I left the house in the dark this morning to meet friends Dennis Butcher, George Kuvinka and Jay Buchner, a well known fly tier of Jackson Hole – truly one of the best I have ever seen. I owed Dennis a guided trip to fly fish for carp and today was the day. It’s normally about a 2 hour drive to my spot, but thick fog slowed us and the ride took about 3 hours. Once there it was so cold and cloudy it wasn’t yet worth fishing so we filled up on a huge breakfast at the town hotel. By the time we were finished the weather still sucked, but I had no choice but to lead the troops to the small reservoir. To my dismay, it was nearly dry! Nice guiding job Currier! I had no idea that the dam on the reservoir was being repaired and the carp flats were dry to the bone. It was time to re-learn my favorite carp lake on the spot. This was no easy feat for the weather still sucked with thick clouds and fog and temps around 35 degrees, absolutely horrific carp conditions. The reason this was so horrible is that it helps tremendously if you can see the carp before you cast and this requires sunshine. Also, 35 degrees is brutally cold for carp as they prefer much warmer conditions. The only water left was basically the old river channel which was too deep to see the carp feeding along the bottom sun or no sun. Fortunately these guys are friends and we went for a walk along the dried up mud flats searching for carp in what water existed the best we could. It was pretty cool actually as we found all kinds of things from soccer balls to half frozen crayfish that we were able to rescue. The only thing missing were the carp! The sun finally popped at 2 PM and at last a few carp began to show. And I do mean a few. On this lake I normally find myself casting to carp almost all day. But with today’s conditions and the lack of flats we only saw about 10 all day!
Luckily, some of these carp were cooperative and we landed three 4-7lb mirror carp. Jay caught one of them on Jay’s crayfish pattern. It’s a brownish orange color in a size 8. Jay was letting it sink to the bottom and slowly stripping it back. I caught my fish in one of Jay’s nymph patterns. It’s a beadhead in a size 14. It looks similar to a pheasant tail nymph only it has a red dubbed head and rubberlegs. Most of my favorite carp nymphs have rubberlegs. The fly retrieve was as slow as you could imagine. I literally crawled the nymphs in front of fish using a one finger hand twist. The fish were so lethargic that they followed the fly at a snails pace before sucking it in. In addition to the carp, Jay streamered up quite a surprise when he landed a healthy little smallmouth bass. A species I’d never seen in the lake.
It appears my carping may be done for the year in Wyoming and Idaho due to the onset of winter. I think tomorrow morning I’ll do some art then head up to the Henry’s Fork Ranch, fish the baetis hatch and stick some pig rainbows!