Friday morning was the best fly fishing outing for carp yet this season. There were good numbers of fish and they were willing to take flies. Life was good. Here's the rest of the story:
The group of fisherman that were previously in the spot I had wanted to fish finally left. Even though the action was good where I was, I headed over the spot to try my luck. I saw the shadows of buffalo herds roaming the area. I typically see buffalo here frequently, but can rarely get them to bite. Now would be no exception. Flies weren't working well on this stretch of water so I grabbed my spinning rod and bottom bounced a crawler cross-current. I quickly got a strike and landed a spunky little goldeye.
Oddly enough this spot that has produced so well for me earlier in the season has slowed down quite a bit. I caught a few more goldeyes and a couple of channel cats. I had to work for those fish. Wanting a bit more excitement, I moved back over to the other side. Those fish have had enough rest.
I got the San Juan Worm out again and proceeded to catch carp after carp. I even managed to catch the same fish twice. After I shredded the fly I had tied on, I grabbed the spinning rod to see what they'd do with a crawler. Maybe I could get another buffalo to take it. Nope. But I did manage to catch a few more nice carp before the masses came.
I don't know what the deal is with anglers these days, but it seems like too many of them have no about qualms moving in and fishing right under your nose. They show no fear. A group of guys came over and literally settled in right where I was fishing. One of them made a comment, while I was releasing a carp, that if there's white on the fin, then it's a walleye. OK, thanks there Sherlock. This guy's a freaking genius. He even had the nerve to ask if I was fishing for walleye. If he had paid any attention to the last half hour before butting in right in front of me, he would have noticed I was fishing for and catching carp. NOT walleye. When I told him, "No I'm not fishing for walleye", he turned to his son in astonishment and said in bewilderment, "He's not fishing for walleye!?" I packed up my shit and left. Enough of that BS.
I moved over to the backwaters. It was already getting late and I only had about an hour left to fish before having to head home. I still had the mission of trying to sight-fish for one of these slough-bound fish. I wasted my time fishing a section only to catch a half dozen bullheads. I've never caught a carp there, even though there were fishing tearing it up all over the place in here. Don't know what I'm doing wrong here. I can catch fish in the identical stretch of water on the other side of the road.
I moved over to the road culvert. Last time I was down here, Derek, the Esoxer, caught a few bass hanging downstream of the culvert. I found a few carp feeding near the surface and walked back to the truck to grab my fly rod. I tied on the venerable San Juan Worm and began nymphing. I had a few hookups, a couple of snags/scales, and hooked a few branches. My fly kept getting caught in the tall prairie grass on my back cast. This was a pain in the ass. I lost a fly in the grass and tied on my last SJW. Still snagging and losing fish. Finally lost my fly in the minefield of twigs and branches that surrounded the culvert outlet. Dejected, I moved on with the intent to return next time and avenge the loss of my flies and patience.
I trekked down through the brush, tall grass, and cut trees to the slough on the other side of the road. The water looked tepid and stagnant. No signs of fish actively feeding. I casted to the middle of the bay and waited. I was getting eaten alive by those pesky mosquitoes. I didn't realize that I had volunteered to donate plasma today. I now had ten minutes left before having to leave. I had hoped to catch a fish before leaving, but to be frank, it wasn't looking good. My line twitched a few times and it was likely due to black bullheads. I swatted mosquitoes, gnats, deer flies, black flies, and no see-ums for those entire ten minutes until my line finally moved again. Figuring it was another bullhead, I half-heartedly set the hook only to realize that it was a carp. Not wanting to donate any more blood, I quickly played the fish, took a quick photo, and released it.
That was good enough. I headed back to the truck and packed up for home. My afternoon had not gone quite as good as the morning, but I still managed to catch a bunch of fish. The weather was great, and I'm sure that if I would have dug out the bug spray, the mosquitoes wouldn't have bothered me so much. It was nice to be able to sight-fish for those carp in the river. It's not something that's able to be done most days on this turbid river.
My quest to catch a carp on the fly in the silt choked backwaters was once again busted. I came about as close as I ever have fishing near the culvert. I'll have to re-supply my arsenal of San Juan Worms, including stocking some San Juan Carp Killers. The case is not closed on this mission. A new sense of vigor and hope, and perhaps a bit of luck, will hopefully allow me to finally execute this task this season. Mission Impossible.