Saturday May 13, 2006 - Cheesman Canyon
Flows about 53 cfs, water was gin clear.
I fished with Chad and Jason (his neighbor) tonight. We decided to do a late evening trip to Cheesman and try our luck. The flows were really low so we knew we'd be headed for a tough night of fishing. We hiked into the canyon around 5:30pm on a very warm day around 70 degrees. We jumped down into our normal holes (the riffles). I hooked a big brown twice, but he popped off very quickly. I had on another smaller trout, but he got off too. I moved down a bit to the log hole and hooked a nice rainbow and he popped off too. Finally I hooked and landed a 16 inch rainbow - very colorful, pink the whole length of his body. I was hooking fish on the size 20 mercury baettis that Paul gave me and a size 22 killer midge with a gold bead head.
I crossed the river and tried the slow pool right next to the big rocks (the river flows between them). I could see multiple fish - most about 20 inches feeding on nymphs, but they weren't taking anything I was throwing. It started getting pretty dark. I finally went to the end of the pool and started throwing up between the rocks a midge combo - I hooked a fish and when he got right up next to me I had a knot failure at my indicator and EVERYTHING popped off and he was gone. I moved down from there to the hufge rock, but by now it was pitch black and a head lamp in the middle of the river does you no good.
I broke down my fly rod - chatted with Jason as he jumped in another hole and headed down to find Chad. I found Chad standing in the straights area (the very beginning of the Canyon where the water is deep but dead slow) - chucking streamers. I sat down next to him and of course he went on to tell me that he had just landed 5 in a row and they were all hogs. To say the least, he wasn't going to get me to rig back up and try. Then, of course, he lands a fish that was breaching the surface no more than 6 feet in front of me. He showed me the fish - easily 20 inches and as thick as a horse - and I started rigging back up. Jason came down to meet us - he was ready to go home too - then I slammed a fat hog and he was hooked! I caught about a 20 inch rainbow (all the fish we caught on streamers were all fat hogs and 20 inches it seemed).
I have never caught a big fish on a streamer - the slam and the fight are addicting. i think I need to do more night time fishing!! We proceded to fish for the next two hours with only streamers - Chad caught about another 5 or 6 fish, I landed 3 total and Jason had on a nice fish but somehow it got off. I had on another two fish on consecutive casts, but they managed to get off. This new strategy was amazing - basically you chucked an olive streamer (olive was the killer color) out and did foot long strips back and let it sink for 2 seconds in between strips. Of course the night time makes it for a totally different experience because you ahve no idea where your streamer is landing in front or behind you. Also, I had a lot of problems because I'd strip so that my leader was up in side my guides, then I'd cast and basically the line would cast but from my second guide - the leader would be trapped in the first guide. To say the least this was trouble - my flies snagged the top guide and broke off, they snagged the rock behind me and broke off - and I assume all this whipping made the leader weaker so when a fish did hit it - it would break off. Jason was having the exact same problem - I lost at least 10 streamers and he probably lost 5.
The hike out sucked and the drive home did too - I got home at around midnight. But man, that was some of the best fishing I've ever had. Chad told me that the Blue, Pan and Taylor all where good fished at night for hogs. I believe him and can't wait to get the chance.