Fog and a Brick House
When I pulled into the small gravel parking area, under cloudy conditions, it was near 10:30am. I got out and looked over the bank and just a bit downstream there was a woman in shorts, up to her shins, casting a spinning rod towards the far bank. The water, from the mountain fed lake, being released from the bottom of the dam had to be in the mid 50’s, 60 degrees at the most.
‘A lot braver than I am!’ I thought
My plan was to go after trout with terrestrials using my bamboo rod. When I fitted the butt section into the next section the ferrules were quite loose. I looked in the back of the van for duct tape, not that I really was going to use it, but it was a thought.
While I was fiddling around packing my wicker creel the lady reached the parking lot and I asked her how she did and mentioned about her wet wading the cold water. She said something to the effect as ’therapy’
’Therapy?’ I thought. Usually therapy consists of warm water not cold.
After she left I put together my G2 Scott rod and put on my neoprene hip waders. I slung on my wicker creel and headed down to the water. I waded and fished a Spruce Moth or a hopper pattern without a rise for about 10 minutes or so. As I lit up a Don Tomas Cameroon I noticed a few caddis fluttering about. I had brought one of my caddis boxes, just in case the fish didn’t want terrestrials. As I was trying to thread the 5x tippet into the #14 hook eye I heard commotion up stream and turned to see the first kayak coming towards me from the bend. Than a two person float boat came into view and haphazardly bumped into an exposed boulder mid stream. After they released themselves they floated by along with two more kayaks. After their voices disappeared down river I puffed on the stogie and felt alone again.
Within 5 minutes later I heard rustling behind me along the trail. A man and woman were making their way, through the woods, and I noticed they were wearing fishing vest. They stepped into the water about 35 yards down stream. He started flailing his fly rod while she used a spinning outfit. She tossed a red colored bobber like float with something dangling behind. It plopped with a splash in the water near overhanging branches. I’m sure the unwary trout were quite jolted by the sudden disturbance.
In time I waded behind them while she was undoing their tangled lines. I continued casting terrestrials near the far bank as I made my way further down stream. It wasn’t until I had gotten down below the wide wavy current that a spotted a few feeding trout.
I noticed caddis fluttering aimless upon the water surface as if they were stunned a bit by the coldness. Some caddis floated motionless while others hopped, skipped and jumped to take flight before they could be devoured by a hungry trout. I opened my 1 caddis box and searched for a caddis that resembled the ones I had seen fluttering about. The cloud cover kept everything dull and shadowy. Occasionally I heard thunder far off in the distant. Casting out I got a few look sees from feeding trout that rose, examined my fly, while back drifting back with the current, and than dropped below without a sample. It wasn’t until I swatted a caddis and noticed its body and wing color before I got my first strike.
My imitation seemed to drift up and down upon the wavy current for minutes before it reached the end of its drift and started to ’V’. I saw a figure sweep towards it and I lifted back and felt the tension. Somewhere during the struggle, nearer to me, he got unattached and disappeared into the depth of the wavy current. The thunder was getting closer but I was determined to get one to hand.
I noticed a couple of small Cahills flying skyward at an angle from near the shore. I also noticed a few feeding trout just down stream nearer the shallows. I switched to a light Cahill and, with a long cast, the Cahill settled up from the feeders. The easy-to-see Cahill disappeared with a surface gulp and a swift pull of my line. With that a battle ensued through the wavy current. I got the frisky rainbow to hand as it started to sprinkle. After releasing the trout I cast out a few more times when all of a sudden the sky growled like a male bear defending his territory. I waded upstream to shallower water and crossed towards the roadside bank. Rain came down in sheets by the time I reached the tree cover. The drops were heavy and I didn’t stand a chance beneath the limber leaves. I was more concerned with my camera and hastily walked through the woods towards the road. The rain slowed down by the time I got to the road as the darkest clouds passed. Still the heavy drops found the spaces between my woven straw hat and water dripped from my skull to my face and neck. Out on the road I held my hand over my pocketed camera as if acknowledging the Pledge of Allegiance or Star-Spangled Banner. At the van I climbed in between the side doors and began the process of drying out.
It was 2:10pm by now. I had driven a little over an hour to get here and I wasn’t done yet. Besides, I had a good idea what the trout wanted and a little rain wasn’t going to stop me.
After toweling dry and changing into dry clothes I methodically looked through my 2 other Caddis boxes. I put these in a dry vest and added the terrestrial box and a few light Cahill patterns from the wet wicker creel. I climbed into the driver’s seat, reclined the captain’s bucket seat, and closed my eyes as I listened to the pattering of raindrops on the van roof.
My subconscious told me that the constant patter of rain, on the van roof, was now just a few plops of big drops. I opened my eyes and up righted the back of the captain’s seat. I looked at the clock and it was 3:20 pm, I had nodded off for about 45 minutes I figured. The rain had nearly stopped as I put down the window and gazed out. The puddles in the gravel parking area showed only dimples of rain drops. I got out of the drivers door and around the van I opened the side doors. The air was humid and the rain wetness was more of a hot musty smell than the sweetness that follows an early summer’s rainy day. I put on my dry Bonehead shirt and dry vest loaded with a few fly boxes I plan on using. I decided to use my Scott SAS rod. The quicker action and stiffness will give me tighter loops and will be easier to single haul in the confined conditions.
