Sunday, April 29, 2018

Birthday Trout 2018

Birthday Trout 2018

  Usually each year, around my birthday, I’ve been able to catch a large trout which I refer to as ‘my birthday trout’. It was a week after my birthday but I still consider them my birthday trout of 2018.

 My second cast was a bit upstream near the partially wet exposed boulder that split the water current into a deep riffle behind it. I made a short mend upstream and the tear drop indicator changed direction bringing my tandem offering deep into the riffle. I watched the drift as it passed before me along the crease in the riffles. The indicator suddenly dropped underneath the surface and I yanked upward to set the hook. I felt the rod flex into the mid section and maybe even into the butt section. I tightened my grip around the cork and locked my wrist trying to keep the butt section pointing upward. I knew in an instant I had a heavy fish.
 The trout must have been as surprised as I was. It rose to the surface after the hook set briefly, with the rod tension, as if to wonder “what just happened?” This is when I got my first brief look of the fat rainbow.
 She dove deep and took off below the riffling water behind the boulder and forced her way downstream with the current in a hurry. The flexing rod followed the direction of the trout as tensioned fly line exited the spool and slipped through the rod eyes and tip top. I dropped the rod tip just above the surface some not wanting the big trout to surface in the oncoming current. I seen the pink sucker spawn when she rose so I knew she took the small olive nymph I had as a dropper.
 Down stream she gave a good head shake or two, held in the current and started a downstream to and fro head shaking, body shaking fight. It wasn’t long before she started up creek and she was rising. I cranked in line not wanting a bunch of unspooled fly line lying on the surface. I also raised the rod tip keeping a tight line. She put up a good fight as we both attempted to take more control than the other. I had her just below the surface coming towards the net but with a burst of energy, upon seeing the net; she propelled herself away in a thrusting motion. The rod flexed a little deeper and line slipped out through the guides but the tightened drag slowed her escape. She turned down creek and spun towards me. The tensioned drag kept her from taking any more line and it was if we were at a stand still giving me more time to think.
 I couldn’t land her because of the high muddy bank. I also couldn’t wade down creek because of the cement bridge abutment and not sure how deep the water would be. The current was much slower between me and the bank which I decided was my best option to net her. As long as I kept her from rubbing the tippet on the bottom rocks I had a good chance of keeping her hooked.
 I turned towards the bank and stated to reel her towards that direction. She rose just below the surface and I could tell she didn’t have much energy to fight aggressively for a last surge. I let her swim upstream a bit between me and the bank. I raised my outstretched rod arm as I dipped the net below the surface with my outstretched left hand. Slowly I lowered the rod tip and the trout started to back up towards the net. Close enough I raised the rod tip just high enough the trout rose up in the water column and I was able to sweep her up in the net. She twisted and squirmed a bit but she was pretty played out. The weight of her in the net was so great I butted the side of the net against my gut while I waded to the bank. She was the first birthday trout of 2018. I found the small olive nymph was hooked in the corner of her mouth.

 If One wasn’t Enough

 What got me fishing there in the first place was from the bridge Jeff and I saw a golden trout holding behind an exposed boulder when we first arrived. There was someone else fishing for it so we ended up going down creek to fish. Later on I returned to the truck for a water break and, with no one else around, started fishing in the same area. From the water level I was fishing I couldn’t see the golden trout but I did know it was around the exposed boulder. I learned a long time ago where there’s a golden there is sure to be other trout near by.
 For the next hour, I would say after catching the big rainbow, I started slamming other rainbows with a combination of sucker spawn and selected nymphs as a dropper. The bite was tapering off when Jeff called down from the bridge. He had a bird’s eye view of the golden. This made me more interested in fishing for the golden trout. He could see the golden without any problem. He told me it looked like it was feeding on something below the surface in the current. He could tell by the way it darted out from its hold but returned afterwards. I decided to knot on a wet fly with a weighted nymph as a dropper. Jeff was kind of coaching me where the golden was located by the drift of my indicator. While fishing for the golden I did catch one fish on the wet fly, missed a hook set on another and caught one on the nymph while Jeff watched from above.

