The day trips across three counties to fool a slippery adversary into eating a hook covered in chicken feathers are pretty much over. And while waking up at 3:00 am so you can drive all throughout the dark, and then hike for another 2 hours just so you can be making your first cast 300 miles from home at 10 am is fun, so is sleeping in on a Saturday, and still making it to the local stream before 9. Plus, the money spent on gas (not to mention the wear and tear on my vehicle) has been drastically reduced, which is fiscally intelligent, considering the need to save up for my upcoming trip to God's country in 2 months.
A few weeks ago, the last of my 5x tippet material was used up. I had forgotten about it until the night before this trip, and I ended up tossing a spool of 3# FC that I had from my days of a finesse bass fisherman. I figure that this Sunline had got me plenty of big fish from within the shrubbiest of terrains, so I took my first steps into uncharted territory, and fished all day today with a FC tippet.
And I'll never look back.
Because the grade was a lot steeper from the usual areas that I hike into, there were few areas to actually get a good cast in, and lots of ground needed to be covered in order to get fish to go, unless waterfalls and 2 ton boulders is what you consider fun. The residents of this steram are opportunistic feeders, and the lack of consistent insect activity enables you to make mistakes in fly selection, and still gain the fish's interest in what you've tied on. Caddis? We'll eat it. Mayfly pattern? Sure!
But, you get one shot at the fish. You make a bad cast and it's curtains, which means another grueling uphill hike through boulders, patches of stinging nettles, and the possibility of snakes and bears at every corner. But, make a precise cast that doesn't end up in the trees in front or behind you and you'll have browns and rainbows slashing at your dries, or inhaling your trailing nymph in no time.
Cover a lot of territory, and you'll have success. Hunker down and try to dissect the water, and you may go home disappointed. Sometimes it pays to keep walking, especially here.
Considering it was a new stretch of water I was fishing, I left the canyon exhausted hours later, but extremely satisfied in what I saw. This seems to be the only watershed that isn't suffering from the drought conditions, and at this point, this area becomes like an oasis in the desert.
And there are always hungry 12" browns and rainbows willing to take your barbless fly.