01-01-2013, 02:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Marietta GA
By then I was ready to go catch a fish that didn’t have sex on it’s mind, so I headed down to the canyon section where I knew some big rainbows and cuttbows would be waiting. By the time I had hiked the mile or two to the canyon section, the shadows were starting to hide the water, which was what I was hoping for and sure enough the first hole yielded a nice little cuttbow.
After the release we shared a few more moments of bonding time during the recovery process.
The next few hours were another blur of rainbows and cutts and once again in more spectacular fashion, frequency, size and coloration, than I could ever ask for. Here is another gorgeous example.
There were a few more nice brooks mixed in, but very few down here.
I was starting to run out of steam and stream and quite honestly wet wading at 10,000 feet in early October is a little chilly especially in the shade of the canyon. So I started to make my way back to camp but noticed I was on top of an old campsite that my friend and I had used on the lost camera trip. So I went over and was amazed to see that the wood for the fire was still laid in the fire ring where he had left it on his last visit, telling me it would be waiting for me when I returned next. Monte here is my proof my friend.
Well while I was down there I remember him telling me about a shallow riffle that had hollowed out a fairly deep bowl which you didn’t notice until you were nearly right on top of it and that it was right by the camp site and that he had caught a really nice fish out of it. So I stood there a minute and scanned the water… … and sure enough I saw a spot that matched the description. I clipped off my nymph rig and tied a dry on just for kicks and flipped a few casts through it without any success and decided on one last cast … the water fairly exploded with a boiling take. After nymphing all day I did a slide strike as well as a rod set and the power of the fish almost broke the line and shocked the daylights out of me, but I recovered my senses quickly enough to strip and feed some line and to get back under control. The fish ran upstream to some deep water next to a rock face cliff and just sulked at the bottom of that hole, so I was able to creep up slowly and regain my line and get in pretty good position for when the fish decided to make its last charge. After a minute or so it noticed my big self’s shadow on the water and made one last run down stream but I was ready for that move and followed the run smoothly and just a few short moments later I was posing with this beauty.
Well as I often do, I decided to end the day on a fish and clipped off my dry, I was worn out but unbelievably content with a wonderful day of fishing… … and yes the catching was pretty good too… … but as I walked back to the camp I decided it is the fishing that really turns me on… … not the catching… … but I sure as **** don’t mind a lot of catching as long as I am fishing.
I got back to camp thinking I must be one of the best fishermen of all time, which naturally meant I was going to get a “comeuppance” as we say in the south. And that came in the form of Rick and Bernard asking me if I had fished far enough up to get to the big beaver dam and the absolutely giant true cutts that were lying in wait above that. They furnished pictures to prove their points of course, well as luck, or lack of, would have it I had fished up to within a few hundred yards of the beaver ponds and turned around to eat lunch and go back down to the canyon section. That section had been wonderful but I guess it was just a small fraction of what the beaver pond and above section had been … … oh well… … if my day was bad … … I can live with it. It also gave me something to dream about for my next trip back in here.
I slept poorly that night partly because my thermarest sprung a leak, partly because I was dreaming of big fish that I just didn’t get to, but most importantly because I was worried about if I would be able to make the 5 mile hike straight up hill and back to the car in the morning. The key is I was already at the bottom so now was a little late to be worrying about if I could make it back out again. Dawn came too slow and too fast at the same time. I wasn’t sure if was sad at leaving or just scared of the walk or all of the above. And just like in school “all of the above” is always a good bet.
We had a leisurely breakfast and took our time rebuilding the packs. I snapped one last picture just to burn into my brain for future stress relief and we started up the trail. And I do mean up… straight up.
I sent everyone up the hill ahead of me as I didn’t want to feel pushed. As it was, I felt like the worlds worst football team, 9 yards and a cloud of dust, punt … … pant for a while… and wait a few minutes to try for 9 more yards uphill, over and over, repeat as needed. But somehow, some way, I rounded a bend and Bernard and Rick were standing there and I had made it up the hardest uphill part. Bernard took a picture of Rick and I, and I am the happiest guy in the world because I had made it out alive, well and even feeling good, even more important was the fact that since I could get myself out … … I get to come back next year. But perhaps the thing that made me the happiest was that I was hanging out with Family and Friends and that is a true gift. This is a picture of truly happy man.
As usual, I am late writing this up and as I finish these words the year 2012 had rung to a close. I must admit I can’t say I will be sorry to see it go. But at the same time I think I am a better, wiser and stronger person than I was when the year started and by my standards that is the definition of a successful year.
For 2013 I am starting a new job Wednesday, the divorce paperwork is coming along the right way and I am settled in my new home. The year is starting out with promise, now it is just up to me to “make it happen”.
In closing I will leave you with a couple last shots from Bernard who is far and away a much better photographer than I am…. … so I saved the best for last.
Thanks for reading