East Carson Dry Fly Fishing – 06/09/08

I headed out to the river after work for my usual hour or so.  Instead of heading to the West Carson, I turned left at the Markleville junction and headed to the East Carson.  I will be the first to admit that I lazied out today and headed upstream of my usual starting point at Hangman’s Bridge.  I was just not in the mood to do any serious wading or hiking, so I sought out an easy roadside spot.  I started and ended my evening in the vicinity of the Carson River Resort.  Even thought this area is heavily stocked and heavily fished,  I found my self alone on this stretch this evening….sweet!

I wader up and head to the river to have a gander before I rig up.  I immediately notice that there are bugs on the water, if I had to guess I would say MAYFLIES, and judging by the size, color and time of year, I guess March Browns.  I note that flows are still on the high side, but just barely.  Water clarity is really good considering the flows.

I chose to start with one of Andy Burk’s Indicaddis (a caddis dry tied as an indicator) that I got from the Reno fly Shop, dropping to a #14 soft-hackle Hare’s Ear, and dropping from that to a #18 Green Copper John.  I went pretty light on the split shot as the Indicaddis does not support a ton of weight without having to redress it frequently.  To clarify, the Indicaddis comes in several sizes and I have not had a chance to grab the bigger sizes.  I have to remember to grab a handful of the bigger sizes next time I am in Reno.

On my first drift, a small fish hits the Indicaddis but can’t do much more than sink the fly.  Now I am excited.  The next few drifts offer more of the same – small fish hitting a huge dry fly and sinking the fly.  So far, lots of interest in my dry from the small fish, but wait….a nice 12″ rainbow actually comes up and takes a look at my dry before doing the refusal roll.  That was all the encouragement that I needed to snip off all the nymphs and tie on a much better dry fly.  I made the decision that I was “gonna catch then on dries or none at all” tonight.  I have been nymphing for what feels like months (actually it has been months) and I am ready for the graceful casting and exciting action of dry fly fishing.  Yahoo!!!!

Since I had been nymphing, I have to redo my leader by lengthening the leader and running the tippet down to 6X.  I add about 3 feet of 6X tippet to my now longer leader to both shock against the occasional larger fish, and to leave me with tons of tippet so that i can quickly tie on alternate flies.  My first dry is a #16 Cutter E/C caddis.  From the first drift it was game on.  One little, two little, three little rainbows…anyone with kids would understand the above.  Wanting to catch a larger fish, I decided to try to “offer” a larger dry to “entice” a bigger fish to the surface.  So I tie on a #14 Royal Trude.  Four little, five little, oh…just missed a nice fish.  And just like that, no more strikes at my dry.

So I go back to a more realistic dry, a #16 March Brown, and again, it is catching time.  Two more fish later, I take a quick bank rest.  That is when I realize that I had migrated about a half-mile upstream from my starting point.  I had started below the campground and was now on the gravel bar  (or what is normally a gravel bar when the river is lower) midstream just above the tent sites.  pretty wild how you lose track of time and position when you are infected with “dry fly fever” and having fun.

I am now past my normal hour on the water and it is getting dark.  The sun has dipped behind the mountains at this point.  I decide that I am going to tie on one last fly, cast about 10 more times and call it a day.  So how does it end…well, I manage to catch and lose what was probably the biggest fish of the day.  My guess is that the fish was maybe a 12-13 rainbow, but he was not on the fly long enough for me to get a good look.  Sincethe fish rolled on the fly when he took it, it is possible that he refused the fly and just got snagged when I set the hook.  Nah…I am holding to the fact that I caught him and he shook off.

What a great evening!  Pray for more prolific hatches!

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