Monday, May 25, 2015

Variety on Kettle Creek

Variety on Kettle Creek
5/15 thru 5/17/2015

 Every year I trek up to Kettle Creek for a weekend of fly fishing. Doesn’t matter if it’s April, May or June I find trout that will rise. I’ve been up during big hatches of Mayflies, medium hatches of a few Mayflies and times when there was nearly a bug on the water. Even on the windiest days or rain I’ve made trout rise. This weekend was a no hatch weekend. Sure there were a few caddis about and very few Mayflies now and than at times during the day but nothing that I would call a good Hatch.
 In the bar I heard how disappointing the dry fly fishing had been. I heard how the hatches are late due to the weather. On the stream I seen guys using spinning rods and telling me their fly rods are in their vehicles but didn’t get them out because of no risers. I had to go to nymph fishing this weekend at times but I still used dry flies most of the time and most of the fish I caught were on dry flies. A couple of caddis patterns and March Browns took most of my top water catches. I also caught a couple of fish on a Hendrickson pattern and missed a couple on a small Sulphur pattern. The last few fish I caught on top on Friday was on a beetle pattern, go figure?


 I arrived at Kettle Creek about 4:00pm Friday. Near the Leidy Bridge stretch fishermen and woman were lined and spaced out like a back country turkey shoot contest, fire at will. Their weapons being spinning rods, spin casting reels as well as fly rods of all sorts of sizes. I continued on the twisting road to route 144. Along the route to Cross Forks, and beyond, fisher people of all shapes and sizes were lined up along the creek like the first day of the trout season. Even the sprinkling of rain didn’t hamper the go getters. When I got to the fly fishing only project waters there were only 4 vehicles so I pulled in.
 I had just got a new fishing vest and I already had it packed where everything was in a specific pocket. Being it was sprinkling out at times I put everything I thought I needed in my fishing raincoat. I attached my two piece SAS Scott rod, which I usually use in rainy conditions, and to that a large arbor reel with weight forward line. I left the camera in the van because of the rain but did grab a few cigars before heading out.
 There were two fellows fishing just up from the bridge and I seen two others under the bridge keeping out of the rain drops. I noticed the water was much lower than when I was here in April. I already knew where I was going to spend the last few hours of the day and headed along the path along the creek.
 The water was clear so I kept back from the far side of the creek but also kept a good distance from the near bank side vegetation for long back casts. The surface water was a bit slower along the far bank but I knew that’s where the trout hang out. Even if I don’t get a cast right in that slow crease against the bank if the trout are hungry they should venture out with a well placed dry fly in the slow riffles.

 My cast was ¾ the way across creek, this side of the rippling water and into the flow where the shallow riffles smoothed over the deeper section. A trout rose to my dry fly, I pulled back and set the hook and my first trout was on.
 I placed the dry fly in the beginning of the slower flow of current along the bank. Maybe not as close as I would have liked but it close enough. It was only setting there for a second or two before a trout reached up and mouthed it with a noticeable swirl. There wasn’t much slack in my line so a quick wrist set the hook.
 My long cast was calculated, after a few shorter casts, that landed the dry fly smack down along side the logs along the far bank. The #12 dry fly drifted upon the slow current and a trout porpoised up upon the surface for it. Somehow I missed the take. It looked like a nice size trout. He never did come up again after that miss.
 I caught one more trout and missed one within another 20 minutes but after that I couldn’t get one to rise for anything. I even tried underneath without success. I decided to head down creek some and found a nice deeper pool along a deadfall and before a next set of shallow riffles. I pulled two trout out of there on a dry and one on a nymph. These trout were much smaller than the ones I caught upstream. Just before dark I returned to the spot I started and fished there till it got dark. I ended up catching two brook trout on a beetle pattern under an overhanging tree. If it weren’t for the white wing post I would have never been able to see where my beetle fell.
 That evening I settled down and cooked up some hot sausage and string beans for supper and washed it down with a couple of beers before bed. Saturday I was to meet my friend Jeff and his girlfriend for some more fishing activity. 


