Sunday morning outings are becoming a tradition this season. I really enjoy getting up and out early and then getting back to house before anyone is even moving. So this in another one of those up at 5:30am and driving by 5:45am mornings.
So it is back up to the West Carson. A new section is in order. I figure that I will head upstream from my usual starting point at the gauging station, into the canyon and end the morning at the bottom of hope valley. As I drive up the road, I wave to my trusty spot and head towards the more pressured waters to try my luck.
I arrive at my starting point, and again, it is windy and just a hair too cold for wet wading. Back into the waders and out to the water I head. Again, despite the best efforts of the wind to blow all the bugs off the water, there is good bug activity and I can see some fish rising in the soft water near the far banks. I start by tying on a #18 E/C Caddis (out of general principles) and begin the morning. The thing that I love about being the first to fish a spot is that you can usually raise a fish on the first couple of drifts. This is no exception. A nice 10″ Rainbow takes my fly and starts off the morning on a positive note.
I continue to work my way up the river, missing more strikes than hooking, but sticking just enough fish to keep the morning interesting. Whenever I loose two or three fish in a row, I stop and check the hook on the fly. I have had too many instances of dull hooks or missing hooks to NOT check with some regularity. Missing hooks you say?? Yeah…that seems to happen to me when I bang the banks and basically bang the hook off the fly, or when I snag and suddenly get off. Seems that the “suddenly” getting un-snagged has a lot to do with the hook breaking off and releasing the fly.
I look at my watch and notice that a cool hour and a half has passed and I have not even moved to the next spot. Guess that when the fishing is exciting, you do not think of leaving. Time to head to the next spot. A short drive upriver and I am opposite the Hope Valley Campground. I park on the side of the road and slide my way down the bank to the river. I remember thinking to myself that the hike back out was going to be pretty rough.
Once back in the water, I really take a moment to study the bugs on the water. I am noticing some residual drakes, some smaller PMD’s and what appears to be some small stones….interesting. I quickly tie on a #14 Sierra Brite Dot (talk about matching the hatch…) and start to fish the pools. I am getting refusal strikes from the first drift…good sign because there are fish there…bad sign because they are not taking the fly. After about 10 more refusals, I clip off the Brite Dot and tie on a #20 Parachute Adams. That seemed to do the trick as I hooked into a nice 12″ Rainbow. I know that this fish was the biggest in the hole and I also know that the entire pool is now spooked, so I move on to other pastures….er…I mean pools.
This continues with the catching being about even with the missed opportunities until I notice that another hour has passed. Man how time flies when you are having fun. At this point, I have stopped counting the number of fish, but I can attest to the fact that my biggest so far is around the magical 12″ size.
Instead of climbing up the steep hillside, I cross to the campground, walk up the road to the bridge, and run smack-dab into a crowd of anglers. I decided to pass on the bridge holes and walk back down to the car and try another spot. A quick drive up into Hope Valley and it becomes obvious that I am now in crowd-ville. I drove to 3 of my favorite spots and there were cars and/or anglers in every spot. At this point, I pull over, de-rig, and head back home smiling. You see, I had a great morning and did not see a single person until I got up to the part of the river that is heavily stocked and thus heavily crowded. Smirk….smirk.