Saturday, August 21, 2010
Creekin Report - Gray Eagle Creek
After a short steep climb out of the town of Graeagle the truck and I came to our parking spot before entering the canyon section of Gray Eagle Creek. I opened the door and this roar came spilling in, it was not the creek, but the wind was going ballistic. NOAA was right on the money today issuing a Red Flag Warning for most of northern California and western Nevada - Breezy with a S/W wind 20-25mph, gust up to 40mph. Cedars and firs swayed in the wind, dropping an arsenal of branches, cones, and needles. I was wise to keep a keen ear and my senses on high alert from falling debris above. I put the hiking soles on my Korkers, loaded up the pack, grabbed the rod, and disappeared into the thick foliage on my mission for wild trout.
Your typical Gray Eagle Creek rainbow - Love those orange fins! The creek is beyond low, just a trickle. The high demands for water in the town of Graeagle, and golf courses take water away from the creek, but the fish are just now more concentrated in the deeper pools. Water temps were at 58 degrees and clear, these trout at least have that, shade, and a decent aquatic bug population. It also appears that this spring was a big water flow and the streambed got a good flushing, many new trees have come down across the creek providing even more habitat.
My "simple sandwich" hopper pattern fooled dozens of fish. Inspired by Jay Fair's simple sandwich - Two slices of white bread, mayo and two slices of American cheese: Simple yet effective. The fish really liked green today even though I never found a green hopper. Puppeteering the fly and twitching it was very important today as well as key placements.
The larger trout were found in the deeper frog water areas below plunge pools with no current, most were tight to a big rock wall in the shade. They took the hopper with such confidence, coming up ever so slowly before sucking it down.
There are Brown trout in Gray Eagle Creek as well, in the next few months browns will be making their way upstream to spawn. These browns turn colors into one strange looking fish, by Halloween it appears they are ready to go to the costume ball. Their backs turn black, body appears more golden, and purple hues come off their cheeks down to the mid body - It's a work of art!
It was great to get out today, deep in a rugged forest canyon dotted with mammoth granite boulders who separate the flows of the creek. There were no caddis fluttering about today, not even a cranefly. Though I was blessed to share the river for twenty minutes with a water ouzel as he hunted for mayfly nymphs. We both fished, sang our songs, and smiled. Simple pleasures abound......