Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Ham and Michael Mercurio on the river around mid-morning. Chris Adams was to follow later that afternoon.
The river is so clear it's almost indescribable. It's not uncommon for the river to grow clear in the winter season, but clear like this I've never seen before. When fishing water with such clarity, we no longer can take certain things for granted - such as our movement, the shadow of our rod and line, and particularly the size of flies we select.
Starting out above the crossing Dan and Merc worked the east side while I made a quick trip to Scotty's for a cup of coffee. For about thirty minutes before Merc and Dan arrived I stood on the bank having a nice conversation with Matt Gamble. As we talked the wind kept channeling down the river and it didn't take long for my hands to start feeling the effects and therefore the need for a cup of coffee.
When I caught up with Dan and Merc they had worked up to First Falls. Merc rigged heavy for the current at First Falls and started plucking some bows. Dan was out of sight so I don't know exactly where he was fishing.
I started drifting the seams and picked up about four bows, but it was slow if anything. Before I knew it I couldn't see my buddies and figured they had worked up to Area 6. When I got to a special little pool at 6, there was Dan with a bend in his rod. The fishing had been so tough that Merc pulled a trick out of the hat and both he and Dan has rigged with a worm - a red San Juan... and it was working.
On the way up to 6 there are two pools of trout that could be called frustration trout. Some of these fellows are good size and there is a good number of them. It's the kind of situation that makes a fellow literally manducate - chewing the options that are available. Getting them to eat is another thing. Merc begin what he is better at than anyone I know - drifting and high-sticking in a fashion that he can only do.
After watching for a while, Dan went downstream and begin making upstream casts. I think it was on his second cast he landed a bow. Further casts upstream resulted in more trout trying to eat the worm and a missed hook-set landed the worm high in a tree.
Before leaving Area 6, we met a new face to Blue. Bill Lewis is from Alaska where he guides for Grayling and Kings. He had been to Blue before, but doesn't know the river that well. We talked for fifteen minutes or so about the fishing in Alaska and some of the problems those grand fisheries are seeing and then we left Bill to his day.
Around noon we headed for Ted's Pool to await the arrival of Chris Adams. Unfortunately, our meeting with Chris would never take place. Merc was expecting a text from Chris, but his phone ran out of juice. We know Chris made it because his truck was in the parking lot, but where he went fishing was anyone's guess.
At Ted's Pool, Dan got out on the ledge and soon landed a bow, but the fishing was really slow. I tied on my juju fly - the pink Frenchie. I had tied some Frenchies with ice dubbing, which the original pattern calls for, but to tell you the truth I don't think these will fish as good as the rabbit fur I use - at least they didn't yesterday. The rabbit fur Frenchie started producing right off the bat and before I was through, seven bows had come in the branding.
After Mercurio took a rather nasty and darn cold plunge at Ted's Pool we went to Horseshoe Falls to strip some buggers. I tied on Chris's Bubba Bugger. The Bubba Bugger is a wonderful creation and at Horseshoe Falls it was getting a lot of love bumps. The Bubba Bugger managed a couple of trout and our time on the river was nearing an end. Lots of midge or emerger activity on the river today and that's a hard situation to figure out.
Dan wasn't just thinking about fishing yesterday... he was also thinking about the Blue River Fly Classic 2015 and has donated the first raffle item for the next event. Dan delivered a dandy Cabela's fly rod and reel to go in the raffle bag. I'll be bidding on that sucker.
As I left the river I put a note underneath Chris's windshield wipers telling him that we were sorry for missing connections once again. Knowing Chris however, he was off plucking legions of bows from their watery home.
At the end of the day the official Trout O' Meter showed the slowness of the day... but it was a good day to be on the river with friends.