Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hams Fork, Wyoming

Fishing Time: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Weather: Very cold, windy, snow, 26 degrees
Moon Phase: 60% Moon
Location: Hams Fork River, Wyoming
Bait/Tackle: Fly Rods - streamers and nymphing
Who Went: Corey, Rick, Me My buddy Corey has been boasting about the Hams Fork River in Wyoming for a few years now, and has pictures to prove there are some big rainbows and cuttbows living there. We finally planned an outing and wouldn’t you know it I got sick two days before our trip. I invited Rick to go along with us, but he and Corey don't know each other and I felt like I was the glue holding the whole trip together, so I toughed it out and went anyway. The forecast for weather was ugly with a 40% chance of snow, a high of 31 degrees, and winds up to 30 mph. We were on the road by 5:00 a.m. and reached the Hams Fork by 7:00 a.m. The winds were already whipping and the temperature gauge on Ricks Jeep read 26 degrees. We rigged up our fly rods and by the time we were done we couldn’t feel our hands. We jumped back in the jeep to warm them for a minute and then made the hike down to the river. Once we made our way down to the river, Corey and Rick immediately started fishing and I sat on the river bank trying to catch my breath. I suddenly got very nauseated and felt like I was going to throw up. I dry heaved a few times, but to no avail and then sat on my knees as darkness started closing in around my vision. Right before I was about to pass out the darkness started to disappear and my vision went back to normal. Thoughts of why I even made the trip started crossing my mind and I knew I was going to have to take it really slow. Rick and I made our way down river looking for some deeper holes to fish. The river was very low and filled with moss. Corey went the opposite direction and headed upstream towards the dam of Lake Viva Naughton. We didn’t see Corey again until the end of the day. Rick caught one small rainbow just below some riffles on a somewhat deeper stretch, but besides his one fish we traveled a long distance downriver without seeing or catching anything. We finally came to a spot on a bend where the river looked fairly deep and Rick and I both felt there had to be fish there. We tied up some streamers and began casting towards the opposite river bank and within no time Rick had a hit, but missed. Finally after a few more missed hits, Rick landed a nice 18-inch rainbow and it gave us new confidence that there were fish in this river.As more time went by Rick continued to catch fish while I struggled with my casting and became very frustrated.I tried many different streamers trying to replicate exactly what Rick was doing, but it didn’t seem to matter.I finally had a few hits, but missed horribly and the frustration only got worse. Rick hooked up with a nice cuttbow (we think) that put up a good fight and took big fish honors for the day.We didn’t measure or weigh the fish, but my guess is 20+ inches and around 3-3.5 pounds.It was a gorgeous fish with dark red gill-plates and a body covered with dark black spots.The fishing in the deep hole finally began to slow down and I knew Rick had fished it out, so we headed downstream a little further, but never found anymore deep holes to fish. We headed back upstream hoping to find that Corey had found a few deep holes to fish, but when we finally met up with him he announced that he was fishless just like me. We knew the fish were holding in the deeper holes, but there just wasn't any around with the water being low, so we made our way back to the jeep and drove down river a bit to find some deeper water. We ended up stopping right below Kemmerer Reservoir to fish the deep pool that was right below the dam. Rick had one hit with no hook up and Corey and I were left with the ugly skunk smell on our hands! By the time we made it back to the jeep the snow began to fly and dropped a few inches in less than a half hour. It made for a slow drive home, with cars off the side of the road and snow packed roads. Welcome to Wyoming! Rick ended up catching about 8-9 fish and proved that his fly fishing skills trump my beginner skills tenfold! The weather and fishing were miserable and I probably never should have left the house feeling the way I did, but looking back on it, I’m glad I got up there!

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