Monday, May 9, 2016

Against the Wind

Against the Wind
5/08/16

 I guess I’m still like a kid with a new toy; I can’t wait to try it out. I’m definitely a trout bum but occasionally I target bass during the warmer months. Since I got a kayak last year I did a little more largemouth bass fishing than usual.  With that said I felt a bass rod was needed. Checking out cost and reputation in bass rods I selected the tournament legal MoJo bass fly rod and couldn’t wait to use it.
 On Saturday I actually forfeited trout fishing and washed, waxed and changed oil in the Harley. I got other chores done that had been needing attention while my thoughts were on taking the new rod out bass fishing. The weather was to be better Sunday so I set my sights on Sunday.
 It’s early May and I always felt it was still too early to be thinking about bass during prime trout season. I’ve been doing very well the past few weeks catching mostly stocked trout but getting the new bass rod changed my outlook. I even washed the kayak and got all my fly bass gear ready. Come rain or high water I was going bass fishing Sunday.
 Sunday morning it was 41 degrees but the weathermen said it was to reach 61 degrees. I put the kayak in the van and headed north. The sun was on the rise as big white and gray clouds moved slowly below the blue sky. I kept a watch on the tree limbs on my way and there was no breeze that I could tell.
 In the parking area I noticed the only thing I forgot was a sponge to soak up and water that happens in the kayak. I was getting warm, getting my gear together, but decided to leave my medium weight polypropylene shirt on for the trek through the forest. I put a sweatshirt in the dry bag for assurance should it get colder. I assembled the 7 weight 7’ 11” MoJo rod and attached a mid-arbor reel with what I had, a WF7F trout taper fly line with a 12lb 9’ bass tapered leader. I grabbed a few stogies, a water bottle and put the rest of the gear in the kayak. Out of the parking area I began rolling the kayak on my approximately 2 mile journey down the grown up lane through the national forest. It is mostly flat land and with my homemade dolly isn’t much of a task.
 At waters edge the large swamp was much higher than I ever seen it. This was a good thing as I didn’t have to step in swamp muck to launch the kayak. Looking out towards the swamp I could see ripples on the surface. The sun shown down, reflecting bright light like looking into stage lights without the warmth. I felt a cool breeze blow by and decided to put the sweatshirt on.
 Out on the open water was a complete different experience. The wind blew constantly and sometimes ferociously throughout the day. White caps appeared on the wavy current at times and smacked against the exposed stumps and standing timber out in the swamp. The sound was as if two long boards being slapped together. Paddling the kayak got to be strenuous when moving against the wind. The waves would hit the bow like an exploding water balloon splashing water into and aside the kayak.
 I use a wooden handle claw hammer as an anchor. Normally the claw was all I needed to keep me from moving once it took hold of the lily roots and bottom moss. With the wind it was a constant drift unless the hammer caught hold of an underneath limb. At times I would just wedge the hammer in an exposed stump or limb to keep from being blown away. Trying to anchor in the deeper water would have been impossible so I didn’t even try.
 Forgetting my Zippo, trying to light a stogie got to be a challenge. By the end of the day I figured my thumb would feel like emery cloth constantly trying to keep the butane lighter lit.
 Most of the time I tried to fish the calmer water at the backside of land away from the wind. There wasn’t much of this calmer water available. Also there was a more concentration of the small lily pads which caused more hang ups. 

 As far as catching went I felt it went fairly well considering the conditions. I cast hard and soft homemade foam poppers against the wind, across the wind and with the wind. The short MoJo rod had little trouble in the windy conditions. I’ve used my 7 weight 9’ and 9’ ½” fly rods, I use for steelhead, and I must say the short rod is definitely the better choice for ponds, lakes and swamp waters. With the short rod the popper isn’t in the air as long. If you think about this the popper doesn’t rise off the water as high as a longer rod. The action is quicker and the rod tip isn’t as soft. This all makes for quick casts and less wind resistance. There isn’t a need to make real long casts as if you were river fishing in deep water you can't wade through. I also felt i had more control of my casts.
 With the lily shoots sprouting upward from the bottom fishing beneath was out of the question. I stayed with poppers and made quite a few bass rise. I didn’t catch any big bass. I figured they may have been in deeper water and there was no chance of trying for them in these conditions.

