Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Last Cast

I was up early, anticipating a beautiful sunrise over Snake Creek in the Heber Valley and once again, I was not disappointed. I saw a doe feeding in the alfalfa on the way in and a pair of sandhill cranes soared overhead. I jumped a small flock of mallards as I approached the creek and was feeling blessed to be enjoying the beauty of God's creation.

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Snake Creek Sunrise

My game plan was to hit the big pool first to see if I could coax a brown out of the swirling eddy currents and then work my way down to the spot below the trestle and see if I could locate one of the rainbows that are known to frequent the flats below the big riffle.

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The Big Pool

As is my habit when I approach the pool, I left the road about 100 yards before the water and skirted a small tree to approach from downstream. I jumped a muley fawn out from under the tree and he stopped long enough for me to snap a picture. That must have been his mama feeding in the field on the way in.

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Hello Sunshine!

This time of year it is a little easier to keep hidden in the long grass, burrs, and thistle, but they can also make casting a bit challenging.

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Thistles for Tracy

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Fly Catchers

Pretty to look at, but tough on the back cast.

I was able to get close enough to get my first offering – a #14 Stimulator into the tail of the pool, but didn’t find any takers there. I continued to work the pool and switched to a small #20 ant pattern but soon decided that either the fish were spooked or not yet ready to feed.

I worked my way down the creek towards the trestle, casting into the long, deep, grassy, channels of clear water but wasn’t able to fool any fish.

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Fishing Down to the Trestle

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The lower end of the creek was shallow and full of aquatic vegetation. You can see that there has been some fishing pressure by the path on the right side of the picture below.

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View From The Tracks

I studied the lay of the land awhile before tying on a #10 white wooly bugger and casting upstream towards the riffle. I worked the streamer down a few times and on the fourth time let it swing on downstream. Just as I was about to retrieve against the current I saw a big swirl right near the end of my line and my hopes of catching the big rainbow evaporated as he realized just in time that what looked like an easy meal was a ruse. I was upstream and even though I was kneeling, I was in clear view and the big bruiser shot across the current to his best hiding place.

I decided to cross over to fish the other side of the creek. I walked back up to the trestle to do so as a hawk nearly came within rod length of me screaming at the top of her voice. There must have been a nest nearby and I was wishing for the Rebel XT and the big lens.

I fished the far side of the creek without any indication of a fish. I changed to a dry dropper – a #10 Royal Wulff above and a #18 caddis pupa below - but finally decided it was just not my day.

I walked back upstream on the opposite side of the creek thinking I would take a final cast or two in the pool before hightailing it for SLC.

I had a plane to catch after all….

I made a stealthy approach at the pool and by now the sun had been on the water for about an hour. I saw some small fish rising in the tailout and worked the white wooly bugger across in front of them without any success. I finally reached the “one last cast” stage and let one go to the head of the pool up near the fast water that comes under the road. As the white streamer came into my view about halfway through the pool I saw a flash of a good sized fish and his butter-yellow flank as I set the hook. Fish on!

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Handful of Gold

I had a few loops of line hanging off my left hand and wrapped around the reel but somehow managed to keep enough pressure on Mr. Brown to get everything straightened out. I can tell you a healthy seventeen inch brown on my little 4wt rod was a lot of fun.

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Uptown Brown

If you are going to fish a couple of hours and only land one fish, this is the way to do it!

I was using a 4X tippet (heavier than normal since I was sure I would need to pull a fish out of the weeds) and a furled leader from Blue Sky. This was my first experience with this type of leader and I must say I like them. They can handle a soft presentation of a dry fly and at the same time can turn over a fairly heavy streamer.

I’ll let this picture tell the rest of the story. My lesson for today – be satisfied with a few hours of fishing but never give up hope. That big one might be there on the last cast.

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Bawana said...

Good shots, the browns have that same look here in the fall.

Paul Batchelder said...

I sure like the look of that place....I am due for a visit in person! Nice fish I know how har it is in all that grass..see fish juggleing 101