Today presented a treat in that I was able to get on the water first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. My in-laws were camping at the Hope Valley RV Park and invited my family to dinner. We loaded Bailey into the car, along with our fishing gear and headed up to Hope Valley. We arrived in Hope Valley right around 6:30pm and almost immediately deposited Bailey with “Granny”. We are told that we have approximately 30 minutes before dinner. Erin and I rigged up and headed a short 50 yards to the West Carson.
This section of the West Carson is very rocky with lots of rock climbing and tons of bankside brush and fallen obsturctions in the river. A very good trout habitat for smaller fish and for some technical fishing in a drop-pool envirnment…my favorite! We immediately notice that there are tons of bugs on the river, along with a larger mayfly (I did not stop to identify and none of these bugs was generous enough to land on me for observation).
I decided to tie on a larger #12 Elk Hair Caddis to start the evening. After rigging up, I get into the water and carefully make my way to an advantageous spot from which to cast to a nice hole on the opposite bank. I was getting strikes on my fly from the first drift, with fish checking out the fly on every drift. No takers though. Erin was fishing the hole behind me and by her shouts, I figured that she was experiencing the same thing. The main problem is that the fish were too small to take our offering and the bigger fish were avoiding our flies, or striking short.
I decided to tie on a much smaller Elk Hair Caddis, a size #18, and tried the same drifts. Much better results. Now I am hooking up with fish, but they are shaking off after a yank or two. Hmmm…time to sharpen the hook real quick. Back in the water and I finally hook up with the first fish of the evening that I can land, and very pretty 6″ Brown. I felt that I had fished this hole out, so I decide to move downstream to the next hole.
I noticed that Erin had moved from above me to the downsteam hole that I was headed towards. No problem. I figure that I will leap frog her and head to the next one downtream from there. On my way toward her, she catches and lands her first fish of the evening, a very nice looking 6″ Raibow. I finally wade onto the rock she is casting from and jumped into the water to head further down. On the way, I spot a very nice looking fish under a submerged rock ledge, and since Erin is re-rigging, I decide to toss out my fly for a few drifts. No luck. I decide to finish off the trek to the lower hole when Erin shouts out and she has hooked the big fish of the hole. The fish is a fat 10″ Brown…sweet! Just then, Erin’s mother shouts to us that dinner is ready and to head back.
Since I already had my sights set on the next hole down, I figure that I will have to be a teensy bit late for dinner and I start to feed line out to cast to this next hole. On my fifth drift through the hole, I hook a nice fish from the tail of the riffle, just before it speeds up and cascades to the next hole. A short battle later and I have a cool 10″ Brown in hand. I can almost guarantee that he was the big fish in this hole as that is a good size for a fish in this section.
I de-rig and head for dinner. 30 minutes of fishing produced 3 landed fish on 5 solid hookups and who knows how many missed strikes and refusals. Erin had almost identical results. Erin reported that she had countless short strikes and missed strikes as well. This was an all DRY FLY day. What a great day!!