It had rained some throughout the night but not enough to show any different effect to the stream height or color. After a breakfast of hard boiled eggs and cereal I strung up my custom 4 weight. I put on my hip waders and wading boots before leaving my camping spot in this way I was ready to fish as soon as I parked.
 There were a few anglers already out and about on the water. Where I was to meet Jeff there was no one parked there so I pulled in with good intentions of catching some trout without being hampered by other fisher people.
 At 7:15am it was a bit chilly out but I knew it was going to get much warmer as the day progressed. It was quite foggy also so I couldn’t get a good read on the sky color so I wore my raincoat just to be on the safe side. I wasn’t sure when Jeff was going to get around to meeting me but there was plenty of room and space to fish before he showed up. Down at the bank I stepped into the water and waded across creek to the far bank. From there I walked along the path and visually took notice of the water conditions as I walked up creek to the fast water.
 Of course I started with a bugger but switched to nymph fishing the deeper riffles soon after. I was anxious to dry fly fish. So far all I seen was a few light caddis about but no risers. When I seen my first Mayfly I was hoping for more. Within a couple of minutes I couldn’t stand it any more and decided to knot on a dry fly. I seen what I was pretty sure a Hendrickson come off the water. I thought it was a bit early in the morning for them but that’s what I pretty sure I seen. I knotted on a #12 Dark Hendrickson and started to cast onto the surface water without seeing a rise at the moment. It wasn’t long before I seen a rise in a slower current crease in the riffling water and went for it.

 My cast was a little down and across creek. I let a lot of slack in my line when the dry Hendrickson fell at the beginning of the crease so it would drift without drag for some time. About in the middle of the pocket a trout rose pretty aggressively and I was Jerry on the spot with a quick lift and hook set. The trout battled within the riffling current and I felt I had complete control of the situation. It wasn’t long before my first trout of the morning was in my net before 8:00am. A nice brown with a Hendrickson stuck in his lip.
“It was going to be a good day” I just knew it!
  I continued on but went to nymph fishing for lack of any risers or Mayflies coming off. A couple of fellows waded down creek past me just before Jeff cruised down the road and beeped letting me know he had arrived. I suppose it was after 9:00am by then. I took a break and lit up a Sancho Panza while searching for any surface activity.

The morning went ok as far as catching went. I had caught a few trout underneath and a few on dry flies on the surface. Most of the trout were on the smaller size. Jeff didn’t do very well. Gail fishes with a spinning outfit and said she had a few chasers but they wouldn’t grab anything.

Later on, in the afternoon, Jeff and I headed to the project waters while Gail hung out in the sunshine. There were quite a few fishermen along the creek but we kept on walking to the section we wanted to fish. When we got there, there was already three other fishermen fishing the deeper section of water. We headed a bit further up creek. Jeff began to fish a good current flow leading into the deep pool whereas I kept walking up creek. I found some shallow riffles and a few deep pools where I began to catch some small wild trout.
 You can read about these at;

 After the others left Jeff and I started to fish the deeper section. He caught his birthday trout on a dry March Brown I had given him.

 I ended tagging one on a bugger and caught a few more before we headed back down to the parking lot.

 After a quick meal in the town of Cross Forks we headed back out, down stream, for the evening hatch. There wasn’t much of a hatch at all. We did pick up a few trout before Jeff and Gail called it quits. I had then still rising to my March Brown pattern.

 I stuck around for a bit longer and ended up catching a few brook trout practically in darkness.

 Back at the campsite Buster and I enjoyed a bottle of wine as I relaxed.

Sunday would be another day. (To be continued)


Monday, May 18, 2015

Wild Trout and a Wild Hare

Wild Trout and a Wild Hare

 Jeff and I got to the Fly Fishing only area of Kettle Creek about 1:30 pm. The sun was out with some cloud cover and it was a bit warm. There were a few vehicles in the parking lot but we already planned on fishing a few hours up creek till it was time for a bite to eat before going back out that evening for hopefully a late hatch of some kind of Mayfly. Walking up creek we found quite a few fly guys casting lines hoping to find a hungry trout. When we got to the stretch we wanted to fish there were three other fly guys already taking up space. We walked the path a bit further and Jeff fished along the far bank and stretch leading towards the other fishermen. I decided to fish up creek a distance a way from the others. It was a wide stretch with good bank side cover and a few deep pockets along with some shallow riffles. I wasn’t sure what I would find but I was enjoying the warm day and that fresh water didn’t look like many fishermen would have a go at it. I lit up an Alec Bradley Family Blend and enjoyed the super mellow flavor while I enjoyed fly fishing the stretch.