 As far as how the rod handles after the hook up I can't say I could give a fair assessment as of yet. Knowing I had 12lb leader and didn't catch any lunkers the small largemouth bass I caught were no problem getting them to the kayak. I had more resistance trying to unhook my poppers hung up on a bunch of lily pads. 
 About 2:30 I had enough of the weather and wind. My face felt cold and chapped like riding the cycle in cold conditions against the wind for 2 hours straight. My shoulders were getting sore from paddling in the windy conditions and besides that I ran out of cigars. Paddling against the wind, to my exit point, was the last challenge of the day. Again wavy water splashed against the kayak creating sprays of wetness upon me. The cold gusts of wind chilled my cheeks and chapped my lips. My ears felt tender from the all day windy conditions.
 Once aground I dragged the kayak over the bumpy field up to the lane. There I positioned the kayak on the cart and strapped it down. I took my time making my way towards the parking area. A cold beer was a quenching relief as I put my gear away and changed into dry clothes.
 So much for my May bass fishing. I think that with a bass taper fly line the casting would take less effort, more distance and most likely better control especially in windy conditions. I’ll wait till warmer weather, or at least till the end of June, before my next largemouth bass excursion in the National Forest.

~doubletaper


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Brook Trout 'N Glass

Brook Trout ‘N Glass
5/01/16

  After stop and go fishing the Tionesta Creek, staying downstream from the mud line from the rain, I decided to brook trout fish in the ANF before heading home. I took a dirt road through the Allegheny National Forest and parked along side the narrow creek that flowed between the bare forest trees. I decided to have some fun and I put together the 2 piece ‘Custom Pro’ Wonderod and attached the Martin Classic MC78 reel, with Cortland Sylk line, to the down locking reel seat. As I pulled line out of the reel, lining the rod, it made me chuckle listening to the audible ratcheting clicks of the old Martin reel.
 The gray rain clouds had now passed and the day brightened leaving white puffy clouds lingering above. The white clouds reflected the sun's rays down upon the forest. Looking around, the forest glistened with reflections of light off the wet blades of grass and the raindrop left on the few tree leaves on the branches of small saplings. Pine bows twinkled, from the wetness also, like small Christmas tree lights when the soft wind blew through the forest.
 I found the creek had a chalkiness color to it, in the riffles, and good flow from the recent rainfall. This broadened the mountain stream and should get the brook trout out from their low water hiding places and into the main flow. With the chalky water I won’t have to make long casts, to keep from being seen, and can avoid the bank side branches and overhanging twigs on my casts.
 I started wading the creek casting a Woolly Bugger to get a feel for the short fiberglass rod. I made looping roll casts most of the time but would overhand longer casts where I was able to. I caught one brook trout on a brown bugger but felt I should have had more strikes for the area I had just covered. I know very well brook trout love minnows and I had a variety of bait fish imitations to show off. Once I started the DT Triple Threat fashion show the entertainment started to pick up. I lit a cigar, relaxed a bit and continued on.
 
 I changed colors often with or without the bling depending on the situation from dark shadows along the banks to out in the middle of the creek. In the riffles I used flashier colors to draw more attention. I had to shorten up the minnow imitations some because of the short strikes of the smaller brook trout compared to the rainbow trout I had caught in the Tionesta Creek. With each catch the brook trout darted about within the riffling water and the glass rod flexed and danced with each tug and pull.
 There were a few other anglers fishing bait along the stream also. I simply went around them and continued down creek finding a trout or two here and there. They were spread out looking for a meal as I expected.
 By the time my cigar went out I had caught quite a few brook trout and decided to call it a day. 

  Back at the van I drank a Great Lakes Porter. The cold dark beer went down easily and was a good beer to finish the day.

~doubletaper





Sunday, April 3, 2016

February Treats

February Treats
2/22/16

  I pulled into the parking lot and there was only one vehicle parked with the engine running. The mail lady evidently had to use the outhouse, in the park, before continuing on her route. I parked, got out of the warm van and immediately felt a cold chill that whisked across my face letting me know winter was still here for a while.

