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Mokelumne River Trip Report 3-8-10

Ted Nahhas and I floated the Lower Mokelumne with Bill Heger on Monday February 22, 2010.  It was a cold and dreary day and the fish were not very cooperative.

We tried throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them, but the bite did not turn on until after lunch.  We were below the Highway 88 before we found willing fish.  The hatchery juvenile steelhead were still present and was mostly what we caught.  We caught most of them nymphing on black Copper Johns and a few on Micro Mayflies.

We were on the water about 9:00 AM and fished until 5:30PM.  A nasty wind came up in the afternoon and we raced the storm to get off the water before the rain hit.  We managed to get the boat out and secured and were in the truck when it started to sprinkle.  Not bad timing at all.

Here are some pictures:

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Bill showing Ted a few pointers

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Ted taking a break

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A dreary day, but at least there wasn't any rain!

Ted's Take:

Well it's been a little over two months since retirement (January vacation and Febuary 1 retirement date) and I've completed a lot of honey do's and other needed projects around the house & property. It was time for some R&R so I took up an offer of one of my co-workers, Dustin, whom had worked out a deal with a flyfishing friend of his (Bill Heger) for a guided trip down the Mokelumne river as a retirement gift . Hey, it's time to have some fun right. That's what retirement is, right?

It was forecast to be cold and possibly wet. I dressed warm, several layers of cloths as well as my neoprene waders (all my flyfishing equipment is 20years old by the way). Well, it snowed here (Mary said) and the wind whipping up the river had a bite to it like a chain saw. I of course sat in the front of the boat. We (Dustin in the back and Bill in the middle) headed down river. BRRR. We reached the first fishing spot and Bill suggested we exit the boat to fish off an island off the right side of the river. 

Somehow, with all the clothes on I didn't lift my following foot over the side of the boat, hooked it on the rail and fell head first into the river. It was so embarrassing they didn't even laugh. Dustin just asked if I was alright. "Oh yeah, I'm alright, just a little wet" Shit, I'm not only cold now I'm going to freeze solid.  Next, I tangled my flyline so bad Bill had to take it to the side for 1/2 hour or so cutting the knots out and re-tieing leaders, tippits, & fly. Bill let me use his rod which I promptly got the tip of the rod and line tangled in a tree behind me. I got it out but he later told me he was watching with GREAT interest as that is a $500 rod. 

There were fish aplenty but every time my indicator would dip my set was so slow the fish was already gone and upstream spawning (someone was having fun). Bill kept saying "HIT, HIT, HIT" But I was late every time. Guess my reflexes have slowed over the the years. It wasn't long before the back aches started. "Don't complain Ted, you can still save face even after falling in, no complaining, oh my back hurts". "Brutal" was the word I was thinking.

Half way through the float I had to lift my leg into the boat with my arms as I hadn't the strength or flexibility to do so without assistance. Toward the end of the float (eight hours), freezing, tired, and in horrible pain I was wishing we had a motor to get us to the take out before I died. 

We did make it to the take out. Bill backed the trailer in and I smashed my shin on the trailer hook(couldn't lift it high enough again) but by this time my whole body was in so much pain it was like being bit by an ant. I gratefully tipped Bill, and took Dustin out to dinner where I chugged a pitcher of painkilling beer, finally got home, took a half dozen naprosyn and went to bed. I have now awakened 11 hours later and thought it would be good to write these wonderful moments down for my future retirement memoirs. I don't know what I'll title this future collection of exhilarating experiences but "Nobody promised you a Rose Garden" comes to mind.   Take care all.

PS: I did catch a couple of 6 inchers which seemed to be laughing at me as they shook themselves off the hook at the side of the boat