All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Friday, August 19, 2011


First little brown of the day.
It's the same old story: the biggest fish of the day gets away. When it's your fish, you can be pretty disappointed. The thought of holding that fish and snapping a few photos can stay with you for days--sometimes weeks--maybe even years, at least until the next outing where it will be replaced with the next "one that got a way" story. When it's your fishing partner's fish, it can be easy to shrug away, unless you are the one who caused them to lose it. When you cause your buddy to lose the nicest fish of the day, the feeling of disappointment is worse.I keep telling myself that it wasn't that big. But the fact remains, it was the biggest fish of the day, and it was hooked and played right as we had decided it was time to leave for home. A 12 to 14 inch trout in this small creek is a fine catch. One pushing 16 inches is a great catch.
"I've got a nice one on!" Mark yelled. I looked up to see a bending rod and could here the thrashing water. Mark's line shot upstream then quickly reversed and came ripping downstream. Then the trout rolled and spun it's way to the surface.
"That is a nice one!" I exclaimed. "Play it down to this cut bank and I'll help you land it."
I knelt down on the bank and reached out to grab Mark's leader. Now, I've been fly fishing for over 30 years. I know you should always use the rod to dampen the shock placed on a tippet from a fighting trout. The flex of the rod can be the difference of landing and losing a fish--but excitement can still cause one to lose common knowledge and that's what happened. I reached out, grabbed the leader, started to lift, and then felt the trout flip and twist. Before I could get my hand under the trout to release the stress on the leader, the tippet broke and the trout was gone.
Hungry Bonneville cutthroat.
Deep stream-side grass.
There would be no picture of the "big" one. No fly fisherman posing. No silly congratulatory handshake, backslapping, or macho talk you see the professional guides doing with their clients. As in many cases of fly fishing trips, all we have is a fish story: two guys who know the truth and readers who get the "story" in printed words. I feel bad about it--I really do. Yet, life moves on and there will be other adventures--other fish--and more stories.

Typical Cutthroat.
The smaller creeks are teeming with trout. Teeming is such a pleasant sounding word. I like its meanings. It has an association with water. Think of flow copiously, pour, rain, stream (down), pelt (down), come down (in buckets), and rain cats and dogs. Then a similar meaning: abundant, swarming with (or in this case swimming with), prolific, abound, crawl with, overflow with, overrun with, and lousy with. When the stars line up and most times even when they don't, it is fairly easy for a competent fly angler to catch a passel of trout on these small creeks.
Hopper hungry Brown trout.
On this trip Mark and I were able to jump spots, which means we took turns hitting the best holes. A mix of brown and cutthroat were caught. It was such a wet year. All the stream side grasses were high and green. It seems like everything is a month behind this year. I noticed my raspberries came on a month later as well as some of the other vegetables in my garden. I noticed that the hoppers in the grass were small for this time of year. It will be fun to go back in a couple of weeks when the hoppers have matured and the grasses have browned with the late summer heat.
Beautiful Bonneville. My favorite trout.
I would imagine, by then, the brown trout will be getting aggressive and starting to stage for the spawn. I want to take Mark back to this creek then, because I know the bigger trout will be out and feeding heavily to fatten up for the spawn and to put on weight for the lean winter months to come. I think I will give Mark the best water. I owe him the chance to get the biggest fish of the day again. This time, I'll be smarter and either carry a net, or let him play the trout from his fly rod until he can get it to his hand.

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