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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monkey Forks

Having fly fished since 1971 one would think that I would have fished Monkey Forks Creek many times. After all, it is right here in Washington where I live and it grows some lunker Rainbow trout. I have listened to people talk about it, seen pictures of big fish, day dreamed about it, hummed and hawed about it, and driven by it. A few times in the past 15 years a buddy and I have stopped at Monkey Forks for an hour or two. We only did it as an afterthought on the way home from some other spot. I don't know why I have never made a serious effort to fish there. Maybe its that the creek is so small you can cast all the way across it. Maybe it is that Monkey Forks has jillions of ticks. Maybe I have been distracted by so many other places. I just don't know why I haven't fished it.

Did I mention that the Rainbow in Monkey Forks can get real big? They eat and eat and eat. Scuds, Mayflies, Caddis, Chironomids, Damsels, Dragonflies, and some terrestials (when the wind blows) all help to fatten these piggies up. And they do get fat. And long.

Some of the time the fat Monkey Fork Piggies will even take a dry fly. I'm not sure why that single thing has not been enough to get me over there for at least one trip a year, or heck, at least one trip in the last 39 years, but it hasn't. Maybe I just have it in the back of my mind that a 5 pound trout in a small creek wouldn't have anywhere to run. I don't know. I really don't.

At the beginning of 2010 I set several fishing goals for the year; one of them was to make a trip to Monkey Forks Creek in the spring. I meant to spend two days there and fish only the creek. My friend, Gary, has fished there many times so I asked him to go with me.

I suppose me blogging about Monkey Forks is kind of like me going there. It took me a heck of a long time to plan a trip there and I didn't get around to writing about it for 9 months. Maybe Monkey Forks makes me lackadaisical. It's not my fault I never planned a trip to a creek that has multi-pound trout in it and it's not my fault it took me so many months to make a blog post about it. It's the creek's fault. It's a bad influence on me.

Gary and I went in the middle of March. The weather was cool but still very manageable; virtually no wind was also a nice plus. We fished floating lines the entire time. Dead drifting small nymphs is a favorite technique at Monkey Forks.

It produced this beefy boy.

The most satisfying fish for me was a porker that fell for an adult May Fly on the first afternoon. He rose about 40 feet from me near a cut on the opposite side of the creek. The distance on my first cast was just right and the fly landed about 5 feet upstream from the fish. The fly drifted casually over the holding spot and just like that the trout picked the fly off the surface. The fish was actually into the backing before he stopped and headed back upstream towards the very spot he had been tricked. You'll just have to trust me that the tape is stretched out to the fish's tail. The fish was flopping in the grass and I didn't want him out of the water any longer.

Gary and I caught fish but apparently not at the pace he is used to. The fish pictured above is the only one that took me into the backing. For their size I'm not sure the fish I caught fought all that well. Maybe that is because of the time of year and maybe the fish in Monkey Forks are just not "hot" fish. I will have to go again to do some field testing on that to make a determination.

In town things are pretty relaxed too. Here is the line at the espresso stand.

Oh, and one more thing. If you look for Monkey Forks on a map or do an Internet search for it, you won't find it. A couple days before we left for the trip I was talking to a loan rep I work with. His name is D. R. I told him I was going to fish Rocky Ford Creek and he misunderstood me. He asked, "Monkey Forks Creek? Is that in Washington?" I liked Monkey Forks better than Rocky Ford so I have just kept calling it that since then.

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