Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunday on Young Womans Creek

Sunday on Young Woman’s Creek
(This was the last day of my birthday weekend in Clinton County.)

  I think the challenge of nymph fishing is to try to catch more trout than the nymphs you lose. If you catch about the same amount of trout per nymph you break even. Sunday I was way below breaking even.
 I’m not a counter by any means. Once I catch about 6 trout I lose count. As far as counting how many flies I lose it’s frustrating enough so I don’t want to really know. Catching two trout at the same time is very rare. On the other hand, when tandem nymph fishing, losing two flies are quite common. I’m already at a disadvantage. Whether it’s sticking to the creek bed hazards or the low hanging branches there will be flies to be lost. I guess this is why I like to bugger fish. I don’t nearly lose as many buggers to fish total I catch. I’m just glad I tie my own flies.
 When I’m having a frustrating day sometimes it’s just a good idea to stand tall, light up a good stogie and enjoy the beautiful day. Sometimes nymph fishing does have its rewards though.

 I sat on a log tying 5x tippet to my 4x tapered leader for the umpteenth time with a double uni-knot. To this I knotted on a wet fly and, using 6x tippet, dropped a pheasant tail nymph as a dropper. I stood up and puffed on my stogie I held between my lips that kept the small gnats from flying in my face. I looked over the creek and watched Red Quills, Quill Gordon’s and a few small caddis flying about. I didn’t see a rise to any of them.
 I waded out a few feet from the weedy bank and took a stand. I looped the tandem flies up creek from the overhanging branch where my San Juan worm hung. My flies landed just a couple of feet from the far bank. I made a slight mend up creek and watched my fly line drift with the current. The fly line arced beneath the branch and I watched the end of the fly line dip. I stripped in line hard and lifted the rod over my shoulder upstream. This time the object at the end of my tight line moved. It moved from the bank into the deeper section of the creek. A few head shakes and the arc in the rod told me this wasn’t the average size fish I’ve been catching the past few days. I kept side pressure on him as he struggled in the deep undercurrent. When he turned downstream he took off like a freight train. Line zipped out of the reel and I realized I had the drag set light to the trout I had been catching. With line tension between my fingers and the cork grip I quickly turned the drag tighter with my other hand. He still took line out with the rod arced more which slowed him down considerably. I knew I couldn’t bring him towards me in the faster current I was standing in. I slowly backed up onto the weedy bank while he struggled in the knee deep water. Once on the bank I put a little more pressure on him to turn him towards the bank. He slowly swam and stopped just out from the weedy bank. I’m not sure if it was my scruffy beard or my mug but as soon as I was within his vision he took off like a scared overgrown puppy away and down creek.
 Below the section of water I was fighting him in the water narrowed into fast white water current. I couldn’t let him down there or I’d lose him for sure. I held the rod handle up as the rod bowed down towards the fish. I held the line tight hoping my knots didn’t give out. He splashed about in the shin deep shallows with the current trying to help push him down creek. Any time I walked down the bank towards him the current pushed him further downstream. I finally pointed the rod up creek wanting him to swim straight into the current. It took a little coaxing but he followed the pulling rod up past me. I swung the rod towards the bank and landed him on the wet weedy grass. Though it was a couple of days after my birthday it was the biggest trout I caught thus far. I considered this my birthday trout.
 A beautiful brown that looked stream bred or at least had been around for years.

  After 5 casts later my line tightened on an immovable object. After losing 2 more nymphs I had enough and gave up my nymph fishing. I decided to head up to the bridge to see if there were any rising trout to any of the Mayflies about the water.
 As I was knotting on a section of 5x tippet, on the bank, a trout rose between me and the downside of the bridge. The day before a trout rose in the same general area after Mayflies about a size #14. I showed him a Hendrickson which he rose and looked at. He quickly disappeared and never rose again. Well, today I caught one of those Mayflies and discovered they were Quill Gordons. I noticed these Mayflies were drifting from under the bridge trying to take flight. Once in a while one of those Mayflies that didn’t get off the water soon enough was a meal for the one rising trout. He took the Mayflies like a butchers dog taking a morsel of scrap before it hit the floor. I knotted on one of my Quill Gordons and slowly stepped into the water along the bank. Out of five casts I missed him twice. I’m not a master by any means hooking fish from a long cast behind them. I stepped back out of the water and made myself around the bank side brush to the bridge for a downstream cast. He was on the far side of midstream and I was sure the slightly wavy current hid my silhouette. I false cast some line out and looped it just below the bridge letting it drift into his sight. With a little back up of the rod before the fly hit the water gave some slack in the line for a drag free drift. The fish took my imitation without any hesitation. I backed up the rod for the hook set and a frisky small trout playfully came to hand.

 I made a few more casts in the general area but there weren’t any other takers. I made my way to the road. On the bridge I looked over the upstream side and there was a trout along the edge rising to Mayflies often enough. I made my way around the rocks on the other side of the guardrail and down to the creek. The trout evidently saw me coming and disappeared into the deep wavy current. 
 I stood looking for any more risers and spotted a trout rising quickly to Mayflies near the opposite bank. There was a back eddy caused by an exposed boulder. I calculated the length of line I needed and made a few casts in the eddy. With the wavy mid creek current made my imitation not able to sit very long in the eddy. With a long pause of the rising trout I noticed another rising a little more down creek. It was also near the far bank but in much slower water just below the edge of the bridge. This looked to be a little more convenient but still a challenge with the cross current between me and the trout. I calculated distance with my false cast and dropped the fly near the rises. It took a little time watching my fly drift to get an idea how my dry acted in the slower current. With a slow easy side arm cast I let the arc of the line fly through the air with my dry following. I dropped the rod tip and the dry landed with the fly line upstream from my Quill Gordon. The dry drifted into the strike zone and before the fly line caught up in the faster current to drag it down creek a trout rose viciously to my Quill Gordon with a splash. I pulled back on the long line for the hook set and another frisky trout fought beneath the deeper faster current trying to free itself. I got him near enough to me without many problems once he was out of the faster current.

 I might have spent another 5 to 10 minutes trying for the riser in the back eddy but couldn’t get a good enough drag free drift to fool the trout. I had a long drive home and decided to call it quits for now. Back at the truck I slowly followed the creek downstream looking at pools hoping for any more rising trout. Just before crossing the creek for the last time I pulled over into a big parking area and changed into driving clothes. My 4 day birthday fly fishing adventure came to a close and it was time to make the long drive home.
 Just after going through Driftwood I pulled out my last cigar for the day. The Joya De Nicaragua Antonano had a tight firm body feel to it. It is a Dark Corojo cigar that I thought might be a little strong and bold. It turned out to be an enjoyable medium smooth smoke for the way home.

   Just south of Benezette I saw something out of the ordinary. From the distance it looked like a bunch of brown boulders along the bank of a grassy lawn. I knew immediately what I was actually seeing. With no one behind me I took out my camera to take a picture as I slowed down.

 Just in front of a house I slowed down even more for a close up of the Elk grazing in the yard. With the passenger window down I stopped next to an Elk. He turned and looked at me and I got the perfect picture of him looking at me!

 I may have not got all the dry fly fishing I had hoped for but it had been a good challenging long birthday weekend in Potter and Clinton County.


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