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Old 06-10-18, 08:06 AM   #1
splatek16
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Default Shiner Saturday

Was very indecisive today. Had plans to hit the headwaters of one of my favorite creeks, but getting in (and out) seems sketch (others agree). Add to that the reports of 'rattlesnake territory' and I didn't want to go alone. Instead, I hit a watershed, a few creeks up north that have been on my radar, because they meet many of the requirements to hold good populations of wild trout - higher elevation, colder water, etc - and expected to have a pretty stellar day. Each stream was very small, but flowing with water. Again, this raised my hopes high. Actually, the first stream was a good sized creek, with room to cast, about 20 feet wide in some sections, deeper runs and longer riffles, and a few very deep holes. The theme of the day was shiners, or creek chubs, or whatever you want to call them, but NOT trouts. I caught 2-3 rainbows out of this first stream and that was the end of the trout catching for the day. And those trout looked rough, not beautiful like many of the wild trout we catch. The water was cold so I am not sure what was happening here.



I sorta knew after fishing what looked like a stream as big as Smith creek and only getting into a few it was going to be a long day, so I resolved to simply be in nature. In fact, I was in a proper wilderness. I don't think I saw another human the entire day. That's just the way I like it. The only way this day could've gotten better is if I was with my favorite human: Spencer, but this was too wild for him and he was with his momma. I did see a bear, not far from me (~half a football field), but he wanted about as much to do with me as I did with him and scurried up a hill. I also saw VERY fresh coyote prints in some mud by the creek on my way out of one of the small streams. This only worried me because my GF had told me about a fella that had been attacked by a rabies infected coyote and on the way up I saw 2-3 "Positive Rabies Alert" signs. It wouldn't be the first time I started that series of shots... not fun!

The rest of the creeks I fished were a fraction of the size of that first one. Two were able to be stepped over. One had in stream structure that you would see on a No. GA speck stream, but it was OLD! Really old. Rotted out, etc, but still made good runs and plunge pools. But, I didn't find a single trout in any of them and not for a lack of trying. I dry-dropped, nymphed, even used the Dylar-recommended rubber legs fished deep, I fished only a dry; I skittered the dry, I mean I tried EVERYTHING! All I could catch were shiners and chubs. And tons of them! It's been my experience that what the shiners are attacking will be eaten by the trouts too. It's almost like they are letting you know, a gauge, that's buggy enough. And shiners will attack the same fly, over and over and over again. They are like the Bluegill of the streams! At any rate, they sure were pretty and this one was the prettiest. I think it's called a warpaint shiner, but I'm sure someone else knows for sure.



All in all, I think I fished 6 streams covering several miles along stream beds and in the forest. There were remnants of trails on two of them and the others I just bushwhacked myself as deep as I could go (in honesty, I think I stopped on the last few streams, because I just wasn't catching anything). On one, I went in very far and the substrate on this stream was strange, not like other small trout streams. Lot's of bedrock, slides, instead of gravel and river stone.

For all that work, I got 2-3 trouts, that in all honesty looked rough; and two handfuls of shiners/chubs. And it was completely worth it. The wilderness was quiet. No hikers. No humans. No hearing automobiles or motorcycles from the trail. On many of the streams it looked like they hadn't seen another human for a very very long time. At one point I found myself in a clearing - looked like old growth timber with very little ground vegetation and I just sat on a boulder. You could hear the confluence of two streams, tumbling down a series of rocks making that "stream sound." Saw about 4 hawks; maybe it was the same hawk 4 times, while sitting there. It was also during this down time, that I realized I was about 20 feet from a rattlesnake. I think it was an Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, but I wasn't about to go do a species check. And much like the bear, he found about as much interest in bothering me as I had in bothering him. Didn't even really rattle up. Just slithered away.

I really would've loved to catch 100 trout on these streams and I would've loved more to find some brook trout above the various falls and plunges, but that was not what this day was to become. Sometimes, you have to gamble on a few streams and find out that there aren't large populations of fish so that it gets off your mind. This day was a great day in the wilderness.
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Old 06-10-18, 11:40 AM   #2
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Beautiful report and pictures. Regarding the need to deal with what the world gives you I am reminded of Robert Kegan's phrase that we must "yield to the motion of life." Sounds like it was a perfect day to try that out.
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Old 06-11-18, 10:14 AM   #3
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Glad to hear you found the wilderness' silver linings ... it almost always offers something in return for depriving you of trout. Wherever you were sounds wonderful and wild and lonely. I read a book a few years ago called The Ultra Mindset and days like this (of which I have had so very many) remind me of the first lesson: Its All Good Training.

After reading this, I dug out an entry from my fishing journal that's almost three years old, that was eerily similar to what you wrote... a creek that used to hold specks, above a huge falls, a long 4.5mi hike, half on trails and half bushwhacking down ridiculous loose-rocked grades ... only to discover the big drought must have killed all the specks because there was nothing but chubs above the falls. Walked all the way to the edge of the falls, 2mi from anyone and anything, and ate peanut butter with my legs dangling over a gorge.

I will bet you Kyle's next paycheck that this water you tracked (and it sounds wild and large, wherever it was - it conjures up images of a place I went last year that actually had a bunch of brookies in the water) had specks before the drought(s). Anything.
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Old 06-11-18, 04:34 PM   #4
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It's interesting Splatek. You know that there is a natural tide. Thebebbbandnflownof all things in the natural. Species end. Others begin. Disease wipes out. Opportunity brings back. Ecologies change as weather and chemistries change. Some streams just do change with time. Sometimes, populations are lost. Death js a part of the cycle. But maybe in 10,000, specks might back in that creek crce again. I've seen some streams lose populations. Some brought back. Sometimes it's just like that. You could have a great speck in a creek on one side of the road, and the other creek across the road might not have a single fish in it. Sometimes only Mother Nature knows why . It's always fun playing that game of chess.

Sometimes you are zero. Sometimes you ate hero. Sometimes you get the bull, and sometimes you get the horns.
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Old 06-12-18, 07:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer Kyle View Post
It's interesting Splatek. You know that there is a natural tide. Thebebbbandnflownof all things in the natural. Species end. Others begin. Disease wipes out. Opportunity brings back. Ecologies change as weather and chemistries change. Some streams just do change with time. Sometimes, populations are lost. Death js a part of the cycle. But maybe in 10,000, specks might back in that creek crce again. I've seen some streams lose populations. Some brought back. Sometimes it's just like that. You could have a great speck in a creek on one side of the road, and the other creek across the road might not have a single fish in it. Sometimes only Mother Nature knows why . It's always fun playing that game of chess.



Sometimes you are zero. Sometimes you ate hero. Sometimes you get the bull, and sometimes you get the horns.


Kyle, well said. I'm just glad I got/get the chance to sirens the better part of a Saturday exploring the wilderness. Finding out there aren't fish there allows me to refine my search on different streams. I had never fished these streams before so had no idea if game fish were there or not, everything just looked really ripe, but it wasn't meant to be. Like you said ecologies change at nature's whim. Mother nature... She's the boss; we are all just askingt for the ride.


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