Walk & Wade Trip Report - Rattlesnake Creek
June 12, 2015
Anglers: Ron, Bart, Regan
Location: Rattlesnake Creek
Well, the forecast for this day was 20 degrees cooler than it has been for the past 5 days, and windy. When you are heading up into the mountains a ways, especially this early in the season, a dramatic change in weather pattern like this can slow the fishing down quite a bit. Plus, in a normal year, Rattlesnake Creek usually doesn't start fishing well until the very end of June at the earliest, and I personally don't start fishing it until the 4th of July. But this is no normal year. Snowpack is low, and the river flow was comparable to mid July. The water was 54 degrees at 9AM, and warmed up to 65 by mid day.
If you don't know about our Walk and Wade Trips, you can check them out here. A quick summary would be: walk up a beautiful creek for a few miles, cast dry flies (and maybe a dropper) at feisty little native trout, get your feet wet, and learn A TON. These little creeks have everything our larger rivers that we guide from a drift boat/raft on, but in a smaller setting.
wildlife (Garter Snake slithering up towards my backpack)
hatches (Green Drake mayfly, about 1PM these started coming off thick!)
riffles and runs
pools, seamlines, and foam
water we pass by (but we still enjoy the hike and view!)
and of course, FISH! (some are small 6 - 8", some are larger 10 - 14", all of them are beautiful)
These trips are a real adventure, and get you back to the basics of fly fishing, which can make you more successful in every fly fishing endeavor that you pursue. Fishing from a drift boat is easier, and harder at the same time. The guide controls the boat so that you don't have to think about positioning yourself to make the perfect cast that will get that fish. We also coach you and tell you where to place the fly. On the other hand, you, as the angler, have to make that perfect cast, and place the fly where we assume will get you the best drift. Plus, from a drift boat, the water is moving, the boat is moving, and things are going by fast. You can often hear us urgently saying "cast downstream", "mend", " a little closer to the bank", "closer to the boat", "pull it to the boat a bit", "mend", "mend"...did I mention "mend"?
The walk 'n wade trips are a lot slower paced and believe it or not you can cast at the same spot again if you miss the first time! It sure is different than casting from a moving boat. One encouragement that I have for you is to get a small creek oriented rod. A lot of us here are using the Redington Butterstick or the Echo Glass. They are fiberglass rods with tons of flex and are both fun and appropriate for small water and small trout. It significantly heightens the angler experience when you tool down a bit for small water.
We fished mostly small attractor dry flies in size #10 or #12 that represented a smaller golden stone. We chose these flies after observing the nymphal shucks dried out on rocks just at the waters edge. When you see these, you know they hatched within the past week or so, and it's a good bet the adults are flying around close to the creek banks. As seen in the picture above, we also observed multiple adult Green Drake mayflies, and quite a few PMD (Pale Morning Dun) mayflies. We saw fish rising to both of these flies, so once we saw the hatch get going we put on a #10 Adult Green Drake pattern, or added a #14 PMD nymph dropper to our Golden Stone Attractors. This really started to up the # of hits on our fly, and the number of fish we brought to hand. Remember, a lot of these fish are small, and they are skittish, so you aren't going to hook every one. It is great practice for getting that reaction time on setting the hook, and most of the time you can see the fish in the super clear water chasing your fly, or rising up to grab it. While they may seem easily fooled at first, you will notice after getting a few fish to eat, or landing a couple fish out of the same hole, they will stop coming back eventually, and that means it's time to move on to the next hole. We had some great shot's at some really good sized fish for this creek. A couple of them in the 10 - 14" range we could see actively feeding, and we were able to get them to eat our flies. But, 1 miss on these larger fish and they are not coming back. So, if you do see a good fish feeding, make sure to take your time and get yourself set up correctly for the best possible drift in their lane, and then BE READY for that rise!