Full leafy trees shaded the far bank from the yellow sun. The water flowed with a rippling surface. It wasn’t hard to determine the deeper pockets from the shallower water by the grayish blue haze beneath the surface. I was looking up creek, blind casting the dry fly into the oncoming current, bringing in as much slack line as possible. It’s patience not knowing when or where they will strike.
 With a quick slap at my dry and a quick yank back of the rod should set the hook. There’s no time to think about it, it has to be almost an instinct. Your eyes can’t wonder off. You have to concentrate on the dry fly coming down stream. When I miss a take I sort of chuckle, when I hook one I laugh “gotcha!” It could be frustrating. It’s not like you’ve had some place to practice. In a stream in wild trout waters is the only ‘practice’ you’re going to get. It’s kind of like learning on the job.
 I hooked a few in a nice long pool and only missing one. Once I hooked a fish I felt I was a little over gunned with the 9’ 4 weight. It was like bringing a 20 gauge to a pistol shoot. It was nice having lots of room to cast the long rod though.

 It wasn’t long before I seen one rise along the far bank aside a deadfall uproot. I wasn’t quite in a good location to make a cast to him yet so I continued on fishing up creek some until I got a better angle. There weren’t any hatches going on so I wasn’t too worried he would quit feeding. There were only a few caddis about and he wasn’t coming up too frequently.
 Fishing dry flies for wild trout is all about angles in wider creeks. Reading the surface current flow and getting the fly to the feeding zone in a natural presentation is pretty critical. At least I think so but I’m known to think trout are pretty smart. Sometimes you don’t get a second chance if they are leery!
  I got myself cross creek from him. The creek is flowing from my right to my left as I face the deadfall. There’s a few tree branches high above me so an overhand cast, I’m right handed, looks dangerous. I can try a sidearm cast but with a faster current flow, mid creek, my fly line will be just above the water and I feel I won’t be able to get a good drop and enough slack for a drag free drift in the slower water against the bank. I decide on a backhand cast.
 I start my back cast and come to a stop near my left shoulder at an angle. After the rod loads I bring the rod forward, a little higher than horizontal with the water, and I slow the rod down which forms a big loop of the fly line. Without stopping my forward cast quickly I continue with my forward motion slowly and stop the rod near the water up creek in front of me. This puts the dry fly down creek from the leader and fly line. The down side is there is a lot of slack line behind that has to be pulled in quickly upon a rising take.
 My third cast was near perfect. I had the March Brown drifting along the far bank in the slower current towards the uproot. I knew the fly would only drift drag free for a few seconds before the fly gets pulled down stream unnaturally. I was taking in slack line as the fly line was straightening in the swifter cross current. I seen the rising splash and whipped the rod back for the hook set. “Gotcha” I said aloud like catching a coworker stealing a chip on your work bench!
 The trout turned down creek. This wasn’t a pipsqueak wild trout like the others I’ve caught so far. Working him in the riffles I caught sight of his flashy side and figured he was about a good 10”. He fought like a frisky, weighty 18” brown in the riffling current. Maybe I played him a little too gingerly but after a long bout he won the battle and came free. I never got to see my competitor face to face.
 I continued for the next half hour pacing myself fishing up creek. I never saw another fish feeding though you don’t have to see a wild trout rising to find out if they are hungry for a snack.

 My cast wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t a target cast just a cast upstream into a tail out of the riffles that dropped into a deeper pool. I watched as the dry fly bobbed on the small waves of the riffling current and as soon as it settled on the flatter water a healthy splash sprayed water at my drifting dry. I was quick as lightening and jerked the rod tip and felt that sudden jar at the end of the tight line. This lively trout put on a good battle also but didn’t have the stronger current flow to help him out like the one that got away. Nonetheless he turned out to be a beautiful nice size wild trout for the waters I was fishing.

