October 24, 2009
Fall is rapidly closing. Water temps are dropping quick, area lakes are dropping into the low 40s. It's just a matter of time before they start freezing over. These are the days where numbers are low but size is big. Now if only the fish will start to show up.
Jonesing hardcore, I hopped in the bucket and headed south. I mixed up the rotation and hit the urban site first. I realize this spot typically heats up as the sun peaks higher in the sky, but at 0900 it just felt right. I rigged up a Nocturnal Nymph on my 7 weight and set to work. I looked for the right approach and no sooner than I dropped my fly down I felt a tug. I pulled up and felt resistance; I saw a chaser and it came off, what I thought was the golden belly of a walleye. I dropped the nymph back down and jigged it, pausing for the take. This time there were close encounters of the third kind, and I set the hook quickly as I knew the game was on. Not wanting to play the pool out, I quickly tried to play the fish, as I knew this wasn't the beast from the last outing. This looked more like the Sea Donkey from the past, it had strength but not the sheer brute of its sister. I brought the fish to hand and admired her golden beauty. Magnificent.
I had hoped I hadn't spoiled the pool, but I was wrong. I couldn't dredge up the Titanic if my life depended on it. I moved on. I had gotten a first hand report from a bait tosser on one of my spots, and the bite had supposedly picked up. Promising news, but I knew it would still be a tough go. Roughfishing is tough, and if you throw in the fly factor, you can expect to cut your catch down to a quarter, if you're lucky. I slogged on. I headed over to my spot and fished the noc nymph. I hooked up with a HUGE buffalo and it took off downstream. Mother F*****. It knew it was going to do that, it broke me off like a champ in the heavy current. At least I bore witness to some amazing acrobatics. Those buffalo like to leap.
I went back at it and didn't have much success. I ended up tying on one of my grouse soft hackles, a Tobacco Caddis, and put on a pinch of shot. Even though the flows were a bit down, the current pattern changed and it actually required a bit more weight to get my fly down to the bottom. I had very limited success nymphing, and only managed one solid hook up.
The fishing is only gonna get harder from here on out. Packing Hot Hands is a necessity if you want to be able to feel your hands after a half hour. I'm not sure where I stand this season, the big fish have not shown up yet. I may be impatient, but one of my prime spots for late season fish will be iced over soon. Hopefully those hogs will move in within the month. Time will tell whether or not this Fall will succumb to the same fate of this past season, uneventful and plagued with high water. Regardless, I will fish the pockets and nymph the seams, snow or shine.
I love fly fishing.