I’d be lying if I said I woke up feeling like a million bucks this morning. I had seven of my best friends in town at the house last night and more arrived today. We’re more like brothers than friends. We’ve lived together, fished, hiked traveled and you name it. Some from college, others worked the fly shop with me in the 1980’s and a few taught fly fishing or guided with me. Most I haven’t seen in as many as five years – thus came the reunion celebrations last night and likely more to come over the next few days. This get together is for my 50th birthday Sunday.
With seven of us today we needed a wade fishing venue to accommodate all. I went with the South Fork of the Snake. The South Fork rarely gets wade fished these days and is rather a flotilla of drift boats. We fished along the dirt road from Ririe to Black Canyon. This rugged road offers plenty of stop offs on gravel bars and provides access to numerous side channels. I’ll be honest, I haven’t wade fished the South Fork in a few years so today was refreshing.
Missing were hatches. Normally in October afternoons provide blanket hatches of Blue-Wing Olives (BWO) but the weather was once again, too nice. The hot sunny day was perfect for Mahogany duns and caddis but I’m afraid they hatched out in September and now somewhere down in the rocks and weeds the BWO’s are waiting for the cold weather we normally get in in October.
Usually even when hatches are sparse blind fishing with hoppers raises some cutthroats along the banks and off the riffles but today they were few and far between. The guys chucked some streamers and Mark nymphed but the catches were light and most of the trout small. We resorted to extra beer drinking.
The highlight was when Mike and I broke off from the group and hiked to the South Fork swamp. That’s what I call the place but really it’s an area of several springs and spring creeks manipulated by beaver dams. It’s a struggle to get in there and the fish are very difficult to catch. I warned Mike he may not be able to fool one here as a beginner but he was all for the adventure anyway.
Let’s just say Mike almost made it happen. We waded past the weeds and Mike cast out his BWO and we stood like herons and waited. Sure enough a hefty cutthroat swam by and without any hesitation sipped Mikes fly. Unfortunately Mike set and the big mouth wasn’t closed enough to hook up. He had a couple other eats but connecting wasn’t meant to be.
Eventually I left Mike on his own and put my Winston into action. Spring creek fishing is my favorite and I spotted a decent cutthroat on the hunt. Rather than cast right on him and risking spooking him I led him about ten feet and waited. Sure enough he ran into my dry fly and soon I was holding one of the nicest cutties I’ve caught all season.
Despite the mediocre fishing it was another great day with my friends. We’re headed back on the town for another fun night out. We’ll take it easier because we’re shooting for an early departure to the Henry’s Fork in the morning. I’m spending my 50th with twenty of my best friends on the Ranch!