View Full Version : same old thing [smallstreams.com revisited]

11-03-2009, 09:32 AM
http://web.archive.org/web/200101091203 ... Beach.html (http://web.archive.org/web/20010109120300/smallstreams.com/River/FishBeach.html)

Original article can be found in the above link from the Wayback machine.

October, 2000

Things are really never what you think they are once you "expect something." This isn't a blanket statement, it has purpose, you just have to read the story.

Gee's, I was really ready for a trip to "de ferry" and I even posted it on our message board. I got a couple of responses for "tips and techniques" to enhance the adventure. Good thing for me, I had a friend who gave me the right tip that saved the day, more later on that. But I expected something from my adventure and that is just what I got.

I'm going to say it, Lees Ferry fishing for me is getting old...

Same Old Thing
by Adam Trahan


Are you still here?

Listen, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the place, more so than any other place on PLANET earth, but well, the fishing there is getting to be the same old thing. I realize that I am speaking to a big populace here, big business AND the the very thing that drives me to visit this place. But the fact of the matter is, you have "blank" fishing here. Same fish, over and over. If it wasn't for the spectacular soaring sandstone above, the seclusion and the serenity, I just may "pass this river over" for a while.

There are others of you who feel like this, I've been talking to you, so don't get the idea that I am off the wall on this idea (that's what my friends call it) I am taking liberty, license and speaking my mind on the subject. You're just like me, you go there as much as your life (wife) allows you to but the fishing there is getting old...

Lee's Ferry is a truly magical place. A place that I don't want to call home, much too harsh for that, but a place where I want to live for a while every once and a while. You can always count on catching a few large rainbows here, no matter what. This is the one consistency I have found in this changing river and it's fish.


I plan trips here with my "Dr.Orvis" friends. You call them that, but really, they are anglers just as much as you or I. I have 'em hooked on fishing here and have educated them on the finer points of eating sand, farting, reading the right type of magazines and most importantly, not hiring a guide to capture a good fish. They educate me on fine wine, the stock market, and all the boring stuff in their business lives. If I hadn't gotten to them, these guys would continue to be Dr.Orvis and not graduate to real fishing bum types. Ok now, let's not get into a pissing match on the descriptions of real fishermen, let's just say that I am writing a story on the "internet" and well, who needs this bullshit anyway huh?

Whoa, kinda going on a tangent here, attitude and all.

I have in my mind an idea about the perfect fishing trip. It must first contain fish, be capable of moods, able to provide adventure and in short, be as far removed from "society" as possible without being overly expensive or unobtainable. (whoa, this almost sounds like the traits of a fine woman) Lees Ferry pays this bill and has a Swiss Bank account left over.

But why do I say what I do?

Because the place has in it's very matrix, that stuff in the last Star War's movie, that stuff that Anakin has in his blood, (mega-fishians or something like that) but it's in a fishing vein, made of fishing stuff. Let's just say that it contains gob's of fishing adventure that even all the fishermen who visit from around the world haven't been able to "suck the place dry."

I continue to go fishing here because the river, the atmosphere, the scenery commands my attention. The fish rarely changes, if anything, they are smaller over the years.

In the few years after the dam was built and after different types of trout, many strains were "stocked", it was not unusual to catch a five or ten pound fish, brook, cutthroat or rainbow. A five or ten pound trout? A brook trout, at Lees Ferry? Not unusual? This is the way it was. I like that, it makes the place legendary. You now have a guide service claiming this summer to be the "best in it's history." Can't say that I blame them, they're running a business, but it simply isn't true, as a matter of fact, it couldn't be farther from the truth in my book. The fishing was much better long ago if you were looking for those elements that I am trying to capture, the adventure, seclusion, huge fish and all that... What I am getting at is, Lees Ferry has the "chutzpah" to hold the hype, chew it up and spit it out. It contains the real world adventure that all of us are looking for and it's getting old for me.

First off, if you don't have a boat, you can fish the walk in. The walk in is nothing like opening the door to Marble Canyon, but does have the same fish as upriver and is accessible by those of us who do not posses a twenty five horse pushed shallow river water navigating device. You can simply walk to and around this area from the convenience of a drive up parking lot. String your rod and go, it's that easy. You are denied the "adventure" from dividing the soaring sandstone cliffs, denied the risk of navigation at low flows and denied of the scale that is a little bit different upriver, but the place is yours never the less.

Above the boat ramp lies what it is that allows us regular adventurist to complain about and at the same time really dream for. A place of epic proportions, extremes, and all the while a place that reminds you of just how little you are, how little you have lived in the fabric of time. When you wade, the water is a tad under 50 degrees and this will certainly wake you up.

This last weekend I went fishing here and had to work for my fish. Complaining to my friends at riverside and now I am glad I had to work to catch anything. Most of my fishing here is long dead drift nymphing with a indicator with a little site casting to finning fish thrown in for fun. My good friend Marc on a visit before this trip shoved a little wooly in my hand, said, "Adam, try this..." and I asked him for another. Long ago I learned never to have just "one fly" in a compartment, this meant trouble.


Anyway, when we get up there, the river at our particular spot has changed drastically from the stable low flow of 8,000cfs. The river rainbows had moved off the run that they inhabit at flows over 9-10,000cfs and the "slack water fish" were in numbers just in front of our camp, inhabiting a huge beach of fine river sand. Dead drift nymphing the usual scud, midges, chronimids and all the bead heads just didn't produce. I remembered that little wooly that Marc suggested and got out my new project, the smallstreams.com/Steffen model, strung it up and hucked a bugger at a sole fish.

Now anytime you get to see a fish "take" your fly, that is pretty cool. All I can say is that standing there in that cold water, bare legged and that sole rainbow swims over a couple of feet and "INHALES" Marc's secret weapon wooly, that was #^*$@!& cooler than the water I was standing in. I've never caught any fish on woolys at Lees Ferry, never. Here is a situation where the only fish I am catching is on this little wooly. Unreal, as I said before, this place is getting old, I like that.

No one is making any catch and I holler out what is happening. Everyone ties on woolys and a few more fish were caught, but Stu, who was grateful enough to accept my other one, gladly roostered over a bunch of fish that he was now catching.

The old thing, you still here? I like a place getting old to me. I like it when I still want to go and it's the same old thing, comprende? The fact that you can get used to something, like that chip in your coffee cup, that's a cool thing.

Have fun fishing.


stream | river | lake | sea

11-03-2009, 03:19 PM
Hi Adam,

Good report, very entertaining read; and I must say, from the photos you've posted, it certainly looks a little like a "Star Wars Set"

Thanks for sharing your exploits with us!


11-03-2009, 03:49 PM
Hey cool.

I chose this story at random to see just how difficult it was to extract it from the archives from the Wayback web site.

Took all of about 5 minutes.

I have fished Lees Ferry, the Marble Canyon portion of the upper Grand Canyon Colorado River many many days and spent months of nights up there as well.

If you don't know, it takes a boat ride up, you can't access it from anythng else. Everything on the boat. It is a river that challenges you on couple of accounts, as a fisherman and a river navigator. You are fishing in the Grand Canyon, it is so beautiful.

Anyway, I am going to pull more of my old stories out of there. I enjoy re-reading them myself, looking at the old pictures, remembering all those good times gone and it sparks the imagination to make more memories like those.

There are the good old days and there is the present. At some point, the present becomes his-story and the good old days.

I'm trying to make the good old days right now.

Thank you for the compliment.