June 16, 2017

First Willow Creek Session 2017

 Sam, Craig, and I had our first Willow Creek adventure a few weeks ago. The main stream is blown out but there's a tributary that's first to clear and we were lucky to have it for ourselves. I replenished my box with Muddy-Water Worms since my trip to Vernal and was luckily prepared with the right fly and enough to freely share with my co-anglers. A pink Chernobyl Ant and a sparkly pink work was a deadly combination for these small stream trout.
Craig and I have been coming up this mountain seeking solace for years. The frequency of our trips dropped off some the last few years. But he's since moved back to southern Utah so I anticipate many more adventures on this stream in the near future. Although it was mostly subsurface action, Craig was able to abandon his dry fly purity for an afternoon and roll around in the mud.  
 The following week I took my family back up the mountain in hopes of getting Katy onto some small stream fishing action. But when we arrived to our destination there were already anglers rapping and pillaging the fishing hole...literally. I don't understand why someone would keep such small fish, but maybe their extraction of a few fish will help the other have more room to grow larger.
 We ended up at a favorite picnic spot (and camping too as long as there aren't too many ATVs driving by). We didn't find any willing fish in the adjacent stream but the boys had fun shooting BB guns and building forts in the bushes.

June 15, 2017

Barbell Eggs, Muddy Worms, and Soaked Waders

I finally made it back up to visit my cousin in Vernal and fish the famed Jigalo Creek that runs into Flaming Gorge. This time we had an even larger group including my son, brother, dad, cousin, and another cousin (and his son and dad the 2nd day). I planned and packed for this trip weeks in advance, but I didn't plan to take my son until the day I was slated to leave. That morning I asked my wife to pack Connor's clothes and I picked him up early from school. I hastily threw in Connor's waders and by early afternoon we were headed north to start our adventure. When we arrived to Bishop Jan's I quickly checked Connor's waders for holes and something looked off. When I held the waders up to Connor they barely reached to his waist! In a panic I called around to various stores in the area as we continued north towards the airport to pick up my brother. Connor and I quickly ran into Cabelas and he walked away with a new pair of waders to help remember this trip by.
Connor was the first to connect with a fish each morning. And he gave multiple fish (and my new Loop 6wt) a workout throughout the two days of fishing; I can't say that for some of the other participants in our group. The 2nd day Connor mixed his time between fishing and playing along the shore with his cousin. At one point he decided to check the depth of the lake beside the boat and found it deeper than expected; the rest of the day he wore a sweatshirt for pants and wool socks for shoes while his waders hung inside out in a tree; we were lucky that was the worst of it.
The weather was much warmer; a few years ago a newly fallen blanket of snow had just been laid down and we were breaking ice to access the bay. I came better prepared (so I thought) with dubbing loop eggs tied on stout hooks weighted with dumb bell eyes. Although the dumb bell eyed eggs produced, it was the Muddly Water Worm that took the show; unfortunately I had only a handful of them between a 1/2 dozen fishermen. The water was a little higher than 3 years ago and much more turbid so pink and sparkly was an asset. Even Bishop Jan found some action on the end of his line before resting on the hillside nursing his over-grown toenail. It baffles me how patient he can be watching others fish but can't seem to stomach having to wait for a fish to tug on his line!
Unlike Bishop Jan, my uncle Kerry has the fishing bug. But like his older brother, Kerry likes to bonk the fish he catches. It took some coaxing to get him out of the deeper water and allow me to rig him with some productive flies. But soon enough he found his rhythm and hooked a few.
I've always looked up to my brother Orman and I remember watching him fling flies with his bright yellow Eagle Claw rod; I couldn't wait until I could do the same. He was also a master at fishing "Balls O Fire" eggs, but that never caught on with me. I feel badly I didn't get a closeup shot of Orman holding one of the fish he caught but we seemed to always find ourselves on opposing sides of the stream; plus he broke my favorite streamer rod so yea...
My cousin (and trip host) Nolan and I finished the last day fishing one of the uppermost pools of this stream; above this the fish' path upstream is blocked by enormous boulders. Three years ago I caught my largest fish of the trip. I again caught my largest fish, but unfortunately we didn't get picture-proof due to a camera mishap. It was another amazing trip and I was happy to be able to share it with some many people close to me; especially Connor.