Fly Fishing in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness

We ran into a herd of sheep coming down the road to Bagley Valley in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

I've encountered big herds of sheep grazing in the Sierra Nevada (e.g., Kirman Lake area). But this encounter was a first of sorts - a fish blocking herd. My partner and I came to a complete stop while a shepherd and his dogs worked hundreds of sheep down the only access road. I got off my mountain bike, took a few photos, and watched the shepherd, using simple signals, command his dogs to drive the herd off the road. Within minutes, the entire herd re-directed off the road and we were cruising. Seeing working dogs in the field, you quickly appreciate the level of skill and teamwork they bring to their job.

Fly fishing to wild trout in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

Kurt and I dumped our bikes in the sage brush, and made the short hike to the East Fork of the Carson. The water ran soft and gin-clear. We scouted downstream and saw surface feeding. Remote stream with wild trout eating off the surface - that eased the pain of spilling my bike on the steep descent to reach this point. We quickly picked off a couple of wild rainbows. Thoughts of a thirty-fish-day began to form in my head. That kind of thinking can get you in trouble. That's when it changed.

Wild rainbow trout caught on a dry fly on the East Fork Carson River.

Within minutes, the drifts were going downstream unanswered. Was it the fly? Was it the size or color of the fly? Was it the tippet? Was it a shitty drift? All of a sudden the rising fish we targeted, stopped rising. So, we went though the process of elimination until one of us got a fish to grab. Wild trout on a lightly to zero pressured piece of water, all of a sudden turns into technical fishing (e.g. fishing a hatch on the Henry's Fork) - this was a head scratcher.

The Carson River meanders though an alpine meadow in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

Wild trout in clear, low flowing streams are probably a lot more careful then other trout. We stepped down our tippet to 6X, lowered our casting profile, and the tide began to turn in our favor. At the end of the day, I would guess we caught and released 40 to 50 fish between the two of us.

Good fishing for wild trout in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

The trip back to the truck was pretty much an uphill climb for ten or so miles. We paid the full price to fish for wild trout. But, I will buy those tickets again, and again. Getting schooled early by these fish early, brought me back to ground.