July 25, 2013

Day 1: Hoback and Granite Creek

The first rivers that I fished on my recent trip were the Hoback and Granite Creek in Wyoming. I've never fished either, and since this trip was all about hitting new waters I thought I'd start with them.

The Hoback River is a large tributary of the Snake River. It drains west central Wyoming south of the Wind River and Gros Ventre Ranges. Although it is a large river by my standards it is easily wadable in most spots. I fished the canyon section, downstream from the Granite Creek confluence.

Since I had never fished the Hoback I wasn't sure where to go. But as I drove up the canyon I could see many good spots to try. The Hoback is not typical tenkara water. It is mainly a long riffle interspersed with short areas of boulders -- it sort of reminds me of the Madison that way. After choosing a likely spot I geared up and descended to the river.

The section I chose had areas of large boulders which broke up the water. I started here since it gave me something to target other than long uniform riffle. I worked my way down below these boulders and then waded out. I generally prefer to fish upstream or across and my strategy allowed to to do both.

For a rod I used a Shimano Mainstream ZE. This rod worked great; it has a long reach that can be zoomed even longer. I haven't done a formal review for this rod, but I will soon, now that I have fished it for a while. With the ZE I used a 14 foot, #4 line and to this was added 3.5 feet of 5X fluorocarbon tippet. This allowed me to reach quite a long ways and still stay in control of the fly. For a fly I started with a kebari but I could not get any hits. So, after fishing for 30 minutes (I know, I'm impatient) I changed to a beadhead nymph. I hooked my first fish on the second cast.

As I worked my way up river I hooked many fish. They were mostly Snake River Fine Spotted cutthroat trout of anywhere between 6 to 10 inches. None were very large. The ZE handled them easily. I did land one Mountain Whitefish of about 12 inches. After fishing for about an hour I was tagged by a Wyoming Game and Fish Warden. He was very nice. He asked me a few questions for a survey about what fish I had caught, how many, how large, and then he checked my license.

small Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat

Mountain Whitefish

Around noon I decided to go fish Granite Creek. Granite Creek is a nice sized mountain stream that drains the southern portion of the Gros Ventre Wilderness. It is crystal clear and that, combined with a full-on bright cloudless day, made the fishing anything but stellar.

Crystal clear Granite Creek

Again, I had no idea where to fish so I drove the road that parallels the creek until I found water that pleased me. This water is more typical tenkara water. Larger boulders break up the stream flow and provide large downstream eddies which look really fishy. For this stream I changed to the Nissin Pro Spec 2-Way with a 12 foot, #3 line -- 3-4 feet of 5X tippet was in order. Once again, I started with a kebari pattern but went fishless. So, as with the Hoback, I changed to a beadhead to get the fly down into deeper water. I immediately started catching fish -- whitefish! I must have hooked and landed over a dozen before hooking my first trout, a small brooky. I later hooked and landed a few nice, but small, cutthroats as well.

Brook Trout

As I mentioned, a dirt road parallels the stream. I'm not sure what was going on upstream but I suspect there wasn't but 2 minutes that went by without a car, truck, RV driving by kicking up billowing clouds of dust. I could tolerate this only so long and so, after the 500th car passed, I left. Ach du lieber!!

On the way up Granite Creek I had seen a small creek joining it. It was Little Granite Creek. I decided to hit it as well, to get away from the cars. I satyed with the Nissin Pro Spec 2-Way 7:3 with the same 12 foot #3 line I had been using. I changed the fly to a wool-bodied kebari and started fishing this 8-9 foot wide creek. At first it was slow, no hits. Then, as I ascended, a got into the resident fish -- little Snake River cutthroats. I ended catching to many to count, all about 4-5 inches. They were fun, and I didn't see a single car go by on the little dirt road!

Little Granite Creek

little Rainbow

I'm sure I'll be back to fish these waters again, especially the Hoback. I need to try a different section with different flies. I'd say my day was successful; I would have liked to seen a larger fish though! I talked to some local guides and they said the fishing had been off due to the weather -- bright sun and hot temps. I'll use that as my excuse!

1 comment:

  1. I hate to admit but fact is i'm envious.
    Very, very nice.
    Waiting reports for the rest of your trip.


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