Honholz and Tight Lines

Honholz is a small lake 2.5 hours from home.  It’s about two hours from anywhere, and this may account for the quality of fish.  You can count on it being windy, and you have to fish from a boat or float tube.  Wind and float tubes are not friends.  It has wadeable shallows (fish be there), but the bottom is very sticky mud under the grass.  If you loose your balance, you can’t move your foot to recover.  So, Dale and I were float tubing in the wind.

Female Cutthroat

I saw a few Callibaetis mayflies on the surface, but no fish rising.  Nymphs seemed to be the fly of choice.  I started stripping a Pheasant Tail behind a large black Copper John.  Neither two inch strips and pause or longer strips produced a strike.  I changed to a olive green Hare’s Ear in place of the PT, and hooked a cutthroat within several casts.  The Cutts in Honholz are 12 to 18 inches or 4 to 6.  I was in the big fish region, and soon landed a second.  These guys are real rod benders and don’t quit fighting until you wonder if they ever will.

Dale was a ways off, but when he could hear I shouted, “Use green.  It’s the hot color.”  For me it was a 24 fish day, but I learned that Dale only landed six.  He said he had many strikes, but couldn’t hook them.  I had few strikes that I didn’t hook.  There is a lesson here.  Dale fished a floating line and dry fly with the nymph on a dropper.  I used an intermediate sinking line with the two nymphs.  My theory (engineers can have those) is that I had a straight line from the rod tip to the fly.  I keep the tip close to the water to assure a tight line with this setup.  Dale had a straight line to the dry, and then an angle down to the nymph.  The dry dropper rig required pulling the angle out of the line before much of a hook set could occur.  The intermediate line is perfect for fishing the top four feet of water and moving the fly parallel to the surface, while keeping the line tight.  The pauses in the retrieve give the fly a forward — sink — forward action.  It was perfect for the day.

Is it a Brown or Cutthroat?

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