All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Day on the Ogden River

I've fished the Ogden River my whole life. Over the years, I have had many fishing partners tell me that they hate wading the Ogden because it is too much work, the boulders are in the way, and the rocks are slippery. I use to just hide a wry grin. I have loved the workouts this river gives. I admit it is one slippery river and one must be careful when stepping on the rocks--submerged and exposed.

I know I'm getting older. I can feel the stress in my back after a few hours of fishing--something I don't remember at all in my youth. I have to use readers to tie on a tippet and thread the tippet through the eye of the fly. But other than that, I feel like I get around good and I do try to be a little more careful. Today, after about two casts, I slipped on a mossy rock and went down hard. I laid there for a few minutes and then sat up. I bruised the front of my left leg and tweaked my back pretty good. The desire to make it a good day had me back on my feet and casting. I could nurse my pain when I was back home. All those wry smiles I used to hide from my partners came back to haunt me. Age has a way of teaching wisdom.

I didn't get a chance to fish the Ogden River during my favorite times this year. I love the early spring Blue-winged Olive hatches and my favorite, the stonefly hatch, but this year with all the snow melt runoff the river was just too high and fast. Even late summer when conditions were better, I was off chasing fish in other canyons and states. Twenty years ago, I would spend two or three evenings in Ogden Canyon and most Saturdays. It's close to home and I can usually be rigged and fishing within 30 minutes from home. I haven't been spending that kind of time with the Ogden River lately. I sometimes wonder why.

Fall brown taken on a cicada pattern.
 With my regular season fishing coming to an end (I'm getting where I don't fish much in the winter months). I decided to take advantage of one last good fall day. I decided to stay close to home and give my old friend a try. It was a little overcast when I left home. Overcast days can be perfect for Blue-winged Olive hatches. When I got to the river I noticed a few fluttering around. Most of the fish I spotted feeding were taking emergers just below the surface. Every once in a while I would see a head pop out and a dun disappear. The BWO duns were very small (maybe a size 22 or 24). I had a few size 18 tied up and they looked like giants compared to the ones on the water.
Ogden River brown trout.

I've always had good luck on the Ogden with large attractor dry flies in the fall. One year I nailed a bunch of fish on a fall afternoon using a looped foam cicada. I tie this pattern with a black foam body and then vary the color of the head. My favorite colors for the head are orange, red, and lime green. All three colors have been successful but I like the orange head the best. That was my choice today. Even though I saw a few risers to the Blue-winged mayflies, I decided to throw something I could see in the pocket water. I caught a couple and missed a couple.

When I hit a good stretch of smooth water, I decided to tie on the BWO pattern. It was bigger than the naturals, but I was able to catch several fish. All of the sudden I was getting regular hits on almost every cast, and fish were rising pretty consistently. I had at least 15 hits in this stretch but could not hook them. I finally brought in my fly and noticed there was no hook on the fly. I've had points break off before but this Chain-stitched mayfly didn't have a hook period. I don't know how this happened, and I've never had it happen before, but the hook was completely gone. I tied on another BWO and one the first catch caught a fish, then another, and another. I turned to my wife and said, "see, it works a lot better when you actually have a hook."

Rainbow trout.

I was having decent action but soon put the fish down in the smooth stretch. I tied the cicada back on and proceeded to work up river through some swifter currents. I took a couple of small browns and then nailed a fat rainbow about fourteen inches long. It was the first rainbow I've caught on the Ogden in a long time. I caught three of these fat bows during the few hours I fished. I wondered if these were planters that had migrated up into the canyon a ways. I know the DWR plants rainbows down near the river parkway. They were actually a nice diversion from the steady catch of browns.
Switching pattern.

Brown trout caught on a Chain-stitched Blue-winged Olive mayfly.

Decent brown caught on a BWO.
 In all it was a nice afternoon. It was nice of my wife to tag along and take the photographs. I caught some nice fish and the action was fast enough to keep me moving. Some of the fish looked like they were getting ready for the spawn. The last section I fished before I got out looked like the trout were building a redd. I spooked a couple of really nice trout near the end of the cleared gravel. They were big and they were fast. They tore out of the shallows with some real speed. I'm almost positive they were preparing to spawn. 
Brown like this are abundant on the Ogden River.

I noticed that the Blue-winged Olives stopped hatching and the skies had cleared to blue. I decided to call it an afternoon. I hiked up the steep bank and then walked back to the car with my wife. We were home in about 25 minutes. We talked about how we sometimes drive for a few hours to fish and how the fishing in the Ogden was just as good as the other places we try. Maybe I need to spend some more time there. I'll think about it. It is a workout. The boulders are big and slippery. I'll have to think about it. Right now, I'm going to take another pain pill for my tweaked back and go to bed. Goodnight!

1 comment:

Nathan Ira said...

Good stuff! Thanks for sharing the post on UFT! I'm always in search of good blogs and I look forward to reading your old posts.