Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big brown on a Morrish Mouse

    I was camping at Beaver Creek Valley State Park over the weekend.  I love this park for many reasons including the great fishing. The creek is crystal clear and very cold. The creek in the park literally comes out of the side of a bluff. The aptly named "big spring" makes up about 90% of the water flow and if you are standing in the water anywhere near that spring your feet will likely be numb.  I don't carry a stream thermometer but the water is at least as cold as the Sierra Nevada snow melt streams of my youth.  I started out fishing only one spot the day we got there and got one on a parachute adams but that was it.
From a trip a few years back
Nice fish from a year ago
Caught 5 minutes after the above fish in the same spot
This is the spot I fished the mouse in.  I stood on the bank at the top of the pool on the left.
I caught this nice sized fish a few years back in my favorite spot.
Same as above fish.
The fight with my 3wt with the above fish.  What a battle!

    The next day I checked out some fishing on Beaver Creek outside of the park.  I found a stretch of easement and walked up stream.  I walked right up to a spot that was a lot better than I thought. About 50 fish scattered so I had to come back to that spot.  I fished up stream and got one bit but no fish before heading back to the good spot where I got a nice 14 incher off a bead head prince.  The rocks in the stream were covered with case building caddis.  I pinched a few out of the case and they were bright green.  I didn't really have anything to mimic that so I went with the prince thinking the peacock body was better than nothing.  I made a mental note to tie some caddis larva with green bodies.  I went on to another spot that was wider, warmer, and off color.  I was hopping for a big brown.  I fished a few spots with no luck but while retrieving my nymph something big chased it towards me.  I stopped and let it settle and he turned back to deeper water.  I'm pretty sure that was a big 20" plus brown.  He chased a gray scud and I thought he might want a bugger or some sort of streamer action.  No luck.  I tied on a pink squirrel and while retrieving it after a drift I heard a huge splash. I set the hook and came up empty.  This fish was tormenting me.  I finally tied on a Morish mouse and pulled it across the top of his spot a few times with no luck. 

    What really sucked about that is somewhere in that nettle infested river bank I lost my camera out of my shirt pocket.  I went back to look twice and couldn't find it. 
    Later that day after dinner I went back to one of my favorite spots that is right near the parking area for the park.  I caught one on a dry and with the last rays of light I tied on a nymph.  No luck.  I had been thinking about my Morrish mouse pattern but it was too dark to tie anything on. I decided I needed to at least try my mouse pattern once before the season ended so I walked back to the car and tied it on with the help of the trunk light. 
A little guy with par marks still.  Likely a yearling. 
Yeah, that's the water. Crystal clear. 
Beautiful beaver creek.

    I walked back down to the river and stood at the head of the pool and tried to cast my 3 inch long mouse pattern more than 10 feet.  My first cast was the best, I got it out about 20 feet and started to slowly strip it back in.  I felt a sharp tug, tug and I set the hook, with nothing on the other end.  Was that a fish?  Yeah, that had to have been a fish.  I tossed it out again the fly made a whoosh whoosh sound as it flew over my head.  A 6 wt would have been nice with such a bushy fly.  This time I plopped it down about 10 feet from the bank and just bobbed it in the current with the line pinched in my rod hand.  All of a sudden, in total darkness I heard a huge splash!  I waited just a half second, which is all I could manage with all that excitement and set the hook. Bam! Fish on!   He took off to the other side of the pool taking about 15 feet of line out. Luckily, my leader had been chewed back about 3 feet so I had about 4x instead of 6x where I tied the fly on.  I doubt fish are leader shy in total darkness.  I got the big guy in pretty quick and had a tough time with the net since I could only really hear the fish and could barely see what I was netting.  A head lamp would have been nice.   The fish looked female and was a thin 17 inches maybe.  It was pretty dark and the few pictures I took were pretty bad since I couldn't see through the view finder.  I thought since big browns ate mice in Alaska why not in Minnesota? Now I know for sure.  I had two casts and had two bites.  I only tried that one spot but I will surely try it again in more places, hopefully better prepared than the first time. 
Got him!
Mouse for dinner?
Wow, it was dark.