Tuesday, my other passion nagged me incessantly. I had a little over an hour between my last meeting of the day and a Trout Unlimited chapter meeting. She called to me in that way that only she can; all sparkly and glistening and cool.
A twenty minute drive left me with thirty or forty minutes to spare. Plenty of time as long as you didn't fall into any small talk or get distracted from the game at hand.
There was this one place I wanted to fish; a bend pool that always gives up a trout. There's a series of low plunges that end in a pool no more than twenty feet long. There's always a trout lurking somewhere in there. More often than not at the head but I've caught trout in the run and at the tail as well.
This spot reminds me of another small stream not because of its structure but because there's another "sure thing" pool. This stream has two pools separated by a rocky lip. When the water is high it all appears to flow uniformly over the lip but if you study the water, or have seen it when the flows are low, you know there's a stronger current to the left that flows diagonally to the right And that's where the fish are. Always.
On the way to the bend pool I have to pass some fishy water. There's a long smooth glide with overhanging maples and willows that is deceptively deep and holds a fish or two. This is patient water. It requires a steady hand and a slow wade and delicate casts. I long for a cast in the pool but pass it by.
|Trout robbing tree|
On the third or fourth drift I am rewarded by the dodge of the indicator and a strong tug. The fish knows his business and surges towards the safety of the recently fallen tree. I can feel the singing of the leader against branches and we are soon parted.
I am happy to see the next temptress is occupied by another angler. It's a difficult pool to fish. From below there's little casting room and from above you have long drifts that require stealth and luck and other magical qualities to hook a fish. The fish are there. They hang just under a pile of flood strewn debris; a conveyor of trout food delivered to a line of trout casting shadows in the late day sun. I exchange pleasantries with the brother angler and continue upstream.
|My way was right. Left is only frog water|
This farmer's field used to go right up to the edge of the stream and a stack of aluminum piping speaks to the irrigation draw that used to come from the stream. But conservation efforts, mostly by Trout Unlimited, moved the field back, added a buffer of trees and native shrubs and stopped the water withdrawals. It's now a fine trout stream.
The pool seems changed. Maybe another boulder has come down the escarpment pushing the water further to the left. It's hard to tell. Most of the boulders look old; lacking the fresh, shiny look of a newly turned or uncovered piece of rock though I still suspect one is an interloper. Regardless, the basic structure remains and I take my first fish in the belly of the pool. Not a trout, but a lovely five inch Creek Chub.
Having spooked the calmer water in the battle with the mighty chub I put on a beadhead Pheasant Tail and move to the plunge itself. I fish this plunge with a tight line. If there's a fish in there it's going to strike quickly at the fast moving food. And it does.
A fat thirteen inch Brown comes to hand. I have no net so I have to fight the Brown a bit longer than I would otherwise but it leaves my hand with a strong thrust of its tail and heads to the deep water near a midstream boulder.
|One is enough. Well, not enough, but perhaps for now.|
Could there be a more perfect way to pass the time between engagements?