 Staying at home, during my lay off, tying flies and sitting out the freezing and snowy weather wasn’t what I called a good time to be laid off. With a little sunshine on Monday I waited till the outside air warmed to above 40 degrees before venturing out to fish. The afternoon sun was above, shining in the blue sky, by the time I got to the parking area. I noticed it didn’t seem its rays were having any effect melting away any more snow.
 Walking to the creek, over patches of snow and pine needles, I watched the clear creek water flow with the sun glistening over the water surface. Some snow melt, from the past warmer winter days, had made the creek rise and looked to be perfect conditions for a trout finding expedition.
 Back at the van I put on some heavier clothes, to deal with the coldness, and decided to take my Hardy Demon rod for a stroll. I didn’t need to take many flies, just a few buggers, nymphs and I carried a small dry fly box for this occasion. To ward off the chill I brought along a flask of some hooch and took a swig before heading up creek in the shade of the overhanging fir trees.

  Looking down towards the creek, as I walked the snow covered roadway, there were patches of snow in the shadier tree areas blocking the sun. The sound of the water, splashing over rocks and loose branches, made for an enjoyable nature harmony that was pleasing to my ears. Finding a path up creek, through the forest, I followed it to the creek. As I stepped into the water I felt the coldness of the mountain creek, on my legs, as it flowed around my waders. It wasn’t much time at all before I felt that same coldness upon my feet hidden within the wading boots and heavy socks I wore. 

 Fishing this ‘spring time’ stocked creek in February I wasn’t expecting to catch many trout if any. It would be like panning for gold a year after the 49’ gold rush on an abandon claim. Sure I might find a nugget here and there but I’m sure not many and not a mother load under some deep pocket beneath the laurel.

 I first decided to fish a dry fly hoping to have a hungry wild trout rise to the offering. I maybe spent a half hour or so wading and casting up creek without any risers. I lit a stogie, before knotting on a small streamer, and turned down creek and fished back towards the van. I made long casts, where I could, so the trout facing up creek had a harder time detecting my presence. I moved slow, trying not to disturb the water too much, for the same reason. I’d catch a branch now and than on a back cast and spend time undoing the snarl. Occasionally I hooked an over hanging laurel leafed branch and have to disturb the water, I was fishing, to retrieve my fly. It took some time but I finally felt a swipe on my offering and set the hook. The trout scurried about in the shallow creek water as the 3wt Demon rod tip flexed like keeping up with a tempo. A fine small brook trout came to visit.


There appeared to be a long pause before my next catch.
After fishing a deeper hole, below a water fall, I moved back on the bank and cast across creek. The bugger fell into a deeper run and began to descend down into the tail out. I saw a darting flash coming out from under the overhanging laurel but the bugger must have passed by too fast for the fish to take it. With the same accuracy I dropped the bugger in the same spot as before. Once the bugger drifted passed the laurel overhang, I let it ‘swim’ in the current below. A short tap was all I needed to know the trout was interested but I waited for a harder tug as the line and bugger, drifted side to side, in the down stream flowing current. With, what felt like a swooping grab, the trout tugged harder and I knew the hook set was good. The trout hastened back to the cover, in the shade of the laurel branches, with my bugger in tow. He tussled with the rod and line for a short bit but gave up quickly in the coldness of the water. This time it was a colorful brown that took my offering.

  I started to feel a little colder and noticed the sun had disappeared behind the moving gray clouds. It was still bright out but the coldness of the winter forest was now causing a little more chill in the air. I took out the flask and after a swig or two licked the sweet bourbon taste from my lips. The bourbon went down a little harsh, being my throat was dry, but warmed my innards in no time.

