Cool Carmans

September 15, 2020 –

Carmans River with Tim

Chuck had planned on joining us but domestic responsibilities got in the way.  He did suggest I tie up some Crickets to use on the Carmans this evening. It is Tim’s closest river, and the furthest for me, about 40 miles. No big deal. 

Cricket pre-hair cut

He fished it with his brother Kip

…in the 70’s but has not since.  Our plan is to do some exploring and then fish. 

We agreed to meet at 2:30 on this cool day (62 degrees and the water is 64), the sky overcast with smoke from the western fires. I show him the various “Gates” and how to access the river.  Chuck let us know that there is a tree down by Gate F, blocking the way further upriver.  Too bad as I was hoping to fish G or H. It probably was just as well as it gave us more time to look at the downstream sites.

C Dam

No one is here.

Gate A then C and then E, all empty, although a car came in behind us as we made the turn into E.  They kept going, to F we assume, regardless of where they thought they might go. We decided to stay and fish E.  It is about 3:30.

Covid-19 Summer in the fishing only zone (Photo Doug Ernst)

The summer crowds seem to have dissipated with the cooler weather and school in session, either actually or virtually.

Tim doesn’t remember the river looking like this, so over grown with bushes and weeds.  I remind him that a lot can happen in 50 years; also, back then, they probably came in the spring since the trout season was more traditional in the ’70s.


Nymphs would work here

…but there are rising fish and we both tie on dries. Tim a Parachute Adams and me the Cricket. I left him at the wing-dam Art Flick TU built 2 years ago.  It has nicely deepened the stream and holds lots of fish, usually.  On the other hand it is one of the most fished spots on the river and the fish are educated. 

Volunteer builders Doug, Gary and Tony of Art Flick TU

I walk up toward F and see the two fellows who were in the car behind us.  They are working their way up and apparently have rising fish to work.  They are alternating as they go, one casts, then the other. I have risers and jumpers and sippers upstream of me.  I try the Cricket but it didn’t float as well as I had hoped.  It also didn’t get any hits. My casting put down the fish so I pull in to change and let the water rest.

Tim quickly has a rainbow on.

Rainbow on an Adams

A small BWO was next for me

…with a CDC wing. Maybe size #16 -18. They started feeding again and I made a few casts with no results. Meanwhile Tim is getting hits but no hook ups. I rest the water and put on a small Adams in the regular tie.  Nothing. I turn and fish down to those below me and hook one when retrieving my fly, in the fin. Made it look like a big fish to Tim who is shooting video.

Tim comes up and I go down

…and then we both fish the deep hole and beyond it.  He has more hits on a Caddis Emerger as there is a significant caddis hatch on the water.  I tried to catch one to look it over but couldn’t. I put on a Broom Caddis with a white wing which seemed to match what was emerging but no one cared. Tried the Hopper that worked well the other day (the fish pulled the parachute hackle up the post, so I repaired it last night). Nada.

Tim at E

Tim kept getting close

…to a hook up and I switch to a double nymph rig, showing him how I configure it.  We are alternating casts at this point. It is getting colder and he has a short sleeve shirt on.  We take a look downstream and see a couple of beautiful deer feeding.  Their hair is a dark brown and they are small of stature unlike the ones that eat Tim’s garden.

The river below has grown in significantly since I was last here (and more so since Tim was last here!) making it a narrow, weedy section with a newly fallen tree on the left jamming things up more.

Upper E on Carmans in September

Regardless of the conditions, its still a beautiful place.

We called it a day.  Mission accomplished. We hope to get back one more time before it closes for the season on September 30th


Map from LITU Spring Creek Guide