Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trip report - Big-T at mouth of canyon

I fished the Big-T at the canyon mouth the past 2 Saturdays.  I had time only for a brief 2-3 hour session, so I stayed close to home and gave this often overlooked water some time.  Quite a bit of the lower Big-T near the canyon mouth is quite channeled by the elevated road and not ideal habitat but there are some nice riffles, runs and some pocket water worth spending some time - particularly if you don't have time to drive up higher.  The water is noticeably higher and stained, especially from the rains we've been having.  Flows are still in the range where the river is quite fishable.  I'm more concerned about water clarity and whether the flows have been stable for at least 48 hours than I am about the actual flow rate, which was in the low 200's cfs.  Not great but not bad either.  Just need to wade carefully and THIS TIME I left the just-replaced iPhone4 (see my previous post) in the truck and brought my Olympus stylus tough waterproof camera for any pictures (which I didn't end up taking).

Both days I fished the same general area in the lower canyon and tried different technique and flies but found the same approach worked best both times.  The winning combination was a heavily weighted stonefly with a #18 Taks Go2 Prince trailed 12" behind.  I was using some tungsten putty for additional weight to keep the flies right along the bottom.  If you haven't tried tungsten putty yet, you're missing out.  Leave those lead splitshot at home and convert to putty - you'll never go back.  Because I was hugging the bottom, I was getting consistent hook-ups but I was also snagging frequently.  I love to fish stoneflies in fast water and have 4 that I love because they consistently work:

Tungsten 20 incher
Taks stone
Barrs tungstone
Penningtons D-rib Golden Stone

On both of these days the D-rib Golden Stone was THE ticket.  Even though I caught most of the fish on the Go2 Prince, I did catch 3 on the stone and when I had the other stone flies on I caught nothing.  Weird.

The D-rib golden stone was created by Carl Pennington.  It's fun to tie, makes inventive use of d-rib and pens to create the mottled coloration of golden stone fly nymphs.  Juan Ramirez has nice video tutorial on tying this nymph here:

and Mr. Pennington has a great tutorial and recipe on his site.

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