Broke a 3 visit skunk streak last weekend. I need to get a waterproof camera that will stand up to abuse, sorry no photos. Over the weekend I brought 12 fish to hand, all were small and feisty rainbows 3" to 7" in length. Most of the fish were caught on #14 Parachute Adams; perhaps a couple on a Quill Gordon when I noticed a few dark large Mayflies hatching Saturday.
My Father-In-Law (Pat) and I camped at site #24 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. We arrived late afternoon Thursday, and setting up camp and finding firewood took enough time that we didn't get a chance to fish.
The site was quite busy all 3 nights; filled above rated capacity Thursday and Saturday nights. I have been backcountry camping in the park for at least 15 years now, and have previously avoided reservation sites for fear of crowds. Thursday had 19 people there, including a family of 7 we passed on the way up who volunteered that they hadn't made reservations. The Father said he was last there 10 years ago and it didn't require back then (my guidebookss from that time say otherwise). We had our fire ring (24 A) to ourselves each night, though I offered to share share it Saturday. While I was fishing I noticed a young couple hiking back down the trail, they said it was too busy and denied my offer to share the space. I have to wonder if the couple had reservations or not, and how many of the 14 other people there Saturday night had them. I would have been mighty ticked off to have to hike 5 miles back down (or risk a spot 2 miles up at 30) after finding the site full. I am wondering how much of a problem this is at reservation sites.
On a brighter note, Friday morning I managed to bring 5 bows to hand. Following lunch and firewood mission we headed out again. Pat brought 1 fish to hand, looked to be about 8" from where I was standing. I brought 2 more to hand, lost a couple during the fight.
Saturday morning I landed another 3, and Saturday evening 2. Unfortunately the old man didn't catch any more. Still, his one fish Friday was an important one to me as he has been skunked for three seasons. This trip was a celebration of his retirement a week before. I am not a great angler, and he has been unfortunate enough to have me as his instructor. The other big achievement of the trip is that I think I might have finally convinced him to stop standing on a big rock and casting downstream into pools. He caught 2 fish on backcasts in a swimming hole area three or four years ago; as a result he has a hard time understanding how easily trout get spooked. When we got back last night I gave him Ian Rutter's book to read in all of his free time. If that comes back in one piece I will loan him my copy of Jim's book. I am hoping reading the books will reinforce the importance of stealth to him.
On the hike out Sunday morning we stopped after the first bridge to change out of our wading boots into hiking boots. Pat's hiking pole rolled off the bridge into the water and caught on a submerged tree limb. I was trying to loop the wrist strap with a long stick and Pat tried to lift the submerged tree at the base when the pole went floating downriver. I really didn't want him to get in trouble with my Mother-In-Law for losing another pole; he has a habit of forgetting them stream side. I ran down the bank and managed to save the pole, unfortunately my right boot and sock were now wet for the remainder of the hike. My wet boot managed to rub my heel the wrong way and I had to apply a moleskin over a big blister by the time we reached the waterfall. I happily gave Pat a friendly ribbing about it on the rest of the hike.
When we got back to the car blistered, sunburned, and constipated, I felt the sadness for leaving that follows great backcountry trips, as this one had been. I then thought ahead a few weeks and said to Pat, "we get to come back in 17 days!" We packed our gear to start the 6 hour drive home. An early Dinner at El Dorado Mexican in Corbin, KY even cured one of our ails.