Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Early Season Fishing at Nelson's

Great thing to live in Livingston, in return of brutal winds, is only 10 minutes driving to any spring creeks and I can keep a tab on weather forecast so in the worst case I can cancel my reservation on that morning and book again in a day or two!! I had booked for today at Nelson's on Sunday as at that moment Tuesday weather would be calm, cloudy, slightly wet, and no wind. It was true this morning except for winds around my house....well, it still seemed sky would stay that way all day and I'd better manage a day with winds any time here in Livingston so I made a go. Only 7.5 miles away from my house and crossing Carter Bridge to east side of the Stone, there was NO WIND at Nelson's Ranch!!!! I also heard good baetis hatch report directly from Jacquie, so my expectation went high and I started to get shakey with the excitement how the day would be........... Cloudy and constant rain at creeks here in Paradise Valley? The best go-to is...... My day-opener was a respectable 18-inch brown!! I could have head home and done for the day........ What's in your mouth, fella? I don't have to show the fly again, do I?
I had one little rainbow and a few more bites on sculpin in the morning and that was all. My imaginary theory to this is ironic to what I was expecting. If midge and baetis hatches would do happen in the afternoon (it did!!!!), most likely trout were keying on nymphs or larvas in the morning. But then I observed water was still low at this time of the year. Hence cruising trout were pretty much none and visible trout in every good looking spot were so spooky. It was no fun at all to do nymphing at least for me.

So I had lunch 11:30am and ate slowly (which is not my usual style!!) and set up my dry-rig for the afternoon. At this point, rain almost all stopped and even the sun started to come out every now and then. When I walked up to the flats at 12:30pm, midges were hatching but rises were not so excitingly strong. Then again with this low and glassy water, it was tough to get close to casting distance or position. I explored to the upper limit of the creek. From my previous experience in this short run, I recalled upper section can be good as in the middle flats. I was right. Now spring baetis was hatching and trout just started to rise.

My favorite was ICU Baetis,

and Improved Sparkle Dun. Size 20 or 22.

I caught two these little ones.

But before these two, I got hooked into two larger ones. Here's a proof. I didn't set the hook so hard by applying slip-strikes so I don't break 6X tippet. I set the hook right but they were gone by opening the gaps of my size 22 baetis flies....... They could have been 17-18" class.

Some of you could read my palm for my luck for fishing or anything about life?

Insect hatches and surface actions pretty much ended by 2:30pm as the sun started to show more often. I tried to cast some nymphs with indicator and midge dry-flies for very sporadic risers. It was just slow. The sun and clouds were taking the top of each other so I decided to stay late. Just waiting for the one more & last chance with sculpin. Meanwhile, I saw a cute fawn on the other side.

With my very last effort, I landed a nice fat rainbow......

My camera was wise enough to cut my head off for grip-&-grin!!

To summarize the day, it was not an easy day. Water level was low as aquatic weed has just barely started growing at this time of the year. This makes trout very spooky or just hide and stay very bottom. Yet I experienced a fair weather all day and managed several trout by any means available and thinkable. I can give myself 3.5 stars out of 5 during the baetis hatch as I am getting better and learning more for this hatch every season in both spring and fall.

Nelson's is just about 1/2 mile run and good looking spots are so obvious. And trout are always there and that makes them spooky!! But this short distance keeps me fishing with different tactics at each spot all day. If it works, it's good! If it doesn't work, go next spot or change your tactics. If you get tired, go back to your car, grab a Gatorade, sit on the bench, and refresh.

I might head out one more before the rate goes up......

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