When Tanner and I started talking about fishing this past week, stillwaters were on the docket. But, with flows on a certain old small water favorite in a good zone, we made a last-minute audible. It was time to rock it OLD SCHOOL. It'd been a couple years since we fished this stretch of water. We were taking a chance on one of our old haunts and it was going to be interesting to see what had changed.
There were a lot of questions to be answered. Are there still fish in there? Are there good ones? Browns? Rainbows? It was time to see if we still had it like the good old days...
As is customary at this point, we started the day off right with some BBQ-filled breakfast burritos from Rudy's. Nothing fuels the fat bois for a day of walking and throwing bank dimes like smoked meats.
As previously noted, this is small water. But, with undercut banks aplenty, we figured streamers wouldn't be the worst choice. Tanner picked a winner and wadered up, as Gus watched from the shade.
Listen, I knew I'd be ceding most of the water to Tanner for most of the day (because I'd be taking pictures). But, I'm a hopeful guy and I knew with some strategic negotiations, I'd get a chance to throw in a couple of casts. I learned one thing during my prolific one month as a Boy Scout: BE PREPARED.
I picked a Black Swim Coach rigged up with Umpqua's Streamer Leader, a swivel, and some 1x.
We had a walk of a mile or so (as the crow flies) to the bottom of the public water section. But, as has become routine, we couldn't pass up a couple of old familiar runs close to the parking lot. It's always an interesting play that can set the tone for the day.
Do you throw casts from an awkward position as you head downstream or do you save that water for later? If you don't move any fish early, will you be in mental shambles by the time you hit the A water? We didn't move any out of the first couple of runs, but we were dedicated. The tone was positive as we walked our BBQ-filled stomachs downstream.
Tanner had honors and he threw a couple of casts and started working his streamer back downstream. Water was low and the channel had changed a bit since we last fished it. But, there was still plenty of good holding water. Nobody was home in the first old reliable bucket. A little concerning...but, we were fine. Everything is FINE. WE'RE FINE!
We turned the corner and "Once it hits your lips...it's so good." Tanner roped in a healthy brown.
We kept working our way upstream. Ignoring the marginal water and focusing on the deep runs, pockets, buckets, and undercut banks. Streamer fishing can be a feast or famine type game, but we were running into players more often than not.
Soon enough, Tanner had bagged this cutbow. These fish in this section of water tend to be super yellow - browns and bows alike. Is it Diet? Environment? Substrate? I'm not smart enough to know what causes it in this stretch of water, but it's cool to see those differences within a watershed.
Undercuts and streamers. It's nice to see some different options opening up as we get closer to summer.
Good presentation + this bank =
The payoff for a well-presented streamer.
With clouds moving in and rain seemingly imminent, I walked back to the truck. Switched out my normal camera bag for my waterproof, fully submersible Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack to protect the goods. Tanner switched to the old reliable - The Kreelex - and fooled a handful of browns before we decided to head back to the trucks to finish out our day.
With a little bit of sunlight left, we decided to hit a small creek on the way home. Who can pass up on throwing Hippie Stompers to creek brownies and brook trout? Not us. We had copious amounts of smoked meats powering us down the trail.
We wrapped the day up with a handful of small stream dry fly eats and started to head our way back to Denver. Bye Now!