The fishing was good, although not up to my expectations. I suspect a contributor to my feeling of underachievement was the rush to get in and out of the reservoir. I promised my wife that I would be home by 3:30 PM, so my itinerary called for leaving the house at 5:00 AM and returning by 3:30 PM. After accounting for six hours of round-trip driving, plus set-up and take-down time, I had less than five hours of fishing time. The other psychological factor was the knowledge that I was to be back to work the next day; I think you relax more when you have the whole weekend ahead of you upon returning home. These factors contributed to a sense of hurry; I never really got into a rhythm.
Despite the anxiousness over the timing limitation, twelve-plus hookups wasn't bad for less than five hours of angling. Although I wasn't overtly counting, I believe six or seven nice trout were landed, but at least an equal number were hooked but eventually lost, which I often refer to as long-distance releases, or LDRs for short. Over half of the fish landed were 15 - 17 inches, and at least two of the LDRs seemed larger and more experienced, using vicious head shakes to dislodge my size 10 damsel fly. I felt as though they had experienced the steel before and didn't panic, but used a tried and true method to get free, unlike others that run and jump, wearing themselves out before getting off the hook.
|First trout of the morning: note the Trout Truck on the far right of the shoreline.|
|My first trout was a beautiful 16-17 inch male sporting a kyped jaw.|
|A close up of the lower jaw kype.|
Despite the winds, my new friend from Hawthorne had already experienced good success. I could tell from our conversation we was obviously pleased with the fishing, and that made me happy for him and hopeful for me. I asked him how he discovered the Kirch WMA (my experience with Ron from Santa Barbara on my article photo shoot reminded me to expect surprises from the anglers at Kirch). He said he came upon it from an article he read several years ago. I asked him if it was an article in Southwest Fly Fishing, and amazingly he said it was. Trying to control my pride from bubbling over and making me look foolish, I told him that was my article that educated him about the Kirch reservoirs. Pride aside, it was cool to learn that someone actually read my article and put it to the test, and even more remarkable to run into them on Dacey Reservoir.
|My sole fishing partner, all the way from Hawthorne, CA, rowing his Fish Cat pontoon|
boat (along shoreline on right side of picture). Said he discovered Kirch WMA by reading my
November 2014 article in Southwest Fly Fishing.
|This 17-inch specimen displayed what appeared to be scars from a heron or osprey attack.|
|Although this trout had an open wound, likely from a heron or osprey as well, |
it was far and away the strongest fighting fish I landed this day.
This being my second Water Master Grizzly trip, I should report that it performed just as was advertised to me. I am very pleased to have made the transition from the North Fork Outdoors Escape to the Water Master Grizzly, and I expect to put the Grizzly through more fishing tests in the months and years to come.
|Another fine 16-17 inch female specimen|
|Reviving a smaller 15-inch specimen before release.|
|It was another one-fly day on Dacey; the Whitlock damsel fly nymph carried the day again.|
|A happy FisherDad before the long drive home..|