 I laid the indicator just forward of the partially exposed boulder even with the risk of snagging it. As the indicator reached the boulder I gave a high mend up creek letting my tandem offering drift over the boulder snag free. I quickly dropped the rod tip and kept short mends behind the indicator as needed. The teardrop indicator turned up creek as it dipped below the surface. I yanked back and downstream and the line tightened. Jeff yelled “you got him!” Well I knew I had a trout with the tight line but I didn’t realize I had ’him’ until I seen the flash of the yellow/golden trout about a foot below the surface. He took off out and away taking line. From then on it was head shaking, tugging, quick jerks and pulling as he struggled. The rod flexed and bounced with each aggressive thwart by the angry trout. He shook the line, rod and hook every which way but loose. The only thing that didn’t change was my tight grip on the cork and my patience even though I knew at any second the hook might come dislodged. When he was directly down creek from me and trying to rest I already knew my plan on where to net him with the big rainbow I netted previously. I didn’t let him rest and swung the rod between me and the bank side. He hesitantly swam forward but maybe seen an escape route and quickly darted upstream between me and the bank. I raised the rod as he passed by and dropped it some once he passed me. When the rod started to flex more he slowed up and maybe a bit puzzled. I reached back for my net and had it ready when he returned between me and the bank. I pulled back on the flexed rod and he turn towards the net. Not having much room to get around it he turned again but with the lift of the rod he rose and reared backward and I was able to scoop him up without him knowing what was coming. He thrashed and squirmed in the net but I had him deep enough in the net he wasn’t getting out. I held the net with both hands, while holding the rod, till he settled down some. I followed the tippet and when he opened his mouth the wet fly was hooked firmly on his tongue. He stayed still long enough for me to do a quick surgical maneuver. As soon as I clamped on the hook, with the hemostats, I twisted the hook upward and the point slipped out. The golden gave a quick jerking flinch like a person just getting a tooth pulled! I reached in the net and got a picture before I set him free.

 He dropped to the bottom with his belly nearest the creek bed. He held there like he was catching his breath and regaining his presence of mind. When he started to move his fins and tail a little more I felt better. He ended up swimming slowly under the bridge and held there in the deeper flow.
 I attached the wet fly to the hook keeper on the rod and told Jeff “I’m done, no use of fishing any longer!”

 Two things that I have to mention that happened before these birthday trout. Jeff and I were fishing Kettle Creek the past week. It was high and fast. Wet flies caught more fish in the first couple of days we were there. Because of this I was out of the wet fly I knew was productive in the creek I was fishing. The night before I tied up a half dozen or so before going to bed early because I was getting up early to turkey hunt.
 The second thing is when I went back to the truck after fishing earlier I decided to take my camera along this time just in case. I didn’t take it earlier because it was off and on sprinkling. The just in case worked out because you know what they say? Pictures or it didn’t happen!



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Glass in Session

Glass in Session

 After fishing graphite for the past 3 days of my 4 day weekend, I decided to break out the glass rod. What better place to use the 7’ Wonderod then to find a beautiful narrow stream surrounded by the wooded forest.
 The sun was rising and bright. The sound of the water flowing over a rocky base creek bed was music to my ears. The surface water sparkled reflecting the sun rays. Green pines stood out among the bare forest trees that weathered the winter. It was a beautiful morning. I took a breath of the fresh air, lit up a mild stogie and was going to give it a try.
 I spent about 3 hours in the first section I fished. By noon there was a hatch of Hendrickson's that were mixed in with the small Black Caddis. Occasionally I’d spot a Red Quill but there wasn’t a fish rising to anything. In the morning hours till noon I came up empty. Not a bump to be had. I was mostly using Woolly Buggers and streamers but even the nymphs or San Juan worm couldn’t produce a hit.
 Just after noon I drove over to a section I was sure to get a bend in the glass rod. I spent another hour trying to coax a strike in the small section I have caught many trout before. Again there were many more Mayflies along with the black caddis but I never seen a rise as I stared across the gin clear water.
 Rough water white capped hurriedly through the narrow passage between the higher banks. It tumbled over down logs and eased a bit when it found more open water. The main flow splashed noisily as it hit the solid rock wall head on that turned the creek flow at a sharp right angle. From there the water gurgled as it rolled and waved against the slate shelved wall under the shade of the pine boughs that extended over the water. Caddis danced upon the surface that flowed in smaller waves further out from the outstretched branches. Not a single rise could I see. I spent about 15 minutes fishing the stream of flowing water without a strike. I tried another 15 minutes below the falls trying to get a trout interested but failed. I make no excuses that the water was too clear or too rough. The trout just weren’t hungry. I suppose they were just relaxing under the sunshine after a cold rough snowy winter and an early rainy spring. What do I know; maybe I should be doing the same thing?
 I decided to drive down creek more and adventure to an unfamiliar section of the creek. I parked at a well used space along the road and tree line. The path to the creek was a short piece as the aroma of warm pines fragranced the air under the warmth of the sun.
 As I looked over the water small Black Caddis were scattered about like lightning bugs in the night. A sporadic hatch of Hendrickson in the #14 to #12 range was seen fluttering about. I spotted some of them flittering their wings, drying them off, as they drifted upon the water surface before taking flight. Still I couldn’t spot a fish feeding on them.
 I started casting a Woolly Bugger with a long line being the water was so clear. The far side of the creek was a bit shaded with the higher bank. Pines and hardwoods lined the creek for most parts so I kept wading midstream as possible not to be hampered with getting caught up during my back cast.  It was 10 minutes or so before I got my first vision of an active trout. I was bringing in the bugger across the surface, for my next cast, when something rose and snapped at it on the surface. It didn’t take much of a decision to snip off the bugger and decide on a dry fly. I knew I was in brook trout territory so I selected an orange bodied Humpy. After securing the knot I dubbed on some dry fly dressing to the silk body. The trout had risen in a slower current out from a half submerged branched limb. It was on the far side of a calm riffle from where I was standing.

