Friday, July 12, 2013

Brookie fever

It's been longer than I'd like between posts, but I've been struggling with a fracture in my foot for the past months and just barely found out what it was last week - really annoying.  In short, I'm in a walking boot for the next 6 weeks, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get a line wet for the next 6 weekends.

Rewind to Saturday, June 22nd.  Chris called me the night before with a game plan to chase some more brookies.  We made plans to fish some water that was stocked with brookies, but also had wild brookies, browns and bows in it's system.  This water was closer to the roads, so less walking for me which was good for my sore foot.  We headed out, made a pitstop at a store and filled out packs and bags with drinks and a few snacks then hit the water and the fun began.

Within 15 minutes of us fishing, I took a nice spill and got myself soaked (wet wading has its disadvantages, but that day was a hot and humid one) Shortly after my swim, Chris (who was fishing 100 yards upstream of me) came walking down towards me in a panic - he'd just lost a HUGE brown for the size of the water we were fishing.  His estimate was a solid 18" brown, which would be just awesome in brookie water!  He wasn't prepared for such a big fish, and it broke him off after showing himself.  He set the tone for the day, and we were psyched!!

Unfortunately, we only managed to pick up a few small brookies in about a mile from out starting point.  We were scratching our heads.  Chris had always caught fish in this system in late Spring and Summer, so what was different?  I think the water we were fishing were home to a few peoples "favorite" spots, judging by the traffic through the woods leading to the good looking spots.  We happened upon a few fantastic looking holes, at least 5 feet deep, but they just didn't produce.  Seemed like all of our fish were in the shallow faster-moving water, so we changed tactics and headed upstream even further.  The results were the same - only a few small ones.  Our last spot was the deepest spot we'd fished.  A whopping 8'ish feet deep, it was a narrow, carved out run that looked very promising.  The type of water that you just knew a huge brown was hiding in the undercut.  We both landed a few small brookies each, but the rain started and we had a long walk back to the car.  We left this section of river and headed back to the car, getting pretty wet on the walk back.  We got to the car and it started to really come down, and I mean REALLY.  We ended up sitting in the car for probably 45 minutes to an hour until it settled, and we headed a few miles downstream to some better looking, more gradient water.

This is when things started to really heat up.  We parked the car, Chris went upstream and I, down.  I immediately got into brookies, the first being a beautiful wild 10".  I was standing knee deep in water, so taking a picture with my phone wasn't much of an option.  I found some awesome pocket water less than half a mile away from the car, and within an hour had landed a dozen brookies with one wild brown about 10"....The further down I went, the better the water looked.

I fished from pocket to pocket meticulously.  Fish weren't taking any dry fly offerings surprisingly, but then again I didn't see much of a hatch for the day.  I was mostly swinging wets and streamers.

A few hours after we split up, I was kind of worried Chris was back at the car waiting for me (we had no service to call eachother)  so I stopped at one of the deeper pools I saw on the stretch, which was just beautiful...the water was clear, yet had color to it.  While playing a brookie, I watched something well over 15" follow the fish to the surface, and swim away back into his hiding spot - maybe another big brown?!  I put on a bigger streamer and tried enticing the brown to come out to play but he wasn't having it.  He spotted me and knew what was going on.  Of course he didn't get that big in such small water for being stupid!  I was happy with my mixed bag of stockies and wild brookies.  My last fish was this average sized stockie(clipped pelvic fin) which had more color than other stockies so it deserved a pic!

Feeling satisfied, I started my trek back to the car to see if Chris was waiting.  He wasn't, so I decided to wait thinking he was coming back at the same time.  Turns out he wasn't!  I waited almost an hour before I decided to go track him down and find out he was hammering fish, and 10" brookies regularly.  We walked to the area he was getting them all, and it was some of the best water I'd seen on the whole stream.
Chris fly-fishing the pretty spot where he'd landed half a dozen brookies an hour prior - no takes though!

Long-exposure shot that Chris took of some great ladder-type water.  I missed the same brookie about 3 times in the bottom right hole which was very deep.


More awesome long-exposure shots of some of the water we fished.

While I'm C&R, Chris had a great dinner catch piled up by the end of the day.

We spent almost the entire day on the water, and it started getting dark along with rain we called it a day when we were soaking wet and I couldn't even tie on a fly because it was so dark.

Another day of great memories and beautiful fish!

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