Wednesday, January 3, 2024

2024 First Outing of the Year

 January 2, 2024

In November I fished briefly a tributary after the main river proved a bust.  With only an hour of light I fished a small section but in that time it proved very productive.  Since then I've been itching to go back to see how well the upper stretches would fish.  I called my old buddy to see if he wanted to check it out.  Despite almost always having a full schedule we managed to book a day.  He picked up just before 7am and after a visit to the local bakery for breakfast and some lunch we were off.  By 9:30am we were on the water fishing.  At the first hole I got one early and after I hiked downstream to Ed and he told me he just missed one.  He failed to set the hook properly when his hook set was interfered with by an overhanging branch.  Given the action already in the cold morning I thought to myself it's going to be a good day.
Nothing could be further than the truth.  After hours of perfect drifts in the most idyllic waters proved unproductive I started questioning what was going on.  Eventually Ed was able to land his first fish of the day.  He continued upstream looking for willing fish.  By noon I told him if we don't run into fish we're heading back downstream and fish the lower section where I knew there were fish.
At around 1pm I hooked up on a quality fish.  Once landed I tried to tape him but she refused to stay steady but she was at least 12 inches.  We such a beaut we decided to continue on looking for any siblings willing as receptive as this one.
Times were getting desperate and Ed had switched to a nymph rig.  After looking under rocks and seeing all the bug activity it wasn't a bad decision.  By 2pm and with no fish willing to eat we decided to head back.  After an hour of hiking we made it to the lower sections and I gave sone of the choice holes to Ed.  He was able to rise a few fish.
I was able to get a handful of fish here.  Missed quite a bit of them as after seeing the fish come to the fly I would prematurely pull the fly out of their mouths.  After a bit we split up and I moved further upstream to look for the section where I lost a very nice fish the last time.  When I reached the area Ed had already finished and was at the truck while I tried to find "the one that got away."  After a few drifts into the section my fly got caught up in some submerged branches thereby ruining any chance of getting the fish this time.  I moved up a little further and eventually gave up around 4pm.
We managed to get out of there before dark and I passed out on the drive off the mountain.  To say that we were a bit disappointment would be an understatement.  I thought it would have been a much better day.  On the drive home we theorized why it was so poor.  Could have been the pressure change from the upcoming rains.  Could have been the water change from the last rains.  I did notice that the upper stretches of the river were clean and clear but the lower sections were dirty.  Who knows.  I guess that's why we love fishing we're always thinking.

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