by Les Albjerg
Creek in the Big Meadow
I really enjoyed my two days of solitude in the mountains. However, I was literally blown away. The wind just didn't let up. It was blowing 20-40 miles per hour the whole time. I was figuratively blown away by one of my rods too!
I drove up the pass on the Forest Service road, and through the black and naked pine trees from the fire two years ago. The earth is still scorched and not a blade of grass is even growing. The fire made it into the valley I enjoy fishing as well. The summit at over 7,000 feet is blackened as well. Less than a mile past the summit you can now see the big green spots that are the springs that begin the major creek that I enjoy fishing so much. I drove by the turnoff to the trailhead to Lost Lake. I wondered how scorched it was, but never made it up there. I think I was afraid of what I would find.
Three miles past the summit, I was able to fish the creek. It was time to try some small water fishing, "Tom Davis Style." If you have never heard of him, check out his Blog, "Teton Tenkara." I pulled out the Suntech Kurenai 30, and had the Shimotsuke Tenkara Gen 240 in my backpack just in case I needed to go shorter. I didn't. I was fishing Utah Killer Bugs. One the third cast to a nice pocket, out came a 7 inch brook trout. Two Killer Bugs were sacrificed to the brush. I caught several more 3-5 inch brookies. The creek curved back toward the road, and I managed another 6 inch monster from a nice pool behind a boulder. I didn't manage any monsters like Tom gets out of his small creeks! I had fun.
It was time to head down into the valley, set up camp and begin planning the rest of the day. Then the wind began to blow. My plan was to fish the Suntech Fine Power 56 as my main rod. I went down to the creek and in the huge meadow I was fishing, there was no escaping the wind. With the gusts and swirls, I had no control over the line or the fly. After two casts, I headed back to camp.
This was supposed to be a fixed line fishing fest. Fortunately, I had brought the Tenryu Rayz Spectra with me and both of my Shimano reels. I had one loaded with 2.5 pound test and the other with 4 pound test. The wind whipped the 2.5 test, so I ended up fishing the 4 pound test. So, it was time to fish the Tenryu Spectra in the environment that it was intended. A stream rod fished in the stream.
I went through several different spoon color combinations, and found the Gold - Red Diawa 2.5 Crusader Spoon worked the best. I ended up fishing that spoon 80% of the time. It was with a little fear and trepidation that I began doing real stream fishing with a spinning outfit! Sure, I had fished the Spectra on a couple of ponds and lakes, as well as the Wilson Springs area. This was my first attempt on a "real" stream.
So, I angled off from camp across the meadow to give me about a mile of river to fish before getting back to camp. On the fourth cast, I was into a nice 11 inch brook trout! The wind was howling, but with a spoon and the power of the Spectra, I could control my casts. After 7 fish, I stopped counting. When numbers start making more importance than enjoying being out in nature, it is time to stop counting. I was amazed at the number of fish smaller than the spoon following it up to me! It brought on several laughs!
About half way back to camp, wading wet, I came across a nice hole at the end of the bend. I caught my largest trout of the trip, a measured 17 incher. Much to my surprise, he ran upstream and gave me an epic battle. Every undercut and hole seemed to have fish. Most of the fish in this area are 9-11 inches.
According to Idaho Fish and Game, they want all the brook trout out of these creeks because it is spawning grounds for salmon and steelhead. I like catching Brookies, though. The limit is 25 brook trout. I kept two for a late lunch.
After a late lunch, I went down stream and fished one of the feeder creeks with the Kurenai 30 and managed several 3-4 inch fish, out of the wind. On the way back to camp, I spotted a couple of nice beaver dams. Fishing plans were set for the next day!
The wind continued to blow all night, and all the next day. The Spectra and spoons worked well on the two beaver ponds. I caught lots of 5-12 inch fish. At about 2:00 after eating lunch, I was exhausted. It was time to pack up and go home. I'm getting older I guess. After getting packed up, I fished the two hundred yards above the bridge and caught 5 more fish.
The Spectra saved the day! Sure, I could have fished fixed line, but I would have had to fight the wind whipping the rod the whole day. I questioned myself on getting a spinning outfit, but it really saved the day. Fishing a "stream" rod in the stream really brought out the backbone and power of this diminutive rod. It saved my special trip - one that I had been looking forward to for months!
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662
As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma