No Buggers (part3)
Here are the links to the first two Parts, found on my blog, to this adventure.
The Kettle to Ourselves
I awoke early and was already tying flies before Jeff rolled out of the back of his truck. I wanted to tie up some more brown spinners and a few more March Browns and such for the last day on the Kettle. Jeff started making coffee and poured himself a bowl of cereal. I was sippin on my hot tea and had feather clipping scattered around my temporary fly tying station in our little parking area. After breakfast Jeff started to clean up camp but didn’t mind if I continued to tie until it was time to bring down the tarp. After breaking camp, I handed Jeff a few of the fresh flies I tied and we headed for the FFO project area, on the Kettle, a ways up from the bridge.
We pulled into the parking area and found we were the first there. We later found we wouldn’t have any company during our morning fishing either, We had the creek to ourselves!
We both decided to work our way down stream. I started pretty much where we entered the creek as Jeff disappeared down the path. I found a few fish sipping on something atop the water I couldn’t get an eye on. I tried my small midge patterns and a few small caddis but nothing was interested in them in the gin clear water. After about a half hour of getting casting exercise I decided to walk downstream to the first deep hole.
Foam and bubbles floated upon the rippling water of the deep pool caused by the rushing narrower shallow riffles above. I knew the hole was deep and had erratic cross currents below the surface. I watched the surface area for any rises and found a fish feeding near the far bank down below a rooted snag in the milder current flow. I kept the tan caddis on in hopes of coaxing him to take. It took a couple of casts and mends to get the fly to drift, drag free, in his holding area. On my third perfect drift he rose to the fly. I was quick enough to get enough tension on the long length of line to set the hook. The fish dove deep heading towards the back of the pool. My 5wt Kettle Creek rod bowed towards the fighting fish. I let some line slip through my fingers until I felt I had a good grasp of the size and fight of the trout. With a fine struggle on my 6x tippet I brought an 11” brown to me feet.
After releasing him I noticed another fish rising in the same area. My first cast to the far bank came up short and I wasn’t pleased with the distance from the bank where my fly fell. I lifted the rod and in turn the fly line rose from the water skirting the caddis across the rough water before lift off. To my surprise a surface splash appeared, behind my moving fly, from a fish attempting to take my imitation. Of course he missed it as I was already into my lifting back cast with a swift pull. I attempted to coax him to the surface again but he was aware something was wrong.
I then tied on a couple of different dries and cast them out into the riffling water but no fish were interested. Soon I got a glimpse of a brown trout suspended just below the surface sipping on midges of some sort below the bubbling foam. I looked down into the water but couldn’t see any form of fly or bug drifting by. I tried every small fly I had in my fly box from size #20 to #14 mayflies and caddis. He would glance at a few, which brought a little hope, but never got the nerve to try one out.
Meanwhile Jeff was having a field day below the first rocky falls down creek. I didn’t even notice he was down there until he called to me with his fly rod bent. When I acknowledged his calling, by looking towards him, he yelled back to the effect he was having a field day catching trout below the falls.
“What are you using?” I called back
“Those small brown spinners”, “They’re hammering them” he added
“Those ones with the double split moose main tails?” I asked.
“Ya, the ones you gave me” he answered.
“I guess the fish can’t count after all” I called back
He got a grin on his face before he turned and stooped down to take care of the fish attached to his line.
(You see the day before I tied up some small brown spinners to his shade of color he suggested. I used two moose hairs on each side of a split tail. He told me that the spinners he sees and ties only had one tail on each side. I assured him, when I tied them, that fish can’t count!)
I turned back to my fishing the deep pool. After more frustration, of not being able to catch the darn teasing surface sipping brown, I started to make my way downstream. Under an overhanging leafy tree I coaxed a rainbow to take a small Adam’s parachute. He took it quick and aggressively and his fight was just as aggressive. He must have churned up enough commotion that no other trout wanted my offering in the area.
Just above the first rocky falls I seen a few sipping rises. Again I looked into the water and found nothing floating. I drifted the parachute Adam directly down stream to one. The fish swirled at it and I lifted the rod to set the hook. Nothing, not even an inkling of resistance was felt. About three fish continued to sip no-see-ums instead of any of my midges I tried. I finally fished my way downstream to where I caught up with Jeff down around the bend. He looked frustrated and told me fish have been rising in the wide run but he couldn’t hook up. I tried, with long casts, across the run to the rising fish on the other side. I had one quick surface splash at my fly but didn’t connect with it. It got pretty frustrating watching fish after fish sporadically surfacing to something atop the slower pool of water, on the other side of the faster run, but not to ours. I finally went upstream and crossed the creek to get to the other side where the fish were. Slowly I waded, ankle deep, and stood upstream from the deep slow pool. I again tried every small midge and spinner I had with no effect. Looking into the water I now saw what they were sipping on. Tiny olive spinners were on the surface and slowly drifting down stream. They were all over the place with a few tiny olives still fanning their wings before being taken under by one of those hungry trout. I had neither a tiny olive spinner nor a #28 BWO in my fly box.
The heat started to rise and the black flies began to find us. We started to head back to the vehicles for lunch. Just below, where we parked the vehicles, I stopped and fished the slow stretch that I fished in the morn. There wasn’t any fish rising but I tried a couple of offerings any how. For some unknown reason I tied on a #10 March Brown and tossed it upstream in the choppy water running towards me. The first drift towards me a fish rose and attacked that #10 like a shark attack. I had too much slack in the line and missed the take.
I continued tossing out the #10 upon the fast current and let it drift my way. Sporadically a fish would attack it bobbing on the choppy water. It was tough getting a good hook set, being downstream, but I finally hooked into one. The big rainbow bucked like a rodeo bull beneath and atop the riffling run. I knew he wouldn’t swim upstream into the shallow pebble run so I kept my rod horizontal to the water. In this way if he turned towards me I was ready to lift the rod quickly to keep tension on my line. I got him to my feet but he was still aggressive enough that the hook came out before I was able to hold him in my hand. Evidently the fish had moved into the riffling run to feed or to just get out of the glowing sun. I drifted the #10 down a few more times but didn’t get any responses and besides that the black flies had found me again and were rioting around me.
I gave it up and walked up the bank to the vehicles. Jeff was already sitting in a lawn chair starting to enjoy a sandwich, beer and chips. I took out my cooler and made myself a sandwich.
“How about hitting Young Womans Creek after lunch and before we head home? I asked
“Suits me fine” he replied after washing down a bite of sandwich with a beer.
We sat in the shade enjoying lunch and the peace and quiet. Just before leaving I put away the 5wt. Kettle Creek rod and assembled my 3wt Hardy rod for the evening rise at Young Womans Creek.