Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Swinging for Steel
Left the Sierras amid the coldest weather I have experienced in California with low's in the -20+ range.Made the drive to Weaverville through snow and ice.Once I reached the lower foothills the snow was gone and the greenery of the central valley was a welcomed change.Coming out of Redding I could see that the low snow levels of the Sierras were not happening in the Trinity Mountains.Thankfully!
Checked into the Motel Trinity,a dive if I have ever seen one,and cracked a cold Steelhead Pale Ale.Bruce was already there and had had some success the day before.I rigged up my rod for nymphing and had lively conversation with Bruce.After a couple of beers it was time to hit the hay.
The alarm startled me awake at 5am.Coffee made and a breakfast burrito from Suzies Bakery and we were off.It was a chilly 11 degrees when we hit the water.Ice on everything,waders,rod,reel frozen absolutely miserable conditions.And to top it off no fish.Bruce had a nice time landing 4 of 5 hooked.Me nothing.Oh well thats steelheading.
The next morning we opted for a later start and this helped with my morale.Bruce hooked up early in the first spot we fished.A little while later I finally got a take down and had a brief battle with a nice fish.While trying to keep this fish out of a mid stream tree he came unbuttoned.Easy come easy go.Getting somewhat discouraged nymphing,I rigged up my spey rod with 10' of t-14 and a pink and purple bunny leech.Halfway down the run I get a jolting grab that doesn't stick.I finish up the run with no further tugs.I hook another fish nymphing but once again cannot finish the deal.Day 2 finishes with no landed fish.
We follow the same routine the next day with a late start and I anticipate the arrival of Greg sometime in the early afternoon.Bruce and I fish a couple of known producers for nothing.The day is definitely warmer but water temps are sitting in the mid 30's making the fish sluggish.Greg arrives around 1pm and he and I fish a very likely spot but it is for nothing.Story of the trip.Another fishless day.
Friday was more of the same.Covering lots of water but unable to find anything.Snow overnight made the driving treacherous and 4 wheel drive was a necessity.This was the day that I started to lose confidence.
Day 4 we opted to get out at dawn and I chose to swing with the spey rod.This morning the epitome of steelheading.Foggy and rainy with warmer air temps.I chose a Popsicle that I had tied on a sexy looking Alec Jackson spey hook.About 5 casts into the run my line comes tight and the battle is on!A few minutes later I slide this hatchery buck into shallow water.
After a couple of pixs this fish was returned to the river.I stepped back in and continued stepping and swinging down the run.No more grabs so I moved to the next run.Nothing here either.The third run that I fished is absolutely perfect and a fun run to fish.A ways down and I get a great grab but am unable to connect.Greg hasn't had any luck so we move up river and explore some very nice water.The threatening skies finally opened up late in the afternoon and we continued fishing in the downpour.Nothing else for our efforts but I am satisfied for the day.
Day 5 is a short day as we are both on our way home.We start off at the same run that I
connected at the previous day in the early morning fog.Conditions are favorable with overcast skies and patchy fog.Nothing in the first run so I head upriver to a run that was occupied the previous day.Current is to fast at the head but smooths out nicely half way down.My swings are good and I get a sudden jolt!Fish on!!After a brief battle I drag a 25" hatchery hen onto the gravel bar and bash her head with a rock.She is coming home with me.I fish one last run and decide it is time to drive home.Content.I am definately bitten by the spey bug!Until next time.....