After a hopelessly late start, my buddy Dave and I finally got going around 10am. Since we had to be back on the home front around 3pm, we decided to stick close and fish the West Carson. I have been fishing this river a ton lately, so I had a game plan.
First stop was the gaging station. This spot, and the three holes upstream, consistently produce fish for me. Today should have been the same. In every likely spot I could see fish swimming around. I decided to rig up with my traditional dual nymph rig. My standard goto rig that I use BEFORE I get a chance to really analyze what is going on is to use a #14 BH Soft-hackle Hare’s Ear and a #18 Copper John with a ton of split shot and a strike indicator. Right away I was getting grabs, but I was chronically late on EVERY SINGLE hookset. I managed to flub every grab that I got. Doh! Dave managed to hook and land the first fish of the day on a Denny Rickert’s Seal Bugger pattern that I tie for lakes, but find works really well in rivers.
Dave and I hopscotched each other up this section of river hitting all the likely holding spots for the next hour. In one spot, I managed to entice a small trout to chase my nymphs on every single drift. But no matter how I adjusted my angle, my line mends, or the position of the nymphs in the water, I just could not entice him to commit.
Next we drove up canyon and hit this spot that is typically crowded on a weekend days. We were the only anglers in sight so we hit the water. I was working this one likely slot and maybe it was the beautiful day, or the beautiful surroundings, but I found my self daydreaming. When I looked downriver for my strike indicator, I managed to see a fish actually spit my nymph out in pretty shallow riffle water. I completely missed another fish. Another dozen or so drifts produce no additional grabs. Dave and I continue to work our way upstream and…..nothing. Time to move on.
Next on the agenda was a section up in Hope Valley that is a known stocking point. Guess you can call it desperation when you intentionally seek out a fish planting spot. Again, there were no anglers in sight. I cannot believe that this is a Saturday on a popular river. At this point, curiosity got the better of me. I drove past the parking spot for my intended section, and headed up to Pickett’s Junction. There were no less than 12 cars parked at, on, or near the intersection. Ah Ha! At least I knew where everyone was. I quickly flipped around and headed back to my empty spot at the bottom of the valley.
A quick re-rig to change depths of the nymphs and it is back to working the water with my usual thoroughness. After a few casts, I finally get a grab and connect. FINALLY! Redemption! I then proceed to catch a few more fish in rapid succession, all on the swing and all on the soft-hackle BH Hare’s Ear nymph. Nobody wanted my trusty Copper John in this hole, so I clipped it off and retied with a smaller and darker version of the Hare’s Ear that was tied on further up the leader. Nobody wanted this one either, but that is ok as I was getting consistent grabs on almost every drift. It was time to head back down canyon to home, and of course, I am finally “dialed” and catching fish with some consistency.
So a entire morning and afternoon were devoted to this one moment. If (and a big IF it is) I had connected with every grab, I could have had an 10+ fish day, but that was not to be. That is OK. I still got out of the house, and onto the river to do some fishing.