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We had a great time, but the fishing was much tougher than we expected. The other fishermen on the trip were all gear guys, and they moped up throwing big five inch Rapalas into all the pools and runs ahead of us. At the end of the trip, my brother and I vowed that if we were ever invited back we'd bring 8 weights, fast-sinking shooting heads, and a fistful of streamers.
We got the call again this year, and the guy who organizes the trip told my brother there was room for two additional guys, so my brother put the word out to two of his friends, and both of them jumped at the opportunity.
One's a nice enough guy (NEG), but the other I've no real use for (FTG). My brother said it would probably be best if he fished with FTG, so I agreed to share a raft with NEG.
I found out that our oarsman from last year, Jodi, would once again be piloting one of the rafts on this trip, and I remembered that she liked Coors, so I purchased two thirty-packs, hoping that would be enough. (It wasn't.)
We were told that we needed to be on the river early, which meant being packed and ready to go at 3:30 am.
Two and a half hours later we met up with the oarsmen.
The oarsmen had warned us beforehand that the weathermen were predicting a heat wave. They also stressed the importance of proper hydration.
We were told that our river was down at the bottom of this canyon.
There were quite a few people at the put in, but they were all there to paddle. I guess living the life of a galley slave is all the rage these days.
We were there to fish.
For whatever reason I just wasn't in the mood to start chucking streamers - I figured there would be plenty of time for that later - so I hung a Brindle Bug below a bobber, lobbed it out into the river, and asked Jodi to hand me another beer. Within minutes, I was feeling like a fucking Austrian.
Fly fishers occupied two of the three rafts in our group, while the guys in the third raft jumped ahead just like the previous year and threw Rapalas at every run and pool in the river.
Years ago, some gold miners blasted a tunnel through some rock and diverted the river. Rafting through this stretch is always one of the highlights of the trip.
Inside the tunnel.
On the other side.
(To be continued, hopefully, some time next week.)