  Continuing on it would be a while before my next hook up. I was just down from the parking area where I know many people had fished this section of creek. There was a good run of water, from the narrowing of the creek, which emptied into a wider pool. A fallen branch guarded the far bank but the pool was open in the middle for some distance to the next narrowing of the creek below. I moved just down creek from the fallen branch and stooped down upon the bank trying to hide my silhouette. A quick wrist landed my slim streamer just behind the fallen branch. I kept the rod tip high, as nymph fishing, until the streamer passed by me. Then I lowered the rod tip nearer to the surface water letting the streamer drift down creek. ‘Wham’ a trout grabbed the streamer hard enough the momentum swept the fly line towards my side of the creek. The trout must have been along the far bank and, seeing the streamer pass by, shot across creek to intercept it before it continued on. He probably set the hook with his forceful grab of the streamer but I twitched the rod back just to make sure. He scurried about in the wide pool trying to get free but failed at every tugging attempt. This time a nice frisky rainbow joined my tally.

 I caught two more frisky rainbows before lighting another stogie and continuing down creek.

 The next half hour was fruitless. I couldn’t get anything to bite in the dimming light and overcast shadows upon the creek. I took my time making boot tracks in the snow, upon dry land, towards my van.
 A good porter tasted great wetting the dryness in my mouth and throat while I changed clothes. I finished off the lit Fuma on my drive home.

~doubletaper 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Big Fish in the Little J

Big Fish in the Little J
3/25-3/27 2016

3/25/16

 The Little Juniata River is like most trout waters I imagine as far as the bite goes. One day the trout could be eating now and then and the next day they will shut down like fasting on Good Friday.
 Jeff and I fished a long stretch of the Little J from 8am till just after 12 without a strike. We met three fishermen at the bridge who also never caught a thing. The day was overcast with the occasional appearance of the sun. The water was a bit on the high side with good flow. The clarity was just right, not too clear but clear enough beneath the surface the trout should be able to see a meal passing by from some distance. There weren’t any hatches going on but should have been prime nymph fishing. NOT!
 After noon we went to the campground and set up camp. Lunch was cheese, crackers and assortment of meat and some semi-dry Riesling. After lunch we discussed our plan and drove down creek to where I have fished before.
 Fishing our way, across the river, a few fish rose to the top. We searched the air and water for some kind of a hatch. A few grayish mayflies were about which looked like Blue Duns which I felt was a bit early. Jeff saw a few Mayflies with a grayish-brown body. There were a few midges about and an occasional Brown Stonefly when the sun peeked out for a bit warming the chilly air. There were two trout feeding regularly just out from the far bank, in a wavy current flow, downstream from an uprooted log jam. Doing some research, before this outing, I read that Early Brown Stoneflies and Blue Wing Olives may appear in March depending on the weather. I had tied up some Brown Stonefly dry and nymph patterns before hand. I hadn’t seen any BWO about so I decided to go with a Brown Stonefly dry. With the gusts of wind, and a #14 dry, I went with adding a length of 5x tippet to my tapered leader. I doused the dark brown body of my dry with floatant and was ready to give it a try.
 The nearest trout, behind the log jam, was coming up more often than the one downstream from him. I concentrated on him first. I had some good drag free offerings but he didn’t want what I had to offer. After about 5 showings I tried for the trout behind him.
 Despite the occasional gusts of wind, I must have timed it right and the Brown Stonefly imitation fell upon the water upstream from the trout feeding zone. The current between was a little faster but it looked as though the dry would drift into the zone drag free. As soon as I seen the splash I reared back the long length of line. I felt the rod arc and a tight line rose into the air from the tip of the rod to the swirl of surface water across creek.
“Got him” I called out to Jeff, “First fish on a dry this year.”
 I soon felt the heaviness of the trout as he turned down creek with brutal force. I squeezed the cork grip tighter and felt the muscles in my forearm tighten. I knew I had a heavy fish on and was intending on getting him to the net. Like most brown trout he stayed deep in the waste high water. He’d give a hard head tug before he forcefully swam in a different direction. I maneuvered the rod tip always trying to keep side pressure on him as he fought beneath. As he tired I would take in some line but only let out less line when he would pull away. Nearer to me I got him turned upstream and slowly backed him into the net. What a rush catching my first trout on a dry fly in March, being a heavy wild brown!

