With the drought now into its third year in CA and getting worse, all of my recent trips have been too depressing for a TR. Even in the early season I was finding slow and sluggish streams and very spooky fish hiding in the few pools that remain. The small streams are looking grim and will only get worse, so I finally hooked up with a couple of old friends to hit some areas that still have decent flows. First stop was an area that has been flooded with irrigation water to get it ready for grazing later in the summer. No cows yet, but plenty of wild iris.
The fishing was slow, though I was finally able to entice a few of the smaller specimens to take a #20 x-caddis.
The next day we headed up and deeper into a wilderness area to get to a small river that is still flowing pretty well, but will probably be too low by mid-summer. First view of the river and the flows still look fine. The second shot of my friend in the river is the kind of pocket water fishing that I dream about all winter long.
The wild fish up here at elevation aren’t huge, but they fight like crazy and are beautiful to behold.
After my previous few trips I can’t help but marvel at how much water there still is here, and the number of decent fish that are throughout the whole system.
Around every corner is another stretch of river that is more gorgeous than the last with pools that are a delight to fish. It’s a reverie to be away from the path and on the river – we haven’t seen a soul all day, and have heard just the sounds of the water and the wind in the trees.
If there is a downside it’s the fact that with the flows so relatively high we keep running into areas where the canyon closes in making the water too deep or fast to wade and we are forced up into the cliffs to climb around until we can get back down again. I can’t help but remember that when I was younger this would just be a mild annoyance, but age and beer have made these ups and downs more noticeable as the day wears on. At one stretch we just keep getting forced higher and higher by cliff bands and brush as we climb some sections and then follow sketchy game trails through loose pumice sand to the next part. At one point I turn and take a picture looking back down. Wish I had wings.
We fished some more until we made it back to the trailhead. The fishing and the scenery and the whole day had been great, but the cold beer waiting in the cooler at the end (Hop Stoopid) might have been the best tasting beer I ever had.
The next day we hit a favorite tailwater on the way home. It was lower in elevation and hotter - we had gone from granite and evergreens to sagebrush and reeds, but there is still something relaxing about a few hours of fishing then a cold beer and a snadwich at the car.
It’s getting harder to do those all day trips in the mountains, but you gotta keep moving or else. At least it’s easier than a dragonfly flying to the moon. Back to the treadmill until the next trip.