Monday, October 24, 2011

On the Stream

Vigorous Wild Brown on a stream hidden in plain view
This weekend I managed to spend more hours than I could possibly have hoped for on a small stream near the house. There's part of me that would have liked to have spent all those hours fishing, but I didn't. Don't be too quick to weep, I fished, but I also spent time working with TU to assess the health of the stream by sampling the macroinvertebrates and I also spent a few hours strolling in and along the stream taking pictures and playing with the video camera.

It's going to take a bit to sort through the video to see if there's any gold there and I promise to tell a bit more about the macroinvertebrate sampling later this week. But the fishing, there's time to write a bit about the fishing.

The day started with the bug sampling (that's the technical term) and after about four hours of wading around the stream sorting stoneflies from caddis from mayflies I did ache to cast a rod. We sample in the riffles and all those lovely pools below them dance and glide alluringly.

One particular stream that Sam and I sampled was one I hadn't fished in quite some time. I also had not fished this upper stream in years. This good section requires a bit of doing to access or a long walk from the parking lot. In the slim periods that are usually reserved for fishing I normally don't have the willpower to pass the poorer water to head up to this stretch.  It's a few good runs with lots of pockets and plunges in between. It was time to reacquaint myself.

Fall days on the water are a special treat. If you can catch the foliage in full splendor so much the better but the shortening days and cool air keep most anglers from the water. That's the special charm, a bit of solitude.

Trouty pockets
Coming back to the water in later afternoon the only person I met was a dog walker with a inquisitive but non-swimming yellow Lab; the best kind. I started working upstream. I put a BH Hot Spot Hare's Ear below a Irresistible Adams and worked some pockets and small eddies. The Adams was impossible to see in the heavy water so I added a bit of strike putty above the fly so that I could at least get an indication of where it was.

The first fish came quickly. It gave a good tug and a few leaps. The thing unhooked itself but not before I saw the bright orange belly of a Brook Trout. This stream used to be known (you know, one of those secrets that wasn't much of a secret) as a good Brook Trout spot but an oil spill and a couple of dry summers during the past decade stressed those poor fish so that they're more of a footnote in this brook's history. But fish early was a good sign; I hoped for more.

I spent an hour working about a quarter mile of water and managed a handful of nice Browns and as many tugs that took a lesson from the first Brookie and parted ways before we even met. It worked out so that there was about one fish in each spot you'd expect to find them and if I missed the fish I'd move on.

Another Brown falls for the Hot Spot Hares Ear
There's a place where the river take a good turn and heads into thicker cover that makes casting a bear. It's good water to fish but I was looking for low frustration fishing and with a nine foot rod would have spent a bunch of time playing the trees instead of trout so I moved back downstream of the car and fished back up.

There are four longs runs in this section and the fishing remained good. Another handful of Browns, a few Dace and a fine cigar came to the net. All the Browns were more than eight inches or so which is a very healthy and large fish for such a small stream.

I was pleased to see so many healthy Browns. It was sad not to have caught any Brookies, as they're my favorite of all trout shaped fish, but I was glad to see that this wild trout stream actually had wild trout. I sure enjoy catching stocked trout as much as the next guy but knowing there are wild trout out there gives me hope that humanity might just have a chance.

And another

I refer to this as No Fish Pool. It's not an ironic name.

I swear, there was a trout here a moment ago. See his tail slipping between my fingers.
Brookie Pool (though not this time. This time it was Dace and Brown Pool)


  1. I too had a run in with a lab this weekend, two of them actually. Mine were the inquisitive and rambunctious swimming variety.

    Great pictures, beautiful fish.

  2. Yeah, I've had those. I actually had one guy tell me he didn't need to have his dog on the leash cause it was friendly. This while his dog stood square in the middle of the water I was fishing. #@@%)#!&!!!

  3. Glad you got back on the water...nothing better than wild trout.

    It's always nice to encounter a good fishing you mentioned above, it doesn't always happen.

  4. I wish I had a good fishing dog. My lab is not a swimmer but she is a wader. And off leash she's very good unless another dog comes along then it's goofy playtime and she's out of control. And her instincts about dangerous dogs are all wrong; she's wagging her tail as the other dog tries to rip her to shreds.

  5. Steve - it's just lovely. But I sense a tinge of regret. The fish are brown. No blue halos with spots turned red.

  6. Truly beautiful.
    That first stream photo is great, as are those trout.

    Nice report

  7. Thx, Brk. Looking forward to another visit and forging further upstream.