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Showing posts with the label autumn

The Magic Hour

A nice day recently.  In contrast to a windy previous day, this day was calm.  A quiet morning, with light snow gave way to a pleasant day with peeks of sunshine.

I nymphed half heartedly in the morning, then quit by eleven, hoping to find a few rising fish.

I broke for tea.  Settled in, and waited.

And waited some more.

After an hour, a fish rose.

Eventually, another.

After a half hour three fish were working.  Something had their attention.  It was time to slip into the water for a closer look.
A few midges buzzed but the fish weren't interested in my offerings.  
Midge cluster.  Nope.
Hatching midge.  Nope.
Pupa.  Nope.
A blue winged olive drifted by.  Well now.  I better take a look in my fly box.





The fish were rising more steadily now.  Their rises more enthusiastic.  Not the soft dimple of midging fish.
A fish ate on the first cast with the cdc olive.  It was a beautiful cutthroat.
I dried the fly, waited.  The next target rose, close.  Another cast.  Another eat.  This ti…

Five Days in October

It's midge season, again. Time to get back to spring creek fishing. The mornings are extraordinary.  Most days, I spend the better part of the first few hours just gawking, watching the light change, snapping photos.





The game starts once the the fish start rising.  Nothing visible in the current, little on top.  Midge adults skitter sporadically on surface.  Is that what they're really eating?  The fishing is challenging and frustrating.  In a perverse way, I prefer it to all other fly fishing.  Heaven forbid that I get a sore arm from catching too many.  
I while away the hours.  Get a fish or two.  It's the usual routine.  Hook a few.  Break a few off. Some are really good ones.  It's shallow water fishing.  The fish know that they're vulnerable. Once hooked, they vacate the area in a hurry and put extreme strain on the delicate rigging. Often, the departure is sudden and leaves me questioning the tippet, my knots, both.  At home I tie up a new leader, test the …

Silver Creek Interlude

Spring creeks are singularly beautiful, and Silver Creek in Idaho is no exception. The Silver Creek Preserve is managed by the Nature Conservancy.  It's open to the public for a nominal five dollar daily donation.  While fishing is the main draw, many folks come to bird watch, canoe, walk the trails and take in the scenery.  It's also a photographers dream.












Silver Creek should be on the life list of any spring creek fisher.  And, as a devotee of spring creeks, it's one that I'd wanted to visit.  With a few days off, that fortuitously coincided with a favorable weather window,  I made the drive and was rewarded with a couple of delightful nights of camping.










Daytime temperatures still touched into the eighties and warranted an afternoon break from fishing.  The September nights were most comfortable and capped off with a moonlight serenade of distant bugling elk. A bull moose also included the Hayspur campground in his after dark wanderings.








I only spent two days on Sil…

Along the Salmon

I took a drive a few days back.  Actually, during the past several weeks I've taken several drives. This time to the Salmon River country in Idaho.  I try to spend a day or two there each fall. Rather than do the usual killer day by getting up real early, driving a couple hundred miles, fishing all day and then driving a couple hundred miles home in the same day, I did the sane thing and spent the night in Salmon.  A wise move.
As they say, the fishing was good, the getting not so hot.  No real surprise.  Steelhead start to trickle into the area by the third week in October.  Bigger numbers tend to arrive later.  No excuse for my lack of catching though.  I had a couple porpoise within rod length on the second morning.  So, there were a few around.
I got to play with my "new" Meiser spey rod thats been neglected for the past few years.  Made some good casts, lots of poor ones too.  The casting was largely a success, I didn't hit myself with the tungsten conehead.  I…

Burning the Wick

I've been busy.  Not with work.  I've left that to the beavers.   September. October.  Does it get any better?  Yes, that's a cliche.
Most folks vacation in summer.  Not me.  
There's too many great days.  The mantra.....up early, in late.  Don't miss a day.
Cooler weather.  Fall color.  Chasing fish.  Chasing dogs, that are chasing birds.
Camping.  Starlit skies.  The last of the summer night sounds.
So you see, I've been busy.  As for the beaver, he left his job undone. Obviously, a lack of focus. The aspen isn't quite chewed through.  Maybe he went fishing.

