… but not in the same place.
I had heard from someone that Rattlesnake Creek had some great Cutthroat and Rainbow opportunities, coupled with amazing scenery.
As one does, I filed this information away in my memories, under the general header of “someday.”
Some months later, the same points were made in a fly fishing magazine, adding that some Brook Trout were also possible, in the upper reaches.
The file gets moved from the “someday” cabinet to the “someday soon” cabinet.
Functionally, these cabinets are the same, really. The items in the later might end up done earlier than those in the former….or they might not. In the end, it really boils down to this: doing a Someday is a good feeling. Doing a Someday Soon is a great feeling. Why, you might ask? Because the latter are more urgent…in title.
The lower reaches of Rattlesnake Creek are picturesque, to be sure. This time of year, it is a glistening ribbon of clear water, winding through places where one cannot help but feel more connected with the natural world than with anything modern.
Even just the drive, despite quickly turning to one lane and shared with thise coming down the ridge, is relaxing.
The first portion of the drive is bordered with private land, which is posted so frequently that one ends up wondering if a fresh sign were placed anywhere the ower suspected someone might have stepped over the otherwise invisible line that is the border between him or her, and the rest of the world.
It seems that the road quickly climbs almost immediately after the private land is left behind you. It snakes back and forth, climbing up the South face of the canyon. Had I been a bit less tired, I may have tried one of the jeep trails, which even the magazine referenced as a great way to get closer to the creek, but I had it in my mind to get to those upper reaches and take a shot at some brookies.
After a long and twisting drive, where the pavement eventually gave way to gravel, I came to a spot where cement barriers were almost blocking the road, but appeared to have been recently slid to create an opening, and a large “Road Closed” sign sat off to the left. Although it faced me, it was perhaps not as authoritative as it could have been, were it a bit better angled. To my right, two guys were standing behind a pickup truck, backed in to a pull-off, with backpacks resting on the truck gate.
They smiled and waved when I killed the engine and climbed out of the truck. I asked them if they knew if the road was really closed, or if the sign and blocks were there to be pulled into place, later? They replied that the bridge was under repair, but that the short road leading to it was accessible.
Thanking them, I climbed back in, and made my way back up the road. I had decided, during the drive, that if I could not find a good spot to access the creek, I would head back to the Naches. Clearly, I was not going to get to the upper reaches, today.
I often get caught off guard by the change in perspective that comes with reversing direction in the mountains. When driving on mountain roads, one focuses on that forward 90-degree arc, and sees what the path puts before them. On the way to the dead end, I could tell there was a great distance down to the canyon floor, but did not get much detail.
On the way back….
I can see why there is so much said about the scenery, isolation, and limited pressure on the fish!
Sadly, the only way I could see to the canyon floor involved a rapid loss of altitude, occasional but dangerous tree obstructions, an unacceptably rapid deceleration at the end, and would be followed by an inability to then begin fishing.
It was a great reminder to return to that 90-degree arc, and get back down safely.
Promising myself that I would return with a better plan and more detailed map, I made my way to the highway and drove to the same spot I had visited a few days before.
I ended up spending a little less than two hours fishing that stretch, but was rewarded with many more fish brought to hand.
Behind a rock, in an area where I previously had little success, I connected with this beautiful fish.
A few minutes later, I pulled a 10″ Cutt out of the seam next to the first narrow rapids, where my best catch was made on the previous trip.
My favorite, however, was one I never got to hold, in the last pool of the day. My #12 Parachute Adams had made it’s full drift, and I was preparing to recast, when a shimmering Rainbow nailed it, coming out of the water! It bent my 5/6 rod deeply, danced briefly across the surface of the river, then flipped and let go of the fly. I was left laughing and completely thrilled!
Altogether, a great day. Plans to be made. Fish caught and released. I climbed into the truck completely relaxed and thankful for all I had experienced.