Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Right Under My Nose

My small stream adventure last week only served to whet my appetite. I love to explore new water, and while I can't always travel to big name rivers there seems to be an endless supply of little creeks nearer to home to check out. The night before, I looked at a map and selected two likely streams that I had never fished before. They were both close to home, and close to each other.

The first creek was really a pretty stream...flowing through relatively flat and open terrain. There was plenty of instream structure and undercut banks for the fish to hide in. The day began well, as my first cast quickly brought a rainbow to the surface. I continued up the creek for about a mile, until it entered some heavy timber. Along the way I probably picked up dozen rainbows to 8 inches, and one cut-bow hybrid that was pushing 10". As I walked back towards my car, I wondered how I could have missed fishing this creek that was in my home area. Here it was, the middle of summer in the very busy Gallatin Canyon and I was fishing a meadow stretch of water with not another soul around. Perfect...I'm sure you'll understand if I don't name the creek.

The next stream really surprised me. As I worked my way down the canyon to the water, I could readily see that this was a larger creek. The volume of water was substantial and what's more, I could see some glittering blue pools mixed in. The next even bigger surprise was the fish. Not only was it loaded with eager fish, but they were westslope cutts of a decent size! How could this be? This creek has no barrier falls and links up with larger waters full of rainbows. I continued fishing and I did end up catching a couple of rainbows (one fairly large) which showed that these cutts are probably hybridized to some degree. After returning home, and doing some research, I came across some genetic tests they did on the creek, showing that the cutts are 90-99% pure. Not bad, it would seem like this stream would be a good candidate for constructing a barrier somewhere downstream. One of the fish I caught looked to me like a pure cutt, at least the best I have ever seen in the area. I can't wait to get back and explore more of this water. As I put my rod away, I realized I had survived fishing two streams and still had on the same fly that I began with. Sometimes I impress myself.

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