December 26, 2011
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend one more day on the water this year. I considered letting the big catfish be the last fish of 2011, but why cheat myself. Friends Rob Parkins and Zack Dalton were floating the South Fork today therefore so was I.
Warm for this time of year is to put it bluntly. While I was in Brazil everyone around here suffered through below zero temperatures. There was a lot of ice formed on the rivers edges. And normally that’s what we get over the Holidays. But today the temps rose to a toasty 33º. Just perfect to keep the guides from freezing.
We kept our fishing simple. We met in Swan Valley at a casual 10 AM then drove up to the Palisades Dam and decided we’d float the short mile or so down to the Husky Station. What the heck, we had beer and moose steaks. There was no sense in working too hard. It’s the holidays.
I took the oars first because Rob and Zack wanted to nymph directly below the dam. Often times this can be fantastic for huge rainbows. I rowed them across to the far side of the South Fork and they hopped out and waded. I hovered above them with my camera around my neck hoping to get some good big fish photos but it didn’t happen.
Next we fished our way downstream to one of the favorite pools near the dam. Fish truly weren’t on the nymphs today. It wasn’t till we got to the hot spot that Rob stuck a nice rainbow for the first fish of the day. Zack and I switched and I tossed my usual streamer rig minus the top fly. Three flies can be a hassle in the dead of winter. I had a cool chartreuse-eyeballed-creation fly my friend Ace man gave me for Christmas. It turns out that fly worked great and in a short time I landed two respectable browns.
That was about it. We were content with our fishing for 2011. However, in order not to be off the river too soon we pulled over on a snow covered gravel bar and had a feast. Back in October Rob killed a respectable bull moose with his bow; not too far downstream from where we were in fact. And every time we hang out we chow on some form of moose. Rob busted out his grill and cooked us up some tasty steaks. The grill and charcoal took a long time to heat up so while we waited we indulged on delicious moose jerky and sausage while sipping tasty Red Hooks.
I think that last paragraph says it all. What a day. What a month. And what another great year. I expect to post one more time this year but it’s a busy week. We’ll see.
Have a safe, fun and happy holiday week!