Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Calm Before The Storm

Before I get too down and dirty with details, I'll disclose that I work at a very busy restaurant and I'm finishing up the last quarter of my Bachelors Degree. Did I mention that I'm married and the "house" husband in addition to the other "jobs" that I hold? Well, I am, and I can cook up a solid dinner, do laundry, and bust out term papers like it's nobody's business.

All work and no fun is not a recipe for happiness. My job is about to get crazy in the next few weeks (our busy season begins with the start of June) and finals are quickly approaching... all the signs pointed to a midweek retreat on the friendly currents of the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River for some Cutthroat action.

Meeting up with a good fishing buddy in CDA Idaho, we gassed up, got our morning coffee and headed to the river in my wade fishing transportation gem CR-V (30MPGs, no rod breakdown required when going between spots, and enough amenities to keep me happy). Sure, I had a class that afternoon, but with nothing due and not a single day missed all quarter, I let Senioritis get the best of me.

The CDA was on the drop (it looks like run-off came a bit earlier this year than in years past) and while still running relatively high and fast, there were fishy looking spots as soon as we hit the road. Sure enough, 8:00 AM, first spot, 3rd cast... fish on. It may have been a small little Cutthroat, but the strike on my self-tied Prince of Darkness pattern made my morning. The rest of the early hours were a bit of a bore...

My fishing partner got a pure Rainbow in the next spot (rare for being so far up the river!) which was attacked by something BIG in the pool while he fought it (Bull Trout? big Cutty? Hmm...) and I brought in another smallish (10" cutt). The spot would've been a whole lot better had I not fallen down a riverside embankment (nothing new) and bruised my palm up pretty nasty. My fishing partner took a spill and cut his thumb later on the same hole... curse? Perhaps...

Our next spot is a hole that I love in the summer but it produced with high flows for us. 10 AM, raining... Stoneflies up top? Why not!? I love catching fish on the dry in the AM.

We had to call it a day earlier than we would've liked as we had found a new $ hole around 2pm. My luck had picked up and it was a hookup per cast. Nothing like a little "Hook to Mouth" action to keep you on the river later than planned. At one point, it was 7 casts in a row with fish on in the same spot. The fish really liked the Prince of Darkness pattern, and it was only rivaled by a TB Golden Stone pattern. We lost a few nice Cutts but I landed one worthy of a streamside picture with my friend.

Wrist tattoos and Cutthroat trout. 

All in all, it was a 20 fish landed day for us, and a good one at that. The average fish size wasn't too terribly large (we lost a few legitimate 16" fish) but the action was consistent once the afternoon sun came out. As a relatively new fly tyer (started in January), I took great joy in the fact that my Prince of Darkness pattern (an Idylwilde pattern that I modified) was getting fish hooked like powerbait. 

My "Charlie Murphy" Prince of Darkness Nymph

The pattern is essentially the same as the Idylwilde pattern available in shops, but I modified the dubbing out (instead of plain black dubbing for the body, I've used Hareline Dubbin Peacock Black Ice Dub) to give it a bit more pop. This is a great searching pattern when the water is a bit off color.

Charlie Murphy Prince of Darkness recipe:
TMC 2457 (scud/pupa style hook) sizes 12-16
Black Tungsten Bead to Match Hook Size (2.4 or 2.8mm)
Black 8/0 UniThread
Ultrawire Silver size Brassie
Black + White Goose Biots
Mix of Hareline Dubbin STS Trilobal Black and Peacock Black Ice Dub
Hungarian Partridge tied in as throat

After my CDA trip, my free time is limited until the third week of June. I'm staring at 40 hour work weeks and finals with nary a day off to fish before Graduation. And of course river levels are dropping into PERFECT shape. Oh well... I guess I'll have to sneak in some bench time so I'm restocked and ready for that elusive day off.

My first crack at Green Drake nymphs

I've been working on Green Drake nymphs and am happy with my progress in experimenting with new materials and styles. We'll see if they fish well the next time I get out... whenever that is.

An Introduction

Fly Fishing. Music. Sports... Addiction.

Those are some powerful words that I just listed, and the first three things (FF, music, and sports) are things that I am passionate about. But how I got into each of those topics are long, winding, individual stories. 

With that being said, I've created this blog, Skinny Waders, that is primarily focused on my passion for Fly Fishing. 

I'm a former musician (hence the title Skinny Waders... thanks to Josh Mills and Wayne "Fish Jedi" Jordan for the endless skinny jeans jokes), previously aspiring sports writer (long, long ago), and current trout bum. 

Moving from Portland, Oregon to Spokane, Washington with my lovely wife and misbehaving Spaniel, I arrived intending to finish my BA at Eastern Washington University (by way of half the public Universities in Oregon and Washington...) not expecting to fall back in love with fly fishing. In fact, it'd been well over 3 years since I had strung up a fly rod, let alone caught anything, but after a June outing to the NF of the Coeur d'Alene River and a cooperative Westslope Cutthroat trout on the end of my line, I was hooked... again. 

Since the music scene in Spokane was about as enticing to me as having another hernia surgery, I delved head first into fly fishing, and have spent nearly 100 days on the water in the past year. Lakes, rivers, and spring creeks have been my host as I've spent hours before, between, and after work/classes on the water. Despite the protestations of my wife, I've put together a hack Steelhead rig and I'm hoping to chase metal this coming season.

This blog will be the home to trip reports, discussions about current fishery issues in our region, gear talk, and general ramblings about sports, music, and fly fishing.

This blog, as I transition from college student to college graduate (friggin 5 years late) this June, will become my creative outlet as I attempt to enter the professional realm, and a place to share my favorite places, catches, and moments.

I hope you check back often and enjoy the posts.