Apologies for the length. I just got a bit carried away. I hope you'll think in a good way.
Yesterday's chores were neither numerous or onerous but they had to get done. And they were by mid-afternoon. An occasional glance at the weather radar told me that the mid-day storms were likely raising water levels, improving trout habitat. However it wasn’t clear if the event was of the "good for trout, okay for fisherpersons" variety or the "chocolate milk, swirling waters of death" type. At a minimum, I figured they were convincing the crowds to stay at home on a Saturday afternoon so I'd have some elbow room on the water.

As I drove north on Route 8 the clouds played their little game with me. First clearing and giving hope and then racing back pressing down from above. I certainly wasn't expecting sunny skies but something a bit more optimistic would have been appreciated.

The water was cool and rising. Not muddy but certainly stained and full of the minor flotsam that rising water sweeps from the banks including a Red Bull can that floated by just out of reach. I knew the junk in the water would mean more than a few false strikes on the nymph rig as I caught a twig here and there but such is the price of fishing when one can, not when you want to.

A popular run with a large triangular rock was my starting point. Ross was there on Friday morning and managed a twenty inch Bow, fat and spunky. Such good mojo is bound to rub off and while I wasn't catching twenty inch fish I did manage a few in the fourteen plus range. All came to a #16 Lightning Bug ignoring the PT dropper.

Triangle Rock

As I moved up into the riffle the fishing slowed though I was drifting my rig over water that I knew to be productive. It's one of those spots that most people will wade into without fishing. It's the place you're standing that holds some very nice fish not the deep water beyond. It’s one of those places where a little experience on the water can dramatically improve results.

It wasn't until I got a vicious strike on my indicator -- one of those twist on pill shaped things -- that I figured out the fish were looking up instead of down at my nymphs. As I considered my fly options I did glance at the emerger that had worked earlier but something about this water said "Usual".

And then I heard Fran Betters telling me back in 2007 what a great fly the Bomber was for fast water. So on went a #14 Bomber. It got lots of interest and a couple of fish from a three inch Parr to a fourteen inch Brown (while being skated at the end of the drift). Again, Fran’s advice to give the fly a little motion played out well.

Along the way I met, Ira, a new Resident down at Yale New Haven Hospital who had been given two days parole from the hard labor that is Residency. We swapped some tales, a fly, and I shared a few good places to find fish. I don’t miss that whole period where you’re new at a career. Career maturity is a much more comfortable place.

Ira fishing downstream from me

My goal for the evening was a flat piece of water where I had a bit of spectacular fishing during a Sulphur hatch last June. Around 7 p.m. I walked up there and gazed upon water that appeared lifeless despite a nice hatch of what looked like March Browns mixed with Sulphurs and Caddis. The head of the pool nymphed well so I decided that would be my target until I saw something on the surface.

By the time I got to the head of the pool a light, sporadic rain had turned to something a bit more earnest. And it was the fat drops that just shouted “Thunderstorn”. No flashes or booms, but it just felt wrong. So, rather than risk a shocking, abrupt ending to my fishing career I headed back to the car, not to quit the field but, to find water where the air wasn’t quite so damp.

Another large pool downstream was both dry and sparsely populated. By the time I had the vest back on one of the three cars had departed and the sweet piece of water I intended to fish was devoid of fisherpersons.

And so I went to work with a nymph rig.

Here the Lightning Bug was ignored but the Pheasant Tail did the yeoman’s work. The best fish of the evening was a 18+ inch Brown that took the PT. The PT had caught the fish by only the slightest margin on the upper lip but the hook held and the fish came to hand.

A Brown from the Pool of Death

The most rewarding fish of the evening was a wild Brown in the eight inch range. The fight was vigorous and the fish simply stunning in both coloration and patterning. Unfortunately, he was so spunky he managed to slip the hand in between hitting the shutter button and the flash firing. At least he’s out there to grow larger and wilder.

I swear there was a fish here a moment ago

The rain followed and began to alternately spit and pour with brief respites in between. There were a few risers in the normal lanes but nothing steady. The evening’s dry fly events were not to be. I cast a bit with an emerger and a spinner but it was that half-hearted prospecting that is done when you know it’s over but don’t want to let go.

It was an evening.

As noted by others, the fishing has been good this spring. Perhaps too good. Nature has a way of sorting things out, achieving equilibrium. It might turn out to be a slow summer. Or a maybe a bad year next year. But make no mistake equilibrium is coming.

Let's just hope that the fishing is good till then.