 After him I only fished a few more yards before I returned to where Jeff was fishing. The other fellows had left so we took up their spots and continued fishing for about another hour before heading back to the van but that’s another story.
 Back at the van I opened a cold bottle of Wild Hare to quench my thirst while changing clothes and eventually heading to Deb’s Place for a quick meal.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trail Pack Outing

Trail Pack Outing

 It was another nice day Sunday so I took a ride over to the project area on the North Fork through Cooks Forest. I decided to take along my fiberglass Trail Pack fly rod. It fits nicely in the saddle bags.
 When I arrived in the parking area there was only one guy fishing. I wasn’t too surprised though. The water was on the low side but still very fishable. The sun was up and bright nearing 70+ degrees by then. I was assembling the 6 pieces of the rod together when the fly fisherman came to his truck. In conversation he told me he just came back from Kettle Creek and stopped before finishing his way home. How lucky? I told him I was going up this weekend. He told me about the hatches and kind of got me fired up.
 When I got to the creek it wasn’t ten minutes that went by when a hatch of small caddis appeared. There weren’t very many risers but I did manage a few on my dry caddis imitation.

 Getting frustrated that I couldn’t get any others to bite, and the caddis all but disappeared, I decided to go under water. I caught a rainbow on a wet fly before finally tying on a woolly bugger. Casting up creek into the fast water and letting it dead drift down creek I caught a couple more trout. The water was clear enough that I was able to see them turn on the bugger and kind of took a chance when they would strike being that the water was moving fast and I was fishing up creek.
 I also caught a couple of brook trout on the bugger swinging it down creek and stripping it in. 

 I noticed there were still a few risers now and then but they didn’t want anything on top. I decided to add a little weight before the caddis and swung it like a wet fly. This got me a few more strikes but I was only able to land one.

 Well, for the few hours I spent in the afternoon, under the hot sun, didn’t turn out too bad. I gave the fiberglass rod a work out and it handled the fish fine. With all the ferrules it made the rod a bit heavy but it was fun playing the trout on the flexible ‘glass’ rod.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Helles Yea!

Helles Yea!

 It is already 68 degrees when I finish my breakfast. I already have the Harley packed to go fishing. All I have to do is decide what waders to bring and what rod. I decide to take the 4wt custom being the reel is already attached. I figure the water is going to be quite wadable without chest waders so I pack my hip waders in the back pack and strap it onto the back rest. I had just gotten a box of Sancho Panza double Maduro a couple of days ago and taken some along as I am ready for a good time. Great weather, Harley riding, trout fishing and good cigars, doesn’t get much better.
 The ‘V’ twin comes to life as I sit on the stepped seat and let it warm up a bit. Out of the driveway I turn left on route 66 and head north towards Marienville. As I cruise along the roadway the cool morning air across my face awakens my senses like a second cup of coffee. Above me white clouds move lazily below the blue sky. The ‘V’ twin rumbles between my legs as I think about my plan.
 They had stocked many of the smaller streams up north so I figured that there shouldn’t be too many people on Tionesta Creek, since it wasn’t stocked recently. Being that it’s still turkey season maybe those that fish won’t show up till after noon. I was hoping to get some solitude fishing before too many fishermen showed up.

 As I cross Lynch Bridge there are 3 fly fishermen already fishing down creek. I turn right and head north on route 666. I’m surprised that no one is camping in the spot where I plan on fishing. I back the Springer down the short lane and turn the engine off. The peacefulness of the National Forest now surrounds me. I hear the riffling water and birds chirping. The sun is shining down and there isn’t a fisherman in sight.

 I dress into my fishing gear and take a few cigars and place them in my Bonehead shirt pocket. I string up the fly rod and knot on a woolly bugger and head to the water.

 The riffling shallows glitter under the sunshine. I slowly wade down creek casting now and then hoping for a bite in the shallows but it doesn’t happen. In the deeper water I stop as a bald eagle glides high above the forest trees across creek. The surface water flows with subtleness. A cool breeze gusts across the stream and the surface waters wrinkles distorting the few boulders upon the creek bed.
 Minutes pass into hours as I can’t seem to find the right pattern to draw a strike. I know the trout are there but they aren’t very cooperative. A few small caddis flutter about and a trout rises sporadically but doesn’t continue to feed in any one spot. I try a few dry caddis but I can’t get them to rise for it.

 The long cast drops my wet fly and nymph across stream and I loop a mend up creek and let the slow current drift the tandem flies down creek. A hard take and I quickly set the hook. The fish scurries and darts as I play him towards me. I have no net but am able to walk him to my hand. The first trout is a nice brook trout that I find took the Picket pin.

  After releasing him I concentrate fishing the same location. It takes some time but I get another strike. A nice brown also takes the Picket pin.

