Monday, November 15, 2010

The gorgeous “skunk trip”

Scouted a “fork” section of water that has been on the scout list for some time. This is one of those not so talked about places with little or no info or to go on. Sure there were a few fly guide notes jotted down here and there on various internet venues. But these notes read so much like every other web update for anything other than sections of the South Platte or Taylor River for example. A few pictures on fishing forums and the unknown factor only made the mystery build in my mind. The suspense grew until it faded to the background completely when I stumbled on a few other spots with fish-fantastic possibilities. “Hit it when it’s good.” A phrase of wisdom from my past echoes in my ears. Eventually the clockworks of my fish planning fell into place and when no other fishing spot could be picked from the pile, this one made it to the hit list weekend time slot.

The real trick on scouting missions for me is thus: Find the spot, learn as much as you can and if all prevails catching some fish would be nice. Scouting missions come with a lot of unknown factors. Even the best planners can only do so much with nothing more than a few tidbit clues and breadcrumbs. Weighing weather and season I knew there could only be one downfall beyond the breakdowns or getting lost.

“I’m just hoping the water levels are good.” These words fell off my lips as the truck door closed and the trip began. This was my one fear…well that and maybe being attacked by a mountain lion from a rock ledge thirty feet above my head.

Found the tricky turn off with only having to make one missed road-U-turn maneuver. Rocky dirt road from there that leads to a cliff ledge and an open view of the fork stretch below. It was a gorgeous view but the water was low…very low. As beautiful as the scenery was it would net help the fact that fishing would be ever so difficult.

Open the door and the echo of coyotes wailed in the distance. Not a small pack of coyotes mind you but a full rout of these furry fanged beasts. This was the morning call home. The call of the uncles that watch the kits as the elders return home from the night’s hunt. From the endless choruses and banter, I assume it was a good hunt and a joyous reunion.

The cliff dive into this stretch was about 70 degrees and about a hundred feet. The actual trail down is much easier seen from the bottom as opposed to the top. Taking the deer trail down it seemed that foot traffic was nil. Had I found a secret location virtually un-fished? Was this even still possible in Colorado? Eventually I found the actual trail and the mosaic of human footprints along the trail.

There was also a casual passerby on the frosty morning trail. Not the typical wandering character I am used too.

What you had to work with is an inch of water here and an inch of water there. Pools of water with any depth were about the size of your bathroom sink. While still trying to put together a viable pattern and catch any type of fish whatsoever tragedy struck. Three guys pulled in and jumped the trail eating up the lower part of the section. The timing couldn’t have been worse as we had just finished a quick scout of the water upstream and just now were heading downstream. The trio would have first taste of the downstream section in conditions where shallow water, spooked fish and first casts were all I had to work with. With the rest of the stretch pilfered, the only thing to do was to hop off and look for more water. Rolling on to Plan B didn’t prove to be any more successful. Neither did Plan C. I could feel the frustration and disappointment the entire drive home. It weighed on my shoulders like a two-ton heavy thing even when I kept reminding myself…

“Ninety percent of the fish are in less than ten percent of the water. That ten percent requires effort to find and even then you have no guarantees. To find the very best fish and fishing experience…you have to put in your dues and can’t fear the skunk.”

So much to learn and so much more to accomplish before the big dirt nap that looms in all of our futures at some point. No matter how far I come it is still ever so clear to me that there is still so much further to go. In truth, I may actually learn more on the bad trips than on the “fish filled up the boat” runs. I’ll take the occasional skunk trip as long as there is another trip on the board after this one is done.

My name is Matt…must fish.


Ryan said...

Skunk trips are inevitable but the things we learn from them invaluable.

The Average Joe Fisherman

Mel said...

Thanks for sharing, Matt. The Coyotes and the Porcupine definitely set the stage for the outdoor experience. Don't let them skunks get to you. Like you said, "another day, another time."

Shaun Solomon said...

fish it when it is good, which was a month ago.
gotta hit every scrap of water in there, and fish cutbanks with special attention. don't let the first experience fool you, it is a special place.


Stephanie & Dustin said...

While the day may have been a disappointment, you enlightenment is right on. So much can be learned from "skunk days", and we all have to pay our dues :) -stephanie

Cofisher said...

I admire your scout trips to untraveled places. Thanks for the nice post.