I was still puffing away on my La Aurora stogie when I finally reached my destination. With the break in the winter weather, the temps actually got above 40 degrees, I couldn’t pass up hunting trout in the somewhat nice looking cloudy day.
After pulling into the small parking area, near the forest stream, I got out and went over to check out the water conditions. The small creek waters flowed and tumbled peacefully under the bridge, around half submerged rocks and branches, and under laurel while winding its way down below. Banks were patched with snow and the brown crispy oak leaves crackled beneath my hiking boots as I walked. The wind howled through the tall white pines and hemlocks swaying the tree tops too and fro. At times I heard bare branches of the hard woods about butting against one another caused by the heavy gusts. For this reason I decided on using my stiffer tipped 7’ Hardy Demon.
When I hear someone refer to a ‘trout bum’ I think of myself. Since I was nine I fished for trout as often as possible with a spinning rod. In my late twenties I bought my first fly rod and haven’t used anything else for trout fishing since. Sure, I’ve caught pike, bass, steelhead and caught a walleye on the fly rod but it is trout fishing that really satisfies my yearnings to fish. I taught myself how to fly fish from casting, nymphing, dry fly and streamer fishing as well as tying my own fly patterns. There are times, if I haven’t trout fished for days; I end up going, no matter the weather, to satisfy this urge. Sometimes it’s just out of the blue. I’ll see something that has to do with fishing or trout and I make a split second decision. Though I’ve fished in pretty bad conditions a day like today, at 11:30am, I got the urge to just do it! I don’t need to summons someone to go with me to share my experience all the time. Just a fly rod, some flies and a trout stream is all I need, oh and a few cigars.
When I was gearing up I found a DT olive-back streamer in the side door ashtray. I must have clipped it off my tippet the last time I took the big van for a fishing outing. I decided to use the streamer even in these cold conditions. Any holdover stockies might be too lazy to chase the minnow imitation in the chilled water but just maybe a few of the wild trout might.
I step into the creek from the bank trying to not stir up the silt. I’m using a long length of knotted leader with 6x tippet. It’s not easy roll casting long leader and a cone head streamer with a short 7’ rod but I manage.
Fishing small narrow brushy creeks isn’t for the inexperienced. Tight quarters demand unorthodox casting sometimes and even that still causes misplaced flies in tree branches, bank side ferns and in other unfortunate hazards. It’s challenging no doubt and when it starts to get frustrating I step back onto the path, puff on my cigar, look at the surroundings and relax a bit. When everything goes right though, as my delicate cast falls shy of a downed tree limb and swings into a riffle. When I’m able to see the darker back of a trout dart out unaware of my presence and follow my offering into that riffle. When he grabs it it’s all worth while…. like this time!
The tip arcs quickly on the hook set and the three weight flexes with the fight of the wild trout in the shallow riffling run. I take in line until the fish comes nearer. I reach down and caress the small brown trout and notice its deep orange spots and light blue halos along its shimmering wet sides. After unhooking the trout I release it back into the cold creek water and watch him dart to safety.
After that catch I pull out a Pirata Pequeno. I’m not much for a flavored cigar but I ordered these short smokes before finding that out. The sweet outer wrap is not too strong yet the soft tobacco within still smokes like a cigar.
The going is slow and tricky with each new bend of the meandering creek. Fancy casting and long drifts are needed. Even with these there are places that in no way I am able to reach beneath the overhanging laurel. The trick is to cast near enough to their hiding places and hopefully they follow the streamer out into the middle of the creek where they can grab it.
At times I notice small native trout chasing and mouthing the streamer which is too big for these smaller fellows. I keep at it though. It’s a good challenge to execute these pin point casts between hazards when the catching gets slow. It sharpens my ability and keeps me in practice. Than again there’s that one dark pool at the end of a narrow riffle that a ‘take’ tightens my line and flexes the tip. A quick awareness sets the hook. After a delicate playful fight on the 3 weight another small trout comes to hand.
As evening approaches the wind dies down to a gentle breeze. Small birds come out to play. Snow flakes lazily fall like ash from a paper fire. There’s more hope that fish will come out from hiding and get into a feeding frenzy but it isn’t so. After 3 hours I only bring 2 fish to hand and felt there were no other strong enough hits to say I missed anything bigger than 4 inches.
Back at the van I quench my thirst with a dark lager while changing clothes. Out on the road I light up a La Aurora Cetro. Most $2.00 cigars, whether they are American made or imported, are quick burners. These however burn slow and smooth, not bad for the price.
Oh well, another satisfying day of a trout bum.