I had to work Saturday till noon. Every once in awhile a customer would come in and comment how nice it was outside, how sunshiny and beautiful. Every time I heard this, in the front of my mind I conjured up caddis fluttering about on Tionesta Creek and trout rising. I should have been turkey hunting in the early morn and be in the creek by now casting to trout.
I had everything ready to go fishing except to pack a cooler. When I got home I changed into fishing underclothes and packed the cooler. I ate a quick lunch, put my gear in the van, and headed north. The sun was shining and it was almost T-shirt weather outside. Driving by the Kelly Hotel and Bar I seen my friends Harley and stopped in just long enough to drop off some parts he had ordered. I didn’t even sit for a beer; I had trout fishing on my mind as if it was a scheduled event I just couldn’t miss.
I was in the mood for big water fishing and already decided on fishing Tionesta Creek. The state just stocked the smaller National Forest creeks and I was hoping that would put less pressure on the Tionesta. I knew there would still be plenty of fishermen about with the warmer weather and figured a few that were coming in from turkey hunting would also hit the streams.
I turned left on Blue Jay road and passed parked vehicles and fisher people along my way. As I crossed Lynch Bridge both sides of the creek were plenty of fishermen. I turned right onto route 666 and figured I’d just take my time and hoped to find somewhere not so crowded along the way. Again I passed vehicles pulled to the side and fisher people in waist high water casting lines. I came around a bend and started down the grade and was surprised to see only one truck at the streamside camp sight. I pulled into the next empty parking place and noticed no one was fishing one of my favorite fishing areas. It appeared I was going to have the whole area to myself for the time being.
I put on my waist high waders and fitted my two piece SAS Scott rod together. I attached my Allen large arbor reel with WF5F line. I made sure I had plenty of cigars, put on my vest and was ready to hit the stream. I knotted on a Woolly Bugger and added a lead strip. I slowly waded my way towards the spot I wanted to make my stand. In the shallows I practiced making long casts to get a feel for rod and line. When I got to where I wanted to be in the over-the-knee water I lit up a Victor Sinclair Primeros.
My first cast was long across creek and I mended upstream to let the bugger drop some before the current started to sweep my fly line down creek. Wham! The line pulled sharply narrowing the arc and I swung the rod back while pulling on the fly line to set the hook. The rainbow was frisky as it erratically fought within the fast wavy current. It zipped out and away before turning down creek with the undercurrent. The rod tip pointed towards the rainbow as I let him have some line while getting a feel for his strength and measuring him up for how I wanted to play him in the fast current. The trout darted left and right shaking his head trying to shake the hook loose. There were no major obstacles to get in the way; I just had to keep the trout below the surface so as not to let him get pushed by the top surface current. It wasn’t long before I had my first rainbow to hand, a nice chunky one at that.
It was almost too easy within the first hour of fishing. I was having fun and forgot all about not getting out till about 2:30pm. With rainbows and brook trout already caught my challenge was now to catch a brown trout. It’s not like I had some secrete weapon to target browns but just the thought would be challenge enough.
In a shallow riffle I fooled another rainbow and it ejected it’s self out of the water like it was shot out of a cannon. It shook it’s snout from the time it went air born till it slapped back into the water. Within seconds it bounced out of the water its full length as if rebounding from a trampoline. It looked evident he was pissed as if he was caught before and didn’t think he’d be fooled again.
After that release I continued on down stream enjoying another stogie. I concentrated my placement of the bugger near partially exposed boulders in the foot or so of riffles or in slightly deeper pockets. From a good distant I dropped the bugger on the far side of a rippling run behind a boulder. The bugger drifted and I missed the first strike. I tried a couple more passes but he gave up on trying to grab it. I moved directly across from the run for a different approach. I cast out in other directions to give him time to relax. From the side I cast up into the run and let the bugger drift along the seam as if nymph fishing. The fly line arced forward as if it got caught on the creek bed, but I knew better. With a quick down creek tug I watched a trout come out, from under the wavy current, and dart down creek to get away. He jerked and maneuvered about as I kept him under control. Closer to me it took a couple of attempts before I got my fingers on the bugger and released it from his lips.