Friday, April 10, 2009

The Red Zebra Midge Frenzy

I had a few appointments cancel on me for Friday so I decided to take a trip back up to Bear Flats. Since I planned the trip so late nobody was available to tag along with me but that was ok. A little peace and quiet by myself would be nice. I left my house right at 6am and by the time I arrived at Tonto Creek and geared up it was almost 8:30am. The weather was about 42 degrees with expected showers and wind in the evening. I figured I’d fish most of the day and head out when the weather turned bad.

I walked down to the creek and noticed that it looked completely different than it did just 2 weeks ago. The water level was really low, it was crystal clear and there was a layer of moss/algae that covered everything. This made a significant difference in the way I was planning to fish this creek. The long runs and larger pools were no longer there and the fishing spots were a considerable distance from one another.

I rigged up a black bead head pheasant tail with a red zebra midge (see photo) trailing about 8 or 9 inches behind it. I worked my way back to a pool with a good sized waterfall flowing into it. I hooked up two rainbows right off the bat and was feeling pretty good about my start. I then moved up creek about 100 yards and as I was walking next to the creek I saw something move in the water. It was a small rainbow and I thought, what the heck…flip a line out there see what happens. After getting myself into position I started seeing more fish. And then more… and more. With the help of my polarized sunglasses I found a pocket of fish that had probably 30 or 40 in it. So I flip my flies out there and boom! I was catching a fish on probably every other cast. They absolutely loved the red zebra midge. Most of these fish were in the 9 to 12 inch range but I did hook up on one that took me for a ride. It was probably 15 or 16 inches and put up a good fight. But don’t get too excited….I didn’t play the drag right and he got loose. Oh well. Actually I lost a lot of fish in that hole, but caught a lot too.

So after an hour or so of that I got bored reeling in fish after fish. (I know that may sound weird but it was too easy) Anyway, I started working my way up creek but there were few places to fish because of the water levels. So after about 30 or 40 minutes of walking I came to an area that Nate had caught a monster rainbow at 2 weeks ago (see photo on right). I flipped my line out to the same rock he caught his at and the same monster fish jumped at my strike indicator. He actually came out of the water about 4 inches or so. As my line drifted down stream I reloaded and shot at the same spot and boom! He was on. He put up a pretty good fight and I was squealin’ like a 10 year old school girl. But then….I got him to about 2 feet from my net and he took off again eventually coming free from the hook. It was definitely the same fish Nate landed 2 weeks ago. I think we measured it at about 16.5 inches. I was pretty bummed about that scenario as I still am due to catch a huge trout in an AZ creek.

After getting back to reality and saying every curse word I could think of (and made up some new ones!) I decided to move up stream about 20 yards to another pool. I caught 2 small rainbows there and then kept moving back and forth between the two areas in an effort to land that big rainbow that just got away. With another cast to the same area I got a hit and set the hook great. I was hoping this was it. This one put up a nice little fight but after getting him to the net it wasn’t the brut I was hoping. Nice fish though…. it was a brown trout about 13 inches or so. I stayed there for another 15 minutes or so with no luck. The wind was picking up so I decided to start heading back toward the truck just in case a storm came in fast. On the way back I fished a few small runs and ended up catching a few more. With the water being so low and so clear it really made fishing these runs tough.

I made my way back to the honey hole I started at earlier in the day but things went a little different this time. The water was pretty deep on my side of the creek so I couldn't wade and there was also a lot of tree branches and brush along the bank. So standing on the creek bank and leaning over the brush and roll casting was the ticket. Earlier in the day everything went great but for some reason in the afternoon, every time I hooked a fish I would get it almost to the net and then the hook would come off, my rod would fling the flies up in the air and my flies would end up in the tree branches. I retrieved many of them with no problem but I only had two red zebra midges on me and ended up loosing both of them. That was my secret weapon for the day and I was out. I tried many other flies and midges and did catch fish on them but nothing like the response I had with the red zebra midges. Oh well again. I ended up catching about 25 or 30 fish for the day and had another 10 or 15 that I couldn’t get in the net. That’s actually a great day on the creek for me. I just wish someone was there to enjoy it with me. How about you? Maybe next time.


Nate said...

Sounds like a great day, wish I could have been there. Instead I was up on Four Peaks in a snow and wind storm. I think that zebra looks a lot like the pellets they feed those stockers so I am not surprised it was working so well. Sorry to hear you lost the big one, guess it gives you a reason to go back (the 16.5 I landed that you talked about was actually a Rainbow and not a Brown)

ivan mclaws said...

good job steve! its always fun to get on a stream alone every once in a while! glad you were able to get in a good days fishing instead of in the office. that always makes it that much better!

Anonymous said...

Steve, my brother, with all due respect.....not alot of pictures on this and alot of talk????? Sounds like just good 'ol boy fishin stories to me...Are you sure all this happened???? Just giving you a hard time, that's a great story....Oh, why the picture of the cow? I want to hear that story! moooooo!!!