  The sun is about over my head so I figure it has to be about noon by now. The catching is slow but the solitude and charm of the stream keeps me content. Occasionally a kayak or canoe drifts along keeping their distance. They too are enjoying the beautiful weather in their own way.
 I decide to wade down creek further and hopefully start catching a few trout more often. Not too far down creek I cast the bugger aside a riffle caused by a near surface boulder. I feel the line stop and I jerk up creek. I feel the fish pull with the current and swing downstream. I can tell its not big but fighting the current makes for good entertainment. Surprised I bring the smallmouth to hand.

  Now I’m thinking. The water is warming up due to the warm sun. Maybe, just maybe I might be able to get into some smallmouth in the slow waters along the bank side. I wade up creek and get within casting distance of the slow water pool just out from the far bank.
 After a few casts within the incoming water of the slow pool I visually see a couple of boulders within the deeper middle. My cast is on target just before the boulders. I let some slack out and the bugger drops deeper as it drifts towards the boulders. I keep the rod high not wanting to snag the boulders. The line straightens and I quickly set the hook. I see the water swirl beneath and he takes towards the far bank. I can tell this is a bigger fish as line unrolls off the spool. The rod tip flexes deeper into the shaft as the fish heads down creek. I keep good tension on him and bring in line when he gives me some leeway. Fighting the current I get him near me and could see I got a nice size red eye.

 Now that deserves a cigar! I cup my hand and light up a Sancho Panza. The bold taste of the double Maduro is flavorful but the medium draw makes for a mellow smoke on the water.

 After a bit more trying to hook up with another smallmouth I continue my way down creek fishing streamers.

 My cast is midstream directly across from me. I let the bugger swing down creek and feel the hard strike as well as seeing the line pull outward. I give a tug to make sure the hook is set good. The fish battles vigorously in the current. After a short battle down creek I bring the rod up stream and he follows. I get him within hand reach but he takes off up and around me. After spinning 180 degrees I get the rod up and he splashes to the surface. The rainbow completes my triple crown, a brook trout, a brown and now a rainbow.

 I catch only one more rainbow before heading up creek towards my bike. It has to be nearing 2:30 by now. I know I could change clothes and head somewhere else or just call it a day. Not ready to give up I decide to walk the road up creek. As I walk along the road I make notes of the deeper water mid stream and towards the roadside. Up a ways I step over the guardrail and carefully make my way down to the creek again. With a woolly bugger I take my time fishing down stream. You would have thought someone rang the dinner bell. The rainbows were hungry and I have a good time for the next hour catching trout on the bugger and even a few on a wet fly

  By the time I reach the bank, below my cycle, my stomach is telling me it is time to eat and my casting shoulder is telling me it is time to take a rest.
 I pop open a Straub Helles as I change clothes. The beer isn’t as cold as I would have liked but it quenches my thirst. After I get everything secure on the Harley it is time to head for some cold beer and wings.
 The Harley rumbles to life, breaking the quietness, and I cruise down 666 and then towards the Kelly Hotel.

 It turned out to be one Helles of a good time. Trout, cigars, smallmouth bass, a warm cycle ride and good food!!


Monday, May 4, 2015

A Picture or it Didn't Happen

A Picture or it Didn’t Happen
5/02, 5/03 2015

Maybe it was my 4th cast or maybe my 7th of the morning. I drifted the tandem flies through a run in the riffles and felt a strike. After playing the trout towards me I got a visual and noticed I had caught two trout, one on the wet fly and one on the stonefly dropper at the same time. I strategically got them in the net and got a picture. I could have sat on the bank the rest of the day smoking a stogie, drinking a beer and watching the other guy’s fish and called it an excellent day. I mean, what could top that? What are the odds of catching a double?
 I continued fishing though but kept thinking about what I had accomplished. Than the question popped in my head “would I rather catch a double or a big brown trout?” Think about this. Which would you rather have caught in a trout outing? Not that you can control the outcome but…

