Today was my second opportunity to fish here. Tate Jarry of Live Waters invited me along to join him and legendary fly fishing entrepreneur Perk Perkins, CEO of Orvis. I’d never met Perk before yet we have many mutual friends so it was great that Tate set the day up so we could meet.
We left Victor on the two hour drive at 6:30 AM. The temps in Idaho are flat out HOT of late. Today Springfield topped 90º! Because of the intense heat occurring from mid day on, things happen early and were happening when we arrived. The windless air was alive with bugs. There were midge clouds, dancing Callibaetis and Pale Morning Dun mayflies, damsels and dragon flies and more. But best of all, there were rising trout.
Tate brought Perk to the Legacy Ranch because he wanted to see the place as a potential buyer. Orvis has some great properties throughout and who knows, perhaps this will be another. However, look at the ranch or not, Perk is an angler. And when we pulled in and saw rising fish he said, “Let’s fish. We can look the Ranch over later”. I liked his style and I’d only known him for two hours!
The best way to fish here is by drift boat. The banks are either marshy or smothered with Russian olive trees and bushes. That’s why the trout like the place so much. However there’s one place that while Tate got the boat ready, Perk and I snuck in a few casts. At first I was a spectator. I always like to nail a few good pics for the blog before I start fishing. But after ten minutes or so, there were too many risers to stand. I grabbed my 4-wieght Ross and launched a Chernobyl ant at a fish.
Launching a slapdash cast on a glassy calm lake is not a good move at all. The water was so glassy calm that my fly hit and the trout ran for dear life. On my next opportunity I approached a little different. This time kept my cast low and out of sight and landed my fly about 20 feet ahead of the trout. Everything was looking good as the trout got close. That was until I twitched my fly. A twitch is a normal practice with a Chernobyl on a lake but the movement didn’t work here. This second chance ended in another frightened trout. Luckily my third chance came soon after. This time I led the trout 20 feet and let my fly sit. When he got to my fly I still didn’t move it. Sure enough, the rainbow pulverized the imitation and I was soon releasing the ever so common nice rainbow of the Legacy Ranch.
Fishing wasn’t as fast and furious today as it was back in May. It’s hot. We had hardly any wind, and the fish were just plain finicky. But we landed about a dozen and few were less than 16 inches. My highlight of the day was landing a true beast. It occurred when our fishing day seemed finished. The temps were peaking and there were no bugs, no risers and in fact I think it was so hot that even the birds flew for cover. This was when Tate gave Perk the ranch tour. Regardless of the non-fishy time of day, naturally I stayed back and fished. As mentioned earlier, walking the banks is difficult, but I went for it anyway. And had I not caught a fish it would have been a mistake. I sliced my unprotected-Teva-shoed feet on thistle, lava rock, sharp grass and even a blooming cactus as I snuck around.
I reached a point and there was a big cruising cuttbow. I dropped my Chernobyl his way and he hit the brakes. He elevated slightly then moved on and disappeared. He looked large to say the least but he was gone. Moments later he returned. He was huge! I had just enough time to put on a cricket, another lake favorite of mine. This time he gave me the full blown shine. He didn’t even look. Then he disappeared.
Not much happened for the next fifteen or so minutes so I changed to a Polish nymph my friend Vladi gave me years ago. Just as I cinched the knot, along came Mr. Big. He sort of ambushed me and was at an awkward angle to present a fly but I just went for it. My fly landed on his right side as he was approaching. As my fly sank fast the burley trout turned towards it. I couldn’t see what was happening. I simply watched the end of my floating GPX line. And when it started moving away I set the hook and I had him.
I must say I was surprised. This appeared to be just one of those “uncatchable” trout, but now he was on. He ran me to the middle of the lake and jumped. Man I couldn’t believe how big he was! Five minutes later I slung the monster to the shallows. It was mucky where I was and there was no where to slide the fish up and lay my rod near him for a picture. Instead I had to wade out and tail the beast like a salmon. Then I did my best to take this one lousy photo while wrestling for my camera and against the strength of this mammoth fish.
We had some great fun today. It was nice that Tate brought me back to enjoy some of the great fishing at Legacy Ranch and even better that he introduced me to Perk. We had so much fun that Perk and I are going to meet a mutual friend, Pete Erickson, up at Island Park Reservoir tomorrow. You remember last Friday I got skunked up there. Well, I don’t plan on getting skunked twice. It’s payback time!