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  • Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    From Another Place

    Lurker Lunker Landed
    feed big fish mice

    The neighbors have chastised us soundly for our night time fishing posts. The critics and unbelievers have called #@$%!^%&* and accused us of senility. We have broad shoulders and accept it all. However an email from a not too distant quarter sent by a recent visitor to Yellowstone helps us endure.
    .. For, in fact, in a life long-past we fished the area a bit west of here. The memories have softened into the glow of slurred synapses and were awakened by a recent communication from [name redacted] as he reports about a late night journey to 'Hidden Hole' on a river that we'd nearly forgotten about. The tale is worth a read:
    It started during the fall caddis hatch last year. Harlan looked down into a pool bordered by vertical cliffs and impenetrable brush and trees to see the biggest fish of his life, three trout the size of salmon or large steelhead.

    How to reach them, how to lure them? The banks are inaccessible and the casts from above and below far beyond our abilities. One fish clears the water like a Polaris missile leaving us stunned. These trout are enormous, the stream too small, they live in a fortress.

    The season ended and winter was the time to plan. Deer hair mice were bought with the idea of full moon night stalks. With the second most snowfall on record, the cool spring runoff was high and long. A soccer season leading to a bid for the state championship (one team finishes better and 48 worse) sidetracked one or two monthly opportunities. The first attempt came in July and a day or two after your Galleon Moon posting, which wasn't seen until two large fish struck hard and instantly went their ways (weak leadership).

    There were a number of lessons learned that long night. A careful reading of the Galleon Moon would have greatly improved the chances of successful landings. Between first hand experience and a little Internet book learning we are ready to try again.

    The next opportunity came last Saturday with an 8:00 pm moon rise. Pulling waders on at 10:00 pm we set out for the fortress about a mile and half upstream. The first stop was at a big hole where two large fish have shown themselves and have been lost. No takers tonight. The second stop another big familiar hole, fast water entering the deep, thick foam in the big eddy. A stealthy stalk to the edge of the high cut bank edge and concerns about moonlight shadows cast upon the water lead to casting a mouse on a very short and obscenely stout leader. The drift is short before the fish is on with a line stripping run, leaps that clear the water, and a weight indicating that this is not the usual 'Hidden Hole' rainbow. A few minutes later and with Harlan's help the big brown is documented. It worked!

    On to the fortress where all efforts are futile. The biggest ones are not seen or landed, but water clearing rises that sound like cobbles thrown into the steam confirm that they are still there. Sunrise, after landing a 23 inch brown in a sagebrush steppe stream, looked great.

    Good fun, hope that all is well.
    [name redacted]

    .. In the interests of full disclosure, and for the few night owls in the crowd a picture of the stream and its hidden hole is posted below. There's still a couple of nights left with a BIG moon. Don't catch 'em all.