Monday, June 4, 2012

Not Quite Solstice

Under the Bridge Trout
Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer but unless the weather is right it can feel like just another dreary spring weekend. Yesterday it felt like August; hot sticky dead air with the chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Today it's sunnier, bordering on sunny, and tomorrow we may have actual blue skies. I suppose that'll mean despite what the solstice says, summer will be underway.

The hot muggy air got me interested in some summer fishing. After a late afternoon nap, required due to a combination of August-like doldrums and a day spent working outside, I threw on some shorts and Tevas and went to wet wade a small stream near the house.

The stream was a bit warmer than I expected even though I had optimistically worn sandals. Even though this water is heavily shaded it can't escape the warming effect of eighty plus degree air temperatures. Hopefully the weather will return to something more seasonable soon.

I walked by lots of good water figuring I'd start at a small pool I've fished often and work back to the car.

Grayling Bait
I hadn't fished this lower section of the river in quite some time. Last year fallen trees from the freak October snow storm put many trunks across the river altering its course and creating a casting nightmare. Fortunately, the floods that came later in the year had pushed most of those trees against the bank creating something fishable though unfamiliar.

The catching was regular in that way you like it to be. I started with a large Parachute Adams with a Caddis dropper. The Adams was something like an #8 or a #10; much larger than anything I normally tie or cast. I think it's the fly I used up in Alaska last September to catch Grayling. This one should be on the shelf in the fly box of "special" flies but right now it has a purpose.

The first trout, a thick Brown that had signs of this year's stocking, came to the Adams on a far seam. He swirled once and missed and came right back and nailed it. Compared to the wild fish in the stream he had weight and spunk; likely a migrant from downstream.

Immigrant Trout
The next thirty yards of water is a tangle of beached and submerged trees. Some show new growth even though they're horizontal. I'm sure that mess of unhewn lumber has some deep hiding holes buried within. I considered dappling a dry in some of the refrigerator sized breaks in the branches but knew I'd need thirty pound mono to drag any trout that hit away from the root balls.

There must be trout in there. That yellow rope is now in my trash can.
I moved on.

There's a thin riffle and then a slow pool with a shallow bend. Mountain Laurel and various shrubs overhang the far bank and that's where the fish rise. I spooked the first one I cast to but the second took the caddis dropper readily. There was one fish rising in a particularly tough spot but I had no cast that could entice him.

Fooled by the Caddis
Up near the head of the pool another Brown came to hand and that's the end of the fishy water for a bit. Crossing over to the far bank I waded up to the head of a long, sandy run. I hadn't caught a fish there before on account of I hadn't fished it. It's right under a highway bridge and it's a spot that just doesn't make me feel the trout fishing mojo.

But I'd heard it's fishy, so I gave it a shot.

A place where trout live.
By now five or six Browns had mouthed the Adams that countless Graylings had smashed last year. It was coming apart. I swapped it out for a small Stimi and went to work. I had one fish on briefly on the near seam but was rewarded shortly thereafter by a confident strike - bridge trout to the net!

It was a satisfying hour or two. Enough trout on the top to make the stalk exciting. I was wet. I was muddy from crawling along the banks. I had a bag full of streamside trash I had collected. And the net was slimy with trout.

I had to walk by a few holes that I frequent on the way back to the car. Sure they tempted me, but for now I was good.

At home I put the Adams, tattered and unraveling, in the box on the shelf with the other memories. The special memories of Grayling on the tundra had been further sweetened by Brown Trout in a suburban stream.

Funky, Big Fungus
This was my Memorial Day weekend fishing. By Monday night I had been laid low by illness. Fortunately I was well enough by Saturday to drive up to the Housatonic. Look for that report in the next day or two.


  1. A fine way to spend the day, Steve, and close to home just makes it better. I like the idea of a fly box dedicated to memories. I have a few such pieces of fluff hangin' about so I think I'll put them together. THANKS for the notion.

    1. Ann gave me a beautiful wooden fly box last year. Not only is it too nice to take out on the stream, it's also a bit bulky. But it sits on a shelf in the living room and collected a sample of patterns I tie as well as flies that have some special memory.

  2. Replies
    1. Thx. Yeah, I tried to Google "Big Scary Fungus" to see what they're called but couldn't find any info.

  3. Nice story.
    I see that bridges are also to your liking.

    1. I now have a renewed respect for fishin' holes under highway bridges.

  4. I typed in "Big scary man in shorts and Tevas" and you just can't imagine.

    Bridges are really just large culverts. Insert Freudian references here.

  5. Nice post Steve. I'm waiting now for the Housatonic. And congrats also for your big win!

  6. Nice browns Z!
    I caught a big brown on a size 20 Hornberg this spring not far from those downed trees.