 I felt the glass rod flex on my back cast and tossed the Humpy forward in an arc. It took a few more casts searching for the trout. As the Humpy crested the small waves I spotted the trout dart out from under the branch, followed and caught up with the Humpy. It slapped at my imitation with a quick splash and I set the hook as quick as a blink of an eye. The trout tried to swim down creek but the flexing 5 weight glass rod quickly turned him towards me. He dodged rocks as I brought him to the net.

 I used the Humpy for the next few minutes or so as I waded and fished down creek. I wasn’t too confident that I was going to make another rise but it was good practice casting the dry with the glass rod for the time being. After a short spell I clipped off the Humpy and went back to bugger fishing my way down creek.

 It was in a shallow riffle on the far side of the creek when I thought I felt a tap on the bugger tail I presumed. I stepped a little closer up creek so my bugger wouldn’t swing so fast down and across. I plopped the bugger in the small waves with a slack line. The current carried the bugger down creek as my offering sank deeper. When the slack straightened the bugger started to swing towards midstream. This time the tap was more of a tug and I set the hook. The trout darted about in the shallow spitting up water from the surface. It made its way down creek as it swung below me. I swung the rod to my left and netted the brook trout.

  As I waded down creek my back cast sent my bugger in a tangle in some over hanging branches. I snipped the bugger off to make it easier to get my leader free. I retied the bugger on, moved my weight up the leader some and I was back in the game. I lit a Robusto Red Witch stogie and continued my quest down creek. I felt like a sneaky Blue Heron. Slowly, methodically searching for prey, with a long line, and a stogie in it's mouth.
 It seemed that the deeper holes, that I thought would hold fish, didn’t appear to be productive. I only caught two brook trout so far but the ones I did catch were in the shallower riffles or hiding in shallower water under branches. There was a good deep run on my left that waved some towards an exposed boulder. I added a little split shot to get deeper in the knee deep run. I worked it over good as I slowly waded down creek step be step. As the bugger almost straightened out near the boulder I seen a long flash and the line tugged hard. I pulled back on the rod and the line straightened,,,,briefly. The fish rose to the point I seen it was a nice size brook trout before he turned with my offering. The line went slack and my heart sunk like I lost a lunker. The darn trout stole my bugger and all I was left with was a twisted tippet. Bad knot I figured!!!
 Down creek I got a bump on my next bugger offering. The trout held beneath a wavy riffle. I stood upstream from the riffle and would slowly strip the bugger towards me stopping occasionally and jerk the rod tip for a little more action. My attempt worked and I set the hook hard on the tug. The fish tugged back hard and took off towards the bank. There isn’t much drag tension left on the old Martin reel and line slipped off the spool as the drag clicked like a toy time bomb ready to go off at any second. I palmed the reel to slow the trout down and he turned and headed back mid creek. I stepped to my right and coaxed him to softer water to my right. He fought tooth and nail right to the net with the on coming current. A nice rainbow gave me a good fight.

