Home Waters

Wow - it has been over a month since I last fished Cheeseman Canyon - early July to be precise - which is something that hasn't happened in a long time. With a trip back home to Utah, a serious work-load and several weekends spent in the high-country, it stands to reason that my 'home waters' would not get the lovin' that it deserves.

Time to kiss and make up (cue the cheesy 70's porn music) and satisfy this hunger for some familiar fare.

Ok, so this time I managed to get us to the water at the perfect time - before the sun had risen, yet still light enough to see the water perfectly. And what we saw was not conducive to a happy homecoming: the flows were down, and the fish were few and far between. On top of that, the fish that were there showed more paranoia and skittishness than a season's worth of Intervention episodes.

On the plus side of things, they were all very nice fish - in the 15+ inch range. There was nary a wee-fish to be found.

So, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work, where Eva and I combined to lose a lot of fish to popped hooks and broken lines. The night prior, I had tied on a leader (6x) that I had bought quite some time ago, and it's been in my pack ever since. Also, I don't think the quality was all that great to begin with, so after the 4th fish snapped my tippet off at the leader, I changed it out. And guess what? no more snapped lines.

I also neglected to put on a new indicator - which I didn't realize until mid-afternoon. Like a BB rattling around in an empty tuna can, the thought finally soaked through my thick skull that I had been fishing sans an indicator since mid-morning. And you know something? I kinda liked it, in a sick, twisted sort of way.

For the most part, I would qualify the fishing as slow - simply because of the small number of available targets, and their level of anxiety. As far as flies went, PT's and midges were it - almost everything else failed to get a response (including my beloved scud, which only produced one fish all day).

And speaking of response - about mid-afternoon, I spotted a large target in some slow water next to the bank, and feeling rather saucy, I re-rigged with a dry and tossed it his way, and he went for it - only to turn away at the last second.

So I called Eva over, and we got her set up with a dry, and she started casting to him - only to get snubbed like I did. After that, we took turns tossing dries and getting ruthlessly spanked. He would come up, open wide, the fly would ALMOST enter his mouth, and then he would turn away, no doubt laughing at our expense the entire time.

After about 10 minutes of this nonsense, I had had enough. I may have no recourse when being laughed at by other people, but I refuse to get Punk'd by a fish. Dries may not be my forte, but I do know a few things about nymphing.

So, I tied on a PT, added some split shot, and a few casts later, with Eva manning the net, we had this clown bagged and tagged. As the old saying goes, "He Who Laughs Last is usually the One Holding the Net." After taking our revenge via taunts and embarrassing video evidence, he fought his way to freedom. Hopefully, a wiser fish for the experience.

You know, in the end, it was another great day on the water - the temps were pleasant, the skies were blue, and we were out on the water, enjoying Nature. These types of days are numbered, now, with autumn on deck, so every 'long-ball' day like this is to be savored.

Plus, we had some fun events that helped break up the day: a doe and her fawn crossed the river about 10 yards upstream of where we were fishing and, in the afternoon, as I was casting my line, I looked over to my right to see a large snake swimming the South Platte and heading almost directly at us. It was a day full of video opportunities.

Having two video cameras with us (sometimes 3, depending on the river) you would think we'd capture enough action to fill an hour. Nah...I'm a slacker. I do enough of that stuff on a day-to-day basis, and when I'm on the water, I want to fish. But, I think it would work in my favor to take a little more time to capture the moments on future trips.

On this outing, the underwater release shots look pretty good, so that has inspired me to put a little more focus on the videography aspect of things in the future - eventually, I may end up with enough cool, usable footage to actually make a kick-ass compilation - we'll see. I want to make sure I don't cross the line and turn my days of fishing into something that resembles 'work'.

So the river was about average for August - a bit slow, but it was still a great time. Next up, the Taylor - the fourth trip of the season, and one in which I have an agenda. No excuses and no distractions. By this time last year, I could claim three well-earned trophies (24 inches +) on that river, whereas this year, I am 0-for-1. The one pig I did manage to hook, broke me off after about 10 minutes and a scenic walk downriver.

I don't like getting snubbed...or owned, or shut out...or whatever you want to call it. It rattles my confidence and puts my Man Badge on shaky ground - which I've lost twice already this year. So, denizens of the Taylor River, you are hereby put on notice...I want one of you before the summer of '09 is in the books, so we can do it the easy way, or the hard way.

Unfortunately, I have the feeling it will be the latter.


Anonymous said...

what do you use for the water video?

Unknown said...

Yeah buddy! Your pictures seem to go against your words. That looks like a pretty sweet day.

Even if it was only a few fish, those seem to be pretty quality in size and color.

The underwater video was really sweet!

Colorado Angler said...

Anonymous He/She person - it's called a GoPro. It's small, portable and does a great job.

Jeff! Yeah, it was a really great day on the water - one of those few-and-far-between types of days where everything just seems to fit together nicely.

Sure, there wasn't the numbers of fish that we are used to seeing there, but there was enough to make it a memorable time. I may have made it sound a little more bleak than it really was.

We actually ended up catching quite a few that we didn't get pics or video of - and Eva hooked into a BEAST that stole her fly and made her cuss up a storm, being that she put a lot of effort into him.

It was a blast (like always).

Have you made any decisions as to when you might hit the Canyon?

Ben said...

What a great post and video -- compliments on the underwater camera work... that's beautiful stuff.

It looks like you guys do great on the lower stretches of the canyon (I think I'm recognizing the section you access through the tall reeds that begins the final descent toward the WWC). I often struggle in that water and end up heading upstream, so I'm going to have find you there and watch you work it one of these weekends.

Sure enjoy your entries -- they help get me through the work week. :)

Cheers -- Ben

Colorado Angler said...

Hey Ben! Thanks for the comment and kind words.

You're spot on with the location and over the past few years, it's become one of my favorite spots, for several reasons - varied water and low traffic. The fish are usually plentiful, and new ones come up river to take the place of the ones you hook, so there's a constant flow of new targets.

I'm sure you do just fine on that stretch - I'll give you a heads-up the next time I'm planning to be up there and we'll see if we can't thin their ranks bit and get some sweet pics and video in the process.

Unknown said...

Next trip to the canyon ehh?

Funny, we just got back yesterday ... keep your eyes peeled for the blog. It was in the "epic" to "really epic" range.

Fall in the Canyon rules! The flows are consistent and the fish are always feeding.

Colorado Angler said...

Jeff - oh yeah, looking forward to your post. Really Epic??? Sweeeet! I know you're busy, but I'm dying to see/read about your day in the Black Canyon!

Lots o' pictures? Alright...I guess I'll just have to patiently wait like everyone else...although, I'm like Ben - reading and seeing this stuff helps to get me through the week as well....

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