Living and working within 10 minutes of two nice rivers has it upside. A lunch break, actually an extended lunch break, can get one a solid hour on the river with the total time away from work exceeding no more than 90 minutes.
Since flows are starting to pump, I decided to hit the smaller of the two rivers as it is not as ravished as the bigger river during runoff. Upon arriving at the West Carson River I noticed another car in my usual parking spot, so I wheeled downstream into the canyon section. I quickly rigged up and was on the water without delay. Fishing lunch breaks are all about moving rapidly. The water is much higher than normal, but only slightly off-color. I toss in the thermometer and it read 46 degrees…perfect! No bugs in evidence, but I had already decided at the truck that I was going to probe fast and roily pocket water with a heavily weighted nymph setup.
I worked my way down to the automatic hole and by my third drift…BINGO…I’m into a cool 10″ stocked Rainbow. 20 more drifts produced 2 more strikes, but no hookups. The automatic hole will normally produce a few fish before the entire hole needs to be rested. Maybe it was the higher flows, the tinted water, or the still slightly cold temps, but there was only one fish to be had this lunch break.
Time to head back to the car and go back to work.
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.
Opening day – That has a nice ring to it. Although there are plenty of waters that are open year-round, I always long for the few that you can only fish between late April and early November. Seems fitting that opening day of the CA trout season is also nicely coinciding with the re-opening of this site…a double positive for me.
My plans for opening weekend are to hit on of the smaller rivers in the mountains surrounding my house. Since spring runoff is pretty marginal at this point in time, the small creek fishing should be excellent. What are your plans?