For all those sports history buffs out there, it was spring of 1995 when the rumors began to surface that Michael Jordan had been practicing and contemplating a return. Not that the NBA had shut down for the 17 months he had retired but it just didn’t seem to matter. I don’t remember what I was watching but whatever it was cut away to an “extremely important” news event about the return of MJ to the NBA. The news conference went straight to MJ and with his billion dollar smile he just said “ I’M BACK!!!”. All was good again and life seemed to be pumped back in to the NBA after a 17month hangover.
I have been watching the flows come down the last few weeks and had decided that if the Ark got below 500 I was going to get out there this weekend. I saw on Friday the flows had dropped to 416 and I was ready to go. I picked up a guide trip for Saturday morning and fished for myself this morning. As with Michael, the talk for so many of the local anglers has been about the return of the fishable flows and since the river does not have any true voice, I would like to make a statement for Her…
I’M BACK!!!Signed the Ark
Yep, all is well for the anglers of the Ark. On Saturday it took only a short time to figure out where the fish were feeding and the diet was pretty much just the same as before the flows were at runoff stage. True Blood, RS2, Ninja and the J-bomb were the flies over the last two days. Saturday’s client, Dan is a saltwater guy from Florida and wanted to see what the excitement was with the bows of the Rockies. Dan left with a smile and a few good proof pics of the amazing time the Ark gave him. Dan hooked a few small ones early and when we found where the toads were feeding it was permagrin time. We were seeing the same soft mouth issue that we were dealing with last June where Dan hooked 20 or more but only got six or eight to the net. Dan caught his first ever brown(and then a couple more)and then landed his largest rainbow ever that measured 19 inches. I hooked at least twenty this morning and got about half to the net, with one brown and the biggest at about 17 inches. Yep, I’m such a great guide that I let my clients land bigger fish than myself….
During the short layoff from the run off, Cat and I had been discussing strategies for fishing when the river was fishable again. Being that Cat is a biologist, it seems to her that everything that happens on the river happens for a reason. One of the strategies that Cat thinks I do well at is being able to think like a fish. As I was on the river today I tried to stop and think about what the fish were thinking at this time and this is what I came up with.
I’m hungry, I feel very safe behind these rocks, oh..look at the pretty Golden Retriever, now I’ really hungry, wow..there is a big juicy bug right there , owwww my mouth, run away, run away, run away!! Or something like that.
Okay , maybe they were just feeling sorry for me and took my stuff but with the higher flows there are a few things you want to think about. The fish are very much like us and want the most for the littlest amount of work. The entire river right now is a giant feeding lane so the fish seem to be looking for safety, rest and protection. Next, when walking the bank be careful, from the flows just coming down the banks are really muddy and you need to really watch your step. And last, with summer temps on us, try to hit the water early and late leave the fish alone during the mid day heat. The bugs are more abundant early and late anyway. Winston was sure happy to get back to the water, it has been a month since he has been fishing and he was getting a little tired of watching reruns of our videos. As always, thanks for reading and hope you have a great summer, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…….