Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back to Rocky Ford - Rain & Bank Cruisers

I actually had wanted to go to Rocky Ford a week or two ago. But as reported below, I had to cover my co-worker while he was sick. So I gave up. But to me, it was nothing (my arm was tired from cows though) when I thought of future, i.e., Yellowstone trips!! I meant "I gave up going to Rocky Ford" for this year at least till it gets cool down in September or October. As far as I know, in spring, moss from weed-bed and bottom start to flow from around noon, cover the surface, and make fishing uncomfortable (not impossible). Then what I hear is it will be all covered during the summer time along with abundant ticks, mites, and rattlers.

BUT!! due to this unusual wet spring here in eastern WA, I bet it would not be a total disaster (unfishable and/or uncomfortable). Today, it was a shower most of all day. Not strong, neither was the wind. I was wearing a pair of quick-dry fishing pants so just my legs felt wet. That was all. I was right about the condition I didn't see any moss flowing at all, water was kept high, but grass and cattails were not so high due to less sunshine.

Before talking about fishing, I saw two rare birds for me at Rocky Ford. I always see ducks (I mean general ones). But this one was really big. Kind of heron or something, maybe?

And this one was sitting on the same rock all day through. Who are they? Please let me know.

So I guessed weather and water condition right. I did guess and bet on trout actions and fly selections, which turned out wrong. Disappointing and confusing, not just in a selfish way. It just seemed "ideal" day and time (at least for anglers) = cloudy day with lots of water = for trout to chase leeches and damsel nymphs.

I started with leech and damsel nymphs as I did in the afternoon of four weeks ago. I cast likely spots, along banks, and toward bank cruisers. They didn't even see my leech and damsel nymph. Instead I observed that they were "rooting". Some of them were literally up-side down in the water and digging the bottom. Of course, it could have been leeches and damsel nymphs......but most likely for scuds, midge larvae, and aquatic worms. So I changed my flies and played with them. My recent favorite for Rocky Ford is my own design, Royal Ray Charles, as proven in the morning of four weeks ago.

Four weeks ago, I was essentially dapping to holding and resting trout, nothing technical at all. But today, I might have been a bit more advanced and technical. First I avoided easy spots on purpose. I decided not to depend on go-to and popular spots for everyone including myself. I was stalking carefully and looking for bank cruisers. My casting was nothing special nor long in distance but I aimed and cast ahead of the course of those cruising trout.

Anyway, right after I switched from a damsel nymph to a Royal RC scud, I hooked one in a visible (=exciting) distance. It ran hard and spat my fly. Then the next one went through the same scenario but came to my net and camera. A nice 18-incher. As you can see, her mouth must have experienced lots of hook-ups. This is why trout here are called wary, which turns out to be technical for anglers. To me, whatever....... really.

Then next one was the masterpiece of stalking and sight-fishing for bank-cruising trout!! While I was standing behind tall grass, I saw all it happened; cruising trout, my fly cast to trout's swimming course, she saw it, swam to it, took it, and I set the hook!! All happened only about 10 feet away from me. she seemed totally ambushed or just tired and came to my net in 20 seconds without much fighting.

Just a bit shy of 20" but about 5-lb. A typical look of stillwater, I guess.

In the afternoon, I moved to the upper end of the creek. I just wanted to swing my midge soft-hackles as always at the outlet riffle from the hatchery. But as four weeks ago, it was occupied by two anglers who never seemed to move around. Unlike a couple I saw four weeks ago, they were actually catching trout. This time, I didn't even try to sneak in. Except for the riffle, the alleged spot reserved only for me and my soft-hackles, it is basically a little pond. Good for kids actually. To me tossing scuds or whatever in this little pond is a more disgraceful way than dapping and is just for those who need fish badly and first timers. While, I do consider my soft-hackle is technical, observing, and understanding even at an easy spot like this.

I moved below from the pond. There is a good trough there. But due to waves caused by winds, it couldn't really be a sight-fishing and trout observation. It was a blind nymph situation, hoping for the best. I caught one aggressive 17-incher on this mini San Juan Worm.

Not as great as four weeks ago, I did have some fun today, especially after I went through cows after cows.
Besides there are always objectives and practice in my outings. Reason I suddenly started stillwater fishing is to fish lakes and ponds in Yellowstone National Park. In this coming June trip, I am planning to fish some underrated waters and overlooked species. I am thinking about to fish for a bit larger brookie, native Yellowstone Cutthroat and Grayling, and infamous Lake Trout in less popular waters. More details would be posted as it gets closer!
Mountains, rivers, trout, wildlife, and any other Mother Nature's offering always sooth my body and heart. I hope some of you out there go out fishing or something outdoorsy and have some fun.


  1. I sent you an email but in case anyone else was wondering...the light-colored bird is a blue heron, and the dark ones are cormorants, I believe.

  2. Hi CJ,
    Is the top one really a blue heron?
    Would you look back my old post on Feb 10th?
    You told me that was the blue heron from Yakima Canyon. But this one looks a bit different....Way much lighter color, I think. But it can be its coloration in spring?
    Cormorants....I think they gulp fish directly into their stomaches......looked like a very patient and adamant fisherman who stood in the same spot all day.....