I had high hopes for my new Frankenstein olive I-Balz zonker with a muddler head because it looked good to me. But nobody was interested in it below Roza. There were chironomids on the surface but hardly any takers. So I put on a big weighted Brooks stone and a #18 pheasant tail behind. And I got into a passel of whitefish. Two young guys with spinning gear had worked their way up the opposite west bank. Some think that gear chucking gives the fisherman an unsporting advantage but they got nothing but cold, and watched with dismay as I pulled out whitefish after whitefish with an artificial. I tried to pretend they were little bonefish. The big stone fly nymph essentially acted only as a sinker, as the whitefish knocked the tail off the little pheasant tail. When I lost the weighted stonefly on the bottom, I tied on a tiny "copper john" like nymph too and immediately caught a bigger whitefish. But what an adjustment to cast no weight! I've been casting weighted zonkers and stones for so long I'd developed some awful habits. I've been swinging the around to the left behind me almost like a spey, loading the rod up on the lead and shooting 30 yards with the lead. I've also been making big wrist movements to open up the loop and throwing side arm to get that hook away from me. Without the occasional clunk of lead on the rod tip and the big splash to reassure me, I had to occasionally peak at the end of the tip to see if I still had anything on.
A couple of these whitefish were hooked real deep in the premaxillary (wink), so they had to sacrificed to science. I determined morphometrically they were the last examples of bull whitefish (wink) that existed, so we don't have to worry about that species anymore. I ate them ;-). But their contribution to science will live on: their stomachs had a few Baeits, chironomids, grw's, but were crammed with Hydropychids. Maybe that Roza creates enough of a reservoir to produce enough plankton drift to nurture a good population of this caddis. It's harder to look at stomachs from C&R fish.
Then I went up river to a spot that looks just like a steelhead reach to me, and has produced on olive zonkers before. The nymphs produced nothing, so I tried the Frankenstein zonker and had a fish on briefly. I was concentrating on the rod tip so intensely I didn't notice that four deer had come down to the river right across from me. Nothing on a Clouser. Then I stumbled back to the road in the dimming light with feet that felt like blocks of wood they were so cold. It appears I somehow dropped the Frankenstein in the dark.