After the release I concentrated on the trout that was still feeding. I tried an assortment of dry flies and dry midges. I even threw a few emergers his way and dropped a beetle pattern in his path. He completely ignored everything. He’d rise before my offering and sometimes rose after it went by. Whatever he was munching on wasn’t anything I had he was hungry for. Jeff fished down creek for awhile but I continued on trying to catch that one or two trout on a dry. I even waded back to the van and got more dry flies and offered them to the picky trout. He didn’t want anything. Before dark we called it quits and our total catch of the day was that one single brown trout that I caught on a dry fly.
 At the campground we talked to one guy who said Thursday he caught close to 40 trout all on minnows. Today he didn’t catch any. Other fishermen at the campground claimed the same, no fish. Evidently it wasn’t us! Saturday the weather was suppose to clear up with plenty of sun. We were hoping for some good March hatches that would bring trout to the surface.

3/26/16 

 Most people I talk to, about fishing the Little J, would say nymph fishing is the best way to catch the fish. I have fished this river some time ago and can never remember ever catching a fish on a Woolly Bugger or a streamer of any sort. I have had a few good days on dries during a hatch but other than that going to the dark side, nymph fishing, will be a better chance to catch more trout.

 Saturday morning I cooked up some bacon and eggs while Jeff heated up a pot of tea. After a good breakfast we were off to another section of the river Jeff had suggested. We found the road, between the guard rails, and headed along the road till we found a place to park. Jeff went up river to check the area whereas I walked down to the water following a path.
 The sun was up though the morning air still had a chill to it. There wasn’t as much of a breeze as the day before. The river was much clearer though it could have been just that the day was brighter so visibility was better. I found a good wavy current of water that flowed towards and followed the far bank. I knotted on a Bi-Color San Juan with a stonefly dropper. I added some weight, to get my offering down quickly in the tumbling current. With a roll cast, I dropped my offering up stream and gave the line a quick mend. On my second drift through I felt a hard grab and lifted the rod to tighten the hook set. The fish pulled line beneath and swam with the current down river a short piece. I felt I had a good fish on and had to play him against the current flow. I was knee deep in water and didn’t feel comfortable wading back to shore over the slippery loose rocky river bottom. I did back up a bit hoping to get him out of the quicker current that he swam back into. With the rod arcing downward I moved it down creek with just enough force not to strain the 5x tippet. It felt like he swam side to side, facing the wavy current, beneath the surface water with a tug now and than with his head. He finally gave in and turned down river, with the current, and than swung around facing me. A little battle ensued before I got him in the net. Not as colorful as the brown trout I caught the day before but a nice lengthy brown no less.

 After fishing an hour or so, without another bite, we decided to head to another section of the river.
 We found that fishing the slower water was a waste of valuable time. We concentrated on the wavy and riffling water with stronger current flow. Though I would try a streamer now and then by the end of the day I didn’t even take my streamer box along. Saturday we drove to different sections of the river and maybe spent an hour or two before driving to another section. We caught some trout here and there but it wasn’t an easy task and there were long periods of no strikes. Just enjoying being outside and fly fishing, with a good stogie between my teeth, kept me content and happy.


A big hatch never developed and we were left nymph fishing throughout the day. We each caught a few trout, some nice browns and some smaller trout. Jeff hooked up to, and netted, a big rainbow later in the day.
 We ended the evening with emptying another bottle of white wine after a filling dinner. We didn’t know what to expect Sunday except there shouldn’t be too many people out on the stream being it’s Easter Sunday.



