Friday, January 23, 2009
Days one through three on the water, 2009
Old Zephyr got pushed back.
Tara and I spent the last few days with new friends Corey and Bryan fishing the high country. Two days on the Ferry and then finishing up our extended weekend fish-o-thon at a meadow stream somewhere north of the border. Despite my, salao, as Hemingway would have put it, the bad luck didn't derail our merry-bunch from having a fantastic start to the 2009 season. We met an array of challenges square in the face, which I won't go into detail about, because they were mostly deficiencies on my part.
Day Numero Uno: Getting lost on the way to the Walk In
We hit a tiny detour on the way to the Ferry, for some reason I thought folks would like to visit every reservation in our state. Note-to-self for next time, "Skip Hopi Arizona." Arriving midday at the Walk-In, our out-of-towners got their first taste of fishing in the Grand.
pictured below left(Nice Walk In Bow)
Day closed quickly, with only few fish brought to hand. It's hard to imagine what this place was like back in her hay-day. Stories of the past, shall stay in the past. At least that is what I set my mind to as the light faded below the canyon walls. Looking back over my shoulder as we headed to the car and off to the hotel for the night, I gave up a final thought whispering into the wind. We will see you soon, the morning will come quickly.
Hitting the local eatery, and then the rack we called it a night. I didn't sleep much, a combination of feeling I failed my new friends with too few fish and in anxious anticipation of the next day's fishing. My final thoughts as I drifted off to sleep where, How can I make it better for them tomorrow?
Day Numero Dos: Up River
Day two came quick, little sleep and big expectations we rented a boat from Wendy and headed up into the belly of hte beast. Every time I make my way to the dam, the sheer audacity of red-rock cliffs standing sentry thousands of feet tall, humble me. From the bottom looking up, it's deceiving how truly high up the rock-faced canyon walls reach. Not until you reach the bridge just before the Glen Canyon Dam, do you get the scale of things. As a semi-tractor rolled across the narrow connection between the canyon walls I heard Corey exhale, "Woo!"
The fishing is technical-nypmhing: Seven(x) and tiny bugs. Despite the challenging nature up river, it can be quite rewarding. A coalesce of scenery, solitude, and brightly colored rainbows makes this a destination, that every angler should see before they take off their waders, that one last time.
Day Numero Tres: Gold in the Meadows
Bryan landed this really nice hen-bow, while fishing the meadow stream. Hard to believe the desert can hold such large fish, especially in tiny water. The short story is Bryan was working a pod of hungry slurpers while I tried to get a shot of the fish breaking the surface to feed from a close up bank. A ruckuss upstream, which I thought was a duck, drew our attention immediatly. Both Bryan and I went up to scout out the commotion. Behind a reeded rut, lay an indentation two-plus feet deep. In that rut, lay a hen we would soon find out was twenty-seven inches long, and girthing out at just under seventeen around- A big Bow.
I don't know if it was Bryan's first or second cast, she ate on, but I do know it was a dry midge cluster she fell to. To top off the adventure, Bryan landed this bruiser on seven(x). A finer display of fish-sticking-skill, I've never seen.
When it was all said and done, the lenses put away, the fish released safely to fight another day, the four of us just stood around grinning, not really believing what had just happened. It was a moment that will be forever burned into memory.
This little stream held another ace up her sleeve, Arizona Gold: the Apache Trout. Indigenous to Arizona, the Apache is her state fish. Brightly lit, golden in the sun speckled with dozens of tiny black spots, a prettier trout, I have not caught. Pictured Apache is an average specimen, twelve inches give or take a scale or two. Apache's are like what men hope women think, it's not about the size, but the spunk.
In the end we all caught fish, some more special than others. In reflection, the embedded photos an attempt at capturing some of those highlighted moments from behind the lens.
For more shots on our trip see the slideshow: First days on the Water in 09.