We were expecting cold and drizzle, maybe even a little rain, what we got was a great March day on a beautiful river. Conditions were mixed; overcast skies with periods of sunshine, a light but cold breeze and afternoon temperatures climbing into the mid fifties. Water conditions were good if not maybe just a little low, my thermometer read a cool 42 degrees.
Meeting in the Masemore parking lot around 10:30, we milled around discussing what fly we might limit ourselves to. I wavered, and then selected a flash back pheasant tail in#16, my bane for the next few hours. Jed Feffer, who had caught a few practice fish earlier that morning chose a bead head in a size #18, while Ken Bowyer, selected a larger bead head in a brassie #14. Bob Dietz tied on a partridge and pheasant tail wet, Owen selected a Caddis pupa. Larry Vawter rounded out the field tying on a green weenie.
At 11:00 we were off. All of us decided to fish the upper canyon section and followed each other over to the falls Road parking lot which was already full, then on up to the lot at the top of the hill which we finished filling up. I guess the No Parking signs along the road adjacent to the lot really do mean No Parking. On our return we noticed vehicles parked on the road because the lot was full were sporting freshly attached parking tickets.
Once down into the canyon and on the river we split into groups and headed off. Rising fish had me wishing I had tied on a midge, but I still clung to faith. Two fishless hours later, and watching Ken release his third fish on that brassie, had me less than enchanted with my choice.
Early afternoon had fish rising up and down the river. Midges were everywhere. Most of the good pools and runs had anglers fishing them; bent rods and the occasional whoop not an uncommon occurrence.
Meeting back at the parking lot at 3:30 we compared notes and declared a winner. Ken Bowyer blew the rest of us away with 45 inches of fish caught on that brassie. Bob Dietz came in second with 9 inches, the rest of us all pegged goose eggs.
However, those who had the good fortune to lose their fly early, or maybe just the good sense to clip it off, did pretty well on alternate selections. Bob and Owen discovered a Hendrickson hatch with Owen landing a good brown on a Hendrickson dry, after tickling 15 or so with a dull green copper john. Bob netted a fish using a Hendrickson wet and Jed took two more browns after losing his fly. I finally lost my fly with a half an hour left and hooked a couple of fish on a # 24 griffiths, landing the last one after clumsily popping the first one off.
So hear ye fly fishers and let it be known; Ken Bowyer is PPTU’s top rod in the 2006 one fly contest and granted the absolute right to brag about it!