Saturday 5/02/15

  Saturday morning Jeff and I turkey hunted but were unable to get any gobblers close enough to get an eyeball on them. After about an of hour of silence we returned to camp. By 9:45am we arrived to the open, all tackle waters of Oil Creek. Quite a few Grannoms were already about the water along with a few smaller caddis.
 Oil Creek is a premier trout stream in northwestern Pennsylvania. It has a great mayfly hatch as well as a caddis and stonefly hatch throughout the season. They say there are two kinds of fishermen that wade Oil Creek, “Those that have fallen in and those that are going too.” I have to attest it is one of the slipperiest creeks in Pennsylvania to wade no matter the season.
 By the time we got in the creek the Grannoms blanketed the water. Even my cigar didn’t ward them off. They were crawling on my glasses and vest. There were very few rising fish but nothing to get too excited about. The water was cold and so was the morning air temperature but with the sun still coming up the afternoon was to be near 70 degrees. 
 Jeff and I did fairly well catching fish Saturday. I caught them on an assortment of flies and a few on Woolly Buggers and a few on dry flies. But again there weren’t many risers at all though wet flies were getting a lot of strikes. 

 About 5:30 we left the creek and headed towards camp. There we ate grilled venison back straps, corn-on-the-cob, rice with a bottle of red wine. Sundays morning plan was to wake up and enjoy a big breakfast before heading to the project section of Oil Creek for a full day of trout fishing.

 Sunday 5/03/15
 When we arrived at the parking area, of the project section of Oil Creek, we found a group of guys I’ve known from steelhead fishing. They were already in their waders and were stringing up their fly rods when we pulled in. After we bs’d a little they headed to the creek and Jeff and I got our gear on.
 When I got to the creek the other guys were strung out along the slower water like a line of steelhead fishermen on Elk Creek. They left plenty of space between each other so they can get good drifts without hampering one another. I don’t mind fishing faster riffles so I waded about a forth the way across creek, even with the others and upstream from them. Jeff waded in up creek from me and began to fish the riffling water also.
 There wasn’t the hatch of Grannoms as the day before and only a few caddis would appear now and then. There weren’t any rising fish that I could see so I contemplated my choice of nymphs. Oil Creek has a good supply of stoneflies so I knotted on a Picket Pin with a small stonefly as a dropper. I looked down creek as it was noticeable the steelhead fishing group were fishing nymphs under indicators. I chose not to use any such thing as I was sure I would detect a strike in the faster current by watching the fly line and letting my imitations drift naturally.
 Maybe it was my 4th cast or even maybe a 7th after wading in in the waking morning. The overhand cast put my imitations up creek and I mended line letting the current take my flies through a deeper run of the rippling water. As the fly line passed me I noticed the pull and drop of the fly line and yanked back for the hook set. The trout took down creek and than circles down from me. I was using 5X tippet but still played him cautiously in the riffling current. As I was getting the trout nearer to me I felt a forceful tug and then the line went back out toward the middle of the creek. After I got it circling towards me again I gained more control and had the trout coming nearer to me out in front of me a bit. Within sight I seen a trout fighting the current and had taken the Picket Pin. Than I noticed another trout behind him and noticing his struggling motion and I realized I had two trout I was fighting with, the other trout had taken my dropper fly. Of course I called out to the others I had a double in which someone called from down creek “a picture or it didn’t happen.” It was a struggle to figure out how to get both trout into my net in the riffling current but I managed and got a picture with them side by side.
 After releasing the fish I stood there and lit my first cigar. What were the odds of catching two trout at the same time? I only did that once and that was on the Big Horn. I could have called it quits and consider it an exceptional day but I hadn’t been in the water for more than about 10 minutes and it was still morning. Of course I continued to fish but never gave a thought of how I could top that feat or come close. I even thought about what I would rather have accomplished, getting a double or catching a big old brown trout?
 Well, I continued fishing the riffles and was doing pretty well hooking up now and then. I noticed some of the other fellows catching fish also. Jeff said he seen fish rising down creek from the others and waded out and headed down creek. I noticed a few fish rising within the casting distance of the others. There weren’t very many caddis on the water but enough now and than to cause a rise. Soon I had a couple rising in front of me and switched to dry fishing a Grannom pattern.
 I hooked up to two pretty quick but only got one to the net. Bringing in some line for another cast my Grannom skipped across the surface and a trout splashed surface three times to grab it. Well, for the next half hour or so I dry fly fished and would skip the Grannom across the water surface. That accounted for a few more hook ups.
 After a couple of hours one by one the other guys waded out and relaxed along the grassy bank under the warming sun. I waded down creek a bit just enough to fish the tail end of the riffles and the slower deeper water it spilled into.

I pretty much had down creek to myself.