There was still a rumble in the heavens but as I looked towards the sky the clouds and rumbling was moving away from the river, away from where I plan on fishing.
I didn’t waste any time. I walked down the trail and waded across the creek to where I left before the rain storm hit. I immediately tied on a caddis resembling the body, size and wing color I had swatted earlier. I started casting blindly but softly trying to not disturb the water. The rain had ceased for now and the water ran as before with a touch of green tint the deeper the depth. Big drops of water fell and dimpled the surface below the overhanging green leaves.
The first rise surprised me as I was looking where I was going to place my next cast. I caught a splash out of the corner of my eye but my reaction was late due to lack of concentration. I flipped the caddis up stream just shy of the over hanging leaves. I continued searching and hoping for a rise but I got no responses. The fish had either left the area or the hatch was over. I waded to the bank and went around the corner.
Upon the bank I caught sight of a few risers eating at will. I stepped slowly into the water off the muddy bank and softly stepped forward for more back- casting clearance. I noticed caddis drifting upon the surface water. On occasion I’d catch a glimpse of a darker oval object turning on a rise and suck one in. Fish began to feed, maybe a dozen or so, and I picked one out and tried for it. It always seems that the first hook up is instant when you got the right imitation. After the battling disturbance of an exuberant trout it’s almost as if the rest of the fish were aware of some danger.
It was almost as if I was in my own little world. Fish rising, hook ups anticipated and no worries of human activity to disturb my world. Fog rolled like a blanket with the current now and again. It covered the water in a mist, moved down steam as a cloud and disappeared below. In a few minutes another cloud of fog developed around the bend. It would again blanket the wavy current before me. With it a cooler breeze rose from the cold water, touched my moist skin and gave me a little relief from the humidity.
The brown rose from the depth of the greenish tinted water. I watched as if it levitated just below the surface as if waiting for my caddis imitation to reach him. He rose a little more and as his nose broke the water surface my caddis disappeared. The hook set was sharp and his habit of returning to the depth after an easy meal was interrupted by the resistance of a tight line. He dove deep with more force and I let line slip through my fingers. The Scott rod applied pressure and I squeezed the fly line a little tighter between my fingers. The rod flexed a bit more and the line tightened as it swung outward towards the aggressive fighting fish. I let him take line to the reel and held the rod high as he fought with the reel drag, growing weary the longer he pulled. I moved the rod up river and he followed reluctantly and than with a burst cut through the oncoming current like a submerged torpedo. I took in line to keep tension. He whirled back towards me as he felt the overpowering rod pressure and settled down just out from me for a moment. I reeled in the extra line that lay upon the water onto the large arbor reel while holding tensioned line between my finger and cork grip. A couple of spin moves and then after a few tail slaps the brown trout came to hand.
I had been waiting for just the right moment to light up a Brick House Toro and this seemed to be it. The stogie was prime. The tightly rolled inner tobacco made the outer leaf firm. The light up was quick and the first draw was just as mild as any mild cigar would be. With the continuation of the burn was if the tobacco inside started to come alive with a little more flavor and a more medium body smoke. The flavorful tobacco wasn’t overpowering or too mild. Just a good honest smoke and I enjoyed it with each cast.
As time went on I caught a few more but had more refusals. It was getting harder to place the 6x tippet into the #16 eyes so I started to switch to bigger dries as the light faded. Casting a hopper up stream it fell a good distance up from a bank-side angled boulder. The water current moved it towards me from almost 20 yards away. A trout sideswiped at it from the boulder side. I lifted the rod. I felt the heavy trout but he continued on with his forceful take towards me. I stripped in line trying to keep tension and couldn’t lift the rod any higher to support the oncoming trout. He half surfaced with a head twist and returned below without my hopper. I chuckled as I spit a bit of tobacco juice out of the side of my mouth. “Had him!”
Maybe I was a little giddy by now. I hadn’t eaten since the morning about 8:00am. I had smoked a few cigars by now and the Brick House added a little extra boldness to my taste buds. My stomach was growling almost as loud as the passed thunder storm. A few more casts with the hopper and I graciously bowed out and returned to the van.
It was nearing 7:30pm. I changed into decent clothes and headed to the nearest bar and restaurant just down the road. A Smokehouse burger, fries and a Yuengling draught hit the spot. A band played on the patio and I grabbed another beer after I ate and relaxed outside and watched the entertainment.
On the drive home I took out a Punch Rare Corojo. I knew it would be a strong robust flavorful cigar and I was eager to smoke it.
The day turned out to be a special kind of trout fishing adventure. Yes, I’ve fished over rising trout before, in the rain and after a shower. I’ve fished quiet creeks, in solitude along a river and in beautiful scenery. But this day was a little extra special with the added blankets of fog that just seemed to roll with the stream flow above rising trout.