught a bunch of the small guys in short order. They averaged about eight or nine inches and were no match for the 8 wt. as a few of them were launched across the river on the hook set.
It started to drizzle at first but it was warm enough not to bother with the rain gear. I fished on as the rain came harder and lightening flashed across the sky, no ground strikes that I could see, and the bulk of the storm seamed distant. I kept on fishing as the bass continued to slam the wiggle minnow, how could I stop, I thought that one more cast could change the day and with that thought lingering in my brain, I cast into a big eddy. The fly plopped down hard and set a circle of rings across the slack water. I waited, and then a little mend twitched the fly and a bass exploded out of the water slamming the fly. I set the hook but the fish was gone. It was huge, especially when compared to what I had been brining to hand. Honestly I think I would have measured 18 inches but wouldn't be surprised if it was bigger.
I was getting late and I worked my way back to the bridge, casting to the bank as I went. Bam, another good fish hit the fly and again I failed to connect.
It was time for a beer.
I'll be back....