Green With Envy
Early April 2019
When I got down to the creek I saw the water was of a greenish tint. Not too dark that I’ll have to get my offering right in front of their noses but clear enough trout should be able to spot my offering some distance away. The creek was flowing on the high side and kind of fast but nothing to be doubtful of. I looked upstream and down the creek and, except for the couple about 150 yards up creek, I was the only one on the water. As far as I was concerned everything looked promising. I felt excited as a kid that just found a frog pond on the property he now lives on.
The water flowed in a washboard effect clear across stream and with the sun shining down made a diamond reflection that sparkled the small rolling waves. The sky was sapphire blue as far as my eyes could see with cotton like cumulus clouds drifting calmly and at times throwing shadows upon the earth.
There was a constant soft breeze that at times blew a bit harsh causing tree branches that lined the creek to rattle and fallen leaves to scamper along the forest floor like a nervous pine squirrel in haste.
Upon the bank I threaded the fly line and leader through the rod guide and eyes. I adjusted the reel drag till it felt sufficient. I knotted on a Fas-Snap to the 4x tippet and clipped on a weighted bead head Woolly Bugger. I added a couple of twist on lead strips to the leader to make sure my offering gets down in the water column. I stepped off the bank in ankle deep water and I was ready to have some catching fun like that imaginary kid at the frog pond. I waded out till I was about thigh high deep. I steadied myself and made sure I had a good foothold before my fist cast as the current kept an even push against my thighs.
I remember I had three strikes in the first 5 minutes or so and wasn’t able to hook a one. I brought in the bugger and looked it over. The point looked sharp enough but I honed it a little with the small sharpening stone I keep in my pocket for such occasions. Within a few more minutes I was hooking fish on occasion. They fought well and it was a real challenge getting them towards me in the swift current. Once near me I had to maneuver the rod and net to get the lively trout inside. I suppose it would be like trying to net a bat in a belfry while trying to keep balance on a step ladder. Every so often the trout stayed hooked and I was able to net such a catch.
I fished further down creek but wasn’t having any takers so I returned where I started out. I added a bit more weight and thought maybe it might just get a little lower in the water column. Also I figured with the sun being out for a few hours could have warmed up the water a few more degrees and might have gotten a few trout to be more mobile and hungry.
When the trout appeared to stop chasing the Woolly Buggers I decided to go to the darker side and started nymph fishing. Throughout the next few hours I nymph fished long stretches of creek. With the swift and greenish water my decision was to knot on a brighter sucker spawn for my top offering to attract a curious trout. If they weren’t interested in the bright spawn I had a nymph or San Juan worm for my dropper which could look a little more natural in the water. I had to change colors and nymphs often to get the picky trout to take but I believe it was my boondoggle idea that kept me busy enough catching trout now and then.
Some trout were more active than others. The bright sun rays reflected off their bodies as they went air born but only for a split second before they plunged back into the swift current to do battle beneath.
Come the early evening the bite really slowed down. The wind had picked up some and it was a bit more difficult to get my cast where I wanted it to go. With the sun still bright though, there were a few black stoneflies fluttering about. I figured maybe the trout, without sore lips, were keying on the nymphs. I knotted on a Picket Pin with a black stone dropper but couldn’t get a hit. After another fifteen minutes I called it a day and headed back to the truck.