ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Winter Fishing in the White Mountains

Winter creek fishing is hard.

Yes, again I'm trying to get some trout fishing in during the Arizona winter. Last year it was the Lower Salt river and I think the water was too low. It was also colder than warlock blood, so my bet was the fish were huddled up somewhere.

About two weeks later I went nymph fishing on the Lower Provo in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Cold. Cold. Cold. And like the trip to the Lower Salt, I was stumped. No fish at all. Not even a bite.

So either one of four things is happening.

There are no fish there,

They just aren't biting.

I 'm using the wrong lure.

I suck as a fisherman.

Well, I know that the last one is wrong. I've caught some amazing fish in my day. But you can't help but wonder.

In April last year I went back to the Lower Provo. It's a river much like the ones I grew up trout fishing in the Smokey Mountains- Tellico and Citico Creeks. This time I brought a couple of spinning lures and my spinning rod. Now the Lower Provo is a blue ribbon river, so if I didn't catch anything then, I might as well hang it up. Lucky for me, it was a grand day. I caught ten brown trout, one as large as my forearm. I have pictures of them here if you want to see some fish porn. And it was all on a specific lure-- one that mimics baby browns

Fast forward to this week. We're up in Greer and I'm fishing the Lower Colorado. The water levels are low. It's pretty damn cold. I wonder how much over-fishing has occurred over the last year. A lot of the river is hard to get to as it coils through private lands. Two days and no fish.

Did I even see fish?

Sure. On the South Fork of the Little Colorado I saw some real small browns. Fingerlings. A couple followed  my lure. I saw the belly of something larger roll lazily as my spinning lure flashed past it. But nothing really. I switched between silver and bold spinning lures as well. Nothing for the silver. Only nibbles on the gold.

Then at Sheep's Head Crossing I saw some little Apache Trout. Seriously. They couldn't have been bigger than my middle finger. Still, they wanted my lure. The only problem was that their poor little mouths weren't big enough. Which is good, because I wouldn't have wanted to harm them.

But I also have to remember that fishing isn't always about catching fish. It's about being alone with oneself. Being part of nature. And I have to tell you, it's absolutely gorgeous up here. I wrote an essay when I was deployed to Afghanistan called I Used to Be a Fisherman.

I guess I'd quite for a time.

Now I am a fisherman once more.

And it's just damned cold.

I'm going to try the Black River and Silver Creek in the Spring. It should be better then. And who knows, I might even catch something.

Until then, I'm going to keep trying to crack this winter fishing problem. Any advice and recommendation would be helpful. I did note that I was the only one fishing. Didn't see a single other person with their line in the water.

The last picture is a curious thing. I found half a dozen bird carcasses, a rabbit carcass, and a  squirrel carcass in a small area next to the water. My guess is it was a hawk's abattoir-- where it took it's kill to feed. Not sure what kind of bird this was. Thinking it might have been a pheasant or a peacock. 

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