Friday, April 29, 2011

Alone at the Breakfast Hole

The ‘Bighorn’ Excursion (Day 2)

Alone at the Breakfast Hole

 Looking out the window blind Tuesday morn we found 2” or so of snow on the ground. The weatherman predicted more snow, windy conditions with a possible clearing later on in the day. We decided to forfeit our drift boats for the day and find somewhere to wade fish.

 There are many nicknames for many holes and areas on the Bighorn. The Breakfast Hole is the first productive area one comes to when leaving the ramp at the after bay. We decided to wade there and maybe head somewhere else later on in the afternoon. The Breakfast Hole is about 500 yards I was told from the ramp. I’m not sure if that’s exactly right but it takes a while to get there by land.

 At the ramp parking area Brad and I were ready to go before the other two. We made first tracks upon the snow covered trail over rocks and through the short leafless Russian olive trees. These have short thorny spikes on their branches that want to grab a hold of fly line, leader, hats and anything else attached but not closely secured to your jacket. We stopped a ways down now and than to try our luck when an opening to the river appeared. Just beyond an overhead cable Brad was hooking up a couple of times and I caught one while waiting for the other two guys. Brad continued to fish and hooked into a couple more trout while I decided to head on down to the Breakfast Hole alone.
 The short bare Olive trees were thicker and meaner as I carefully found my way through them. When I got to the shoreline, across from the island, the water between was fast and deep. There was no way of crossing to the island. There was a deep slower back eddy pool of mud bottom I had to cross to get further downriver. I caught and missed one trout before attempting the crossing. I could feel the silt bottom beneath my felt soles as I knew I had to keep moving to not sink in too deep. The water rose above my waste and I was glad I barrowed Brad’s extra chest waders as I made my way. I made it across without any problems and continued along the snowy path until I found clear ground half way across the far side of the island length.
 There was a guy fishing the bank downriver and two guys at the end of the island dilly-dallying more than fishing. The guy downriver yelled over to the islanders “the fish don’t seem hungry” and pulled out and left. I had the whole bank-side to myself. I had a tandem set up with about 11 feet of leader/tippet and a Thingamabobber for a float already set up. I started at the end of the choppy water and wham! Right off the bat a trout rips my indicator downward with force and I hung on. The beast torpedoed away and downriver with the current. My Battenkill mid arbor clicked out line in fast smooth rhythmic fashion. I palmed the reel for extra drag as the fish continued downriver than towards my bank. In the slower water he held tight and I pulled some on the rod, the Winston 6wt. flexed a little more. The fish swam towards me and I wound in line as I backed the rod tip to keep tension on the oncoming fish. Up in the swift current he again tried to rest but I swung the rod down towards the bank to put side pressure on him and locked my wrist. He inched towards the bank than nudged away and took off back down and away. I knew I had a good fish and possibly a brown as he stayed low. It was a battle of wits, strength and patients. He held up deep in the fast current out further than before. I couldn’t budge him sideways so I swung the rod up river and he followed. He top sided enough and was surprised to see he was a rainbow. More of a battle resumed and I got him towards the bank. I had the extension net unlocked by now and held the rod as high as possible. It wasn't easy to direct the frisky rainbow to the net on 11 feet of leader but I managed. A quick picture on the snow covered bank and soon after he was freed to be caught another day. A few more casts and I had another.

 Time ticked on as I waded and worked my way down the bank casting just this side of the fast/slow water seam. Sometimes it was a slight dip of the indicator while other times it was a good dunking. I fought and played fish time and again changing droppers as the bite slowed down. I seen a few risers to midges down in the slow water and tried for them for about an hour without success. Back to nymph fishing I was rewarded with more takers.

 It slowed down enough I noticed the sun was beyond noon. I was getting hungry and decided to go back up river to see what was keeping the others.

 When I found the other guys they said they also did well catching some big trout. When they told me it was 4:40 there about I couldn’t believe it. Time flies when I’m having fun.

 We left the river early and decided to check out the Yellowtail dam. We came across roadside cows, horses and a few meandering mule deer in the wide open range. We continued switch backing down the winding road to the dam.

 After dinner we relaxed with a few cold beers. I had myself an Arturo Curly Head Deluxe and sipped on Goldslager while Brad and Mat drank beer and sipped on Crown Royal Reserve.

What a way to end a good day and get ready for another float trip down the Bighorn on Wednesday.


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