Late on Saturday night, my fishing destination for the next morning was still undecided. With so many options running through my mind, pinning down this week's venue was tough.
After much debate with myself, it was decided that a day of hard fishing on a gnarly stream was just what I was looking for. My only concern was if the recent heavy rains had affected the water clarity, which is usually crystal.
Pulling up to the trail head, I could see that the water was quite turbid, but my intent was to hike upstream at least a mile.
It started to clear up a bit, but was still very off-color.
It didn't seem to affect the fishing much though. The browns were in most of the spots that looked fishy, but a bad presentation was quick to get rejected.
There was a neat overhang along the trail that would serve well for campers (if camping were allowed in the canyon).
There were some discarded plastic bottles in the fire pit and I cleaned those up. Some people are pigs.
Continuing upstream, the canyon provided plenty of smaller browns, a few thick ones, and even some cutthroat.
How about that hole?
Plenty of natural splendor, everywhere.
Structure. Lots of it.
This was about the average size.
My first good one came from a small nook between two boulders, under a collection of foam. It was a stout 18" or so.
Same fish, over its hideout.
It was neat to just hang the jig at the edge of that foam and watch as the golden flash of a rolling brown shot out from beneath. Up to that point, it was the highlight of my trip.
The average fish kept rolling in.
I found myself taking my sweet time through every stretch. Any tucked away eddy was a candidate for another catch.
Here's the only cutthroat I got a photo of. One of them was about 14", but slipped from my hand as I was changing my camera settings. It's nice to see them in there.
How's this for a bridge?
So much scenery.
One little collection of foam along a steep bank looked especially ripe for the picking, to which I obliged. My jig landed where I wanted it to and I let it sink. The line bounced and as I set the hook, my rod tip was pulled into the water for a moment.
Whatever had my jig was big and didn't want to be bothered. After bulldogging me through an underwater obstacle course in that hole, it took to the air and decided to fight me into the next pool, downstream.
It didn't stay there for long either, shooting down to the next one as well. It was all I could do to keep up with it, hoping my 4lb line would hold.
Finally, I guided the bruiser into some shallow water and cornered it. What a fight!
Though it was smaller than I imagined from its fight, it was still a solid 20" and as strong as could be.
I got a little trigger-happy before letting him go. The day had a new highlight.
The onslaught continued from stretch to stretch, bringing in many more fish of the average size.
Another good one:
Great colors on this one:
Others had very dull coloring:
Recurring cold-sweat awakenings in the middle of the night are a sure thing because of this hole:
The cave behind that spill looked prime.
Then there was this deep shelf. It was hard to flip a jig back in there, but I can thank my lunch break fishing for the practice of getting jigs into small spaces.
Something big hit my jig in there, but it shook free after only a couple of seconds. I had to settle for a smaller one on another try.
The hollow spot behind that spill looked so good, but I never got anything from it. With plenty of water in there, I couldn't believe it. It will haunt me.
The creek was so much fun to wander, I had lost track of time. Somehow, I'd spent about 7 hours exploring and needed to turn around. This would be my last hole before doing so.
Both sides of this run produced bites, but the better ones came from the right side.
Time for the march back.
It was a thrill to sweat it out all day, working hard for my catches, but still catching plenty. Almost everything I threw caught fish, but I mostly used marabou jigs in the deep pockets. Brown, black, and olive/black were the ticket.
Happy Fishing, Humans.