There I was scrambling for a Saturday cast and grab situation when one of those crazy insurance commercials pops up on the tube and cable box combo. The premise of the commercial is this character they call “Mayhem” and he somehow finds ways to make your life a living hell. Sorting through the tackle the man’s voice is a blur of background noise until he says, “...and protect yourself from mayhem like me.”
My guess on the color\pattern was the same as it has been for the last month or so for this water. I pondered tying on a few other things but decided to go with what has been working lately. First cast and a brown trout swipes at the lure resulting in a miss hookset. Cast back and this time the small spin-bug gets a solid taker. Land the fish close to shore and do the quick picture and release. Cast out and land another one almost an exact copy of the first.
“Didn’t I just see you?” I laugh reaching down with the pliers for some no-pic\no touch release action.
The action cools in the pool so I move on. Careful footing is required as I make my way over the tough rock section downstream to a series of rollover dams that result from highway construction taking place way back in the day. There is no dirt or sandy shoreline here. It is all rock and the travel can be treacherous at times. Some of the nooks and crannies can be decent fishing if left alone. A few casts were made with the spin and then a few casts made on the fly. The water was very swift so I tied on a brass head nymph, #16 because it was heavy. Bringing the third or fourth cast back toward me I let the nymph run along the edge of the rocks with about two feet of water (a lot for this place).
Out of nowhere a dark streak takes the fly with some aggressive mouth bite. Thank goodness too because I would have missed the hookset on this fish for sure. Instead my hand lifted the rod as my face tried to keep that expression that says, “I was expecting that to happen”. The fish turned out to be a splake. Didn’t know they were even in here. The fish was absolutely spastic by the way and did not want its photo taken in the slightest. Really I was happy to get any shots at all.
The rest of the spot turned up nothing. Moved down to a few other areas that are known for beautiful casting and the occasional fish. In some of these areas an angler can wade in a foot of wet to reach a lot of shimmering surface water. This water is so gorgeous that you want to fish it whether you catch anything or not.
Two guys were just walking out but I just couldn’t help myself. Cast, cast…nothing. Change up and make a few more throws. As gorgeous as this place was, the action was gone. I took a few moments to soak in the beauty while taking a few pictures and then moving on.
The sound of traffic grew louder and louder on the old highway with the passing of time. By noon and especially on the weekends the number of folks in the canyon increases greatly. There may even be a few folks who like to do things other than fish. You know stuff like hiking, sightseeing and even gambling somewhere along this “two-wagons wide” asphalt trail. The sound of the cars going by every other second tells me that time is running out. Take the truck down a few hundred feet and look to pick another pocket of creek water. This time I get the first fish that hits instead of missing the strike. Probably just got lucky. Took a few more swipes at a few other spots and then went home to tackle the to-do list.
In closing I have to say this was a decent numbers situation on a half-day fish. The splake was a surprise and by noon the crowds were set on most of the water. Gold spin bug did most of the catching and got no love on the minnow pattern. Had to mix it up a little on the fly situation but it paid off in “splake”. Early in the year I fished this section and did terrible. Maybe the monsoon rains helped action pick up a bit. It is also likely that the infamous slump of 2012 kept me nabbing a single bite on this stretch in March.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.