 I missed two more bumps before I got to a fast deep run before a bridge. I figured they might have been smaller brook trout that were just bumping the tail.
 I took a long look at the deep wavy run to my left. There was no chance someone on the bank would have been able to fish the deep run. A couple of big trunked trees with branches staggered over the water kept anyone on the bank from fishing it. I took off a small split shot and added a bigger shot for a little more weight to run the bugger deep. I let it swing towards the calmer crease aside the wavy current and stripped it towards me with hesitating twitches. On my second cast through a trout tugged the bugger beneath the strong current heavily. I tugged back and the glass rod flexed into the middle, and maybe further down the shaft. I knew I had a good fish. I kept the rod tip low near the surface not wanting the trout to surface in the strong current. I kept tension, with my palm on the spool, as the trout swam about taking line out on occasion. It was a tug of war as the current was helping him more than it was helping me to control the trout. I finally got him out of the strong current and it made it a little easier to control the trout in the direction I wanted to net him. He fought pretty well in the calmer water and with more struggling I finally won out and netted the fine silvery rainbow.

 I fished down creek for about another half hour without a take before giving up and heading back to the truck. It was near 6:00pm by the time I got changed into street clothes and headed on homeward for about an hour and a half drive home. I came upon two bull elk up in the Sproul State Forest. I spotted them from a distance standing just a few feet from the road side. I slowed up way before I got near them. One had a full rack with four tines on each side. The other had a half rack of three tines that I could tell before they turned away and galloped back into the woods.
 It’s been a good four day weekend of camping and fishing for my birthday! I hated to leave the peacefulness I had just spent time in!


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Easter Fooling

Easter Fooling

 As I was driving east I kept watching the outside temperature on the truck’s instrument panel. The closer the temperature rose to 32* the happier I became. It was overcast with the sun being hidden by the early sky. For the past week or so the rumor was that there’s been a BWO hatch on Spring Creek. I’ve chased these so called big hatches for years. Very seldom do I get the day off to enjoy such hatches with dry fly action but it happens occasionally. Usually I’m told “you should have been here yesterday.” When the temperature rose to above 32* I pushed the gas pedal down a little further. I was feeling the excitement like a kid going to Waldameer Park for the umpteenth time. Even knowing what could be expected, yet, still having that excitement inside of me to just get there.

 Being Easter Sunday, the parking lot was empty. It was around 10am by now and the temp. was above 32*. I dressed accordingly and seeing a dark gray cloud moving above I decided to wear my rain jacket just in case. I took out and pieced together the 9’ Icon rod. It was a bit windy and I thought the fast action rod would be a good choice cutting through the wind with a dry fly attached.

