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Tony Reinhardt tells us about another day on the river…
…Tuesday I fished with long-time anglers, Bill and Joan. They moved their annual float up earlier this year and since neither had ever floated the West Fork we set off to the south this morning to give it a shot. We rigged up with single dry flies and launched on the upper stretch. It took a few runs to get used to the fast flows and tight quarters of the West Fork, but once we worked out the kinks it didn’t take long to find some fish.
Joan was hot in the morning with a number of big slabs to the boat. Bill was connecting with trout too they were noticeably smaller to start before he did find a couple good cutthroat. He also landed a rare brook trout on the dry and had completed a grand slam with a brook, brown, rainbow, and cutthroat before 11 in the morning. Right after lunch it was completely opposite as Bill was raising the better fish while Joan entertained the little guys.
Just before heading into the narrow canyon I switched both anglers from a golden stone to a bigger salmonfly and that’s when the fishing went from good to incredible. The trout were super aggressive in the faster flows of the canyon and it didn’t really matter where we put the fly as long as it was a little slower than the surrounding water. Nice fish were on the hunt as they would smash that big salmonfly in every run and they were all incredibly fat cutts and cuttbows. Our best spot was a little side channel where we doubled up coming into it.
Then Joan picked off a riser and then Bill went to town above the boat while Joan worked on fish below. We had a couple more doubles in there and I think 8 fish total in one little spot. At that point I noticed a lot of smaller Goldens around so we made a fly change and Joan and Bill kept hammering the fish. It was the kind of fishing we all dream about as quality trout were eating our dry flies in every run we fished.
The action started to taper a little around 4 but there were still fish looking up in the right spots. By 5 my anglers were exhausted and I started pushing out, slowing down just enough in one spot for Bill to tag one more chunky cutt. I have no idea how many fish we caught today but it was solid from start to finish. We had a bunch of doubles and a lot of healthy fish from 13-16″, plenty of smaller guys and several thick trout that went 17-19″. I have fished with Bill and Joan for a lot of years and it’s always fun to be able to show them something new. It’s even better when it fishes lights out all day long.