Friday, October 19, 2012

Cameron County Natives

Cameron County Natives

  The native brook mountain creek flowed low and clear. Autumn leaves lay upon the banks and moss covered boulders, drifted upon the water and in some areas covered the creek completely. Twigs and branch roots extended over the skinny water making placement of a fly difficult let alone the bank-side hazards hampering casting. Though the creek flowed clear the stony creek bed gave up no obvious visual stationed trout. It was technical fishing at its best.

Skip let me take the first casts into the first couple of open pools as we fished up creek. We fished dry caddis imitations and the native brookies, when not spooked, rose quickly to them in the October chill. I caught a couple of minnow size natives but Skip’s catches out lengthened mine by a few inches. His 2 weight rod flexed with ease on the forward cast and the caddis fell upon the water gently at times.
  I found that when the brookies were spooked they’d flee to undercuts or under the cover of leaves gathered along the banks or tail-outs. Skip figured, even though we both fished up creek, I may have been getting too nearer the pools in such clear water. Once I stayed back a few more feet the more success I had in making trout rise.

One of Skip's brook trout

One on mine

 Skip would pass up sections of skinny water, point out bigger pools and we would take turns trying our luck in the nicer open runs. The mountainside gave a gorgeous backdrop of green ferns, autumn colored leaves and olive pines on uneven terrain. The creek flowed over and between crevices of rock. Some creating spouting water falls into the head of small pools. These small deeper pools, no deeper than a couple of feet, is where we would catch the bigger natives, some as lengthy as 8 or 9”. Late in the afternoon Skip gave me the OK to give one of these pools a try.

I learned from a guide, while we were fishing a small brook in The Great Smokey’s, you fish a pool from the tail-out to the head. You just never know where a wild trout will be holding.
 From my position, in the middle of the creek, I checked my back-casting clearance and began my cast with my 3 weight Hardy Demon rod. A soft loop placed my caddis about 3 feet up stream from the leaf covered tail-out. Skip and I watched in amazement as a surface torpedo wake b-lined right towards my imitation from under the poolside leaves a couple of feet away. When the water rippled at my fly I wristed the hook set and the unsuspecting wild brookie skittered about. I brought her towards me with not too much commotion in the upper part of the pool.

 My next few casts were further up towards the head of the pool with my last cast being nearer the right side in dead water. It was the left front of this pool I was counting on.
From above, water found its way between rock crevices and spilled over a narrow rock shelf. The falling water bubbled below within a foot and a half wide channel that led to the wider mouth of the pool. If I could get my caddis in that channel of wavy water I figured would be my best chance for another unsuspecting trout. I told Skip my plan as he watched me cast. My first cast was short and a little to the right. I let my fly drift back towards me before recasting. With a little wrist on my forward cast I dropped the caddis exactly where I wanted; shy of the falls and between the stone wall channel.
“That’s it!” I muttered as the elk hair wing wobbled in the channel with the riffles. In an instant, with a hardy surface splash, a fish attempted to consume my dry. I reared back, with a little more force than I needed, to set the hook. The fish skittered a short distance with a fight before it released itself from the barbless hook.

Truthfully, bringing that native trout to hand or even seeing it didn’t matter as much. It was the execution, the precise placement and fooling the trout that was the most rewarding accomplishment.

Beyond that pool Skip assured me the water narrowed even more with less open pools. We walked up to an old logging lane and proceeded back to my van. I lit up a Cohiba Pequenos for the relaxing stroll along the mountainside.




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