 As I walked up the narrow path, along the creek, I watched for any signs of risers on the water surface. The rounded waves rolled quickly over the deeper midsection of the stream. Along the banks the water surface calmed into riffles. Where there was a break along the bank, like an uproot, log or exposed boulders from the oncoming current, a back eddy would form causing a slow calmer pool.
 The water ran clear with the morning daylight upon it. Visibility of the stream bottom was pretty noticeable in the shallow water but the deeper the water the darkness kept any fish hidden beneath. I weaved my way through the scraggly brush and tree branches till I got to a piece of ground that I was able to look out over the water better. Slowly I stepped off the bank and felt my felt sole wading boots take hold of the stony creek bottom. Feeling foot safe I slowly made my way far enough from the bank to have enough space for my back cast. 
  The water was running pretty fast for trying to work a streamer even with a lot of weight. With the coldness I didn’t think the trout would be too active to use a lot of energy to chase a streamer. I decided to nymph fish tandem and wait for some kind of hatch and risers. Slowly I made my way down creek nymphing pocket waters and riffles. I lost a few on unseen bottom snags and for awhile I thought my fishing experience here wasn’t going to be near what I thought it would.
 I found myself in the middle of the stream tying on another nymph when I heard my first splash of a rising fish. Maybe an inexperienced person wouldn’t notice that subtle audible sound in a slow pool among the noise of the wavy rolling main current. I looked toward the sound and the swirl evidently disappeared with the moving water. I stood and took a better look at my surroundings. I had strategically placed myself in the middle of the creek whereas there was a deep pool of water on either side of me. I was far enough from the pools so as the trout shouldn’t be able to see me from the distant. I continued tying on the dropper nymph keeping my ears aware to any sudden change in sound. As I was high sticking the nymphs the sun busted out of the clouds. I was able to feel the warmth instantly on my bare cold hands. All of a sudden bugs fluttered about and was heaviest along both bank sides,,,,and trout started to rise!
  The fluttering bugs were easy for me to identify as caddis. They were small and maybe a size 18 from my distance. I wasn’t sure of the body color but the wings looked as if they were tan in color. I reeled the line in and clipped off the nymphs. I was fishing with 4x tippet but knew if I was fishing small dries a 5x tippet would do me better. Not sure how the wind would effect the weightless dry fly and 5x so I didn’t knot on too long of the 5x tippet to my 4x leader. I decided not go with a caddis. There were so many darting upon and over the water I felt to have a trout find my disguised offering would be pretty slim. I thought I seen a few BWO’s in the mass of caddis so I took out my BWO tin and checked out the variety of shades, wing color and sizes. I felt like a bride to be, on the show deciding what combination I would say “yes to the dress” and hope the trout agree!! I picked out a CDC BWO with wound hackle. I doped up the olive body with dry fly repellant and gave it a whirl. I figured the BWO should stand out among the caddis and might just get a trout interested.
 One cast landed in the middle of swirling surface water to my right. The BWO circled and I was late on the set when a trout mouth pecked at it. I missed two more times before I took a break and calmed down. 
  My next cast was dead center of the pool to my left. I had the fly line upstream from my BWO as it slowly drifted to the back end of the pool. A trout turned on the BWO but appeared didn’t get a chance to suck it in before my offering drifted away. He didn’t rise to my next cast but I’d get back to him later.
 There were risers to my left and risers to the right of me. I was stuck in the middle deciding which to go after. Just behind the overhanging branches to my left a couple of risers were picking off fluttering caddis. I dropped the BWO just short of the last branch and close to the bank. A rise took my BWO in the riffling water and this time I got a good hook set. He ran upstream and I pulled the rod behind me when I felt him turn. I caused him to swim free from the exposed boulders creating the pool area. He headed down creek in the choppy water and the current helped him as I fought him against the current all the way to the net. My first wild brown put a smile on my face and confidence in my mind set.

  After drying off the BWO I doped it up again and was ready for another trout. It didn’t take long before I had one sip the BWO at the backside of the pocket water. I’m not sure if the CDC wing was standing or not. My imitation might have looked like a cripple by then with all the effort I made in casting before this. I watched his mouth open as my offering drifted in. I raised the rod with a quick upward motion and I had another wild brown fighting in the fast current.

 The trout were hitting the BWO, or I was missing them, aggressively. I kept teasing them on both sides of me until one gave in. I had made some nice sidearm casts under the tree branches that produced unsuspecting trout. Other times it was just a drop in the calmer pocket pool behind tumbling water that got a trout to rise quickly before my offering got swept away. Though there were a lot more caddis about it was evident that my BWO was getting the hungry trout’s attention.

 After things slowed down and I couldn’t get any to rise to my dry so I decided to make my way downstream. I lit up a stogie along the bank and relaxed a bit. Two mallards decided to visit but kept their distance.

 As I waded and fished my way down creek there wasn’t many flies about while the clouds overcame the creek. When the sun peeked out though, those caddis came out and hopped around like popping corn upon the water surface. Every once in awhile a trout would clear water to get at one. I stuck with the BWO imitation though. I switched my BWO patterns depending on the water current. I used the CDC wound hackle, CDC BWO Para-dun and a curved hook emerger at times. If I seen a rise within distance I would go for it. Sometimes nothing would be rising but I would blind cast along the far bank in softer water and it was no surprise that I would catch a trout waiting for the next tidbit to drift by.

