Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Fishing Report: Back In the Zone

Click on photo for full size image.
I walked down the hill to the river again. Today I had more time, and worked the bridge run with great care and thoroughness.
I didn't find Steelhead, but I found this beautiful, strong little trout. Good to have a fish on the line.
The trout usually hang right along the bank and hit the fly just as it begins to pick up speed on the swing. This one hit my stonefly nymph, missed, followed, and hit it again.
I moved upstream to the glide and worked it just as thoroughly. No Steelhead, but this sundog appeared as the sun dipped behind the ridge.
With some extra time I wandered farther upstream to a place I have used as an access point in years past. It's wide and shallow here for the most part, but there's a deeper run close to the bank to the left of this picture.
As I waded out toward the run I saw a pod of fish taking midges off the surface in mid-river. I angled over and swung my stonefly nymph through them, but they weren't interested in that. So I succumbed to temptation and tied on a little dry.
It was a #16 Bivisible that I had tied up on a whim some time ago and put in a little flybox along with some Steelhead flies I had tied at the same time. I had also fished it to some mysterious rises on my last day on the river in Oregon--unsuccessfully--so it was on my flypatch complete with a tippet.
I got a take on my second float but lost the fish. On my fourth float--a long float with me feeding line, feeding line--this whitefish came up and took the fly. I was hoping it might be a pod of trout but I figured whitefish was the better bet.
These aren't my favorite fish, but I have to say this is as pretty a fish picture as I have ever taken.
With evening beginning to settle in I tied on my lucky Girdle Bug and worked the run for Steelhead. It was getting chilly, and I had been in the water almost four hours straight, so I was shivering when I came to the place I hoped to wade out. It's where the run begins to tail out. In past summers it was waist-deep, but today it was somewhat lower. I made it out without incident, but I noticed again how big and jumbled the cobbles are there. That makes the wading dicey anytime, but it's especially challenging when you're cold.
So, no Steelhead today, but I caught fish. That's good.
Another good thing is that I was able to get into the zone today. The zone is when you find yourself fully focussed on the fishing: the rhythm of reading the water, wading, and casting; reading--wading--casting.... You know you're in the zone when, even though you're cold and tired and it's getting dark, you agonize over which cast will be the last one--because you know there could be a Steelhead waiting right there behind that little boil and swirl that your very next cast will reach....
But once you quit, it feels good. I climbed the bank through the trees and headed for home across the fields.

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