Warming the Kettle
Saturday morning looked to be the perfect kind of day. The sun was rising with warmth with only a few light clouds moving overhead. There was no sign of rain with just a hint of a breeze. Yes, a perfect day for a long motorcycle ride or sitting on a sandy beach in a straw hat, a cold tropical drink and a cigar waiting for the sun to heat up the day. Here, I was dressed to trout fish, with fly rod in hand and every fly I could think of in boxes for this days outing I was about to partake in. I had my Bonehead shirt on, my straw hat, water bottle and enough cigars to last for a few hours up creek before returning to the van.
There wasn’t a Mayfly, caddis or stonefly anywhere to be found. As I fished a Woolly Bugger I glanced around and couldn’t spot a rise anywhere. After about 20 minutes of streamer fishing I headed up creek to the narrower wavy current and decided to work my way down. The sun was heating things up and finally shown signs of brightness on the water between the leafy tree tops. I started to nymph fish but kept my eyes and ears open to any sign of a rise.
I dropped the tandem nymph rig just shy of the tree branches that overhung from the bank. It looked like a good holding place for a trout with cover and shade beneath. As the line drifted down creek it arced outward and I gave a sharp upward tug. The line straightened and drew tight. My first trout was on and running down creek in haste. The current helped his cause as I let line out of the reel through tightened finger pressure. He turned towards midstream and I lifted the rod higher and towards my side of the bank. With a head jerk, that jolted the rod tip, he cut across creek and headed back up to where we began the battle. I took in line while keeping pressure on him. When he got to the overhanging branches I tilted the rod down and backed up towards dry land. He tussled a bit more and than took to the current and swam down creek. I got him turned around and soon had him coming my way in defiance.
I continued to nymph my way down creek without another take until I came to the deep pool again. My drift was just at the back end when I noticed the line stop briefly. I pulled up creek and felt a heavy load. The fight just wasn’t too frisky but the tugs and pulls put a strain on the line and rod. I wrestled the heavy weight towards me and was surprised by my catch. A big scaled sucker gave me a notice that not only trout feed on nymphs.
I left the project area and drove down stream where I fished the evening before. It was going on 2:00 and the sun was high and mighty. I opened a bottle of cold brew and made myself some lunch. I had plenty of time on my hand and to relax and let the sun dip lower to cause some shade on the long stretch of water. Friday evening I had refusals to my coffin flies and was running low on the shade and size of my March Browns. I took out my Renzetti Travelers 2200, hooks, and fly tying material and tied up a half dozen of each.
After cleaning up I grabbed my 4wt fast action fly rod and gear and headed to the creek. Crossing towards the other side I didn’t notice any risers or Mayflies about. I waded up creek, along the bank, ¾ the way towards the fast tumbling water. My plan was to take my time, as the sun began to set and dry fly fish my way down creek.
There has been controversy about line shy trout ever since I could remember. In one of W. Tapply’s books I remember something he wrote that I always keep in mind. Before there was fluorocarbon or light tippet, such as 5x or 6x line shy trout were still caught. The trick, if that’s what you call it, he explained is that he just used longer leader and tippet. Knowing I’ll be casting #12 and possibly #10 flies if the Drakes appear, I knotted on another foot and a half of 5x tippet to my tapered leader. I knotted on a Para-March Brown and lit my cigar.
As the sun started to set a bit behind the tree tops, still leaving some parts of the creek in direct sunshine, a few trout started to rise. I seen a few Light Cahills fluttering upwards now and again but I stuck with my march Brown.
My dry fly landed towards the far side of midstream. I could tell there was a quicker current just beyond where the dry fell. The current drifted the dry flawlessly along the seam where the tree line shadows met with the sunny water surface. It teetered with the small waves of current as if it was struggling upon the surface. The rise was a quick slurp that almost brought the trout clear out of the water surface. I yanked back the rod tip and felt the line tighten from the hooked fish. I could feel he wasn’t very big but another gallant fight by a frisky rainbow gave me a just reward.
Down stream the water smoothed out mid creek as if it was shallower. I waded down creek some and a fish rose to something on top. I pulled line out and side armed a cast down and across letting the fly drop with my leader behind. It passed the spot he rose beforehand but I seen him rise and turn on the fly. Within seconds he caught up with it and grabbed it before it drifted any further. Another trout came to the net.
I caught a couple more as I continued to wade and fish down creek to the much slower water that I fished Friday evening. There were a few fish rising but I had a hard time getting them to take my parachute dry.
I noticed a good splashing rise nearer the bank but it wouldn’t rise to my imitation March Brown. Up creek, there was another fish feeding pretty regularly. I cast upstream and sure enough he took the dry with a quick turn as he rose. Another trout came to the net.
Wham, the trout rose with a tumbling take. I lifted the rod instantly and the battle began. He shot out from the bank down creek with force and hatred. We tussled as he wouldn’t give in getting nearer to me. He pulled line through my fingers and turned toward the far bank again. I swung the rod upstream with a tight grip on the cork handle. He swam parallel with the bank till he was straight across from me. I took in line, keeping the line taunt and rod tip flexed downward. He gave a swift tug and than headed towards me. I took line in quickly and soon he was only a few feet in front of me. I had my left hand holding the net in the water when he shot up creek when he seen me. I had to let line slip between my right fingers against the cork as his escape was stronger than I expected. I got him turned around and splashing towards my net. My last trout of the day looked to be a hold over brown trout that had been able to elude many other fishermen.