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.