I started hitting the Delaney's a few nights a week with Rick, and I started seeing that I had been missing out on the night bite all summer. Around the 2nd week of September, I started going out every night after work, hell bent on getting some giant Delaney Buttes
fish after dark. After about a week of going out every night, I got my first shot at a big brown. It crushed an articulated leech on the end of a long cast, and set into motion 3 and a half straight weeks of night fishing every night. I bounced back and forth between South
and North D, with big fish coming out of both. Sight fishing produced the majority of my big fish at night to my surprise, although I did get a few giants just blind casting around as well. I didn't end up ever getting a giant brown out of North Delaney, although I did get then up to about 20 or 21 inches.
The cutbows on the other hand, were a little bigger. I started off blind casting on my first few trips without much action, but when I started to sight fish with my headlamp, the game changed. within about a week, I had it dialed, and I was essentially just carp fishing for them. Probably the best night was somewhere around the second week of October. I went out after work like usual, not knowing what was about to go down. I met a few cool guys who were up camping from Foco, and they asked to come fish with me. Within about 3 minutes, I had a 24in cutbow
in the net, and another one about 2 minutes later. I missed a few more fish, and decided to go hang out by the fire and warm up for a minute. I headed back out at about 1:30am to go fish, but the other guys decided to just chill by the fire. I wasn't seeing many fish as I walked the bank, but all the sudden, there was a massive shadow on the outside edge of my light. I slapped my fly out in front of it, and it pounded it. After a hellish battle that involved the fish wrapping the line twice around the frame of my net, I had it corralled. I didn't get a official length or weight, but the pictures speak for themselves. My phone also fell in the water while I was trying to take a solo picture of it, so unfortunately it wasn't the best.
Ironically, both of my biggest Delaney browns came out of South. One was the leech eater that started the night fishing frenzy, but the other was a kyped out colored up beast that I sight fished in shallow water. After a while though, the Delaney's started to slow down, and my focus changed yet again. The weather was starting to get pretty cold, so I started to look to the high country for cutties again, only this time through the ice.
I went looking for ice around the 3rd week of October and found some, although it was only about a 1/2in at the time. I watched it close for the next week, and finally on the 28th I stepped foot on it. Part of the lake was shaded from trees all day, so there was about 1 to 1.5in of ice to work with. It took about 2 minutes for the first fish to hit the ice, and another one quickly followed. The action kind of died off, so I decided to head out. I hit it again the next day and got one fish, and just kept making trips from there.
After a while, enough snow had piled up that I couldn't get to the cutty stuff anymore, and I had to start searching for safe ice with easy access. Eventually, one of the reservoirs froze up, and I found a bit of safe ice. I started hitting that more and more, and by the time I started packing up for the end of the season, I had been on the ice 16 times.
Eventually, I had to wrap up the fishing and pack up to head home. And that pretty much brings to an end what was probably the best year of my life, and living out a lifelong dream. I want to thank everyone at North Park Anglers
and Buffalo Creek Ranch
for making this all happen for me and everything this summer. Here's hoping next year is even better!