I caught one trout right off with a nymph but noticed some rising trout as the caddis were flying around again as the sun shown down from the moving clouds. The trout would not take my Grannom pattern or smaller tan caddis I was using. Dano was now up creek in the riffling water using a wet fly and was having some success with strikes and caught fish.
 They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. It was obvious the trout weren’t going to take my dry so I decided to put a little weight about a foot or so above my dry egg laying Grannom and wet fly fish. Well, that was a big game changer. All of a sudden I was getting furious strikes and playing hooked fish again for some time.


Hours just pass by when I’m having fun. It wasn’t long before I came to another dry spell of not catching any trout. The rising trout had just about died down and the ones rising I couldn’t get a take no matter what I tied on. I finally went and drifted a San Juan worm and hooked up to the biggest rainbow of the day.

 By now I was practically all alone changing nymph patterns trying to get a strike. I knew it was getting late afternoon but I wasn’t hungry and was determined to find a nymph that would catch me a few more trout. Two older gents moved into the riffles I was fishing earlier and was trying their luck. It was obvious to me these guys had fished this creek before and I even watched the one older gent hook into two trout. For a short time Deetz showed up down creek and fished awhile before taking off for home. Jeff had stopped by along the bank and said he was driving up creek where we fished Saturday before heading to camp. I told him I was catching trout and decided to stick around. While Deetz was there I finally found a nymph I was able to get a few fish interested in and netted a couple I got good hook sets on. after Deetz left the one older gent moved down creek from me but left plenty of room so we could each cast without interfering with one another.
 I stuck with the dropper nymph I was getting a bump on now and then but changed my top fly often. The sun was cresting the far bank with a bit of cloud cover but it was still warm. I was deciding when I should quit but I felt maybe a little while longer the fish might turn on again. Then it happened…

 I shot a long cast up stream and threw a strong mend up creek as the current took my flies down creek a ways out in front of me. My line curved and straighten quickly in the faster current. I yanked back as much slack line as I could hoping for a hook set. I felt the resistance and instantly the trout stripped line off the spool heading towards the far bank. I could tell this wasn’t a light weight and didn’t like being fooled and hooked. I loosened the drag a bit because I was only using 6x tippet on my dropper fly though I guessed, by the quick take; he took the San Juan worm. He surfaced far off and than swam towards mid creek. There he rose with a big headshaking splash, dove deep and came slightly out of the water with another splash. I could tell it was a big brown trout. After going deep again he pulled down creek and I couldn’t hold him back. He swam pretty close to the old gent down creek as he stood there watching me battle the trout. He said there was too much glair on the water and couldn’t actually see my catch. Nearer to him the trout turned and again took down creek slower but still with force. I could tell something was wrong as I couldn’t get control of the fish and turn him.
 I’ve caught big browns before and I know they will alligator roll during a fight. I had a feeling this is just what he did and got my line wrapped around him. Occasionally I got him near the surface and thought I could see his yellowish brown belly. I carefully waded down creek toward the bank as I played him nearer to me. I made sure he didn’t get near the other gent and get tangled up. It took some time but I finally got him close enough for me to pull out the net holding the rod with a tight right hand grip. Close enough to me he tried one last attempt to get away but I was able to net him after that last burst of energy.
 In the net I seen the nymph had a good grip in his jaw. The line had somehow wrapped around behind his pectoral fin and gills but in front of his dorsal fin. It was wrapped pretty tight but once I got the hook out his jaw it unwound pretty easily. There he was the big, hooked jaw, brown trout in my net. Never could I expect such surprise catches in one outing.
 After I released the big brown I was ready to take off. I figured it was around 5pm and besides that my back was aching and I was getting fatigued. The older gent suggested I stay trying to convince me that caddis would be coming off soon and we might get some dry fly fishing. I caught one more trout after the brown and decided to hang it up. It didn’t look as though there was going to be a hatch and besides there wasn’t anything I could believe that could top my two feats except maybe catching a fresh water mermaid.
 Back at the van I opened a cold dark brew while I changed into driving clothes. I wished I had a double chateau Fuente to celebrate but had to settle for a Cohiba Red Dot Pequeno which was fair enough.
 So, I have to ask my readers, would you rather catch a double for the day or a big brown trout?

The custom 4 weight got a real workout

 A few fish from Saturday