It was exactly a year ago today that Rob Parkins, Zack Dalton (One of RIO Products main guys) and I floated the South Fork. Evidently, that day was the beginning of a tradition because the minute Rob walked in the door at our Christmas Eve party he asked me if I was going with him and Zack the day after Christmas. (I don’t need to tell you my answer).
This is getting ridiculous – being able to float fish in late December. Even more ridiculous, the rod guides didn’t freeze until the last half hour of our day nor did we need gloves even when we were rowing. And as usual, there wasn’t another boat in sight. This is about five trips in a row on the South Fork of the Snake and we have yet to share with another boat. This is the best off-season in history!
Today’s fishing was decent. Both Rob and Zack nymphed out of the boat to start the day. Rob caught a few whitefish a rainbow and a brown trout. At mid day I took the front and tossed some streamers. I literally have not taken my point fly (bottom fly) off yet since I tied it on in November. I’m still using the black and silver Screamer Streamer and pounding the fish on it. Even when I have multiple flies on the Screamer gets eaten nine times out of ten. The fly has just been fantastic.
Wildlife was abundant today. On the drive over from Victor Rob and I saw hundreds of deer and an enormous bull elk. The elk was trapped along the roadside by a very high electric fence with three strips of barbed wire at top. It was even too high for him to jump over. As the passing traffic alarmed him he finally attempted to clear the barrier only to get badly hung up. It was a near ugly scene but after a short struggle he made it through or over, massive antlers and all. I wish I had a picture to show but we were afraid that stopping would have made things worse.
On the river we saw at least a dozen bald eagles along with thousands of Barrow’s goldeneyes, mallards, buffleheads and even a drake wood duck. Although I’ve seen a few over the years, the wood duck is an unusual sighting for this area. The out of season flocks of robins continue to nourish on the midge hatch while numerous water ouzels (dippers) dive the shallows hunting nymphs in the frigid water.
The fishing, the wildlife and even the Christmas diner leftovers we had for lunch added to another incredible day on the South Fork. The question is: was this the last day of fishing for me in 2010? Supposedly there’s a storm moving in so I’d say yes, but the way things have been going, I may wander out one more time. I hope so, even if it’s just to wade fish the midge hatch for few hours.
Even if I don’t’ fish again, expect a few more postings. I’m just about done with the two watercolor paintings I’m putting in the art show over in Jackson. I’ll post pics of them soon. Later in the week I’ll post my ten most memorable fish of the year. I caught a few of these but many were caught by friends and family. This will not be an easy edit so any help from you the readers would be great. Last, I’d like to decide upon my three favorite blogs of the year. I think I have an idea but any help would be Greatly Appreciated. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the Holidays.