Day 1 - HC
We pulled into the parking lot at 10 am. The drive from LA had been uneventful, getting out before the Friday morning commute, jamming north on the 395, trading the rising skyscrapers of the city for the snow covered peaks of the eastern Sierras.
It had been 2 years since I had stepped foot into this parking lot, whose only trail head leads down to one of the most fickle bodies of water I've ever had the pleasure of fishing. Perhaps our last few encounters explains why I hadn't been back in 2 years.
And, much like a friend who you haven't seen in a long time, the creek may have changed appearances, but their personality remains the same. The low water makes this body of water even more temperamental, but if you locate the areas and put good drifts on them, you'll have success.
Well, sometimes. Hence, the temperamental part. But, the one constant that has existed during the days I've struggled here was cold and wind. Perhaps that explains the bite shutting off around 2:30 pm when rain and wind came through the area, killing the remnants of a decent caddis hatch. Shut down the bite, but made for some good pictures.
When they were eating, a carefully placed high vis Elk Hair with a WD40 was the ticket.
Day 2 - Gorge
I should not have worn shorts. I figured a balmy day would warrant the wearing of shorts, but the stinging nettles quickly reminded me why I had originally decided to put on my pants. Aside from the burning sensation on my legs, and the bumps and bruises that are synonymous with rock scrambling, the Gorge fished pretty well considering LADWP increasing the flows to 200 cfs, which made presentations a bit more difficult. But, the fish are there for the taking. Grant it, your legs will end up looking like scratching posts that a feral cat has used, but your dry dropper will see plenty of action.
The fish here aren't too particular, perhaps due to the fact that many fly fisherman would rather not break their neck hiking down into the ravine. But for those with a sense of adventure, and a good medical insurance plan, the Gorge continues to be a fun place where footlong fish are eager to meet your acquaintance, and you're only a few steps away from a high ankle sprain.
Oh, don't hike down here during the summer, unless you have a healthy supply of Crofab handy.
Day 3 - LO
I've fished the Lower O about a dozen times and have had the luxury of getting 2 fish into the net. That's a whopping average of 0.166 fish per day!
But, in the past, I've always made the mistake of arriving at the LO at sun up and having a big zero to show for my efforts by noon. This weekend, I made sure the alarm was set for 9 am, and we headed out from base camp at the Motel 6 in Bishop, hoping to find some willing biters.
We reached the lower run below PVR and had hiked down to the water when I immediately got bit on my first cast. I was in the middle letting line out when I realized a 12" brown that must have been sitting on the shore had inhaled my dropper. My buddy hadn't even found a hole to fish and I'm already up one.
Then my Sage broke!
I had mended a few yards of line out and had made a simple roll cast into a seam when I realized my reel had become loose and tightening the nut was not working. Of course, as luck would have it, my strike indicator stopped for a brief second, and I instinctually set the hook. I began retrieving my line only to find that the bottom metal thread portion of handle had become loose. After a few wiggles, the bottom portion came loose, with a fish on the other end. Then, my reel loses it's footing and falls into the water.
My Lamson was meandering downstream, as I stripped furiously to get the fish in. I don't know what I was more surprised of. The fact that I had gotten a fish to go on my first two casts, or the fact I was landing the fish with my reel drifting towards Bishop. It was the only 9 foot rod I had packed, and trying to throw a double nymph rig with an indicator on an 8 foot rod didn't seem like much fun. I managed to secure the reel as best as I could and continued whacking the fish all day.
Yes, the flows are up, but the LO is quite wadeable. Every spot where you think a fish could be at, was occupied with hungry inhabitants. My forearms and wrist are still sore. That's how great the bite was.