4th of July after 2 Weeks in a Car

darkshadow

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The highlights below, in HD:



I had just spent the past 2 weeks road tripping with the girlfriend, and you really really get to know someone when you're stuck in the car with them from Los Angeles to El Paso then to San Antonio


and finally to New Orleans




and then to Memphis


and Oklahoma City and Amarillo


and then Albuquerque




and then to Winslow


and to Sedona


and finally back to Los Angeles. Phew.

I had packed a fly rod and made it a mission to catch a fish in every state, and while I achieved that goal with bluegills saving the day, I don't discriminate, especially how spunky and aggressive those fish are.



I even caught one of THESE things that did a number on the 5 wt. Add a buffalo to the list of species, I guess.





We had just gotten back to Los Angeles, and the 15 days of close proximity finally reached the boiling point, so I did what anybody would do; grabbed my backpacking gear and the essentials (4 wt, and 5 wt, respectively) and drove the 4.5 hours to a trail head to get some 'social distancing' from the relationship. I got the trail head around 1:30 in the morning on Thursday night, and the yoga mat I was trying to sleep on was not being very namaste. The adrenaline from the almost 5 hour drive, the 2 cans of red bull and the excitement of being able to spend 2 days on one of my favorite stretches of river in a beautiful canyon while camped out under the stars had me seeing things outside and keeping me awake, all the while the full moon was blasting through the top of my net. There was no use falling asleep at this point and 6 am came rather quickly.



At 6:15, breakfast was served, and after rigging up with what I knew these fish would be eating, I was on the trail down to the valley and the confluence of 2 major rivers by 8 am. After the first and only stream crossing, the plan was to hike another 2 hours up the trail to socially distance myself from the campers who were dispersed across the valley floor.



An hour into the upstream hike, I had reached areas that I had never reached before, and for an addicted fly fisherman like myself, the adrenaline keeps building the further into uncharted territory you go. Fortunately, my impatience got to me, and by 10 am, I was already making my first cast and mends, while looking around, enjoying the scenery all around me.



And while just having traveled through 10 states in 2 weeks, each beautiful in their own way, California can be quite breath taking with its own diversity.





The first day was epic. It started with a bunch of missed fish and frustrating hook sets into the trees behind me, but then a stint of runts followed and the rust was coming off, and fish that may have pushed 10" and were eager to eat a dry. Those fish were quickly shaken off thanks to the barbless hooks, but once the sun started shining down on the canyon around eleven, nymphing behind an indicator was the name of the game. The area had received less than expected snow melt during the winter, and with a few heat waves earlier in the summer, run off had hit its peak a few weeks ago and the CFS for wet wading was perfect. The new Adidas canyoneering boots I procured this season continued to excel, and after a while, I was hooking fish while wading upstream and having my indicator rig dragging behind me.









There were a few good dry fly bites, even a few streamer bites, a technique that I'm trying to dive head first into. There was nothing like casting a big Wooly Bugger, stripping through current and a big pool, and watching through the crystalline water as a fish came up from the depths to eat it. Of course, the dry dropper got a lot of looks, as did the indicator rig.

It takes 2.5 miles to drop into the valley and by 3 pm, I was 3 miles away from that GPS waypoint, so I started to motivate myself and stopped the "What's on the other side of this bend" syndrome, since it would be a good 5+ mile hike back to my wonderful yoga mat and backpacking tent. It's a good thing I brought along my water filter, because I had gone through 200 ounces of water and I hadn't even started the hike back up.

Best day I've had as far as quantity and quality on this stretch of water.



The 2nd day, I was feeling like a truck had hit me. Another restless night of hearing random animals in the dark outside, and another night of now a completely full moon beaming down on the tent. I "woke up" at 6 am, and was so tired that I broke down camp and was going to drive out and not fish the 2nd day as I had planned and head home. I drove about 2 miles down the forest trail when I decided to turn back. I had made myself commit to camping out alone, because I wanted to fish the 2nd day, and I could always be sore tomorrow, as I had more fish to catch today.

The fishing was good, but not as great as the day before. A lot of fish to the net still, with a little bit less quality, but over all a great time on the water.




On the way out, I could not help but to stop at a couple of small tributaries and found some surprising action on some nicer sized fish, which I surmise were remnants from last years' stocked fish.



Another successful weekend in the Sierras. Can't wait to do it again.
 

k_e_v

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Man, you posts are always the best. I love this!!!!! I have a High Sierra 8 day backpacking trip planned to leave on 8/15 although now I am not sure I will be able to go. I have an alternate High Uintahs trip and a Wind River Range trip also planned and mapped out in case California is a no go

Keep posting your awesome California pics, it is part of what inspired me to plan my trip(y)


Edit....just watched the video. Very nice, you are very talented at documenting your trips.
 
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yikes

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Great trip report! Out of curiosity,did you get a chance to fish while in NM?
 
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