Things nobody really cares about but I'll comment on them anyway

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A little fishing a little bushwacking

I met Jeff Tuesday morning to check out Upper Creek near the Linville Gorge. He had fished the upper section just downstream of the lower falls by himself a couple of weeks ago when I had to bail on him last minute due to some home project chores. He said that he was fishing near a church-bus group that was raising quite a ruckus and had heard about a trail to a lower section a mile or so downstream. We both planned on just a half day outing but ambitiously thought we could fish the whole section all the way to the falls and so we ran the shuttle and jumped off at about 8 a.m. on the trail to the lower section.

As you can see the scenery was incredible. We were deep in an isolated gorge for the entire time. The water was cool but felt good wet wading. It was a seemingly endless display of small runs and riffles with a nice smattering of big pools every three or four hundred yards. We started catching fish right away on bushy dries. Most of the sections gave you one or if lucky two shots at a fish. They would strike on the first or second cast and might even chase a second presentation but let's just say that we missed alot of fish.

But about an hour in Jeff cracked the code with his freakishly large and gawdy cicadia pattern. His first cast into a decent sized run brought at least three or four fish out of hiding at the same time all trying to kill this thing. A few casts and missed strikes later he pulled out this beautiful brown. I quickly tied on a chernoble ant and we were on terrestrials for the remainder of the day.

Even the fishing spiders had figured out that this was the place to be

The day was beautiful. The stream a dream and we made slow progress up stream as each run and pool contained many fish to tempt us. A few hours in we decided to attempt to make more headway stopping only at the most tempting pools and runs. The wading was great although the rocks were slicker than snot. I had on my wading boots with studs and felt while Jeff had a decidedly difficult time wading in his Keen sandles.

We were still catching and landing little browns and brookies from three up to 8 inches. We missed some nicer browns but pushed on. The shots below were the last two fish I caught for the day in the same hole. I had been having trouble with the calm water pools. I kept spooking the holes on my first cast and then chasing fish up to the head of the pour in unable to entice them. In this last hole I was able to set up my cast by first casting downstream getting the right amount of line out and casting up to the head of the pool on the first go. The reward was a twelve inch rainbow. The shot below with my hands outstretched has the fish actually in the water in front of me after I dropped him while Jeff was setting up the shot. So I turned back to the hole and did it again and on the second cast caught the smaller rainbow in the picture below. I tried for the hat-trick but it wasn't meant to be.

Shortly after these shots we made a much more urgent attempt to move upstream. As pretty and inviting as the stream was wet wading was not a very efficient mode of travel when trying to cover some ground. Not to mention the very slick rocks we were moving over were constantly threatening to twist and sprain ankles. Finally Jeff found a small trail that paralleled the stream with some flagging tape and we immediately started making good progress. But almost as soon as we started moving we lost the trail and then ended up in the second part of our adventure. The Upper Creek Death Bushwack. The next few hours had us battling our way through rodo thickets and steep slopes. Mind you we were also hiking with fully strung rods. After two hours we finally gave up and broke down the rods to make the incessant rodo groveling a little more manageable. By the time we reached Jeff's car my shirt was completely soaked with sweat and I was definitely toast. We had originally planned on a half day outing figuring we could get out by 1 at the latest. We reached Jeff's car at a little past three. A nice little adventure to end my official summer on and a must do albeit with some slight alterations.

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