4/2: GORE CREEK - NOT MANY FISH, BUT FOUR SPECIES: A really nice sunny day prompted another visit to my "home" water on this pleasant little stream. Some tiny baetis were in evidence, but with no trout popping up their heads to the surface, I stuck with a rig of an attractor bead head caddis up front trailed by a #20 baetis emerger nymph.
Action was prompt with every fish taking to the small baetis in the half mile or so of water I fished. Really thought I'd see some trout rising, but all the action was on the bottom. The first hole yielded a nice brookie followed by a couple of smallish rainbows, and then a nice 13 inch cutbow that had distinct cutthroat and rainbow markings.
Strikes then became sporadic, but in a flat run near my exit place I caught a couple of 12" brownies, making for an interesting afternoon. It's always fun to catch several brands in one day and this was no exception.
4/3: GLORY OF GLORIES. TWO DAYS IN A ROW of fishing. Had to pick up month ending data at Eagle, so drove back upstream hoping for some reasonably clear water below Wolcott. It was not to be. Both Alkali & Milk Creeks were doing their number on the Eagle. I cast for a short bit in one hole without success and then headed upstream with a friend to try the Squaw Creek area. There were tons of fishermen out today, but happily my favorite stretch was vacant - or perhaps had just been vacated by a group. Nevertheless we hopped down and began casting upstream. My second cast brought to hand a beautiful 15 inch bow and further up this pool another of roughly 14.
The fish are moving around a bit - many to shallow water - some apparently now going through the spawning process - although it seems a bit late for that. So I caught 8-10 rainbows and browns in the next couple of hours and missed a whole bunch of strikes. Was surprised that all the fish came to a #18 prince, even though I led it or trailed it with various other patterns that are supposed to be producing right now. I'll never understand that prince fly. It bothers me that it just doesn't look like anything on this earth or in the water, although I guess it's supposed to vaguely resemble some kind of stone.
4/8: AN ABSOLUTELY SUPERB DAY ON GORE CREEK: I'm back teaching skiing for the next couple of days so took a couple of hours off from the office this afternoon and headed to the upper Gore hoping for some action from the small brookies & cuts that dominate this part of the creek. Wow! What a surprise was in store for me.
It was an iffy kind of day with snow squalls rolling through the valley. Strong winds and lowering temperatures added to the less than perfect ambiance but boy the fish obviously didn't have a clue how miserable it was in the air. They were hungry! As the creek was still low & clear I started off with a rig of a #18 OS-1 up front and a #22 red midge larva at the end. It turned out to be almost perfect for the conditions. In a sort of beaver dam pool I landed a 13" cutthroat on the second cast, proceeded to have seven more strikes in a row without a hookup before landing the fish of the day - a thick bodied 18"+ brown trout. Probably the heaviest fish I've ever brought to hand on Gore Creek. Suspect he was gobbling small cutthroats & brookies for dinner but in mid-day he took the OS-1.
In fact until the very last pool where I took out, all the browns I landed took the semblance fly and all the other brooks, cuts, and rainbows took the tiny midge. Go figure. But yes, once again it was a four species outing! That makes my day any time regardless of sizes. To make the long story more tolerable, over a period of two hours I probably landed 20 fish and had twice that many others on or struck but not hooked. So it was fabulous action. In the last pool I had the good fortune to come upon a pod of nice fish slurping emerging midges and by changing to a gray one of those imitations brought in three more nice brookies before putting everything down for good. What a great day. Astonishing to hook such large fish in this water when I've never seen those sizes here before. Doubtless they had to always be there, but I was just too inept to fool them in the past.
4/11: THE DARN FLY ACTUALLY WORKS! Got this web site back up running after lunch today so rewarded myself for completing that chore by driving out towards the golf course and spent about 40 minutes casting. It's a pretty ugly day. Cold temperatures, snowflakes flying, icing in the guides after every cast - - but trout rising for midges!
I started out deep midging with a red and a gray in around #20. Had one decent fish on and that was about all in the first run. Then headed up to a longer pool and continued the same type of casting, but out of the corner of my eye kept noticing small surface bulges. Looking at the stream surface, sure enough, there were small black midges floating and struggling. OK, so this is the time to test that bastard surface midge (yes, that's the real name). Put on a red #20 and started casting through the snowflakes. Couldn't begin to see the fly on the surface, but boy did it ever draw a crowd. Eventually before my hands and guides completely froze up, I landed five nice, fat rainbows between 10-13 inches and lost about that number simply because I sometimes had no idea where the fly was. So the bastard was a success. Hope to try it again in the next couple of days.
4/12: MORE SUCCESS ON GORE CREEK: Another frigid day but with an hour or two to spare I headed out to the creek again. Had a rig of a red bastard at the end and a black one up front, but they proved to be ineffective at the first pool - simple answer - no fish were coming up or bulging. So I swapped the surface flies for a #20 red midge larva and a #20 gray emerger nymph. Almost immediately landed a nice 12" rainbow.
