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.