On 09-21-2010 Kootenai River Country by Colorado & New Mexico Fly Fishing Guide Rita Adams
Colorado & New Mexico Fly Fishing Guide Rita Adams
It's been a busy six weeks on the Kootenai, and our personal fishing season is almost upon us. It has been raining for the last four days straight, awe-inspiring amounts of water. The drift boats are almost immovable before they're drained each morning. Fall has come too, shockingly sudden, like it is every year. Overnight the hillsides are gold and red and woodsmoke is on the air. A recap of some adventures thus far...
Well, I had a week of MT summer anyhow. I should have known better than to pack anything but fleece! For now I'm enjoying this turn in weather. I'm a desert child. Rain makes me happy. I love building fires. And autumn is my absolute favorite season. I wake up excited. Fall means fishing! We were able to do a camp float on the Kootenai into Idaho sometime in early Sept. This has always been an extremely wild and scenic experience for us. This time as we floated in the quiet dusk towards our camp island, a group of twelve cow elk and their little ones came to the water's edge just ahead of us. Their Bull loomed on the bank, a magnificent six point. What a Dude! He saw us and called a retreat but at just that moment a train came and they were cut off. They made the swim across the river right in front of us, a first for me. Breathtaking. In the night Johnny got up to check the boat and spooked something very large away from our camp. It had been quite close and struggled for a long time to negotiate the cliff face opposite our tent, kicking down huge rocks and making quite the racket. We never saw what it was and the stony ground next morning failed to yield clues. I was rowing the next day tight to a fast bank when we came around the corner right on top of a medium sized black bear. We startled him up the bank but he turned back, curious and very thirsty, I think. I started pulling hard on the oars and he followed us down the bank a ways. He would listen when we spoke to him, stand up and prick his ears. He was cute but I was glad of the boat just the same. On a float last year we came upon a bobcat swimming the river right near this spot. Try as we might, we can never get off the river before the light dims. It is too hard to push past good water. On our last evening the light had left the canyon walls and water and I was perched in the bow just gazing. We were still a good mile from the take-out and Johnny was pushing through a deep glass flat when it suddenly came alive with working fish. It was amazing. They had us completely surrounded, and they were all big. Doing that nose to tail rise that never fails to make my heart skip a beat. We had on a big battered foam fly on kinked 4X tippet. They were rising to small olives. The light was fading. Just feed it to them, Johnny said. Get a good drift. And I did. And they ate. There is magic in this world.
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