Friday, January 15, 2010
Before the rain....
The alarm went off at 3am and I am on the road by 3:15.Freezing fog limits my ability to drive like a bat out of hell at this early hour so I take it easy.My original plan was to drive to the Mad River and fish there until the predicted rain shows up.A 6.5 earthquake centered 20 miles west of Eureka a few days before led me to a change of plans.My backup for when the Mad blows was to be the Trinity so this is where I am headed on this socked in early morning drive.Other than the fog the trip is uneventful and I arrive on the Trinity around 8am.As I gear up I look over the run that I am planning to fish.The river is running a bit higher than my previous trip but the visibility is good.
I walk down to the river and step into the run at the top.With my recent success swinging flies with my spey rod I am confident that I will be able to raise a fish today. It takes a few minutes to get into a rhythm casting and stepping down the run.The current is definitely swift this morning and my swings seem good.First pass through and no love.Second pass yields the same results and I move on to the next run.My casts are getting consistently better and with no other anglers in the area I am able to leisurely fish my way through this second run.Cast,swing,step down and repeat.With no tugs,plucks,pecks or love whatso ever I decide to drive down river a ways.
I walk across the bridge and stop in the middle to scout for fish.I don't see any but that doesn't mean they aren't there.I fished this run in October with Brian from the north side of the river.We both had grabs but he was the only one to come tight to a fish.So I am confident that this spot will produce.
I scramble down the steep trail to the river and head upstream to the top of the run.I tie on my confidence fly;a Popcicle tied on an Alec Jackson spey hook.Sexy fly!Today this run is a bit fast but still is enticing.As I cast and step my way down the snap t is my cast of choice.I am getting good line speed and able to cast 90+ feet with little effort.As I am about to the end of the water that I can reach I feel a familar weight on the line.I lift the rod tip and the battle is on!After a brief fight I slide this gorgeous wild winter run hen into the shallows.
A couple of photos and a length and girth measurment(27x13") and she is released back to the river whence she came.Awesome!!To me this encounter with a beauty of a fish is what steelhead fishing is all about.At this moment I am king of the world!Ok back to reality.....I step back into the river and finish fishing my way down this run.No more love so I head back to the top of the run.Another pass results in lots of water covered but no more grabs.I head back up the trail a very happy fisherman.
The wind has started to blow making casting a challenge at best.I fish 2 more incredible runs that are just plain sexy but the fish are not cooperating.I decide to call it an early day around 3 pm and head to Pidgeon Pt campground.I get the site that I want and enjoy an early dinner by the campfire.Home for the night is the familiar confines of the shell on the back of my Tacoma.Home away from home!
I run out of firewood by 6:30pm so I decide to call it a night and crawl into bed.What a great day I think as I close my eyes.The wind through the pines sings me to sleep.Around 10pm I am awakened by the sound of rain on my camper shell.Heavy rain!
The alarm goes off at 6am and I stay in my sleeping bag a while longer contemplating the sound of the rain.With coffee made and breakfast eaten I head to the river to start my day.Man is it POURING.The river has come up almost a foot overnight and is raging.But the color is still good.I fish through the same two runs that I covered the day before but I know this day is gonna be a tough one.Back to the bridge run to take a look.Damn!The feeder stream that has to be crossed to gain entry to the gravel bar is pumping mud into the river.This sucks!I head back upriver looking for fishable spots but the river is starting to blow out.
By noon the river is gone and the decision is made to head home.5 hours later I pull into my driveway and check my odometer.622 miles roundtrip.10 hours fished.One fish landed.Was it worth it?Yes!Would i do it again?In a heartbeat!