Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Return To Snake Creek

It's been a while since I have been to SLC and to visit one of my all-time favorite fishing holes - Snake Creek.

I made the trip out on Monday on an early flight and was privileged to enjoy this beautiful sunrise from the airport.

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There are benefits to being up early.

Monday turned out to be a busy day with meetings late into the evening and a group dinner that almost prevented me from even making it to Cabela's before closing time. I was accompanied by Mr. Grim and we met another fellow employee Chris already there and in the process of getting outfitted for fly fishing.

I was careful not to contribute to the quickening fever he was experiencing but did manage to make a couple of suggestions on flys, tools, and tippet. It's easy to be helpful when it is someone else's money so I tried not to offer too much advice.

We made a plan to head for the mountains after work on Tuesday and were on the road before 5pm. We stopped and visited my good friends at Trout Bum 2 where I refreshed my fishing license and after grabbing a bite we were bound for the creek. The weather was changing as a cold front was blowing in. The daytime temps had been up in the 90's for the past few days but there was to be a 30 degree drop in the temperature before morning.

According to Chris, the weather folks don't always get the precipitation predictions right but when it comes to the wind they are usually OK. The only problem with that was the fact that they were estimating strong winds all afternoon with gusts up to 30mph - not the best for fly fishing. The only positive I could come up with was that it may keep some folks off the water.

We arrived at the parking spot near the pool and as we were rigging up, another fisherman pulled in right near us and began making preparations. We hustled down to the pool and put on "the sneak" as we could see fish rising. Before we could get off the first cast, our new buddy came tromping down the road, crossed the culvert right in front of us and waded right next to the creek down the far side to the trestle.

Needless to say the fish stopped rising and after a few casts we figured that they were spooked. I brought two rods - the 4wt WR Classic fly rod and of course the UL with a few white roostertails in honor of brother Paul. I had a few small fish lunge at the RT but was unable to get a solid hookup. It was tough casting the fly rods in the wind. Chris had a 9ft 5wt and was making more headway that I was with the stubby brush rod.

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The creek was low and clear but there was an abundance of scum and algae as well as weeds galore. It was one of those situations where if the wind didn't kill your backcast, you would hook a bunch of "salad" and have to clean off and start over.

I followed the creek downstream with the UL and cast to some small fish but still wasn't able to get one on. I wanted a picture!

Eventually I came back up to the pool and Chris had been staying in one spot and gently casting so the fish were once again feeding - just not on his offering.

I tried a Hare's Ear nymph, and a Pheasant Tail then switched to a Griffith's Gnat but couldn't buy a strike. We saw some small dark bugs - likely midges - so I tied on a #20 Black Gnat complete with feather wings. I was trying to cast across the eddy current to the main flow and finally got the mend right so the fly would drift naturally. I hooked a couple fish but lost them due to poor hookset skills. I finally brought one to hand - a small but feisty Brown.

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It seemed that I had found the right combination for the circumstances as I hooked and landed a couple more small Browns doing exactly the same thing.

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Chris fished hard but couldn't seem to get one to take his Black Gnat so we decided to move down below the trestle for the last bit of daylight. Our new fishing buddy had come back from his trip below and watched us fish for a while. He had fished around the trestle but with no success. I questioned him about fishing below the trestle and his response was that the water looked too shallow down there. That's just what I wanted to hear since that probably was a common belief that would prevent most fishermen from bothering with fishing there.

The wind was brutal as we approached the lower end and I decided to start with the UL & WRT. I had a fish hit the first two casts and eased Chris up the bank to a place without as much scum where he could cast a little. The wind was over the shoulder and it was coming and going - mostly coming. I hooked and landed a small Brown and finally found the spot where some sizable Rainbows started rolling on the lure. One was a nice fish but they wouldn't commit. I finally hooked up a nice fish - not the big one but a good fighter and one with beautiful color. The fish was spawned out and slim bit will live to spawn & fight another day.

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We fished until dark and the wind never let up. I fished a Wooly Bugger for a while but the wind at one point had my line straight out and was holding the fly up out of the water. The little 4wt was no match for the heavy gusts coming down off the peaks and passes.

The trip back over the mountain was fun as the gusts were crossing the road. Chris didn't catch a fish but did a great job casting with his new rod. He fished in some of the most challenging conditions. The only thing that would have made it tougher would have been freezing temps and ice in the line guides.

Maybe we will see that tomorrow.....


Wool Winder said...

Nice colors on that Rainbow!

Bawana said...

Nice Post John, I feel like I was there. I'm glad you made a new fishing buddy, maybe you can get together again next time your in town.

Paul Batchelder said...

Man the creek sure looks low! I guess your fears of continued run off were quite the oposite! It's good to know that the WRT is still effective..now I need to get up there and show them a thing or too..Glad you were able to get out. Check your mail??

Sisababe said...

Incredible pattern and colors on those trout!