Sunday, August 4, 2013

I may have a fishing problem

Some family friends asked me to come out to their ranch, fish with them, and serve as their guide for the day.  It was fun to teach them how to fly fish and see them catch some good ones.  After fishing with them, of course, I did some more fishing of my own on my way home.  When I got back to town after dark and finally had cell service again, I had a message that a group of hardcore fly fishermen (Peter, with Devils Creek Outfitters, and Mitchell, with Dan's Fly Shop) were going night fishing at 10 p.m.  I called back to buy myself 15 minutes to be able to make it to the cabin, scarf down some leftovers, and grab some warm clothes and a head lamp.  I may have fished for 12 hours already that day, but I wasn't going to miss this.

We fished a section of the Lake Fork that is in a canyon.  It was a perfectly clear night, but there was no moon, meaning we were wading down the river by star light in a dark canyon (we kept our flashlights off as much as possible to avoid spooking the fish).  As we walked on, the night grew colder and our eyes began to adjust.  We saw some shooting stars while we were fishing, and the sky was so clear and dark that we could see flashes of lighting that must have been hundreds of miles away.  Once every half hour or so, a car would drive down the "highway" on the canyon rim above us, and its headlights would flicker off the rock walls as it wound past, giving us fleeting glimpses of the runs we were fishing in the canyon below.

The idea to fishing at night is that the fish often move out of their deep holes where they spend the days hidden from predators and fishermen and go searching for new sources of food; this means the fish can be more accessible and more aggressive.  I started the night by throwing a mouse pattern (yes, big fish will eat mice that fall into the river), but I didn't have any luck.  It was so dark that I had to listen for the splash of my mouse pattern to know that I casted it into the river.  After a while, I switched to a huge wooly bugger pattern.  I only got only one fish to hit that monster fly, but it was, not surprisingly, a monster.

Collectively, we landed two fish (both big) by 3:30 a.m., and we were ready to get after it again around 9 a.m. the next morning.  For those keeping track at home, I fished 18 hours in a 24 hour period, and 30 hours in around 40 hours.  I may have a fishing problem.

Doing some work as a fly fishing guide

Evening on the Lake Fork after I was done guiding

Sunset over the Lake Fork

Monster rainbow at night - around 21 inches

Night fishing: Because there aren't enough hours in the day

Back at it the next morning: Peter with a really nice brown

Peter's brown trout

The three of us each landed a fish simultaneously: Triple Fish!

Scouting out some pools along the cliffs

Targeting a fish rising along the bank

Mitchell landed an absolute monster of a cutthroat

We completed the day by catching some brook trout in a secluded pond

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