Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Every year, I like to visit a few honey-holes that I've only showed a few people, and have never seen anyone fish.  It is a small stream with big pools that holds a variety of wild fish.  A few weeks back, after we'd just got a few days of light rain, I figured it would be a good chance to check out the stream to see how it's doing.

I got a later start than I wanted, but arrived just before the fog lifted, which was a great sight.

I rigged up my 4 wt and started the walk to the stream.  There is something to be said about heading out to fish early in the morning while it's still chilly and foggy...I just love it.  It reminds me of some of the best fishing I've ever had.

The stream was surprisingly low, even though we'd gotten quite a bit of rain over the last week.  Not unusual to see after a long dry spell though.  I started off nymphing a golden stone with a small pt dropper without much to show for it.  It wasn't until that I switched to a size 8 olive crystal bugger that I started to see fish on the move.  I could see a few fish in a large pool, one looking to be over 16"  I was stoked, but after landing a gorgeous 10" brookie, knew that I had no chance of landing the bigger fish(he found a spot to hide and refused to budge).  From my experience, these wild trout are very spooky and get lock jaw when spooked(more-so than say, a salmon that is just aggressive and will hit the same fly more than once).  It can be very frustrating, but humbling at the same time. 

I took my leave and worked my way upstream.  I decided to fish higher up than I usually do, which is difficult because of the private property surrounding the water.  I knew if I stayed on the side of the stream the whole way up, I'd be fine.  After missing a few nicer fish swinging the bugger, I arrived at a hole I hadn't fished in a few years because of the hard access.  It was much different than last time, but still looked great.

A large pool with a smaller, much deeper pool was above it (and I mean DEEP, 10+ feet..) made the fishing difficult because of the swirling current, so I started by stripping the bugger in the top of the water column for fish looking up.  It worked just as I thought, and I had two fish in hand within 5 minutes.

I switched tactics to try to reach fish closer to bottom and ended up with a 14' leader with quite a bit of weight that really wasn't easy to toss, but I made it work.  I added a golden stone dropper to the same bugger that had been producing and began to find the right spot to cast to get that good drift without the swirl pulling my line.  It was evident that I found the sweep spot when I felt a hard tug on my line, followed by a spunky 14" rainbow flying out of the water.  So much fun on a click & pawl reel!  I was running 6 and 7x tippet, so this guy ended up taking me down a few pools before I could lead him into the net.

I was psyched! I let the pool rest for 5 minutes and gave it another go by high-sticking with the very long leader.  Within minutes, my line stopped dead in place...fish on!  I had another bigger fish on.  When it got close to the surface, it looked like a nice brown.  It wasn't until it turned on its side that I could see it was a big brookie!  An obvious male with a huge snout and wicked vibrant color.  I'm always a bit more cautious about handling brookies for some reason, and he got the better of me before I could snap a quick pic in the net.  He flopped out and went on his way.  Judging by when he was stretched out in the net, he could have hit the 13" mark!

After that, the pool was pretty well spooked and I headed back to the car to drive downstream.  I drove down a few miles and parked on the side of the road and walked to the water.  It's 100 times easier to fish upstream than downstream, so I stayed away from the water while walking downstream, until I spotted some water I liked.  I hit the water and picked up a small brown on the bugger, but ended up hitting a wide, flat section of the stream with no holding water.  After a while, I hit a section of water near an open field, with a couple of nice log jams with very promising pools.  Surprisingly, I got no love until I was near the end of my adventure. 

To me, this looked like brownie heaven.  I stood behind the jam, to the left and tossed the bugger upstream to the right of the picture.  When the fly sank and drifted almost underneath the log jam, I gave it a twitch and started retrieving it.  Right as it got to the surface, this spunky little brown took it upon himself to make it his lifes work to destroy this bugger.  He came out and hit so fast, he nearly flew out of the water!

What a great way to end my morning jaunt!

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