This past Sunday i spent in Church. It's a riffle on a river in the south central sierras. I try to make it a point to visit this place once a year to give thanks and renew and reflect on my life's vision for the past and coming years. It's a very intensive and long journey to get there. You can't just drive up and step out of the car. That's what keeps the place so pristine. You really have to work for it if you want to get there. I call it the church riffle because its right in front of a very old and and very sacred Native American site. It was a gathering place for native peoples for centuries. It's a source of great energy. I felt a strong feeling of aw and inspiration the first time i ever sent foot in this canyon. It wasn't until many years later that i found out about the Native American activity that had occurred there. It's hard to speculate why they chose this location to gather and pray. One reason might have been the abundance of wild trout that still thrive in these cold clean waters. Now it's become like a spiritual place for me too. The church of Mother Nature.
Out of respect for the fish, i only use single barbless hooks. My favorite method is traditional swing. I fish streamers on a sink tip line. If i have to nymph, i fish weighted nymphs on a dry line. No lead and no bobbers. The best flies were a Charlie Bisharat ties rainbow fry streamer, and my double tungsten jaw breaker stone fly nymph. This year the fish were particularly abundant. The many swirly pockets, huge boulder seems, and deep tailouts gave up some really nice fish to my friend Jon and I. It was one of those days that will live in fishing infamy and cast memories in my dreams for the rest of my years.
You need a 6wt to handle these brutes . Little cuttties like this guy get the back of the line when the big rainbows move up river. I was sad and upset to find a rusty bait hook hanging out of this throat. I clipped the line off of it and wished him the best.
Jon with a nice one. He worked out for months just to lift that fish.
I call this the death pool. There's a 300 yard, class 5 rapid below it. A slip here would mean certain death. When a fish heads down river, it's usually futile to try and follow. I put up a good chase, but this one got away.
This one wasn't so lucky. He got his photo taken.
Check out old stubby. He must have bonked his nose too many times trying to air up the waterfalls when he was a kid.
A perfect specimen.
I'm pretty sure this was the first fish Jon caught in the morning. I caught it again at the end of the day. It was a great ender and at that we called it and began the long journey home. All said and done, i think we got 12 fish to hand that were in the 20-30 inch range and lost a few more that were even bigger. Not bad for a couple hours of fishing. It would be hard to beat a day like this anywhere in the world. California is simply amazing. Amen!