Sunday, May 17, 2015

Off Color

Overnight rain had tried to do it's part to foil Saturday fishing but the real impediment to angling was a handful of chores that had to be completed. By early afternoon I was wadered and standing above a bend pool trying to decide if I should fish here or head to a tributary that might be clearer. According to the rocks, the water was down about two inches and while it wasn't muddy I couldn't see bottom; not opaque enough to chase me away but gloomy enough to lower expectations.

Upstream I found the water clearer and fished a dry-dropper rig. I placed a flashy fly on the bottom hoping it would distinguish itself in the gloom. It was the first time I had fished this stretch since winter and the modest run off had moved a few things around. For years the river has been trying to decide whether to carve a new channel from a former braid and it seems settled now that the old channel will remain. That braid has always looked fishy but I've never found anything there.

The bend that has had it's flow restored is well known to locals as a reliable spot. The years of lowered flow sanded up the far bank and I found it the better location to cast into the head of the pool. The dropper quickly brought the first trout of the day to hand. I fished the deeper recesses of the hole hoping for some fatter cousins but they resisted my charms.

Upstream is another big pool but the fast water in between holds fish and the second came in the soft water not far from the start of the run. It's one of those spots where the stream goes straight when it would seem that it should arc away. There's something about that far bank, perhaps a piece of ledge, that resists the water's efforts. So, you get a deep fast run which is a nice way to mix it up from an angling perspective.

The big pool above, where Jonny took a surprisingly big brown a few years ago had been reordered as a large stump guarding the head finally dislodged. I expect things are going to shift significantly once we get another good rain. I should have fished it down with a wet but for some reason I decided to fish up without changing rigs. Perhaps it was laziness. Or maybe hope.

The small tributary was clear and I wandered upstream when I got to it's mouth. I fished quickly moving from spot to spot making a few casts. I had switched to a dry and hoped that the fish were looking up in the clearer water. By the time I got to the old bridge, perhaps a quarter mile of water, I knew of my delusion and switched to a nymph rig sporting a small pheasant tail beneath a large BH pheasant tail.

Purple. The new black.
There's a spot that I think of as "three fish hole". It's a marvel of hydraulics that holds trout reliably though it looks so nondescript that I only discovered it by accident. On a trip to the stream a few years ago I resolved to fish every bit of the water, fishy or not, to see what I might find. It turns out there were things to discover.

On the first cast I get a brown trout on the smaller PT. A few casts later I get another. The third trout eluded me though it didn't stop me from casting in the water long after I should have expected results. I fished the pockets above with no luck though it was all just prelude to the next fishy spot.

At the bend I cast the nymph rig to the foot of the hole but my eye was on an overhanging branch that provided a sheltered spot near a root ball. There was no way the nymph rig was getting in there without making a hell of a racket so I put on a purple Adams and cast side arm under the brush. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of results. These small stream trout are generally less discerning so anything buggy will usually do. I was worried that my choice of purple had perhaps gone a bit too far from something recognizable as food. But then I flubbed a cast and it landed in the softer near seam. And a brown smacked it.

I suppose I should have discerned that the soft water was the more likely holding spot in the higher flows but that's hindsight talking. Maybe it was just a bit of luck, something that all anglers can use from time to time.

Serendipitous Trout

A disease resistant Elm planted by Trout Unlimited to help shade the bank during future generations

A line of trees planted eight years ago help shade the stream today.

Ent roots.