It started out as one of thoes days that was just too nice to be at work or at home. Seventy plus degrees for the last day of October, in which traditionally it normally snows and is quite cold! I thought that this winter was going to be long and cold, but it seems that 'ol man winter has been on vacation in the Bahamas. It won't be long before he will be knocking at our front doors and we'll all be wishing we had yesterday back. It became very clear to us as we crested the saddle, overlooking Elevenmile Reservior, that today was going to be tough. Real tough! Calm to light wind, bright sushine, and a completly still, glassy surface. A great day to be outside, but questionable for the fishing.
We were rigged and ready to hit the water a little before noon. Today we were on a mission: To find Big Berthas mother. Two weeks ago we found Big Bertha, 41 inches and 23 pounds! It was a fight that won't soon be forgotten. That day we were in the fish, thick. A couple of axe handles, 24 to 26 inchers, and moma Bertha! We figured that the pike would be in the same places as a few weeks ago. We were dead wrong! Last week a strong cold front pushed through and dumped 8 to 10 inches of snow on the mountainous areas, and plungged the nighttime low to minus 9. Pretty cold for a October night. Water temps were in the low 40's yesterday. Where as when we landed Bertha, it was in the mid 50's. Some say that turnover has already occuried, but I am not convinced. The fall season for pike has yet to arrive! Although, they seem to be gaining weight for the winter.
I decided to try out some fins instead of depending on minn kota for the chase. I had never used fins with my pontoon before and I knew that if any wind or chop would arise, then it would be difficult for me to make it back to shore. The fins worked fairly well, I just was not ready for the workout it would requie to last all day kicking around with them. As we worked the same areas that we have had luck at, nothing seemed to aroun, but some rainbows. A few hits here and there, but no freight trains. A couple of smallish trout gave me the impression that the pike were no where near us. Feeling that turnover would be soon, I knew that they would be on the move and hard to find. Just because something is difficult to find, should not mean that we should give up and try for something else. I am a firm believer that each and every pike caught on a fly is something to be enjoyed to the highest level of enthusiasim. Quite a bit of time may pass before another decides to take ones fly, even if one finds them.
After a hour or two in the same general area, it was time to move. We launched at a another place that seemed very "pikey". Lots of underwater boulders and very deep, deep water not too far off. Plenty of small fish hiding out in all the crevices and holes. The water was a few degrees warmer than the cove we had tried earlier. I will have remember this place for summertime pike. After trying every color in my muppet band fly box, luck was not on our side. I was using a full sink line and 15lb mono leader. At 6 feet per second, it sinks like a rock, dragging my oversized fly in the depths of darkness. And unfortunally, into many rocks and boulders. Countless times I thought the fight was on, only to find out I had hooked up with a rock.
It was some time in the late afternoon when the high cirrus clouds began rolling in, the jet contrails started rolling eastward, and the glassy surface became broken. The famous South Park wind was starting to turn on. After kicking around in it for an hour of so, it was time for the fight to end. Mother Nature had won her battle with me, as well as the all to illusive water wolf! I was beat and sunburn, ready for all the scarry trick or treaters that would be beating at my door, begging for candy and asking me to smell their feet. One thing I have learned over the years of fly fishing is that just like the girl you always day dreamed of in school, there will always be the one that got away. That is what makes fishing as special as it is, and keeps you coming back time and time again. Knowing that she is in there somewhere, and sometime we will dance one dance together.
Tight Knots from the Pike Fly Fisherman