 There was a nice flow of calm water along the far bank. I was keeping an eye out and hadn’t seen anything rise. There were a few caddis that would drift by fluttering on the surface but I didn’t see anything interested in them. I was a little ahead of the calmer water so I had a good angle to drift my offering without any drag upon the surface. I dropped the BWO at the front of the pool but not quite as close to the bank as I wanted. My fly line laid upon the surface water between in a slight ‘S’ pattern. As my imitation drifted along the slow current the fly line began to open up with the faster current between us but kept the BWO with a drag free drift. A trout porpoised forward at my offering with head and back breaking the water surface. I was kind of stunned by the sight but my instinct took over and my reaction was quick enough to get a hook set. Until then I was picking off few smaller browns and I was beginning to think the bigger browns weren’t going to rise. This one changed my mind. We had a good battle in the flowing current and he had me guessing as to which side he wanted me to net him. He made some quick turns as I drew him near and I had to give him a little line knowing I was using 4lb tippet. It was a good fight and getting him into the net was one of my better accomplishments.
 His buttery belly and wide tail told me why he put up such a good fight.

 There was a rise just down creek from me almost in a direct line of where I stood. It was some distance away but I figured I’d try to fool him. I made a short cast down creek and pulled fly line out of the reel almost like I was pinning. After my BWO got so far I made a big overhand loop cast and dropped the BWO down stream with slack between the fish zone and me. The trout took the imitation with a generous splash. When I netted him I saw that if I had been a bit earlier to set the hook I might have missed him completely.

  It was getting late in the evening and I started to wade down creek not stopping too long for any one drift. I did manage a couple unsuspecting browns that happen to take my offerings when no other flies were on the water.

 When I got back to the truck I decided to drive and fish up creek in what they call Fisherman’s Paradise.
 The water was much shallower with occasional deep pockets. The riffles weren’t nearly as fast as the previous waters I had fished. In the hour I only seen two risers in a deeper run. Both were on the opposite side of the choppy current Getting a drag free drift to them wouldn’t be easy. I gave it a try but couldn’t get either to rise in the slower current. I did manage two fish while nymph fishing. One smaller trout and one I wasn’t expecting when I got it to the net.

 I ended the day with a well deserved beer, a shot of bourbon and a cigar. Tomorrow would be another fishing adventure before heading home.


 Monday morning I awoke to an April Fools surprise. There was 3” of snow and below freezing temperature. Everything was covered except for the flowing water. It was if April Fool’s Day came a day late.

  I started the truck to warm the insides and clear the snow/ice off the windshield. Not in any hurry to fish I cleared off the snow on the truck. After that I went in town and found a gas station where I got myself a coffee and blue berry muffin for breakfast. Returning I casually got my fishing gear on. Because of the snow fall I put on my cleated wading boots instead of the felt soles I wore the day before. I lessened the weight of my vest by removing the bugger box I was carrying. Because of the caddis I encountered the day before I added a couple of small boxes of caddis to my overall collection of flies. I was set and headed on down creek for a morning of trout fishing.
 I spent about a half hour without even a bump in the section I was fishing. The water was shallow for the most part so there had to be fish in the deeper run I was fishing. Without any takes I started to flip over rocks along the bank. I seen many small nymphs and also grayish green scuds that I knew I could match their size. I waded out of the creek and went back to the truck for my scud box.
 As the temps warmed a bit snow fell from the tree branches causing loud splashes in the water below. The sky was brightening and birds started to chirp bringing in the peaceful morning.

 Nymph fishing with the scuds didn’t help my fishless situation at all. I flung out a few dry flies for the heck of it but didn’t get an answer. A few ducks appeared gliding with the current down stream. When the sun produced some warmth that I could feel I packed up and decided to fish the rest of the day where I caught trout the day before.
 I was just finishing getting my gear on in the empty parking lot when a truck pulled in. The guy got out and began to assemble his conventional rod and tackle box. We had a bit of a chat and after I headed up creek along the path I took the day before.
 Again there was a good hatch of small black caddis along the banks when the sun appeared over the water. Three or four trout were picking off caddis at will like someone popping Lemonheads in their mouth at the theater. I managed to only hook up with one of them. I wasn’t sure why the others didn’t want any other dry I was offering them. I tried a few different size and shades of caddis and a couple sizes of BWO’s. It became obvious that whatever they were munching on was pretty sweet and didn’t want to try my tid-bits of candy.
 For the rest of the day I spent trying to get more fish to rise. After the morning hatch there wasn’t much bug activity on the water. There were a few caddis about now and then but any BWO flies I seen was pretty small. If I did come across a rising fish I tempted him enough to go for my offering. Sometimes I got him and sometimes the trout didn’t want anything to do with it. Most of the trout I was picking off, which weren’t many, were on the small size. There were two trout that come to mind though.

