Yep, we’re still running off. The Stillwater is hovering around 5,000 cfs as I write this, and that’s a whole bunch of water. None-the-less, I’ve been floating and fishing and catching more than a few nice fish. The other day, when the water was up and moving, it took about 4 hours to float from Cliff Swallow to Johnson’s Bridge, and we even took a break for lunch. That’s both hoot’n and scoot’n. Usually, it takes about twice that long to make the 8 mile journey …. lots of white water over the bow and in the boat. But it was about ninety degrees so the refreshing cool off was most welcome. All those white water enthusiast we encountered must of thought we were nuts fishing the white foamy water edges. On more than one occasion, my buddy and I accused each other of bass fishing since we were essentially fishing the brushy structure along the shore. But given the height, depth and velocity of the Stillwater currently, you’re not going to catch anything in the mid-river rock buckets, so the edges are the place to be. All the fish have essentially been glued to the shore and in less than three feet of water. And once you hook a good fish and it takes off running up stream into the rage of current, boy howdy, it’s game on then.
I anticipate that we should soon see a ramping down of our local waters. Much of the snow pack is gone and the air temps are suppose to cool off into the mid to upper 70’s. Thing are good and only getting better.
And now for a moment of self discovery. As we were floating the upper the other day, I happened to look up at the right time and saw some sort of large insect flying across the river. Well that’s not usual. I only got a fleeting glance at the UFO but told my buddy “that sure looked like a salmon fly, but it can’t be, we don’t have them on the Stillwater.” Truth be told, I’ve heard folks mention on a time or two that they have seen salmon flies on the Stillwater. However, most of those folks at the time of testimony were either well lubricated with liquid merriment or on their way. In 40 plus years of fishing the hell out of the Stillwater, I had never seen a verified salmon fly (Pteronarcys californica).
As we continued down the bank, my errant cast (remember, we were fishing in the bushes) results in a break off of the non-fishy variety. Thus we pull over to re-rig. As we near the far bank, Rand says “look up, I think that’s a salmon fly.” To which I say …. “Get your butt out of the boat and into those bushes and see if we can find the thing.” Which he does and …. we are both shocked. It’s a honest to goodness salmon fly. And because I tell folks that if you don’t have photo documentation, it didn’t happen, I gently place the big devil in one of my fly boxes and take it home for show and tell and photographic evidence. Pictures attached.
And that’s what fly fishing is all about kids, old dogs and new trick. If you don’t learn something or experience something new, your likely not paying attention.