Friday, July 4, 2008

Upper Flaming Gorge

We finally took a day off,(I can't imagine how we got anything done when we were working), and took the boat out. Our goal was to replunish our salmon supply and to then search the Upper Canyons of Flaming Gorge.

We got our usual early start, 8:45 am and headed past a large group of boats fishing in front of the marina bay. It is amazing that people are afraid to go look for fish elsewhere and instead will share fish all day long. So we drove about two miles down the gorge to an island where one boat was fishing by themselves.

After putting out two poles on the downriggers and two on sinkers with rubber bands, we trolled for an hour without a bite. Had the fish moved? Were they all caught out? Had the cold front changed their behavior? The answer to these questions troubled us as the thought of grilled salmon for dinner slowly faded from our hopes. Peanut butter sandwiches taste pretty good.

Then Renita yelled fish on, jabbed me with her elbow, and beat me to the pole,(I can't believe how fast she is and that she was able to get to the pole first)! She fought the salmon as it made a series of jumps, clearing the waters surface and frantically trying to throw the hook. It worked. On the thrid leap the hook flew out and the thought of peanut butter sandwhichs returned.

A little later another pole tripped from the downrigger and this was a big fish! I grabbed the pole before Renita had a chance and yelled, "Get the net!" Renita waited patiently and watched as the fish went on a series of runs. We could see the fish due to the clarity of the water and on the third run, the hook pulled out. THe problem this time was mine, a drag set too tight. Soon another pole tripped, followed by a short fight and another lost fish. We were disgusted with ourselves, but only for a short while as another fish hit and after a series of runs and leaps ended in the net. Dinner was served!

Soon another kokeenee was in the live well. We lost more fish and then caught another and another as the fish were on a feeding frenzy! We had to pull in the side poles as rainbow trout were hitting them,(We don't care for the taste of rainbows so these were released). In a little over two hours we had our limit of six salmon.

After eating lunch we started up the boat for a run up to Firehole Canyon and campground. They are at the upper end of the Gorge, near where the Green River enters the resevoir. On the way up we had to stop several times as shallow arms threatened to ground the boat. As we traveled up lake we both marveled at the varves of mudstone and the erosional remants that we passed by. How John Wesley Powell must have felt as he started his voyage of discovery!

We took a wrong arm of the lake, and headed up the Black Fork for a bit before realizing our error and retracing our route.The trip uplake took about an hour as the water shallowed, turned muddy, and warmed up. The beaches along the way were filled with campers, swimmers and boaters. Not filled filled as a beach in Florida, but most had a couple of campers and families, Wyoming filled.

As we turned down the lake the wind came up and whitecaps formed. Now the lake up here is pretty protected so whitecaps here meant big waves down by Buckboard. A little nervous we still stopped to fish for some smallmouth, with no luck. After talking it over, we had had a great day so we decided to call it and go back to the boat ramp. The wind died down and we passed stretches of mirror like water, reflecting the steep cliffs as we passed. Thank you God for the beauty. Clear skies.

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