Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shasta National Forest; Follies, Fawns, Fish, and Fun

Blacktail fawn

I write to you from the campfire….

DAMN!  Technology is cool.  I mean, really, I am violating one of my cardinal rules here by bringing a computer camping, but I couldn’t resist doing it just once.  Plus, I’m by myself, I’ve been staring at the fire and drinking for a little while, I figure, it’s okay.  The screen is blinding though, so I shall keep this section short.

Made it out to fish for some McCloud river redbands today.  Salmo Shasta  is a one of eleven native  trout species  (heritage trout) found in California.  California is home to eleven distinct and, at one point in time, geographically isolated populations of trout.  Should one catch six of the eleven species, said person will have completed the Heritage Trout Challenge.  My goal this year is to complete the challenge.  Thus far I have caught the redband, Coastal Cutthroat, and Steelhead.  I figure it’s a pretty realistic goal to accomplish, though finding the pure strains of some of these trout in their native waters will prove to be little sagas all their own. 
The McCloud River

Anyway, more on that later.  The sound of the river down below me is pretty entrancing, so I bid you all adieu, good morrow, the clickity clicking of these keys is kinda ruining it for me.


You know, I had the toughest time trying to decide how many periods to put right there.  That is how utterly uninspired I feel to write at this juncture.  And the most obnoxious symbol on the keyboard goes to….I got lost here… Oh yeah!  So there I was:

I spent the rest of my night trying to wedge the dog off the bed and get comfortable in the back of my truck.  Yes, no grand tales of stargazing and getting lost in the night wilderness.  Fitful sleep on a poorly made bed for me!  I guess I’m just a sucker for that exhausted, achy feeling after a good hard overnighter camping trip.  Woke up bright and early and started up my little fire to thaw my skinny, thin blooded butt out, rigged up my boiling pot, ground my coffee, and proceeded to sit and bask in the majesty of the morning.  Having had my coffee and stretched my legs a bit, I proceeded to follow Billie’s example by walking around, sniffing the bushes, and marking my territory.  I tell ya, it was like a scene right outta one of them there fly fishin’ movies with Brad Pitt.  You know, that ONE movie that entirely defines fly fishing, and the very essence of shadow-casting…(insert muffled guffaw here).

So I’m down in the canyon.  I’ve done a little brush-busting to get where I’m at, at least a half river mile downstream from where I had always stopped in previous years.  New water.  I’m casting a pretty clumsy rig consisting of a foam grasshopper fly tied 3 feet above a weighted nymph with another 18 inches of tippet to another nymph.  3 points of weight and wind resistance= clumsy rig.  Then it happens… You know that feeling when you get hit by lightning 2 days after having someone tell you, ”SHYEAH! Call me when that happens.”   BOOM, Brett!  BOOM!  I see a flash on my lower nymph, and at the exact second I go to set the hook, ANOTHER fish slips up and sips that hopper you’ve got on.   Needless to say, I was in shock, because this NEVER HAPPENS!!  Not that I’ve heard of anyway.   Two Trout One Drift.  I only wish I was more diligent with my GoPro, because that might just have been the nastiest bit of fish porn on the web!  I mean, we’re talking 500 hits here! 

Pure strain McCloud River Redband
But, seriously, amazed the Bjeezus out of me!  Sorry to say I did not land them both.  The little guy shook off, as I had no way to keep tension on them both with such light line.  I did land the bigger one that sipped the hopper, though.

The rest of my trip went well.  Got great gas mileage, stopped and fished some new water on the Upper Sacramento River, saw tons of nice fish, and nearly had to take out a deer with a rock…Wait a minute…Deer, rock….Oh yes, I’m getting there!

So I’m teabag deep in the river stalking some rising fish about 20 yards from the bank and I hear Billie barking.  She’s chasing a deer through the brush, no big deal, she had already chased one out a little before, an event that ended in she sees me and comes to a screeching halt.  About face, into the river downstream.

The one that ran away
Something’s different though.  Both the dog and the deer are headed my way through the wall of blackberries and brush, and the dog is in the lead…Billie comes bursting out of the brush about 5 feet out into the water and hot on her heels is a red-hot pissed off doe.  I mean, this B*&#$ was in STOMP mode, HULK ANGRY, SMAAAAAAAAAAASH mode!  So she’s trying to make Billie a new part of the riverbed and I don’t know whether to laugh, help, take a picture, or piss myself.  I start heading that way and Billie gives her the slip and starts muskratting her wait in a beeline for me.  The doe gives up pursuit for the moment and Billie and my fly line proceed to swim circles all around me.  So I grab the dog and haul her up to the nearest rock, all the while lecturing Billie about the dangers of messin’ with momma and otherwise pissing me off on a perfectly relaxing day of fishing.  Fast forward to 30 minutes and 200 yards of river later and Billie is back on the bank, not willing to venture very far from the water’s edge any more.  I hear scree (a loose accumulation of rocky debris on a slope or cliff) sliding, then blackberry bushes crashing, and the general “HEY! THIS AIN’T GOOD” feeling comes upon me.  Billie must have had that feeling too, because she was already in the water and headed my way, but she only got a foot out when that deer busts out stomping.  I already had a softball sized rock in hand and hucked it right at that screaming mad mother.  I guess a rock that big right behind the shoulder will snap you out of any craze, because she looked up all sorts of apologetic like and hopped right back into that thicket.  I kinda felt bad, but I kinda knew where she was coming from with the whole protectiveness thing.  Thus the reason I did NOT throw the rock as hard as I could and she was able to walk away bewildered, but otherwise unharmed.  Just in case anyone was wondering.

So, now I’m back en la casa, back at work, and awaiting the next ramble.

Stay shiddy kids!

1 comment:

  1. You better keep a closer eye on my bill-bill! Love you sug!