3/27/16
 
 Sunday morning we ate an oatmeal breakfast and finished off a pot of coffee. We cleaned up camp and headed back to the river where we seen a few cars parked the day before. When we got there, there was only one vehicle parked. We got our gear on and headed down to the river. Right off I spotted a good riffle and tumbling water down creek where Jeff started to fish. I had to wade half way across the creek to get to a small island of pebbles and rocks. From there I could fish the nearer bank, towards the lane, that was too steep to fish from that side of the creek. I also had a small run of water that edged the other side of the bank. I knotted on a San Juan and dropped a weighted nymph beneath. Once out mid-river I started to fish my way downriver and back towards the bank.
 In riffles, no more than knee deep, I mended my cast up creek and let it tumble below the surface high sticking with the drift. I didn’t expect to catch anything in the shallow narrow run but my line appeared to stop and the fly line arced up creek. I never seen or felt a nudge in the line so I figured I got caught up on the bottom. I wrist the rod upward to loosen the snag but that didn’t free it. With a couple of soft tugs I still couldn’t release the snag. I jerked just a bit harder and the object started to move into the deeper and faster current cross creek.
 Now, if this was a piece of drift wood or a water logged piece of wood, and I dislodged it, it would have flowed with the current down river. Instead this movement was across creek and I realized I had a fish on. It stayed low and when it reached the faster current it turned down creek with the flow. I knew it wasn’t a trout but whatever it was it had some body weight to it. As my rod flexed down creek the pressure was evidently too much for the fish and I wasn’t going to give it any more line. It finally became a little livelier and put up a little tugging battle before I netted the long sucker. I guess they like San Juan worms also.

 I wasn’t sure where Jeff had gone but I didn’t plan on moving down river into the flat water. I had a nice deep stretch of wavy rough water in front of me and I planned on working it over good. I ended up hooking up with four trout but only was able to land one from the rippling current. I also hooked into another sucker on a brown stonefly nymph.

Jeff never fished the Little J near Spruce Creek so I decided to take him to a section of the river that I have fished before. For an hour and a half we fished a small section and never got a strike. There were three rises in different areas but nothing was feeding regularly. The sun was out but we didn’t see any major hatches about. Jeff finally called it quits around 2, I guessed, and headed back to Pittsburgh. I contemplated on going somewhere else to fish but decided just to fish my way down river some.
 I could see shallow riffles and looked like some deeper runs along the bank. Also it looked like there would be some nice pocket waters in the shallow riffles along the wider section as I looked down river. Besides that I had ¾th of tobacco to smoke of the fuma I was puffing on.
 With the rough water I figured a San Juan would attract attention. I didn’t have any bead San Juan worms left so I dropped a weighted nymph below the worm to get it down quicker. I also added a little weight to the leader and started down river fishing the riffles and deeper runs.
 The bulk of the water flowed towards the bank and the strong current toppled over the boulders creating a wave of tumbling water. The water smoothed out closer to the bank but between me and the bank, the water still tumbled and waved over the smaller hidden boulders and rocks below. It always amazed me how a trout can see any quick meal and be quick enough to grab it within the fast current. But they do!
 The first brown trout nearly took the rod right out of my loose grip. He grabbed the San Juan near the end of the drift unexpectedly. The yank was like two siblings grabbing each end of a jump rope and trying to yank it out of the others hand.
 The trout swam briefly into the slower water directly down from me before fighting the ‘give’ in the rod back into the rougher water. I swung the rod down creek and towards the opposite bank and he nudgingly followed. Once in the slower current he battled with uncontrolled darts like he was avoiding paint balls being shot at him. He tussled all the way to the net never giving up.


After releasing the trout I made a few more casts into the rough water. I seen the line pull outward and I lifted the rod tip, taking up the slack, and setting the hook. The end of the line cut through the waves as the trout scurried about beneath the surface. With the line tight he turned down creek and tried to hold in the small ripples just this side of the rougher water. I turned around and forced him into the shallow water behind me where I was able to net him. He also took the San Juan.

It wasn’t long after that another brown took the nymph in the tail out.

 I landed another smaller trout in the same run and lost one.
 I fished for about another hour, wading down creek, before finishing up back in the run I caught the other browns. I did catch one more brown, on a bead head pheasant tail, before I decided to call it quits.
 Back at the van I felt like an old man changing clothes and getting ready for the long drive home. I munched on some crackers and meat snacks on the way into Tyrone to fill up with gas.
 At a stop sign, before getting onto Rte. 350, I reached into my traveling humidor and took out a dark outer leaf cigar I’ve been saving for such the occasion.


 The Garo, Double Habana, looked to be an interesting smoke and had a great aroma to it. It wasn’t as strong as I would have thought, looking at it, but was an enjoyable long smoke for the ride home.

