We waded across to carefully look for him. I’d seen the dark colored alligator brown trout in the run just leaving the gorge on another day, but had never had him to the net. The fish was crafty and sitting in a brutal spot for a natural drift of any length. After I confirmed his position I called to the guests, “who’s up?”.
Cammie started to come over and I quickly waded over to grab her hand to lead her across the waist deep slot of medium fast current.
I showed her the fish and we discussed our attack. During our brief strategy session he gave himself away a bit. He slid out from behind the massive boulder and swam downstream in quick water about 12 feet to grab a small banana floating speedily away from him. The banana was either a massive cicada or a yellowing beach leaf but either way he engulfed the object and easily slid back into the eddy behind the rock.
After three casts that fell short enough not to spook him, she shot the line across the emerald green glide and the fish went for broke! Chasing her cicada pattern downstream just as he had the yellow leaf. To her credit she waited long enough for him to eat the fly and begin swimming back to home.
The alligator instantly went deep behind a boulder, rubbing the leader on a submerged rock. Cammie had both hands on the rod and reel and I needed her to move towards the fish. She is very light and wading on the slippery rocks in waist high water wasn’t easy for her, she just couldn’t move fast enough towards the fish!
I grabbed her under her arms and pushed her out toward the fish. We are both in deep water now and it’s not a place to be for long. We coax the fish upstream and away from the submerged hazard and I continue to help/lift her towards “safer” footing.
Down she goes and out my feet go from under me. Rod and reel remain fixed in her hands, reeling and adjusting for the fish just enough. I get my feet and lift her to better footing. The fish has been battling a bit now, but we have more rocks, a down log, and a rapid below to deal with.
I go for a premature net job thinking it’s my best shot before the fish leaves the glide or wraps us on a log or rock. Downstream it’s faster and deeper, and while I love my net it’s not lightening fast scooping fish when your more than waist deep in fast flowing water. After my first failed attempt I finally get a break when the alligator comes towards the surface enough to be gobbled up by the “purse seiner”.
Success! A serious circus show but managed in the end.
The second half of our Cedar Lodge season is well under way and fishing has been very good. Despite two tough days of weather in the late teens of January fish have been pretty dialed to large cicada patterns. It’s hard to beat the upstream dry fly take of a 4-5lbs brown or rainbow trout. Fish are so convinced that your cicada imitation is the real thing that they engulf your imitation entirely with wide-open jaws pushing through the surface. Fish move “miles”, 6-12 feet to take these easy to see ridiculously large patterns.
Casting practice on the lawn.
Dropped off and getting ready to go.
Post fishing nibbles.
Giant Dragon Fly