It has been some time since I been to one of my favorite creeks on the Rim. This creek has taught me so much about fly fishing over this past year and has been my trusty standby when I need a day to myself. I fish it so often that I have more or less memorized the flows and the pools of the stream and have a fairly good idea where most of the big boys are hiding, even though I always spook them. This stream is full of vibrantly colored wild rainbows, most of whom are 5-8 inches with a few that bump up to 13. The creek is also full of resident browns who feed off the plethora of crayfish and smaller rainbows.
Yesterday, I awoke early with the whole day in front of me with nothing to do but fish. As I drove along the base of the Rim, everything was soaked from rain the night before. Monsoon season has hit this region and more rain was called for in the evening. I parked the truck and quickly geared up and as I stood along the side of the creek my heart sank a little. The stream was slightly swollen and was running off color and in my mind I was thinking this would make dry fly fishing difficult. Having already tied on my standard parachute, I decided to fish a pool or two with it before switching things up and on my first cast brought a feisty brown to hand. From that point on, fish in every pool came out to play and latch on to my #12 Adams parachute. Throughout the day I caught countless rainbows and the intermittent brown.
As I worked my way up the creek through the familiar pools I came to one of the several pools that I know holds big browns. I always slow down and take a seat on a rock and just study the pool for a few minutes, catch my breath and come up with a plan that usually fails. Normally, the pool is crystal clear and once the smaller fish in the back spook, the big boys in the front are long gone. With the heavy cloud cover and off color water, luck was in my corner. I crept through the willows and played out a little bit of line while casting close to the bank. As my fly lazily sat on the water I saw a large trout slowly rise and inhale the bug. I set the hook into a freight train and started praying that my 5x tippet would be able keep up. At that inopportune time, I also realized that my net was hanging in the closet back home and was not going to be much use. After struggling to keep this fish out the weeds and away from several deadfalls I cradled the 18 inch brown in my hands for a quick photo and then released him back to his home to grow bigger for next time. It was truly a great experience pulling such a large fish from this small stream and it put me on cloud nine for the rest of the day.
Towards midday I tied on one of my new ties, the mini-hopper. They worked extremely well and on two separate occasions I had two fish jumping together for this fly. All the colors worked, although the brighter ones were easier to see, and I will be tying more of these for these next few months. I continued fishing even thought the rain started in the afternoon and decided it was in my best interest to turn around once the lightening and thunder chimed in. On the way out with the ground quiet from the rain, I walked right up on two small bucks still in velvet. It really started me thinking about setting up stands for the quickly approaching archery season. My day was a success even though it was cut short by the inclement weather and I was extremely happy that I had got my lazy butt out of bed.