Greg Evans and I played hooky from work and planned on floating Gray Reef for two days in early Nov. Got there and typical Wyoming weather had set in 60 degrees and 60-mph winds…so we fished from shore. We fished from Alcove almost into Casper out of the car and had a great two days…despite the wind.
We were catching fish regularly on anything that looked like a crayfish and blood red leach patterns. The water was way off-color because of the recent turnover in Alcova reservoir. The afternoon of the second day we were fishing a few miles below Government bridge in a braded section of the river. Greg was 200 yards down stream and I had picked up two rainbows and was about to move on to other water. As I was leaving I tossed my nymph rig into the back water that had been behind me while I had been fishing in the main run. You know how that goes. You make a leisurely cast as you are stepping out of the water and you get your flys caught on a snag. I’m popping my line to extract my fly, moving up river when the snag started to move. Hmmmm. I felt something very strange on the end of my line. This thing began to move a few feet. You know how a big trout will telegraph its size to you with its head shake. Well this thing was like the head shake of a buffalo!
Then it began to move off. I had a 6 wt rod and a 2x tippet but 3x between the two flys. Suddenly 6lb test line was a real worry for me. I fought this thing for 20 minutes without ever seeing it in the murky water.
Now it was pretty clear I didn’t have a trout on. It never surfaced in that time and it pulled my into my backing three times. Nice irresistible pull by something very large. It finally dawned on me that I might need help landing this monster so I yelled at Greg for help. It’s nice to fish with a young guy with good ears and fast legs. He came a running and about that time I saw the fish for the first time. In the sun it looked like the golden arches had just surfaced.
I saw a dorsal fin and a back covered with incredibly huge scales as it sounded again and tried to move into the fast water. Now I was in a panic. You don’t want to lose a fish that size…regardless of species, and I had already put in 30 minutes playing this fish.
So I started pulling bubba back into the slow back water and he finally obliged. Greg arrived out of breath with his catch and release net in hand. Now that was a laugh. I began to play the fish into the shallows while discussing with Greg strategies for beaching the critter. I really wish we had had another person to document the landing procedure. Greg missed bubba twice doing the river dance as the fish tried to place the fishing line between his legs on his last try at freedom.
Finally the fish was played out and Greg and I got in the right position. Greg puts the face of the fish in his net, grabs the tail and toted the fish to the grass on the nearby island. That gave me a minute to catch my breath….I was pooped. (Later on I found a big bruise on my chest when the rod butt had dug in.) Bubba had taken a blood leach in 3 foot of water. I screwed up my courage to pick up the fish so Greg could get the picture. We returned the fish to the back eddy and he cruised off seemingly unconcerned about his recent out-of-water experience. I was so tired that I quit fishing for the day. A great way to end two days on the river.
My koi raising friend at work later told me the fish was a German canvas carp often raised as a food fish and probably put in the water by railway workers. The fish was likely older than me. This species has been documented to live over 200 years.
submitted by Ken Eis, November 3, 2005⇐ Back