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.


1 comment:

  1. Cold beer and wild trout (on a dry fly at that)...hard to improve on that scenario!