began with the subcutaneous pounding of hangovers and the wonder of, “did some dude on horseback really crash the campfire last night?” As caffeine and eggs filled their gullets the tangible evidence of photos and video proved the previous night’s weirdness. Steve-o and KG needed to set the world right at this point and reset their equilibrium of understanding, they needed to float and fish the Clarion River.
The boys drove up to Ridgway to put in at Country Squirrel Outfitters which is a hell of a nice shop. KG decided they should float down to Portland Mills to hopefully get into some nice browns. Once they got everything ready and the rigs shuttled they slid the rafts into the water. Steve-o had never floated this section and Lulu, well, she would make her madden voyage down a river.
The water was flowing at 392 cfs, just enough to float it in one man rafts or a canoe. If the water was any lower it would be a little tough and a lot longer to float because you would have to drag the boat in certain places. Just after putting in, Steve-o and KG noticed a caddis hatch but not a single rising fish. 30 minutes down stream the story changed.
The boats were beached in the same area where KG caught a big brown the year before. The fishing began. Steve-O and KG started off throwing streamers then started seeing fish rise. Steve-O tied on a foam body caddis while KG was on the camera. They could see three different fish actively rising for the Caddis about 50 feet from where Steve-O was casting. After a few misses Steve-O double hauls a perfect cast to follow-up, then sets the hook on a nice Clarion river brown trout that gave him a nice fight on big water.
The boys fished this run for a little bit longer until they decided to continue down river. They found a wide spot in the river with a deep channel and saw fish rising everywhere. Steve-O was already rigged up with a dry and he started casting to only have a few misses. KG took the streamer off and tied on an emerger and on the first cast hooks into a small rainbow just to have it throw the hook. Several casts later he hooks into a nice brook trout and got it all the way up to the raft. As he was getting the net out to land the fish, the fly popped out. He wanted to net the fish to get a pic of Lulu’s first fish kiss but it was not meant to be, a bigger fish was to come.
Steve-o and KG floated down a good ways before fishing again so they could make-up some time since the water was low and it would take them 6 hours. They floated over some pretty water seeing several fish before stopping at a nice run upstream from a railroad trestle. They stopped so KG could focus his efforts to one rising fish. At first there was no certainty to what it was rising for because at that time, which was around 1:30 p.m., there were caddis, stones, midges, BWOs and what looked liked march browns coming off of the water.
KG started throwing a caddis to no luck. He switched over to a March Brown and on the third cast he had a hook-up. The fish spent the calories from his constant rising pulling against drag of his Ross Reel on the 5 weight. KG landed the fish to get the picture he was waiting for, Lulu’s first fish kiss.
That’s right this was Lulu first fish kiss and first float ever. She is a 19 week old Golden Retriever. Lulu did incredibly well on the float mainly because she slept half of the way. Even though she is still a puppy and learning, KG would love to teach her how to row. She already has the sitting part down…if she could just pick up them oars and row.
Steve-o and KG floated the rest of the way down river covering some nice water and seeing a few more fish rise. The boys took out just upstream of Portland Mills calling it a good day. The section they floated was a nice stretch but they will look into floating a section further upstream next year which is known to fish better and consistently for bigger fish.
A BIG thank you goes out to Country Squirrel Outfitters for letting BCI launch at the shop for free and another thank you goes out to Mike and Marcus for floating with the team and assisting in the shuttle.
You can check out all the pics on our Facebook Page “Bug Chuckers Inc.” and while you are on it hit the like button to follow us on Facebook as well.
KG & Steve-O
Next post will be our opening day experience…….can’t miss that one!