Fishing report for a hot summer day in mid-July…
By Steve Musick
I arrived before the Ranch was awake….which is hard to do I grant you. The fishing permit was fastened to the front porch with a rock. It read, Musick, info on file, 07/14/2009 with an arrow pointing to the river wanting to be as anonymous as possible today. Sometimes solitude is the soothing elixir for whatever ails the soul.
I rigged up by the horse shoe pits down by Daddy J pond. It’ll be a couple of hours before the sunshine hits the water here the fish should be comfortable for awhile. I ran into Chuck Prather, one of the fishing guides here at the ranch.
Got clients here today? Secretly hoping not.
Naw (whew!), saw yer car and thought I’d come down to yak a bit. I see the flow is down from last week but it’s still not low enough to cross. Tough to work the river from just one side this time of year. Ya fished it much this year?
Yeah, couple of times early in February and March. He gave me a pattern he said was working well a couple of weeks ago. It was a brown and orange body with brownish rubber legs. Couldn’t tell if he was kiddin’ or not…..crazy thing looked goofy like a clown. Looking down at my black and white Nike Air Jordan basketball shoes size 15 tied on over my neoprene waders I thought I fit right in. Clown shoes……clown fly. I decided to drop a gold ribbed hares ear off the goofy pattern just in case.
There is a real nice glide flat with undercut banks down where the rope is stretched across the river presumably to keep the inner tube “swimmers” from ending up in downtown Loveland. First good drag free drift ended with a nice cutbow in the net. Next good drift was a brown. Both fish took the hares ear. Maybe the goofy fly started them laughing before they decided to eat real food. Moving slowly I worked all the way to where I was standing in midstream, within casting range across to the undercut bank. It’s so hard to get a drag free drift in there with the swift water at hip level. I do a hook set after a slight pause of the strike indicator no movement. Rats! I’m hung up on something on the bottom. Then the bottom started moving upstream causing me to lose my balance. It was all I could do to keep from getting royally baptized. I finally catch my balance surely looking like a tight rope walker in a high flying act at the circus (now I am really glad for the solitude.) The big brown is still miraculously hooked to the goofy fly. Nice male hook jaw with an orange and brown rubber legged morsel hanging out the right hand side of his mouth. Sure enough he was sittin’ underneath that undercut swam out leisurely to take the dead drifted goofy fly.
I carefully cross the river. Carefully means that I recheck all the Velcro on every pocket and zip all the zippers in my vest. Anything falls out crossing today is found by a lucky somebody way way down stream. Water this deep and this fast wading is accomplished by “seeing” the bottom with your feet. Upstream leg first followed by the trailing leg all the way safely across. The fish in the canyon section were all acrobats even the 14 and 15 inch variety. After the hookset they became tailwalkers. Catching air for a fish seems as unnatural as me trying to save myself from drowning by diving deeper into a place while I still can’t breathe. And yet that exactly what the acrobats did that morning. All the fish were a healthy mix of cutbows, rainbows, and browns. They took the goofy fly more often than the hares ear. Thanks Chuck.
The river bends to the right and heads for stream construction pools and glides and runs. My shoulder was tired of catching fish…..did I just write that???? …It was true: high stick nymphing in fast water is hard. Time for some dry fly action. How about a stone fly? The hatch has been over for weeks but the fish memories might linger I’ll bet. The construction section of the river by the kitchen is wonderful. Lots of looking up fish remembering the stone fly hatch well.
I walked past some people getting ready to eat lunch. Don’t see any fish in your net. I told her it was catch and release. She said yeah right. They were meat fisherpeople probably from Iowa. I heard them all laughing as I trudged off to eat my lunch in solitude. Distinctly heard them mention the clown shoes. Shoulda showed ‘em the goofy fly that enticed most of the fish that day. Laughter is as good for the soul as solitude is sometimes.
Came for solitude received a goofy fly, acrobatic fish, and a clown shoe clod tightrope act of my own. A cirque de Sylvan day at the ranch I love.
STEVE MUSICK, Annual member and clown for a day