~doubletaper.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fresh Cigars, Wine and a Fly Rod

Fresh Cigars, Wine and a Fly Rod
3/22/16

I had the cycle already packed to take me trout fishing. At 10:00am the temperature was only 41 degrees, I opted to take the van for the hour plus drive. After loading my fishing gear in the van I packed a cooler and headed down the roadway.
 I was getting low on cigars so my first stop would be at Slippery Rock Cigars. It isn’t that far out of the way and I knew I could get a fresh box there. After I bought a box of Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid I couldn’t wait to smoke one. Before I ever left the parking lot I was already dipping into the box. After sliding off the cellophane I took a big whiff of the fresh brown bold overleaf. I graced my taste buds with dampening the Honduran Sun-Grown wrapper. After letting the sulfur burn off the match I lit the end of the 6 ¼” cigar. The flavor was bold and a little on the rough side at first but I was sure it would smooth out. After a couple of weeks in the humidor, at home, I’m also sure it will be of full flavor and more enjoyable.

 When I pulled into the parking lot, near the trout stream, there looked to be quite a few fishermen along the creek for a Tuesday. I noticed a fellow, in the riffles, with water below his knees so I decided to wear my waist waders. After putting my wading gear on I decided on my 4 weight 9 foot rod. It was a bit windy with stronger gusts so I was sure the fast action rod would be my best choice for the day. I already had all my fly fishing necessities in a fanny pack so I strapped this around my waist. I took a couple of Padilla Fumas to go as I was still puffing on the Sancho Panza.
 Down on the creek I got myself some room between the spread out crowd. It appeared they were all nymph fishing with or without indicators. I tied on a Wooly bugger and within three casts had my first rainbow tight lining it towards me! 

 After a hard strike, in the riffles, snapped the tippet at a knot, I decided to put on a fresh 5x tapered leader. After about 15 minutes of not another strike I went around the other fishermen and continued on.
 I dropped the bugger right up against the bridge abutment on the far side of the creek. I swear the bugger never had a chance to drop too deep as I felt the tug like the bugger got caught on a small drifting branch. I brought the smaller trout in without much trouble. After making sure there were no more hungry trout, under the bridge, I continued down stream.
 I stopped just up creek from a fellow fishing a tail out of a deeper pool. I watched him catch a few trout on nymphs. I couldn’t get a strike on the buggers and streamers I offered so I decided to go to the dark side and fish attractor nymphs.
 This is mostly rainbow waters and rainbows love red. I knotted on a bi-color San Juan and an early stonefly as a dropper being I seen a few stoneflies about. With a little extra weight, so the offerings would bump the bottom, I drifted the patterns without an indicator watching my fly line tip. On one drift the tip dropped noticeably and I lifted the rod for the hook set. The rod came alive with a spirited rainbow on the tight line. He had taken the San Juan. 

  Continuing, fishing in the same area, I caught one more trout before I snagged on the bottom and broke off. The guy, fishing the tail out, decided to leave and let me know his last few trout he caught were on a Hare’s Ear. With more stoneflies about I decided to fish a small stonefly beneath a Picket Pin. I waded down a bit, towards the tail out and began drifting my offerings.
 The fly line tip dropped suddenly, almost at the end of the drift as if my patterns should have been rising. I jerked the rod upstream for the hook set. The fast action rod flexed deep before I felt a heavy fighting fish in the other end. I knew this wasn’t an average trout so I played him with caution. He was a bit feisty at first, determined to throw the hook, but quit the head thrashing as it tired out. When I put my gear in the van, at home, I forgot my net. I felt the best way to land him was to get him close to the bank in the shallowest water. While playing the trout I cautiously backed up towards the bank. He gave a few escape attempts before I got him safely to the bank where I could dislodge the well placed stonefly hook.

  Changing nymphs often I caught a few more trout before deciding to continue on down creek. I knotted on a bugger and covered the water as thoroughly as I could. I caught fish in the most likely places and also in some pretty shallow water that I didn’t expect.



I was having a field day.

