Saturday, December 31, 2022

Christmas Eve Outing

December 24, 2022

Plans are ever evolving and after deciding to hit the Kern I get a text that due to back pain my fishing partner cancelled.  That was fine and let him know if he wakes up in the morning feeling better we ought to try a local instead.  By 6am I receive a text and we made plans to head out later in the morning.  Initially we were to fish an easy to access river that I fished on my last outing but decided to go further into the San Gabes to an area we tried to fish last year only to be stopped by a road closure.

The last time we fished this place was in 2012 and it was loaded with fish.  Although just about every place you thought they'd be fish it yielded a fish.  Fish ranged in the smaller range for that time with fish up to 10 inches with Chul spotting a 14 in an impossible to fish crisscrossed fallen branches.  Now with the drought hitting us hard those days are long over.  We'd manage a few fish here and there.  I'd be more rises and swipes at my fly than actual hook ups.  Most fish were in the dink to micro-dink range with one or two fish in the 6-7 range.   

We started at the parking lot and fish were there.  I landed one, a dink, on the first few casts.  Chul called me up and told me to fish a pool he spotted a nice fish. I missed that fish as the sun's glare off the water was blinding me.  We'd moved upstream into the canyon and while on the trail found the wreckage of a small plane.  I could only find the wing and nothing else.  We did find some holiday appropriate mistletoe as well.

Testing is the Priority

 December 15

Fished with Luc at Canyon.  I have a tripped planned soon and I have some new equipment I wanted to test before using it "for real."  The equipment I needed tested are a new 10 weight, line, flies, camera and gopros.  They all needed some field time; I didn't want to test this stuff when it counts.  So I asked Luc if I could test them out on his boat.  He obliged.  Fishing was slow and Luc managed two 3lbers and one just under 5.  I got the skunk but since I was trying new stuff I wasn't too bent out of shape.


 December 9

During the lockdowns this local water fished amazingly.  It was dead for a decade or more and it came back strong when the lockdowns were announced.  After that it steadily declined.  I returned on this day to check it out and boy was it a disappointment.  Small fish remain and water is beyond low.   I must have had at least 50 fish take a swipe at my fly but only hooked maybe a tenth of that and landed only a handful.  The fish were simply too small to put the size 10 hook in their mouths.  It's quite pathetic.   I met a few miners and while nice they weren't helping the situation. 

Risen from the Dead

 November 18

Over ten years ago one of our favorite little creeks suffered greatly from the drought and we thought it all but dead.  We gave up on it and hadn't been back since.  During the spring my fishing partner was working in the area and noticed fish in the water.  He came back to fish it and sure enough he caught a few very respectable fish.  I was unable to to go with him and was finally able to head out with him.  We managed more than a few fish to hand with some lost or missed.  We spoke with a hiker who came up to us and asked us how we were doing.  Our programmed response is always say there's no fish (almost always this is a complete lie).  The hiker was shocked but after speaking with him, he told us that he bucketed a few fish from below up to this creek and that is why there is a return of fish.  After speaking with him we realized this guy wasn't some clown but a real angler and we finally admitted we got some.  All in all it was a good day.  Other than my buddy finding out a week later that he fractured a rib climbing up a fallen log.

Autumn Colors

October 14-16

Looking for fall colors and we hit the sierra mountains.  The first day we'd try the upper for migrating lakers.  When we arrived le we rigged our gear I debated whether to wear waders or not.  The ambient temps were warm but I knew the water would be cold.  In addition other than the pair of pants I was wearing I did not bring another pair of quick drying lightweight pants.  So I was reluctant to get that one dirty.  So I put on the waders.  Next debate was whether to rig our dry fly rods and we opted to leave them in the truck.  Once we made our way half way to the river we saw fish rising.  At that moment we decided to head back to the truck and rerig.  I would also take the chance to shed the waders as it was hot as hell.

As soon as we hit the water we saw a dead cow lying stream side.  The scent of the decaying carcass would drift our way as we fished.  We managed a few resident fish on BWOs.  I was fishing a No Hackle I started to learn to tie months prior.  No fly was given me more frustration than that one and it took me more attempts than I care to admit to finally get the pattern down right.  Since it is a favorite of Mike Lawson for the Ranch section of the Henry's Fork I wanted several in my box for whenever I returned.  This day was my test day for the fly and like expected it performed.  The rest of the day it was rather slow once the dry fly action ceased and we switched to subsurface.  We'd see some lake-run fish in the system but while a couple were hooked none were landed.  We heading north to camp among the Autumn leaves to wake up early in the morning to fish with Shinto.

October 16

The morning was cold as expected and we got up before sunrise to meet Shinto on the water at the Toilet Bowl.  As expected that Animal was already on the water casting to fish before we arrived.  He only returned to his car to meet us as he broke his Euro rig.  We teased him it served him right and must be a sign.  We fished here to sunrise casting streamers.  We missed several and landed a couple.  We made breakfast at the parking lot to leave for the Nevada side.  Fishing was good there with fish caught on mostly streamers.

The next day we packed up and wanted to fish some easier options as we were tried from the beating we received the past two days.  We'd end up driving around looking for water but none of them proved worthwhile.  In retrospect we should have just drove around sightseeing the autumn colors.  On the way home we decided to check out the restaurant at the Tioga Gas Station.  Years ago my neighbor told me about this restaurant that served quality food out of a Mobil station and he said it was a bit over priced but worth checking out when your there.  I've always passed by it and all the times I wanted to try it it was closed for the winter.  On this day we decided to try it and it was good.  Pricing is a bit high but considering it's just outside a National Park and in the middle no where I'm not too upset about it.  Though the slice of $13 carrot cake was a bit excessive.  I ordered not knowing the price as it wasn't posted.  All in all the trip was decent.  Wasn't great but it was nice to get out.