My hands were terribly cold requiring constant warming in the pockets and rod guides took breaking off of the ice every six casts or so. But it was still fun being out here. At the next long pool I did see a few surface midges and a couple of fish raising their heads, but kept on the subsurface rig and boy, was it effective. In 20 minutes or so of casting I had probably 15 strikes and landed a half dozen very nice fish. Most were in the 12" range, but one brown was close to 16. I'm constantly amazed at the wonderful sizes of the fish in this stream. Tried another couple of small pools upstream but that was it for the catch today.
4/13: MORE GOOD FUN ON THE GORE: Picked up fisher friend Sue for some afternoon casting on the upper part of the creek. She still needs a lot of repetitions to get her casting skills honed to a higher degree, but on balance she does a fine job for having not spent any time this winter on the water.
Our first hole was the big beaver pond and as with the previous outing, it proved to be very productive. Had roughly ten fish on or landed in a half hour of working this water. Most were smallish cutthroats, but a couple of better browns and a brookie or two were in the mix. We fished nymphs again - using a two fly combo of a red midge larva and a gray emerger type, although we fished as close to the bottom as possible. Working our way upstream the fishing slowed, but we did get a few fish on bastard surface nymphs.
At the last deep hole fish were bulging continuously for emerging nymphs and I was fortunate to land a couple - a brown and a rainbow in the 13 inch range - before putting the balance of fish down for good. Sue picked up a nice brookie fishing a very deep nymph here. It was fun to see the fish take the fly in the crystalline water. So all in all a very nice day.
4/14: RUNOFF STILL HASN'T STARTED ON THE EAGLE but it's getting close. Rather than ski today we opted to fish early in the morning in the hopes of being able to get on the water below Wolcott. It's been murky lately due to the ever present sediment flowing from Alkali & Milk Creeks this time of year. We got a bit lucky and were able to spend an hour in the Red Sandstone Canyon section of this stream. Although relatively discolored, we had reasonable success using both bead head and standard princes in size 16. Caught & released probably 8 fish in this part of the stream.
Then headed up to the more clear but far more heavily fished water above Wolcott. Using small red & gray midge nymphs I was shut out for the first hour in some of my favorite spots. But on the way back to the car I risked a mildly dangerous wade into the middle of some rapids and then had good success for rainbows up to 16 inches using that favorite gray midge emerger fished deep in these pockets. So rule #1 of the Ten Commandments came true again.
We made one more stop in the afternoon up above Squaw Creek and basically had no success excepting a few strikes - the one fish landed is shown here.
It's very interesting since in 25 years of casting on the Eagle this is only the third whitefish I've ever brought to hand on this river.
4/16: IT'S SPAWNING TIME ON THE GORE: Pleeeeeez be careful while wading!
The fish are everywhere in shallow water. You'll find the redds where the gravel is clean as a whistle, so avoid those spots and you can help baby fish (in egg form right now) grow up for our enjoyment next year.
Despite having to be careful of where I walked this afternoon, it was great fishing anyway. Those trout not in spawning mood are in eating mood. As with previous days, the best fly was a gray midge emerger fished deep. Almost everything I caught was a rainbow. Not huge ones, but the range was 10-15", so not bad. Interestingly the best fish of the day was an obese cutthroat of almost 15" that was lying in 6 inches of water along a bank. He took a tiny black midge larva. I'm constantly amazed at the quality of this stream.
As it was a very warm day, the runoff should start in earnest shortly so I suppose there'll be only one or two more days of clear water fishing before everything blows out.
4/17: COULD THIS BE THE END? After a dream filled night I awakened at 3:50, fought my way through the morning exercise program and then headed out for a fifteen mile run. When the sky finally lightened on my way back home, a peek at Gore Creek revealed a stream higher by several inches and a stream several colors deeper than clear. So around 10:30 I strapped a rod case on my bike and peddled a couple of miles upstream to take advantage of what I presume is the last of clear stream casting for the next three months.
It was great again! This stream is wonderful. Tried a cdc emerger with no success, but immediately after changing to the two tiny midge rig, started catching fish. First came a brookie, then a rainbow, then more rainbows. No spawners in this stretch.
Nevermiss hole produced again today after "missing" for the first time in history a couple of weeks ago. The initial fish was a wonderful 16" bow - fat & healthy. When I released him, he lay quietly beneath the rock I was casting from and then eventually landing another 12" rainbow. As I left the hole, I tickled him and he scattered up to his deep water home.
Interesting that the great productive fly of this season has been a gray midge emerger described on page 194 of "Western Hatches". Nothing else came close - even though the local outiftters were promoting a red midge larva. I'll describe our modifications to the fly in a hatch/imitation page later this spring.
4/19: I KEEP THINKING THE RUNOFF HAS TO START but even today Gore Creek remained in good shape. Slightly colored and running slightly faster, but still very fishable. And like the past few days it continues to fish very well. Used the same tactics as previous days - a red midge larva up front and a trailer of that gray emerger.
Lots of highlights, no large fish (over 13 inches), but probably the most fun was landing four different species on the first four fish that I unhooked. Every other fish until the last one took nothing but the gray nymph. The final deep hole off a rock ledge produced a fine cut that (for whatever reason) tasted the red fly.
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