After monitoring weather reports, we decided to hit up the backcountry as cooler weather was predicted. This cooler weather though came at a price, thunderstorms in the high country. Despite knowing this we risked the tough fishing in the hopes we could fool a fish or two.
We left Thursday afternoon hoping to beat the holiday weekend traffic. We arrive at the trailhead and with headlamps readied began our hike into the canyon as the sun was setting. Knowing a full moon was in our future I packed a few mouse patterns in the slim hopes of getting an aggressive trout to come up at night. We made camp and I threw a few casts without any success. We noticed even with our headlamps the water was murky and visibility low. Fishing tomorrow was going to be tough.
The plan was to hike in deep to an area we never seen before so we awoke made our breakfast and started our trek. We tried not to let the murky water let us down but add the fact that it was going to be warm did not ease our minds.
Fishing was tough. I tried every method possible- dries, dries and dropper, indicator nymphing, high sticking, Czech nymphing, drop shotting, streamer fishing with both floating line and sink tips. Nothing. To add insult to injury, cicadas and hoppers were abundant which would have been epic fishing had the conditions cooperated.
Chul finally hooked up with our only fish of the trip on a caddis pupa. We pumped the stomach for contents and the fish was loaded with caddis pupa, larvae, mayfly nymphs of various sizes and a cicada.
We tried fishing a bit upstream until we decided to call it quits and head back to basecamp. My new lightweight Patagonia Rock Grip boots I bought specifically for backcountry fishing disappointed me as it caused both heels to blister. These made fishing even more miserable. Moleskin didn't even help. When we arrived back at camp we started preparing our freeze dried meals while we waited for the food to rehydrate we fished the twilight hours in the hopes of getting a trout to rise. None were willing. In fact we only saw four fish come up at this time.
In the morning we awoke, packed our gear and fished on the way out. In retrospect we should have simply hiked out in the cooler early morning weather as the fishing was no better than the previous day despite the water clearing up to some degree. We made it back to the truck treated with cold Gatorades, mango and oranges from the Yeti. Our call to avoid driving home on Sunday was a brilliant move as the lower section of the river was an absolute zoo. We headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch before heading home in time for the light show.
Happy Independence Day!
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