quality over quantity

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by triploidjunkie, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Saturday, I had a couple of hours to kill between other engagements, so I decided to go to my favorite close-by fishing spot to see if anything was happening there. Stupidly, I picked the wrong rod for the job at hand. It just didn't have the backbone to do what I needed it to. I missed three good fish by the time I had to leave, but vowed to wipe that day off the books by fishing all day Sunday.
    Enlightened and I didn 't get out of the house until nine a.m., due to meeting some friends at the bar the previous night. We both fished hard, but by the time she had to leave at noon, we had nothing to show for our efforts. The day was sunny and perfectly calm, ideal for sight fishing over the weed flats we were positioned over. We had both spotted several fish, but couldn't get them to commit. As Enlightened rowed away, I stole her spot. It was a twenty by twenty foot sandy patch in the weed beds. It made spotting fish, which showed up dark over the light bottom, easier. She hadn't even drove away yet when I saw a fish slowly crossing my target area. The cast was perfect, the fish turned slightly and made a beeline for my fly. I lost both fish and fly in the glare, but couldn't miss the boil when it took my fly. Line ripped, the trout made several glorious leaps as it ran. I looked over to see if Enlightened was seeing this, but she was just a dust cloud disappearing down the dirt track. The fish was gorgeous and wild, a little on the skinny side for his length (22 inches), but strong and acrobatic. I soon got another, this one a fin clipped fish of about twenty inches. As I was releasing it, I had a brilliant idea. Pop over to my favorite cutthroat lake for a bit. The sight fishing should be great! 2013 012.JPG 2013 023.JPG

    I was already a ways from home, but drove another half-hour for a shot at cruising cutties. I turned in to the lake, crested over the hill and was greeted with white caps. No chance of launching my 'toon in three foot breakers. I made an effort at shore fishing, but the wind made it difficult to cast and impossible to sight fish. Well, hell! Bummed, I turned around and headed back to where I came from. I returned to the same place I just left. The conditions were still perfect there, completely windless. The fishing was just as difficult as before, too. I cast to a dozen or more sighted fish with refusal after refusal. Pawing through my flies in desperation I spotted something I've never tried before. A glo-bug egg. The hook was slightly rusty, but I just wanted to see if the fish would even move to it. The next fish I spotted turned, and ignoring the streamer, happily ate the egg dropper. The fish was hot for a triploid, and even jumped a couple times. It wanted to take me into my backing, but I cranked my drag down tighter and leaned on him. It turned out to be my best fish of the day, over two feet and around seven pounds. The rusty hook bent out, but somehow the fish stayed pinned. I tossed my only egg pattern in the pocket of my toon, and set out to explore some new areas. The first place I stopped to try had a boulder making a little point, causing what little current there is there to break around it. It just looked fishy. My first cast in there, something boiled at my streamer. I cast again. This time the boil connected, and I was shocked to see a huge, male kokanee thrashing on the surface. It gave a little hop to right itself, and bolted hard, much like a carp. And there was nothing. The tippet had broken. After landing two hard fighting bows, a kokanee had broken my eight pound tippet?! It was getting late, so I started making my way back to the truck. I caught one more twenty inch 'bow on the way in when I saw it rise, and cast my streamer directly into the rings and started stripping.
    Not many fish, but quality fish. Five in five hours of fishing.
    2013 039.JPG 2013 037.JPG
    I didn't notice the date and time were screwed up on the first pics until after I took them. It should say 10-20 noonish.
  2. Very nice indeed...!
  3. Thanks for the vicarious trip....
  4. You had a nice day indeed.
    Thanks for taking us along with your words and photos.
  5. Those are some great bow's - love-it. I don't know if you were on the upper Columbia but it is on my bucket list. those upper Columbia river bows are world class. I have to make it up in that area some day - or 14!
  6. Around here the upper Columbia is the section above Lake Roosevelt to the Canadian border(which SHOULD be on your bucket list). Imagine a giant freestone(although it is technically a tailwater) hundreds of yards wide in places. Where I fish is Rufus Woods. It's mostly known for it's walleye fishing, and the huge triploids are secondary. Most of the wild fish are wash-overs from the Upper Columbia and Lake Roosevelt. I love both fisheries, but since my grandparents' sold the fish camp in Northport I don't make it up there much anymore. It's been three years since I've been, and I miss it so. But I found myself smack dab in the middle of a lesser known, but IMHO an equal fishery. Even living here I was late to the game, but have been dedicating nearly every fishing opportunity to learning this stretch of the Columbia. A lot of what draws me back is her unpredictability. There's no real way to guess the flows day to day. It can be a completely different animal. Even on destination fishing trips to places on my own bucket list, there's always that tickle in the back of my mind: "I wonder what's happening on Rufus right now?" One day you can get into nothing but BIG fish, the next just small guys, and the next you might get into completely different species.
    On some of my floats on Rufus, I keep thinking the only other known flyfishing destination I can make a comparison to is the Missouri River, only bigger. Some stretches are miles of weed flats, three to five feet deep, where you sight fish to huge bows hiding in the waving weeds. Other stretches are fast moving and deep, and best suited to swinging streamers and other big junk with sinking lines(unless all the trout are located on the surface, even in fifty feet of water).
    I could go on and on about my favorite fishery, but I'm biased.....
  7. OH I'M SO JEALOUS! I have done some research on fishing up there for years and have my drifter with electric and power motor that would work great to get around the big water.

    Your description of the wide weed flats reminds me of the Henry's fork river, very challenging but so rewarding.

    I have been fishing the Columbia river above Bonneville for around 20 years for steel and salmon and even sturgeon. big water is nothing new to me. Every time I see a report on your area I just plain melt with emotion wanting to take a couple weeks (I know it takes time on big water) to get the full meal deal of the area. I have been taking two and three week trips east and central for the last 3 to 4 years. might have to point the truck and drifter "northeast" in the next couple years! Last spring a friend and I put on some 1200 miles hitting 7 different lakes and res. in eastern Oregon and Idaho, wouldn't be that much different going to the upper Columbia. We have been dealing with changing water levels while fishing Chinook the last 2 1/2 months on the Columbia 2 to 5 times a week. with over 1,000,000 over the dam it's been limits almost every trip with gear. it's almost time for me to put the gear rods away and start planning trips and tying flies for them while I fish local trout lakes longing for bigger fish when I can travel next spring!

    My doable bucket list the next couple years =
    Henry's fork river,Island park res., henry's lake combo. (maybe next spring with Derek)

    Upper Columbia river for big bows!

    You are truly blessed living in that area. I worked in the panhandle of Idaho for 3 to 4 summers and should of made it over when I was up that way for so long but, in the 80's it wasn't known or advertised to be great fishing so no one knew, or at least I didn't!
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  8. Let me know when you decide to go. A real boat would be a treat. I could cut the learning curve.
    Steve Call and Mark Kraniger like this.
  9. this place TJ goes there is probably no one ever there. Ever. Except him and Enlightened. That's so cool. Pretty much everywhere I end up fishing there is someone, if not lots of people within a quarter of a mile to half a mile.
  10. You're pretty dead on about no one ever being in those spots. Unless a boat goes by. They usually don't even notice me.

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