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All about the Fish Got questions regarding specific fish? Their habits and how to catch them?

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  #1  
Old 06-25-2016, 07:42 PM
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muddler muddler is offline
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Big Creek Idaho

Big Creek

We first saw big creek when we made an excursion in the mountains bordering the Frank Church River of no return wilderness. We fished it briefly in Jacobs Ladder flats close to the hamlet of Edwardsburg and found Salmon smolts and a few brook trout but after really scoping it out on the map we discovered it was one of the largest tributaries of the Middle fork Salmon River. This creek had been one of those bucket list destinations ever since and we took the chance to visit the area in late June.


At the trail head we met the local ranger who pointed out the trail was being maintained by a crew up a tributary of Big Creek called Beaver Creek and that the deadfall beyond on the main river had not been cleared. We set our sights on camping near the junction of Beaver and Big creeks, dawned our packs, and headed into the wilderness.

The trail had been a road prior to the designation of “wilderness” and the one lane it had been before has become overgrown and eroded with time. Old roadways were by passed as the creek or the mountainsides had washed out the road in several places. We even found the rusting remains of a long ago abandoned truck two miles in the now wilderness.

Wild flowers were abundant with Indian paintbrush, Skyrocket Gilia, Lupine, fire weed and countless more varieties. Huckleberries were blooming as were the raspberries and thimble berries and it looked like be were about two weeks early for a fruit bonanza that the bears would be enjoying. There were some sign of bears, prints and scat but we never saw one. Deer on the other hand were abundant as were the ground squires and a variety of birds most notably dippers on the river diving for prey.






We camped in a meadow of tall grass nestled in the spruce trees bordered by the river to the south and steep hillsides to the north where Beaver Creek Joined Big Creek. No phones, radios, cars or people; wilderness as it was meant to be. After we set up camp I ventured to the junction of the two creeks and found a good pool next to a rock outcropping that tailed out nicely to a rapid below. Easy casting from the rocks but after 20 minutes of casting in the swift water and returning threw the tailout it was clear I was not destine to capture the sought after Cutthroats tonight and I returned to my companion Barbara for a meal and lavations of amaretto to south the tired hiker. We retired before sunset worn out from the journey but were rewarded with abundant star light for the late night pee that comes to us older enthusiasts.




There morning came with new promise and after our breakfast I again returned to the rocky area armed with my fly rod but with an HD trout lure attached. Casting such an arrangement with a fly line takes some adjustment but after a few lobs I got the right distance and the lure started it’s magic. The second decent drift produced a strong take and I found my 5 weight fly rod straining to a heavy fish at the end of the pool just above the tail out. Short bursts of power and heavy head shakes, unexpected in this wilderness environment it seems I have hooked my first fish and it is a large Bull Trout. After a strong fight that a heavy fish can do with light fly leader I held my fish, a 20 inch Bull wild and bright and he posed for this photo.



Now that was great, capturing a grand native fish and releasing him back into the wild true satisfaction. Returning to the rock used before and after a few more swings another fish, larger than the first smashed the trout natural HD trout. Stunning the first two fish in this distant wilderness creek turn out to be bull trout exceeding 20 inches each and this one came in at a good five pounds.





Barbara was next and sure enough she too hooked a large bull trout in this pool with my rod. After a good tug of war she brought it in to be photographed and it broke the leader taking our only trout natural HD trout pattern. Our last bull trout of the day was equal to the size of the others strong and majestic but this one now has our lure as a prize. Spying the water there seemed to be eight torpedoes hugging the bottom of the pool and clearly the last fish had the lure as he finned with it’s brothers in the pool. Subsequent passes with another pattern brought could not entice the big trout but the Cutthroats were happy to nab it in the shallower moving water at the head of the pool.




And so the trip went with some Cutthroat action in a few other places but the big boys were not to be seen again. Small Salmon smolts were captured on flies and I suspect these large predators were feasting on unsuspecting salmon as they began their journey downstream. The water was high and there were few holding areas we could reach, in a few more weeks the level of runoff will reduce the flows and then this stream will be a good cutthroat producer. The Big Creek will require a return trip.
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:33 AM
pathway pathway is offline
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How innovative. You may need to change your handle to HD Trout. Great pictures.
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Old 06-26-2016, 10:10 AM
bharper bharper is offline
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Love Cutthroats! Don't get to see Bull Trout very often.Nothing like getting out to see new trails and finding the fish! I haven't been to Idaho maybe someday? Thx for sharing!
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:04 PM
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Yet another great post. That looks like a great time.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:59 AM
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Great Post!
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2016, 01:05 PM
Fly Flicker Fly Flicker is offline
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DANG!!!!

Sweet report and great pics!!
Love the bull trout!!!
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:32 AM
Cochise Cochise is offline
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awesome.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:23 PM
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IDFishFool IDFishFool is offline
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Hello Muddler, nice post ... I am new to the forum but had to reach out ... A couple of buddies and are planning a backback trip into the Frank this summer ... We intend to stay in the area around Beaver/Big Creek confluence and fish the area up and down river from camp for several days.
Can you share any logistical info?

What time of year did you go?
This has been a pretty big snow year ... In your estimation when would be the earliest one could expect clear water?
How far in did you hike?
Did you try any tributaries?
Your pics show your tent set up in a meadow ... Was there a rock lined fire pit near by?
Did you encounter many people during your stay?
Any other info about Big Creek area and fishing would be much appreciated.

Thanks ... ID FishFool
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Old 03-28-2017, 08:02 PM
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muddler muddler is offline
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ID fish fool: the meadow we camped at was just above the confluence of big and beaver creeks. It was late June and still with strong run off flows. There were rock lined fire pits there and at another camp on beaver creek. The trail down big creek was explored but no accessible places to fish with the high water, lots of down fall logs. Ticks were present at our camp. My goal next time is to reach Monument bridge where two more creeks enter big creek seven miles further down from beaver creek.
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Old 04-23-2017, 03:07 PM
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Hi Muddler: Thank you for the kind reply ... Thanks also for the tip on ticks and info on firerings in camp locations.
Please indulge with a few more questions as the area is remote ... any first hand intel would be helpful.
Is there room for several groups or just 2-3 sites? I spoke with the activities ranger at the Krassel Ranger District in March ... He had just returned from a flyover and said there had been at least three new avalanches this past winter in the immediate area near the confluences. He said they are already planning trail work for this season as Smith/Big Creek trail is a horse pack access point to the Salmon and other camps down river.
I suspect with this year's snowpack all Idaho rivers will remain high well into July. When do you think would be best? Our intent is to spend three full days plus"arrival" and "get-a-way" days there in late July/early August ... I will be speaking with the ranger again in June for an update on the trail and Big Creek.
Deadfall logs can be troublesome but do tend to create nice fish hiding sanctuaries. Many of previous jams are visible on 2016 and historical GoogleEarth imagery.
While I am not excited about the added weight, what is your opinion regarding waders? Would having them give access to more water, or is the creek narrow/small enough to fish most pockets from the banks without getting too wet?
I did see Monument Bridge on the maps but we are unsure if we will get that far down. Big maybe at this point.
Once again, thank you for your earlier reply and in advance for any additional information. I am excited for the opportunith to explore the Idaho back country.

ID FishFool
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