Exquisite

It's hard to beat the perfect day.  Is it late summer?  Early autumn?  Maybe the day is somewhere in between.  A September day that by afternoon noses into the eighties.   I spend it by hiking into the high country.
The miles go by, I hike quickly in the comfort of the cool morning.  Aspens are yellowing, so is the thimbleberry that carpets the stream bottom trail.  Huckleberry bushes that failed to produce fruit this year put on a show of crimson.  Its as if to say "sorry for the lack of berries, here's some crimson leaves instead."




I reach the lake.  Its calm, mostly.  I drop my pack, pull out a ground tarp to set on the soggy ground, and settle in the watch for a while.  Such splendor.  A clear blue sky.  An alpine lake. Mountains.  Bear poop. 




A fish rises, then another.  I watch.  No need to hurry.  My dates not going anywhere.  She'll continue to leave little rings on the lake surface.  She can't afford to miss a meal you know.  
And so I fish.  It'…

Midge Morning

Get out early.  Beat the wind.  Fish midges.  That was the mantra yesterday.  I left home in the dark, driving eastward over the pass.  Outside of Livingston the temp was sixty-two.  A few miles to the south, forty-one.
I stopped along the Yellowstone and snapped a few photos before heading up to the creek. The morning sky was just starting to brighten.
I wondered...any midges this morning?
My question answered when I took a deep breath and sucked one in.  I wasn't the only one feeding on bugs.  Trout were rising too.
It was still calm when I waded into the creek.  Fish were rising actively.  I caught several right off. A few took a fuzzy CDC pattern that imitated a midge cluster.  I soon tired of trying to keep it afloat and switched to a nondescript midge pupa.  A few fish ate that too, then the action slowed, even though the fish continued to rise.





I moved downstream, found a few more rising fish and bided my time by trying to cast between gusts.  By now the fish had become qu…

The First Fifteen

I know that I'm not the only one that feels the seasonal sense of urgency.  All of us who live in northerly climes know it.  The clock is running.  The big W is around the corner.  We can't keep it at bay, but we can sure make the most of the remaining days.  
September?  Glorious.  There's just not enough of it.  Bob Garnier recently posted about it on his great little blog, Trout on Dries.  But then, as an Albertan, he knows about urgency and winter. As a Montanan, I appreciate Alberta.  Heck, they send us weather.
No matter.  Back to September.  It's an embarrassment of riches.  Back when I bowhunted avidly, I'd spend weeks wearing out boot soles by chasing elk in the high country.  Now, other vices have supplanted the pursuit of elk.  
There's birds and dogs to chase, high and low.  Trout to catch that now revel in the cooling water.  Just pick a river to fish.  And, heaven forbid, steelhead, if.....
So far we've spent a day in the high county where th…

A Bag Full of Memories

Hunger motivated a trip to the garage this afternoon. While rummaging around in the freezer I found a bag.   I unzipped it, and out wafted the aroma of early autumn.  Damp and earthy.  A heavenly paradox, considering that we're barely one hundred eighty degrees seasonally from that other equinox.
Flashback to last autumn.  It was late afternoon, we were bumping our way out of the mountains on a dirt and gravel road.  I despise road hunting.  That day I made an exception.  Jo drove slowly, we scanned the road edge for our quarry.
A ha!  There!  And then, a couple more. White.  Egg shaped.   Shaggy mane mushrooms. Finding them is almost like finding presents under the tree at Christmas.
In our neck of the woods they usually appear in early fall, usually after the first rainy or snowy cold snap in September.  Years ago I found some along the Cassiar Highway in Northern British Columbia in late July.  But then, that's cooler, wetter country.
These mushrooms don't last long, e…