We stopped in the Owl Bar for a few drinks and some time to adjust. Interesting place, Owl Bar, with an odd collection of figurine decor above the bar, and a flashlight handed to you whenever you needed to use the restroom. The Murray Bar across the street was supposed to be the place to be, and with the rodeo in town for the 4th, we figured we needed to acclimate a bit before wanderin' over there.
The Murray Bar wasn't quite hoppin' yet when we arrived either, giving us a chance to grab a stool and check the place out. Bayes noticed the wall covered in framed shadow-boxes containing a photo, signature, and favorite fly of some pretty famous tiers/fishermen that have bellied up to the bar at one time or another over the years. The place eventually began to fill in as Austin singer/songwriter Leo Rondeau and band took the one step up to the stage. They started out with an interesting selection of great covers that you rarely (if ever) hear done. As the night went on and the crowd loosened up they started slipping some originals into the mix. We liked these guys a lot, and we ended up having to drag Rachel off the dance floor so we could get out of there before the night really turned the corner. We did
We woke up surprisingly early and made it up to the Carbella Bridge access in good time. This was the first overcast day of the trip, and we were eager to see how the fish reacted.
It wasn't the lights-out fishing we were hoping for, but we were definitely getting takes fairly regularly. Again, hookups were a different story. If there was a "hot" fly that day, Rachel had it. It seemed like she was getting fish to rise on that thing every time I turned around, but I think this is the only one she hooked.
We pulled the boat up and stopped for a wonderful lunch of bacon sandwiches courtesy of the Best Western continental breakfast bacon bucket that Bayes raided that morning.
But the most memorable part of the day occurred after lunch. In an effort to fish water that "gets less pressure", we took a side channel off to the left, knowing it would eventually meet back up with the main. We were questioning our decision fairly early on, as one of the first obstacles we encountered was a fast narrow chute along a bend with a wicked strainer covering more than half the channel. It got a little tense as Bayes pulled hard on the oars with the giant fallen over tree coming up fast. Once we cleared it, the river immediately turned right and widened out into a slower open stretch. We thought we were in the clear when Bayes and I looked at each other and spoke simultaneously.
"Do ya hear that?" We said to each other, both hearing the distant sound of rushing water. Looking down river we couldn't figure out why the sound was getting louder and louder, but it was.
We both saw this movie before, so we decided to pull the boat to shore and go survey the situation.
Yep, that'll do it. Now we had a problem. The boat was too heavy to pick up and carry around the falls, and we had went a long ways downstream after we cut off the main channel. Looking about a hundred yards upriver we saw what might be our saving grace. We decided to pull the boat back to check it out.
After pulling the boat upriver as far as possible before a high bank, we hopped in and shot across as fast as possible. There it was. Only option.
The shoreline willows were too dense for anyone to want to crawl through them to do any scouting ahead. We simply pushed in there and hoped for the best.
After rounding each blind bend, we were relieved to see another short, unimpeded stretch of skinny water. Although the quarters were getting tighter.
Fortunately, pushing through those last willows revealed a clear path back to the "secondary" channel.
And better yet, we were now below the drop!
That detour definitely added a little spice to the day. I was even able to get one more nice brown before our takeout at Emigrant.
Only one river left before the long drive back to Kansas.