Blue Ribbon Rampage

A local forum member (J) and I had noticed each others' similarities in fishing interests and decided it would be fun to get out for an all-day adventure on Saturday.

At first, a destination was hard to come up with, since both of us were willing to go pretty much anywhere.  Many areas were considered and, ultimately, we agreed to fish a river that neither of us had spent much time on.

We met up at his house in the early morning and set off on a long drive.  The main target of our trip was to fish a section of a river that I personally had never visited, then hit a tail water section later, if the action wasn't as good as we hoped.

We arrived to frosty fence posts at the access point and observed that the river was a bit murky.  Being our primary destination though, we felt that giving it a try would be worthwhile, considering the river's reputation and host of available species.

Our initial efforts seemed hopeless as we worked our way upstream, but a glimmer of hope shined as J picked up the first fish of the day.

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It didn't take too much longer and I had found my own skunk breaker:

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It seemed as though the fishing improved as we got farther away from the access point, but over the course of a few hours, our catch rates weren't what we came for.  Recent weather had left the water clarity in bad shape for flies/lures.

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It was still a really cool place to explore and take note of the very fishy looking holes throughout its bends.  We also managed to pick up a fish on occasion, so it wasn't time wasted.

When the fish hit, they were pretty aggressive.  This guy actually came rocketing out of the water to grab my Rapala after I'd pulled it up at the end of my retrieve.  That was a fun surprise and it made me jump.

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It was a really neat canyon to visit and it was easy to see why so many people hold it in such high regard.

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We decided to leave and try another section that promised better water clarity and, hopefully, faster fishing.  The canyon was incredible!

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What a scenic place!  In the past, I had pulled over a couple of times to fish this section, but my family was in the car waiting for me and there really wasn't much time to give it a fair chance.  Today would be different.

We bypassed the first few access points and put in at a spot with some large pools that were visible from the road.

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The water was a lot better looking and great holes were everywhere, although we had a really hard time finding any fish at first.  There were a lot of man-made structures in place, I assume to provide improved fish habitat, but they seemed deserted.

Clinging to the hopes that we were just too close to the access point again, we carried on upstream and I was finally able to break silence with a beautiful cheeky cutthroat.

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We worried that the fish would be few and far between, but just around the next bend, we were pleased to smack a couple of good browns at the same time from the same hole.

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From there on out, it was lights-out!  The fish were ready and willing with open mouths.  We worked each stretch cooperatively and both of us caught a lot.

The main catch were healthy browns, but quite a few cutts came in, as well as some really haggard looking rainbows like these:

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It was a great time though.  We really had our way with them.

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Here are some of the more notable catches:

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Great color!

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J caught the biggest of the day.  What a great looking brown!

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He ended up getting a few cutts too, here's the first one he picked up:

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Nice browns were plentiful though:

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Scenery and fishing like this is hard to beat.

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We finished off the day in that canyon, enjoying exceptional fishing in a place that actually meets all the hype of a Blue Ribbon Fishery. Special thanks to J for providing the transportation and the great hospitality throughout the day.  It truly was a pleasure.

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Happy Fishing, Humans.


Wild Rainbows of the Desert

My wife has noticed for a few years that our family trips tend to focus on either southern or eastern waters and expressed a curiosity for what lies out west.

Yesterday, I decided that she had waited long enough for an answer and we pointed our car toward Eureka!

This old town is rich with history and the family was fascinated as we made our way through. A stop to appreciate its charm was warranted.

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Porter Rockwell's cabin (a prominent local historical figure):

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It's actually looking a bit better, these days. The last time I'd gone through there, I recalled more boarded-up windows and a "ghost town" kind of feel to it. If I had to guess, I'd say it's being revitalized in a few ways.

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With that behind us, we watched the landscape around us transform as we zipped along the dirt road.

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Soon enough, we arrived at the small and remote Cherry Creek Reservoir.

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A cold spring surfaces only a short distance upstream, as well as a few within the reservoir, which is why these fish are able to survive the scorching summer temperatures that cook the region.

It had been several years since I last visited this water. In fact, it was the first fishing trip I took my Sentra on.  As I had left them years ago, the wild rainbows still looked the same:

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Tiny and beautiful! Here's what could be considered a "big" fish for Cherry Creek Res:

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It's hard to find prettier rainbows though.

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Cool place, especially since it's out in the desert.

The wind was a real bother most of the time and my family didn't have any luck with the fish, other than a bite on my wife's spinner that shook off before it was landed. Everyone agreed that it was time to go.

There was one pretty nice pool-up area right below the dam, where I was able to get a really good underwater HD video of the little fish swimming about. For scale of their size, the jig you'll see hopping around halfway through is a 1/16oz and far too big to get any action with.

Of course, I made a few other failed attempts at landing one of the incredibly skittish rainbows from the tiny creek, which is less than 2 feet across in most places.

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Our next move was to cross another adventure off the list and visit a place that none of us had ever been to, the Little Sahara sand dunes. Off we went and left the dusty mountain trails behind us.

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This decision was very popular with my daughter, who has always made it a point to request that we go somewhere with sand on our family trips.

That particular little girl got her wish paid in full, as well as future installments, on that particular day.

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Never before have I seen such a sight! I've always wanted to see a seemingly endless ocean of sand and now we were all free to enjoy it.

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The kids were in Paradise and ran their little legs off.

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What a neat place! Even without ATV's, it was really cool to finally see something like that. Being only about 2hrs away, it's not too far to visit again sometime.

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With historical stops, trout in the desert, and a mega-huge sandbox for the kids to play in, the day was a total success and we all went home, happy to have gone. What a day!

Happy Fishing, Humans.

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Some Background...


Why not go jogging, hit the gym, start a garden or whatever it is that normal humans do? What's so fascinating about these slimy little creatures that live in the water?

Fishing is a bit more to me than a hobby or a sport. It's an essential part of life that helps me connect with the Earth in ways similar to the long-practiced traditions of mankind. Wherever man has had a water source, there has been fishing.

It's only natural.

Happy Fishing, Humans.