Setting the stage
Opening weekend is mainly tradition and a Pavlovian response for me. Most of the fish-able waters in Western Nevada are open year-round, and as of last year, many of my favorite California rivers are open year-round as well. Add on this that I have had many outings on various rivers this year already, and this weekend becomes “just another” fishing weekend, like any other.
I decided to fish the West Carson for no other reason than it was one of the rivers previously closed. Add to this the fact that the river was heavily stocked by CA DFG this week, run-off is evident but not out of control, and that the section I was planning to fish is only 11 miles from my doorstep. Upon arrival I note that the water clarity is about 6-8″ down and that flows are definitely up on this normally calm river. I toss in the thermometer and the water temps are COLD at a chilly 41 degrees. No sign of bugs or hatches.
The craziness Begins
I rig up with a double nymph rig as there are no hatches in presence and no signs of rising fish. On my third drift of the morning, I snag on a rock in some deep fast water and the rig is irretrievable, so I have to break it off. I re-tie and move to a different spot. Again, on the third or fourth drift, I snag and have to break off. So now, I am no more than 15 minutes into the day and I am out 4 files and no fish. I re-tie again, and move downstream to one of my favorite “automatic” spots.
This river is usually pretty placid with some fast pocket water, but lots of easy wading and rock hopping. Not when it is at 150 cfs. I am wading across what is normally an easy boulder garden and I slip and have nothing to grab, so I go into the water. In the swift water, my thoughts quickly turn to grabbing something to stop my downstream movement. I scrape my hand in the process. Again, I note that the water is COLD, but this time I am the thermometer. So I get up and finally get into position and I cast right into a tree branch on the other side. Another break off and re-rigging. Feeling pretty defeated at this time, I decide to head back to another spot and slip on the same rock and go into the water again.
The white towel
I am now cold, wet, and feeling pretty humble. I decide to call it a day. This is just one day in a season and one day in a lifetime of fly fishing. These things happen and you have to pay your dues every so often.