I decided to break ground on my own backyard playground last Wednesday. I spent most of the time clearing away stream side willows and breaking dead growth that stood in the way of victory. I plan to clear more of the stream each time I visit so I have multiple beats to fish when I need a quickie.
I spent last Monday on 2nd Creek with the family. I really wanted Katy to catch a bunch of fish on a small stream. She was a great sport trudging through the water to appease me. She is in her third trimester with our second child and it's getting harder for her to keep her balance. The water was perfect and the fish were willing. Connor brought his net along to help us land and release fish. He was careful not to squeeze them too hard, but he gave a few flying lessons.
I sat down at the vise a few weeks ago with the goal of tying some Stimulaters, but I forgot how much hackle those bastards take to make. So after wasting a perfectly good saddle hackle on one fly, I decided to go a different route.
There are a few variations in material for this fly, but the basic pattern is as follows...
Hook: 2x long med-light wire hook or a Daiichi 1270 or similar hook (size 6-10)
Tail: End of foam, biots optional
Body: Foam under-body (Evazote strip 1/8" wide or med "Rainy's" float foam with dubbing over it
Under-wing: "Hareline no-fray wing material" or transparent ribbon (from craft store) cut to shape.
Over-wing: Elk hair
Head: Deer hair bullet-head or Evazote foam (hook gape wide) tied in with dubbing ball over tie-in and then folded back over the top and tied down.
Legs: Two strands of rubber-leg material of choice.
It's a yearly tradition to fish with Craig for father's day on Willow Creek. I was looking forward to fish some big dries to stupid trout and the Stonefly I've been recently tying was just the ticket. The beaver pond that's held strong for the last 4+ years couldn't take the beating of this years runoff.
We were able to catch a few fish each on Willow Creek, but the flows were still quite high and the water was a little chalky. We decided to go up further and see if 2nd Creek was better. I took the family up there a couple weeks ago and it was a big meadow of bog.
2nd Creek was perfect in flow and clarity. I hooked up right away with fish in each of the first three holes. We both caught our fair share of fish until the light faded. What a great way to spend an evening.
The plan was to drop Connor off with my mom and fish for two days. But life is never that simple and work had to be done. But I ended up getting out Saturday for the first part of the day with Matt. We fished lower in this drainage a couple weeks ago and had mixed results. With scattered rain the last 24 hours, we bypassed the usual stomping grounds for something new and higher
up the mountain.
We hiked up the deep canyon and hooked a mixed bag of Cutts and Browns. No fly pattern transcended as the clear winner but a #6 Stonefly on top was my favorite. It felt good to fish a dry after what seemed an eternity of nymphing; if you can call chucking SJW patterns nymphing
I was hoping to replicate my latest trip to Willow Creek today with Katy and Connor. But as we drove further up the canyon, I could see run-off had different plans. The road to 2nd creek was completely covered by snow a couple weeks ago, but today the roads were clear all the way there.
The stream was running higher then I'd expected, but it was the only realistic chance to fish moving water on this mountain. The valley floor is a braided labyrinth of willows, beaver ponds, bogs, and water channels of various sizes weaving in and out of the main stream. The key was to find deep cuts in slower water where current was running in.
Last year I found the SJW to be the ticket and today was no different. Connor really enjoyed getting a close look at the fish and petting them. We all stayed dry and had a very enjoyable family outing without having to fling steel.