Time: 10:00AM – 5:30PM
Location: Texas Creek from intersection with dirt road upstream; Upper Taylor River north of bluff and south of a dirt bike bridge; Taylor River from Five Mile Bridge upstream
Fish Landed: 14 trout
With an additional day to fish now that I was sure Jane would not make the trip, I decided to explore. I was intrigued by Texas Creek after reading a brochure covering tributaries to the Taylor ten years ago. The fly shop recommended the Upper Taylor, so that was another interesting choice beyond Texas Creek. I set out nice and early Saturday morning and stopped at the Hog Trough, the public stretch of the Taylor below the dam, and snapped some photos. I then stopped by the marina and took a photo of the lake and gorgeous backdrop and called Jane from one of the few locations within the cell phone network.
Next I crossed Texas Creek as I made my way around the lake. It appeared to be a decent volume of water, so I turned on to Texas Creek road. The two miles on the rough dirt road turned out to be quite a challenge in the old Sienna, but I made it to the intersection with the creek without incident. I geared up and grabbed my rod and started working my way up the creek. Texas Creek was largely wide and shallow with very few fish holding spots. In addition there were maverick campsites all along the way and a small army of dirt bikes and ATV’s in the area. I can only imagine ATV fishermen tossing bait into the few fish holding spots and then stringers of small trout feeding the nearby campers.
After an hour of mostly wading and walking, I decided to abandon Texas Creek and head to option two, the Upper Taylor River. I carefully maneuvered the rough dirt road back to the dirt road the skirts the lake and drove beyond the inlet two or three miles. At the first rough spur that wasn’t occupied by campers, I turned in and parked and retrieved my lunch. By the time I was ready to fish it was around noon and the sky had become quite gray with bigger clouds forming in the west. I decided to hike south a ways in the sagebrush then cut over through the willows to the river.
When I reached the stream it was beautiful with many rocks and tumbling pockets and runs and ice cold clear water. I had the yellow Letort hopper as my top fly and a beadhead hares ear nymph as a dropper. I began casting to the deep runs and pockets and almost instantly began hooking fish. This was almost too good to be true. The next hour provided red hot fishing as I hooked and landed 10 brown trout, and these were not all small fish. Several browns were in the 12-13 inch range and one very memorable fish stretched the length of my net. This upper Taylor bruiser rose up and hammered the hopper with confidence in a deep cold slot between two strong currents. Of the ten landed in the first hour, half smashed the hopper and the other half grabbed the nymph.
After the first hour; however, the action slowed considerably. I don’t know if this reflected the time of day or heavier fishing pressure. I ran into another fisherman after an hour and worked around him and noticed the path on the bank was more worn from heavier use. I’m guessing heavier fishing pressure is the answer as the sky remained cloudy and in fact I had to put on my rain jacket due to a slight shower and chilly temperatures. Unfortunately I expected a hatch of some sort, but only saw a handful of small BWO’s and perhaps two PMD’s and no surface feeding.
I fished on upstream covering a lot of water with many prospecting casts and picked up another three browns. Eventually I reached a single lane dirt bike or pedestrian bridge. Below the bridge was a beautiful long pool. I was skeptical that this would yield any fish as its accessibility probably meant heavy pressure. I had switched out the hares ear for an emerald caddis pupa and added a beadhead pheasant tail as a third option at the point. I half heartedly tossed the three fly combo into the pool on the far side of a current seam and as it started to swing at the end of the long drift, a trout grabbed the BHPT. I landed a nice 12 inch brown. Next I noticed a subtle rise across and downstream from my position. I swung the three flies near the sighting, but received no response. I clipped off the three flies and tied on a CDC BWO and put some nice drifts over the spot of the rise. I still had no response. Finally I removed the CDC BWO and tied on a light gray comparadun. This also didn’t solve the riddle, so I departed and hiked back on the dirt bike trail to the car.
With the skies very dark and threatening, could BWO’s be emerging on the Taylor River tailwater? I decided to drive back down the valley to the Five Mile Bridge where Jeff Shafer and I had fished and check out the water below the bridge. I arrived around 4:30PM, but the weather here differed greatly from the upper Taylor. Skies were mostly blue and the sun was out. I sat on a rock by the river and observed. Nothing was showing, so I decided to prospect the nice deep run below the bridge with the light gray comparadun. This didn’t prompt any action, and I didn’t see any surface activity, so I recalled the words of the fly shop, “Go deep with small nymphs”.
I sat down on the rock again and added a strike indicator and split shot and beadhead pheasant tail and beadhead RS2. I worked the deep slot between some large submerged rocks below the bridge with the nymphs and hooked up momentarily on a single fish.
I moved above the bridge and worked my way up along the right bank with the nymphs to a point across from the boat launch. At 5:30 I was tired and not having any success, so I decided to call it quits for the day and head to the Three Rivers Restaurant in Almont for a BBQ dinner.