Perfect weather for my last angling excursion of 2017 into Lower Grape Creek in Temple Canyon Park–upper 60s, bluebird sky, gentle breeze. Alas, Old Man Winter got there before me last week and locked things up till next spring. Saw some nice bows but ice made a decent drift almost impossible and all of the deeper holes where the trout were holding a couple of weeks ago were iced in. Oh well, on the bright side got great exercise walking 4 miles in waders and boots, was shadowed by a friendly little Dipper, and the ice on the creek was artistic. Everglades here I come!!
It’s mid-November, and I am traversing down a steep slope into the canyon where Grape Creek runs free. It’s a balmy 50 degrees, but I’m crunching through a few inches of snow left over in shaded areas from a storm earlier in the week.
After stowing my RC Cola and Almond Joy candy bar in a snow bank, I ease into the water. It’s icy, and I do mean icy cold–only increasing my growing doubts about finding any willing fish. The sun is just climbing over the canyon rim, lighting up the good-looking u-shaped pool created where the creek plunges over a riffle and head first into a big rock palisade. I start throwing a line, and to my surprise on the third cast something big nails the caddis nymph that trails a couple of feet below the Royal Coachman Trude dry. After a good tussle, a brightly colored 15-inch rainbow eases into the net. All doubts evaporate. It’s the start of another banner late fall angling escapade.