Does He Have the Fishing Gene? Part III
(See Part I
and Part II
After a day of horseback riding we pulled into Ennis campground, and I could feel the excitement building in my gut. We quickly compared our mental notes on this fishing location. What are the best spots
? How would be divide it up? What flies should we use?
As we parked the car we quickly loaded up our weapons. I went with a black woolly bugger and a prince bead. Alex loaded up with the same woolly bugger but with a copper john. We decided to go ultra light – small box of flies, clippers, and tippet. That’s it. We walked down to the very end of the campground where Alex went down stream and I went up.
Thirty minutes in I had nothing. I found a few gravel bars and hit them hard but not even a bump. I tried to get a glance of Alex to see where he was at, but he must have been around the corner because he was out of site. I hoped he was doing better than I was.
As I continued moving upstream, I found a nice little hole which was off the path of drift boats so I was hoping it was not hit yet. I decided it was time for a change up. I was going to go with a double nymph approach.
As I was standing in the river focusing on tying 4x onto my second bead, I looked up to see the largest hatch ever. There were thousands of cinnamon caddis everywhere. It was actually hard to see past them to the shore! I quickly switched gears, and started looking for a dry fly that closely resembled the cinnamon caddis. I knew exactly the fly that would work but of course it was back at the car.
Why did I go ultra light?! It so happened that the only dry fly I had was a Parachute Adams. It will have to do. I quickly snipped the nymphs off my leader, added some 5x, and tied on my fly. I went to add my gink then realized that too was at the car. I thought, “ARGH! How did I forget that?”
I looked up and the hatch was larger than before. How was that possible? The 10-mile per hour gusts were having little effect on the direction of the Caddis. I sat back just watching in awe at these insects as they flew together like a flock over the water, moving from place to place like one large bug. I threw out my first few casts above the small ripples near the hole making sure my line did not hit the water.
As soon as I had enough line out, I laid the next on the water. Perfect. As it dropped into the hole, I thought for sure that was the one. It drifted down until there was drag. I reloaded, shooting to just a couple of feet further out to the outside of the hole. It drifted down again and nothing.
I continued for about 5 or 6 casts and my fly started syncing. Damn! I wish I had my gink. I stripped my line in and dried off the fly the best I could with my shirt. I reloaded my line and hit the next line by the hole. I was starting to think I was going to be shut out for the day as the sun started setting when a rainbow rose to the surface and aggressively took the fly. I immediately hooked the fish and stripped it in. I unhooked the 10-inch rainbow and released her back into the water. Great! No shutout.
The hatch was still swarming so I quickly dried off my fly and started back again. After a few rounds of float, float, sink, I decided I had enough of sinking dry fly and decided to call it a day. I started walking to shore when I noticed Alex. It was the very end of the hatch and many had finally disbursed. I walked over to him and asked him how he did. “Two” he said. Of course, he always catches more than me.
As we walked back to the car exhilarated, that feeling crept back into my head. “Ethan’s big fishing day is tomorrow. I hope he likes it.” We reached the car, broke down our rods, and decided to go down to the local watering hole
for a quick beer.
As we gulped down our first beer (and bourbon chaser for me), this tall goofy man with a big grin walked into the Gravel Bar. It was Eric Shores
, our guide for the big trip. He sat down next to us and said with a smile on his face, “Boys, how’s it going?” We quickly ran down the day for him, horseback riding in the morning fishing in the afternoon.
As we started talking about the details of our quick fishing excursion, you could see he was highly attentive, taking notes of all of the details. A guide is only as good as his information network and Eric has a great one. He sat next to us, ordered his own beer, and went on to rattle off the plan for tomorrow. Meet up was 7am at the Trout Stalker Fly Shop. We were going to fish Upper Madison River
, hoping to possibly catch the tail end of the Salmonfly Hatch. He had it all figured out. All we needed to do was show up. We finished up our drinks, said our goodbyes, and left back to the Rainbow
Next - Part IV