Time: 8:00am - 12:30pm
Mystery Creek was more crowded than I have seen it in the past. Chad and I put in just after two other fly fishers. Add to that the numerous bait and spin fellows, and you've got quite that party on the small upper section of stream. All totaled, I think I saw 8 other fisherman. That's 5 more than I'd seen all of last year.
When Chad and I arrived, two other fellows were gearing up in the parking area. We decided to fish the upper section of stream because this time of year, the spillway just below us is often open. True to form, as we were gearing up a fellow walked into a service house and opened up the flood gates.
We were fortunate and when we crested the small rock pile leading to the stream, the stream was uncluttered with folks. I can't say the same for the 3 spin fishers that crested the same small mound after us. There Chad and I were kneeling along the stream, camouflaged by the brush. Just as the spin fisher was about to cast I'd let out a loud "how's it going?" As etiquette demands, they moved on.
Chad fished the better water up front while I fished the water that we had just waded through. The run is a good one but because of circumstance, one is usually forced to wade through the bottom portion. In theory, this should render the lower portion unproductive. It didn't, while I waited for Chad to move up, with me behind him, I decided to kill time by fishing the lower section. I didn't expect to hook fish but did and thus harvested my first fish of the season.
"Harvest" is PC talk for "I killed the bum and I'm pretty happy about it." Between the two of us, Chad and I could legally "harvest" 10 fish today. I didn't particularly feel in a harvesting mood but Chad was eager for some BBQ fish. I figured 5 fish between the two of us should be more than enough and since we were so far fishless, I offered up my second fish to the BBQ.
Fishing on the creek was slow. The fish were there; but, the stream had been hit so hard during opening day and the week following that, you had to fish where other people wouldn't if you expected to catch fish. That's what we did. We fished those tough areas on the stream that other anglers pass up and spin fishers can't fish effectively. We were rewarded.
I was pretty relaxed in my fishing. Having fished on opening day, I was in sort of a laissez-faire mood. I lost fish but that's fishing. Two of my lost fish will stay with me for a long time. The first was a large, guestimated 14 inch fish that I hooked behind a rock. I'd worked the rock pretty hard and finally the fished slammed the fly. My reflexes were good but because of the small size of the area I was working in, I wasn't able to take up enough slack to get a solid hook set. The solution to this is to use a slip strike in tight brushy areas such as this. That's exactly what I did on the next two fish. Enter BBQ fish #2.
The second lost fish was lost due to laziness. We were fishing the big fish water at the top of the stream. The fish was easily 14 inches and immediately put itself in the down stream current. The practical thing for me to do would have been to cross the stream above it and direct it into the soft water across from me. We'll, I really didn't feel like doing that. I was fishing this particular run for an 18 inch fish and anything smaller simply didn't merit my attention. I didn't really care if I lost the fish. I did and then realized that, "hey, that would have made a good picture and been a good BBQ fish."
I wised up on the next fish and landed a smaller, 3rd and last fish which I felt was large enough for the BBQ.