Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trout of Character

Trout of Character
Snippet from Kettle Creek

 Friday morning I cooked us up some venison sausage patties and fresh fried eggs. The perked coffee Jeff poured was hot and a good start for the morning. We might have gotten out a little later than we wanted but we had all day to fish and was hoping not too many people would be out being it was Friday. We started our adventure in the project area on Kettle Creek. The temperature was already rising with the sun coming up behind the mountain side as we walked up the path to where we wanted to fish. The green leafed trees were still shining bright with the morning wetness and the air we breathed was clean, cool and fresh.
 We spent an hour or so testing the waters though the catching was slow. Jeff hooked up a few times in a deeper slower section of water with nymphs and wet flies as I tried to hook into any hungry trout waiting for a meal in the faster current with nymphs. When I was nearer to Jeff I finally hooked into a trout on a Sulphur Nymph. That kind of broke the ice for me and I was ready for another.
 Jeff gave me some room in the deeper run that entered the deeper pool. I was nymph fishing a dark Sulphur nymph with a March Brown nymph as a dropper. My cast was out towards the far bank up creek into the current that entered the deeper water. I saw my dry fly line tip arc downward and I gave a sharp jerking jolt upwards. The trout took the tight line down stream towards the far bank. There was a long submerged log mid creek and I knew I’d have to keep him out from the obstacle. I raised the rod trying to get him up higher in the water column to avoid the log. The stiff fast action Allen Icon II rod was able to force him from the bottom and the trout cleared the log and darted upstream in which we fought with a pull and tugging tug of war. He covered the upper deep section pretty thoroughly with his quick darts to and fro. I kept the pressure on him and held a firm grip on the cork. When he got near enough I backed up in the ankle deep water and tried drawing him nearer to me. The way he fought I wondered if he was ever caught before with the wildness in his actions. When I finally netted him I had myself a beauty of a brook trout. His yellow halos were distinct on his silvery gun metal sides and his belly was the color of a tequila sunrise. Jeff noticed right off of the yellow steak that graced his chin. It was my finest colored brook trout I had caught for some time! 

 We continued to fish the project water till noon. The sun was hot and the fish weren’t cooperating so we decided some shady water, and away from the wind, might bring some trout to the surface. We headed to open fishing water for awhile.
 We hit a section that we had fished many times before in past years. The sun still shown upon the riffling water that flowed into a nice deeper section of submerged rocks and slate stream bed. I started off casting dry flies in the riffles while Jeff worked the deeper water slower section.
 My dry fly drifted one too many times above the wavy current for a trout to get hungry enough to rise. He popped up, from the bottom, and grabbed the dry with a gulp. My instincts took over and I hooked him on the surface. He gave a good tail splash after he turned his body and went under. The 5wt was a bit much as he wasn’t able to gain much ground with the pressure of the rod. We had a short quick skirmish and another tequila sunrise belly brook trout came to hand.

 I was feeling good about where we chose to wait out the afternoon. I lit up a cigar and began to cast the dry fly into the riffles again.

 Still working the riffling waves I spotted a rise ¾ the way across creek. A limp side arm cast put my fly just ahead of the rise with the loop of the fly line ahead of the dry in the stronger mid-stream current. With the arc of the line ahead of the fly gave my fly, in the slower current, a good slow drift. I knew the faster current would soon drag my line but I was hoping enough time for the trout to see the March Brown imitation before the drag. Sure enough a trout rose to the dry and I was quick to pull back line and with enough force to set the hook. The rainbow lifted out of the water in an acrobatic show of its skills. It splashed beneath but quickly rose again above the surface water trying to eliminate the hook in its jaw. It struggled beneath a bit after reentry and I got it to the net safely.

 I made a long cast into the shallower riffles upstream that looked to be only shin deep. My March Brown moved with the ripples and a trout slapped at the big Mayfly. I had been taking in line with the oncoming current so it didn’t take much time to straighten the line enough to get a hook set on the upstream take. A little trout darted and scampered about all the way to my waiting wet hand.

 Another rise happened midstream not very far from where I stood. With a roll of my rod the fly line looped in front of me like a lasso and landed midstream in front of me. I took in slack line quickly as the dry drifted drag free into the strike zone. One more hungry trout took the imitation.

 The wind died down and we decided to finish off the day back in the project area on our way back to camp.


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