Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Williams Fork Action


Flows are finally dropping, my friends!

While our local waters are certainly producing some fine fish, I opted to head up the hill a few days ago and see what was happening at a higher altitude.

One of the rivers that I checked out was the Williams Fork--a personal favorite of mine. I don't recall ever having a quote--unquote--"bad day" there. Sure, some better than others, but I've never left there unsatisfied.

So across the high plain I traipsed, fly rod in one hand, dog leash in the other. Cliff, my black retriever and fishing buddy joined me in braving the hot sun and clouds of mosquitoes in search of large trout, possibly up from the Colorado looking for softer water.

When we arrived at the Fork, a quick splash in the cool water was necessary--especially for Cliff, who was panting harder than I was. After our refresher, we headed down stream--my reasoning being that there were four cars in the parking lot and I was assuming the anglers hit the lower water and fished upstream, but who knows? The water was up and difficult to navigate--at least with a 100 lb dog tied to my side. I hit a few pockets with minimal success. I had a few short browns rise to my foam hopper, but nothing to write home about.

I decided to head upstream--if we run into company, so be it. I found some softer water along the undercut banks and drifted my dry-dropper through it carefully. Pretty soon, a 17" brown was taking me for a ride downstream. After Cliff corralled the voracious fish into my net, we set off for some more great looking water upstream.

My dry-drop rig brought another ten or so fish to net--a combination of rainbows and browns, all big and healthy. One football-shaped 'bow even took a plunge over the falls, but we got him in.

As I was mending my hopper in a deep bend, I had what looked like about a 24" rainbow come up and stick his nose to it. No take, just sniffing it. My heart skipped a beat or two, and I tried a couple more casts to try and coax him back up. No dice. It was towards the end of the day, so I decided to rip a streamer for the last 30 minutes or so. I tied on a white and red Sculpzilla and commenced to ripping. On the third cast, Ol' Big came back up to check out the streamer. As he was nosing it through every strip, I saw his enormous white mouth open and take a swipe at it. I set the stinger hook in the corner of his mouth, but with one strong pull he was free.

I caught my breath, and kept plugging the undercut bank. Thirty minutes later, I had five netted and five missed. Although none measuring two feet, still a swell way to end the day.

The walk back across the plain was hot, buggy, deer carcassy, horse poopy, and miserable. But all that was completely overshadowed by the satisfaction of having a hell of a day on a river that I've neglected since last fall. Well worth the drive, the hike, the bugs, and crowd.

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