Time: 10:00AM – 5:00PM
Location: Two track lane from road to river to a point above Snell Creek; Himes Peak upstream from where I quit on Wednesday and then from footbridge below campground upstream a bit
Fish Landed: 18
In 2010 I experienced a fine day of fishing as I explored the area near where Snell Creek flows into the North Fork of the White River. I discovered a two track lane that gradually descended from the dirt road to the river that enabled me to access the water without undue risk to my physical well being. I decided to explore this area again in 2013 on Thursday, September 12. The morning weather was much nicer than Wednesday afternoon with predominantly sunshine and only occasional clouds. When I arrived beside the river I decided to work my way downstream a bit and investigate some new water. I began with the usual Chernobyl ant but attached a salvation nymph instead of a beadhead hares ear after having some great success with the salvation on Wednesday.
Unfortunately the run of success ended and I did not experience any success in the early going, so I swapped the salvation for a beadhead hares ear and this fly produced two fish; a nice cutbow and a Colorado cutthroat. In the second hour of fishing two more fish rested in my net; a small cutbow and a seventeen inch cutbow. The large cutbow was a thrill to battle and made five or six strong dashes before I could slide my net beneath its hefty body. I was once again using the Orvis four weight and the cutbow certainly tested the capacity of the slender rod. The cutbow took the Chernobyl ant at the very top of a slot that was five feet wide and fifteen feet long.
With four fish landed I stopped fishing at noon and ate my lunch beside the river and then after lunch proceeded upstream to a nice deep pool below a large evergreen tree along the left bank. I crossed to the right side of the river to gain a better casting position and began working the deep run and pool. I remembered this spot to be quite productive during my 2010 visit. I managed to land one nice cutbow in the deep run after working it for quite a while with numerous casts. Eventually my instincts proved correct and the cutbow snared the salvation nymph which I returned to after a long unproductive period with the hares ear.
In addition to the cutbow I landed a huge whitefish that probably extended 18-19 inches and was quite fat. I continued working my way upstream and beyond the confluence with Snell Creek, but there were not that many attractive spots so I eventually decided to retreat and return to Himes Peak where the fishing had been quite fast and furious on Wednesday. I did manage to land two small fish on a pink pool toy that I experimented with for one of the first times since tying this winter. I climbed the steep slope until I found a faint trail and then descended to Snell Creek and crossed and discovered a well worn trail that carried me up the steep slope to the road. This was a major improvement over my exit in 2010 when I slipped and slid my way up Snell Creek.
Overall I was a bit disappointed with this stretch of water compared to my memory of 2010, but the 17 inch cutbow was quite a thrill and did compensate somewhat for the slower action.
Meanwhile Himes Peak beckoned and after parking in the trailhead parking lot I descended the still muddy trail and then made a left and traversed the hill next to the river until I reached a point where I could descend and begin fishing approximately where I ended my day on Wednesday. I began with a pink pool toy with a salvation nymph on a dropper two feet below. In short order I spotted a rise so I splashed the pink pool toy above the spot of the rise and a nice brook trout gobbled the pool toy which prompted me to photograph and include the pink creation in the frame.
I continued working my way up the stream with the pink pool toy and salvation nymph and added six more fish beyond the brook trout with most grabbing the trailing salvation nymph. One of these fish was a beautiful cutbow with a bronze underside, and it was so colorful that I anticipated it would be a brook trout when I glimpsed it while still in the water. Unfortunately as I was truly enjoying this solitary remote wilderness fishing experience, the sky darkened and lightening commenced so I exited with sixteen fish landed on the day and returned to the parking lot. As I walked up to my car I discovered the same gentleman from Philadelphia that I encountered along the road, and he was now parked next to me and preparing to fish at Himes Peak. We chatted a bit and I learned that his name was Chris Daley and he was staying at Trappers Lake Lodge and he is an emergency room doctor.
We decided to walk down to the river together and this time cut down a trail from one of the campsites which led to a footbridge across the river. Chris and I decided to alternate pools so I began in the nice pool below the footbridge where I landed a small brook trout. I then circled around Chris and dropped back down to a decent area and landed a small rainbow before the rain began to fall from the sky in sheets. The heavy rain forced Chris and I to quit and retreat to our cars, although as I was departing I noticed a lot of BWO’s and a few PMD’s. The rain was coming down so hard that I was forced to change out of my waders in the back of the Santa Fe.
I experienced another productive day on the North Fork of the White River, although not quite as intense as Wednesday afternoon. I decided to stay for Friday and explore the South Fork and pay for a third night on Friday and then move on to the Green River on Saturday.