March 31, 2017

Boy's Trip March 2017: Camping, Fishing, & Hiking

I promised the boys a camping trip once I completed my Bachelor's in Nursing. It's been a long 18 months but I'm finally over that hurdle! My plan is to continue on to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; but I'm looking forward to a summer without school to recharge my life. We had a haphazard plan to head due-south and end up camping somewhere near Lake Powell; I hoped to take the boys camping AND get some fishing in as a reward to myself. But I wasn't sure if we would actually make it to Lake Powell and even if we did Oakley (9 year old Golden Retriever) may keep us from fishing off the dock again.

So we stopped midway at one of our favorite camping/picnic sites and the boys swung on the tree swing while I flung some streamers in hopes of an eat. The water was perfect flow/clarity, I had some nice follows, and I connected on a scrappy brown.  
 I cast the fly across current, stripped twice, and let it soak. The brown slammed the streamer and the rest is history. I love the visual aspect of streamer fishing!

We hurried south after this intermission and ended up between Kanab and Lake Powell just as the sun was setting. Connor searched the area on Google-Earth and directed us to a great overlook and flat camping spot. The following morning we hiked down the hill from our camp and explored the wash, rocks, vegetation, and wildlife. We tried some prickly-pear innards and I ended up with prickly-lips (luckily the boys avoided this torture).

On the way home we witnessed a deer kamikaze into oncoming traffic. It was an unfortunate event for the deer and the girl driving her friend's parent's Mercedes-benz! Ouch! We stopped to help but I thought photo evidence would have been distasteful; in her defence, that phucking deer had a death wish...   

Bonus graduation trip...

I took off from work a little early this week and hit a local lake that just lost its ice. I spent more time driving then fishing but was rewarded with a nice chuncky Rainbow to knock the new off my graduation present to myself; a Loop Evotec X-grip 6 wt! The pictures are lacking but here's my best effort :)

March 17, 2017

Smallie from the OC

I took a much needed break last week to wet a line. The past month has been a grind trying to finish the last two class assignments before I am finally done with my degree. I frequented this lake last spring and found good success with a crawfish imitation. The pattern is quite simple to tie--a 90* hook with some rubber-legs out the back, a ball of dubbing, and a cut-out of a craw-body using material that came from an old microfiber couch--but it's a dead ringer in looks and action of the real thing. 
The water was a bit turbid with floating algae accumulating on the surface. I used an intermediate line and stripped my fly back in short jerks. Last year I fished from the dam, but that was before I read the sign prohibiting it. I now stand upon a step-stool; making waist deep water only come up to shin-level.
When I felt my fly stop, I anticipated a healthy, chunky rainbow on the end of my line; that's what I have always caught here. A few strong runs and some bull-dogging ensued until the fish finally gave it's first clear view. I at first thought I had caught a carp but was astonished to find a smallie that seemed to be trying it's best to impersonate a football. 

That was the only catching for the day, but I'd take this fish over multiple smaller ones. I'd never caught a smallie in this body of water but I was happy to make its acquaintance. 

March 2, 2017

Chocolate Candy Milkshakes and Cutts in the Crystal Clear

    The majority of my past weekends have been devoted to writing the last couple papers to finish school (for now). I decided to reward myself with an afternoon of fishing to revamp the sparkle in my soul. It's tough--with such little time--to know where to invest my hall pass this time of year. The past couple fishing trips had a sparse amount of actual catching involved in them. With the warmer weather last week I knew Candy Canyon would have open water and according to the flow charts, it appeared to be at a good flow. The only problem was that this stretch of the Sevier River adds an extra 30-45 min each way to my drive; but I decided to pull the trigger and left Cedar a little past noon.
   After downing a 44oz soda in the space of a half hour I had to take a pit stop in Beaver. When I returned to the van (that's right VAN, mini-van that is!) I found myself locked out with the keys uselessly lying on the floor inside. I thought I would be saving some money on gas and a few miles on the Jeep GC if I drove the van. But after spending $40 for the kid in the tire shop to pop the door open (in a matter of seconds) I was rethinking my decision.
   When I arrived at Candy Canyon, I was sad to see a rush of chocolate milk greeting me. I geared up and decided to try my best at the conditions dealt to me. After about 45 min I decided it wasn't worth my trouble and reassessed my plan. Snake Creek was nearby and I hadn't fished it for a number of years. The DWR recently restored it after ash from a fire washed through about 5 years ago and killed all the fish. I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I arrived I was happy to see its true namesake rang true as it was crystal clear and flowing at a perfect rate.
 I almost left the #3 Blue Halo at home but luckily threw it in last minute. I've never fished the section of stream I decided to try. In the past I always went to the same spot and usually did well. But I spotted this section en route and it was too tasty to pass up. Although the fish were small, they were plentiful and many of them ate on the surface. I got what I came for.