 Down creek some I was up creek from a fellow who was catching quite a few trout on his stonefly nymph imitation. I caught a few trout, just up creek from him, before swinging down creek below him.
 I was making long casts, trying to keep from trout’s view, in the knee deep clear water. I had taken the split shot off some time ago and letting the bugger swing and drift in the slower moving current. 

  In a faster run a trout struck at the bugger hard and I managed to safely set the hook without him snapping the line. He was holding in the riffling water with side to side swimming motions. I didn’t want to force him out without tiring him out some so I just kept tension on him until he decided to commit to an energy draining skirmish. He skirted up through the riffles and I was able to see his long silver body cresting the surface. I kept the rod, almost touching the water, trying to keep the trout underneath the riffling water surface. Once he was up creek I got him turned around and, with the help of my glove net, got him cradled in my hand. 
 My cast was up against a boulder looking wall against the far bank. It was in the shadows of the overhanging fir branches that made for a nice dark place for trout to hide. It took a sharp quick sidearm cast, to get the bugger under the branches, but I did so and I placed it pretty much where I wanted to.
 As the bugger swung through the darker water I anticipated a strike at any moment. It wasn’t till the line started to straighten out when I felt the hard tug. The rod arced down creek as the fish took off in haste. He scrambled beneath with some toughness and agility that I was afraid he would come loose. I let him have line a couple times trying to keep him on as long as possible and trying to land this durable trout. I finally got him to hand safely and realized I caught a beautiful colored hold over rainbow. 

 After catching a few more trout I decided to head up creek and fish a bit before heading out.

 I wanted to fish the faster water but there were two older gents fishing it. There were three younger guys fishing the deeper slower water so I decided to fish the lower part of the riffles. The rainbows evidently decided to put on the hungry feed. Maybe the trout decided to move up, out of the deeper section, and look for food in the knee deep water. What ever the reason I started to hook up to rainbows within a few casts for about 20 minutes or so. These rainbows were frisky and erratic beneath the surface. A few came shooting out of the water trying to throw the hook. After things started to slow down I figured a few more casts and I would leave. It was getting near 5:30 pm and I had a long drive home.

 My cast was far across the creek and I let some slack line out to let my bugger drop deep before the current swung it down creek. I had just one small shot on to get it down quicker and keep it down deep as long as possible. When the trout struck it there was no doubt, by the force and heaviness I felt with my gripping hands, that I had a lunker on the end of my line. With a couple of quick jolts and heavy tugs he muscled his way closer to the far bank. I kept good tension on him, between my fingers, as he fought in the riffling water splashing the surface as he rose to the top. He turned back towards the deeper water and tension line slipped through my fingers. Gingerly, and consciously, I backed up towards the bank. When the big trout held tight, beneath, I turned and seen a fellow watching me from the bank. The first glance I took was to see if he had a net but I wasn’t that lucky. My only hope was to tire the trout out and bring him to the bank. The bank was a short drop off and not like a smooth transition of a gradual sloping surface. Within a foot of the bank I held my ground and we watched the big trout as it settled just above the creek bed in the knee deep riffles. I figured I’ll play him like a steelhead keeping side pressure on him until he decides to waste some more energy. It wasn’t long before he decided enough was enough and he gave in first by forcing the issue of the next battle round. I kept my cool and patience and didn’t get into an abusive, forceful battle. After a short bout he tired enough I got him close to the bank to land. I know I drained a lot out of energy out of the lunker so I kept him in the water a short bit before the picture, which the guy on the bank offered, that I wasn’t even thinking about asking. There was a quick opportunity and I felt I was keeping the fish well oxygenated and lively in my grip in the water. Once the guy told me he was ready for the photo I picked up the trout and got a couple of pictures before putting the trout back into the water. I let it catch its breath and once I felt a good tail swat, I let him swim free.


That was it. I hooked the bugger into the rod hook keeper and called it a day.

 Back at the van, while changing clothes, I sipped on some wine and ate cheese, crackers and ring bologna. On the road I lit up one of those fine Sancho Panza stogies and comfortably drove homeward.

 When there’s good weather and opportunity to fish, I try to take full advantage of it!!

~doubletaper