Laurel and Hardy
After fishing the small creek of mountain laurel and pine banks, in the early morning, I took off to get some arm exercise with fishing the Little J. Word was the Little J was receding from all the rainfall within the past week or so. When I arrived I found small hatches of sulphurs coming off but also found the milky water and high, faster current was too be much for any rising trout. I managed to hook up to a couple trout beneath but failed to get them to the topside to get a look at them. By noon the sun was beating down and the water wasn’t getting any clearer. I was hoping to get some dry fly fishing in so I decided to return to the small creek I fished the evening before hoping for some top water action.
The water of the small creek was also running a little on the high and fast side but the dark water was clear being it was the tail waters of a dam and flowed through the forest and not developed land masses. When I got to the creek there were more fisher people than I expected. Being the creek is bush lined most were fishing the more accessible areas than the narrower runs. I drove downstream looking for a wide pool in hopes of enjoying a few hours without the tormenting creek banks. I parked off the dirt road and ventured down a path, through pines, to see where it led. Sure enough I found a good flow of channeled current that entered a nice wider pool of small wavy tea color water. A few caddis and early Mayflies were about but not near enough that I could catch and get an examination of them. I figured if I stuck around long enough I might find some top water pickers if the hatch gets heavier. I went back to the van, grabbed my three weight Hardy, gear and a few cigars.
I avoided the horse crap along the trail under the pines. The path opened up to a nice flat area along the creek so there was a little more space for my back casting. Upstream, and between the overhanging bank laurel, a narrow channel of white capped water emptied into the larger body of water before me. Along the far side the water riffled just out from the branchy laurel lined bank and finally smoothed into the tail end. The center of the pool looked deeper as it moved nicely in a slower current wave. I could see the stony bottom of the pool within a few feet from where I was standing. The pebbles and rocks stood out, from the sun, shining like gold and crystal gems within the tea colored water. The odor of fresh horse manure got intense when a breeze blew through the pines so I lit a Don Tomas coronitas in hopes of screening the stench.
I already had a Triple Threat attached to the 5X tippet from fishing the morning. I didn’t want to disturb the open pool of would be risers so I cast a few times into the rougher water entering the pool. Three quarters across the channel the Triple fell into the water and I quickly threw an upstream mend. I kept the rod tip up keeping as much line off the water as possible. The Triple drifted beneath a few feet and I noticed the fly line no longer flowed with the downstream movement of my rod tip. The line tensioned and I lifted up and away hoping it wasn’t a snag. A good tug was felt and I knew I surprised a fish. He turned and took line towards the front of the pool. I took in line hurriedly with my line hand until there was good tensioned line on the fighting trout beneath. I kept him from going any further into the deeper pool as he fought beneath the rougher water across creek. The three weight held its ground and succeeded in turning the trout to my side of the bank. I stepped into the shallow shoreline and lifted the fine looking rainbow with my net.
After releasing the ’bow’ I stood looking over the pool as I drew on my cigar. I saw my first rise just out from an overhanging pine bough near the tail out of the pool. I grinned as if to say “Your mine!”
I knotted on a piece of 6x tippet to the 5x and than tied on a #16 caddis. With a quick forearm wrist cast, only coming up to the 12:00 position, I flipped the caddis ahead of the rise. The caddis drifted into the zone but he didn’t rise. I tried a few more casts in the general area but still no rise. On my forth cast I let out a little more slack in the line and let it drift further into the tail out. A swirling rise came beyond the pine bough and I quickly pulled up and set the hook. The trout went under as the 3 weight flexed with the force. I coaxed him towards me as he fought the 6x tippet as if he felt he could break me off. I played the energetic rainbow to my feet and with a quick twist of the hook, the fish flipped around and disappeared into the dark waters.
“One down” I thought as I dried off the caddis imitation and applied a little dry fly dope to the body.
I changed shades and wing color trying to coax the first riser to rise again but he evidently wasn’t too convinced of my small imitations.
“Maybe he wanted something larger” as I saw the first March Brown rise from the middle of the pool. While tying on the #14 March Brown I occasionally glanced up hoping to see another rise. After a few more drifts in his location I produced nothing and began to cast about the pool in hopes of coaxing up another.
The slower water between the laurel, on the far side, looked as if it would be a good location for a trout in the lazy current. I sidearm cast the March Brown towards the far bank bringing the rod tip to a stop as the imitation looped towards the far side. Before I let it touch down I let line out of my line hand while slowly swinging the rod tip upstream. This creates an upstream arc in the fly line as it falls upon the surface of the slow moving current. I watch as the March Brown drops against the far bank in between the laurel. I raise the rod tip and follow the arc in the drifting fly line. A trout slaps at my convincing imitation and I raise the rod upstream. The pull on the arced line is enough to set the hook and I yank line in swiftly with my line hand until I feel the line tension and the resistance.
“Trout on,” as I feel the little fellow fight frantically towards me in the deep pool. A brookie comes to hand with a mouthful of my fly. As I release him I wonder if I can produce a brown trout, out of the same pool, to complete the trifecta.
I spend a little more time teasing the first riser with a caddis dry and finally succeed in making him rise, getting a good hook set, and bringing the frisky brown trout to hand.
Evening was approaching and I elected to drive up creek, stopping now and than, looking for more risers. I decided to fish the pool, I fished in the morning, to finish off the day. Seeing no risers in the faster moving water, I tumbled a bicolor San Juan worm beneath and caught my last trout of the day before returning to the van.