 I was getting into some heavier current and the BWO was hard to follow. I knotted on an Elk Hair Caddis and worked it over the rolling water for a time. Midstream a trout rose and slammed it like it was some kind of big drake trying to clear the water surface. I gave a quick angled pull for the hook set and we had a running battle in the fast current. I was a little over knee deep and there was no way I was going to feel my way to the bank to land him. I was hoping the hook was set tight enough to hold as I fought him in the rolling current. I tightened my bare hand around the cork handle as the rod bowed and flexed with his aggressive antics. When I got him upstream from me I pulled the net out with my left hand while my right hand held the cork and my index finger tightened the fly line to the rod. I swung him around to my left. As he struggled with the oncoming current and rod strength I lowered the rod tip and he backed into the net. It definitely was a solid hook up and one of my finer catches. 

 Down stream I came to another long stretch of slower current along the far bank. There were a couple of trout rising occasionally just across from me but I couldn’t get either to rise for my offerings. Down creek in the flow from them there was a trout that rose at least three times in the same area. I had a BWO knotted on the tippet. It was going to be a long cast and I had to be careful not to catch the tree branches right behind me as I already had a few times. The trout was down stream to my right as I faced the opposite bank. I took a few steps closer to the main center flow which put me in thigh high water. I made a couple of false casts to get line out backhanding, with my right rod hand, over my left shoulder. I flung the line out towards the far bank down stream with a generous loop. The first couple of casts fell short but as I took line out, with each cast, I was getting closer to my target. Another generous backhand, over the shoulder cast, got my fly near enough. The extra slack line laid upon the faster flowing current but it looked like my BWO would drift drag free far enough for the trout to make a play on it without any concern. I watch the BWO drift just out from the bank. From my view it looked like a small ball of fuzz just a shade darker from the surface water that I was trying to keep an eye on. The splash downstream was close enough, I thought, to my fly as I had a long line to tighten to set the hook. I raised the rod back at the sight of the splash. The fly line rose to the air and straightened like a guide wire from a telephone pole. Another splash occurred upon the surface with an angry hooked trout. Next thing I know the brown trout came completely out of the water twisting trying to expel the hook. He reentered the water with a splash and within a second or two again appeared air born. After he reentered the water again he battled beneath as I cautiously took in line bringing him closer. With his underwater friskiness the fly line wavered like an outside laundry line in a brisk breeze. He wasn’t a big trout by any means but with the oncoming current I didn’t horse him towards me. Once close I think he was pretty played out and I netted him without any trouble.

 After another half hour or so I was pretty well played out and had a long drive home. There weren’t any risers and the surface caddis about weren’t being harassed by any trout.
 While I was changing clothes in the parking lot I happen to see what looked like a tiny Blue Quill. Other than that there wasn’t anything else that I could see in the air.
 I would have loved a beer to go with my Punch Bolo cigar but it wouldn’t have been a good idea while driving.
Anyhow, this will become another enjoyable memory. 


Friday, April 6, 2018

March in God's Country

March In God’s Country

 So Jeff calls and tells me he needs to get away. He’s been working 6 days a week OT and needs a break. He’s talking about getting out of the city, camping and wants to fish. Hey “camping and fishing” I’m in.
 He books reservations at Ole Bull Campground in Potter County for the weekend. Mind you this is March in Pennsylvania. Night time temps are in the teens at best. Daytime temps don’t get much above freezing till after 10:00am. He reserves a camping spot with electric.
 Well, the electric heater in the tent worked great.
 Though the fish hook ups and catching was slim we did manage a couple trout here or there. It made us wonder what happened to all the trout in the catch and release project areas. The water was gin clear which could have been an issue but we couldn’t get a bump even in the deeper water. Maybe the trout were under cover?
 Other than that the scenery was beautiful. The solitude was just what we both needed to cleanse our minds and soul and get back to nature. The simple sounds of chirping birds and water rippling over pebbled rocks were music to our ears. Sitting around a campfire smoking cigars, sipping whiskey and drinking beers was relaxing that doesn’t come often enough.
 We fly fished the bigger streams with 9’ rods and smaller creeks with 7’ to 7 and a half foot rods. It was a time well spent in God's Country.

Enjoy the scenery!