Lance really needed this fish badly.
This hen measured 22 inches from nose to tail if you compress the tail fin. Lance calls it 21.5 inches because he doesn't believe fish really get that big in smaller streams. We've caught some bigger fish, but this one really wowed us. She fought like crazy zig zagging into pockets under boulders and logs but Lance stayed with her running up and down stream not wanting to break her off.
I would have just broken her off from trying to man handle her in. I need to practice the long game with tough fighting fish, but they are so rare that when I hook into them my mind goes blank and I rip the tippet off the fly and lose both the fish and my rig.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Day 4 - We all unanimously decide to leave Wyoming as quickly as possible. The nearest float on the way home was the Green in Utah. Kelly was starting a new job in the Emergency Room in Salt Lake, so he had to bail. Lance and I were left shuttling the raft and gear between the Dam and Little Hole.
The weather had turned it was 40-50s and we were gonna be rained, hailed and snowed upon down the 7 mile float. Fishing was going to be slow. But our biggest problem was that we were getting on the water at about 3pm so we needed to row hard to get out at Little Hole before it was too dark to pack up and find a place to sleep.
I really needed this. A pristine river with crystal clear water and fish everywhere. I even spent a little time at the oars and pulled us into the Little Hole boat ramp like a pro.
Since I spent all winter tying hundreds of dollars worth of streamers. I damn well wanted to fish them. I fished the hell out of my streamer box. They swam great, but I only got a few follows and no committed bites.
We pulled over into a huge eddy with fish taking midges and after a half dozen casts Lance, of all people, put the whole pod down and so we resumed our speedy pace down river.
Most anglers we ran into felt the fishing was slow. I'm sure if we had all day to do the float we would have caught a few. It's one of my goals this year to get the Green really dialed in. My only other float trip was for the Western Rivers Streamer class on the B section and I landed more than a dozen fish over 18 inches but no monsters. Most of my streamer outings have been wading and mostly long days of chucking junk and getting back blank stares.
We had a beautiful float and basically had a nice joy ride down the A section. We both vowed to return with families in tow so our kids can experience a spectacular rafting trip.
Day 5 - we decided to hang around the area and fish some tributary streams and lakes if the ice was off. The lower elevation reservoirs were completely ice free.
This is the day that Lance hooked into the double deuce hen. The best part is that she took a dry fly! A size 16 adams parachute that looked like an air craft carrier compared to the duns and midges on the water.
After catching a bunch of trout on dries and droppers, I switched to small streamers. Little 2 inch mohair leeches and zoo cougars. Mostly these just spooked fish, and when I finally got fish to bite it was either on the dropper egg or they would hit the streamer and then be yanked out of the water. No tug, no drug, no fight. It was more fun to watch them hit the dry and then get a quick fight before releasing them. The really big fish preferred to hit dries over streamers, so I just had to give in and put the streamer box away.
I only had 3 dries in my streamer box - a size 14 CDC and Elk Caddis, a size 16 parachute with a white body, and a size 18 parachute with a purple body.
By the end of the day we had caught more fish than we could count and I only had the Caddis pattern left which they just didn't want.
Day 6 - We wanted to fish some local lakes at ice off but the high elevation roads were still jammed with snow and where you could see the road it was deep red mud. So we headed back to the tributary stream and caught more fish.
It's been said many times and many ways. There's no place like home.