Took a trip to the Merced River last Tuesday (March 26) and had a great time.
It's roughly three hours from home to the River, and once there you can fish it all the way up to the western entrance of YNP.
Stopped at the confluence of the South Fork and main river, and looked for spots on from there.
Since the road's on the right of the river (for the most part), we quickly decided to drive up the the entrance of YNP and then drive back downriver, since it'd be easier to do this with the parking being on our easier-accessible right side. (We'd basically be able to pull off wherever we wanted since there was no shoulder on the right side of the road when heading east toward the Park.)
It was my first time nymphing, and boy was it...interesting!
I tried out the Palsa strike indicators, clipped on 2 split shot, and tied on the BHPrince Nymph.
It was quite different casting with all that weight on the line, and things didn't really go too well.
I actually got hooked in the cheek from the nymph from trying to pick up the cast with the line downstream and to my left as I looked perpendicular across the stream...I'll (hopefully) never do that again!
The most frustrating part of the day cam when I found a really great pool after some hard water. The big rocks at the head of the pool created a calm, large pool to form behind it, and a young fly fisherman had already caught 2 or 3 when I got there. I tried the PM, but w/ no luck.
Then I tied on a Parachute Adams, and still no luck.
The fish were rising, and I just had to find what they wanted to eat!
I then tied on an Elk Hair Caddis, my only one that Pastor K. had given me.
After contending with the wind and current (which eventually led to my downfall), I had made a fine presentation and was getting a great drift when I saw the Japanese F.F. and his buddy come by watching me and all the fish rising in the pool. I waved, then got back to the action.
I had one really good rise and take, but was too slow to set the hook. (The fish may have rejected my fly as well, but this didn't come into my thinking until reading the FF library books.)
Anyway, after that, I had a horrendous time, contending with the following diagram I made both for Mr. John Kim of http://troutuort.blogspot.com/ and for myself:
The currents and the gusting wind really gave me grief.
As you can tell, I had currents going upstream and downstream, and I tried mending up and downstream, but to no avail. I could only get a natural drift for 1 or 2 seconds, and was getting wind knots, snagged in trees, and frustrated as the trout continued to rise.
To add insult to injury, while stopping at different spots after my defeat, I got my lone EHC snagged and lost the fly.
*(This sad fact is only bearable in that I just purchased 36 Elk Hair Caddis flies off eBay for $19.17 total!)
All in all, it was a great scouting trip, and I'll definitely be going back in the near future.
Things are moving pretty rapidly with dad, work, Al, and hopefully we'll see dad out there swinging the 9' 6 wt. fly rod I got him for Christmas!
candid shot by the Bob.