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Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:23 am
by masjc1
All the posted fishing talk and stories was just too much to resist. So, last Friday 4/9 I rigged up and headed for the East Fork of the Arkansas River. After pulling on my waders and strapping on the snowshoes. I grabbed my Yamame, two snowshoe poles and headed down to the river. As I hiked towards the river the snow was 2 to 3 feet deep, but I knew open water awaited me as I had seen running water between the 2 foot high cliffs of snow bank flanking the stream where the road crosses the stream. The snowshoe hike to the river was un-eventful with the exception of sinking up to my thigh in one patch of soft snow – a preview of things to come - in spite of the snowshoes. I reached the river and a familiar pool backed up behind a beaver dam. My first impression was how low the water flow was; my second was how numerous were the size 18 little black stoneflies that crawled all over the snow; and the third thing I noticed was the rise in the middle of the pool. I worked my way to the downstream side of the beaver pond, stashed the rod tube and one snowshoe pole in the snow and rigged up with the same line and flies that I used when I last fished in early November 2009. It was a blue bird sky day, no clouds, with a temperature of 40 degrees, but the wind was strong, blowing up stream so that casting directly into it was very problematic. After working my way up stream, casting the best that I was able, to the spot I had seen the initial rise I made a delicate presentation of the #12 parachute Adams and the #14 Copper John tied to the bend. As soon as the rig hit the water there was a quick rise, strike and gone. The brown hit the dry fly and immediately broke me off. I looked at the remains of the knot; the knot itself was still intact but the loop through the Adams eye was broken. My own fault for not checking my rig! I re-rigged with a #14 parachute Adams and tied a #16 bead head flash back pheasant tail about 1.5 feet from the bend. At the head of the pool in the riffle flowing into the pool the Adams quickly disappeared and I was hooked to a nice 11” brown that took the pheasant tail. Short fight and quick release and I headed back to my starting point having run out of fishable water. The return was not as easy as the approach. Now I was sinking up to my knees with each step. During the 30 minutes that I took me to fish the beaver pond the sun and the 40 degree day had softened the snow to the extent that each step was a plunge into the snow. Needless to say the return trip was long and laborious. Instead of staying on top of the snow, as on the trip to the river, each step required high stepping over the snow, lifting the snow laden snowshoes to knee height. I was pretty tuckered when I got back to the car. Stripping off the snowshoe and waders I found the wades had accumulated a snow cone’s worth of snow inside each wader. It was a great way to start the 2010 season a month sooner than last year.

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:17 pm
by Stephen McGowen
Fabulous! Just goes to show you....trout fishin' ain't for sissies!
I'm envious...back east here we have more water than we know what to do with ( which is why I'm on the little screen and not on the river) Nice story !

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:01 pm
by solocanoe
what a fantastic mental image! thanks for sharing.....I bet your area is beautiful.

My Yamame arrived today...many thousand miles downstream from you..., I am sure either a bayou off the Arkansas River or a feeder stream that runs into it...will be my Tenkara fishing baptism.

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:03 pm
by bjanzen
Mark,

Great story.... I can kinda relate. I had never fished out west until a month ago. Was in SLC the first week of March and got to fish the Provo River for three days. Was my first time walking through snow to get to a river. Out here, if it snows, we just stay home :D

BTW, I have been to Leadville back in the 80's and hiked up to Mt Elbert... Great town. Highest in the US if my memory serves me correctly.....


BArry

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:47 am
by anders
Nice report, Mark. I'm glad that down here in the low country the snow is gone! I am curious to know what line you were fishing into the wind and any thoughts you may have regarding line choice with your Yamame. Jim

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:13 pm
by masjc1
I was using the standard furled line (clear) with about 3 feet of 5x with a #14 parachute Adams dropper with a #16 bead head pheasant tail on point. I have a number of other lines, but since I was in a hurry I just used what I was last rigged up with.

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:51 am
by jbenenson
Thanks for the great story Mark. You write and fish well. I'm curious about the size 18 stoneflies. Around here (Santa Fe) the stoneflies (Pteronarcys californicus) are more like size 8 on average. See a reduced image to the left. BTW, my custom fly rod business is named "Stonefly Custom Fly Rods". It took me about 5 seconds to decide on that name.

I'm a big fan of the parachute Adams with a Copper John or Beadhead Pheasant Tail dropper. Between you and me, using our tenkara rods, we could probably catch most of the fish in the Southwest. :P

Re: Fishing the High Country

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:12 pm
by masjc1
jbenenson wrote:Thanks for the great story Mark. You write and fish well. I'm curious about the size 18 stoneflies. Around here (Santa Fe) the stoneflies (Pteronarcys californicus) are more like size 8 on average. See a reduced image to the left. BTW, my custom fly rod business is named "Stonefly Custom Fly Rods". It took me about 5 seconds to decide on that name.

I'm a big fan of the parachute Adams with a Copper John or Beadhead Pheasant Tail dropper. Between you and me, using our tenkara rods, we could probably catch most of the fish in the Southwest. :P



I'm ready to give it a try.