On Saturday morning, September 14th, I had pretty much resolved myself into thinking there was no way I was going to extend my streak of 56 consecutive outings of 100 trout or more. The last time I had caught under 100 trout was on April 14th. It has been a great year, but with no noticeable amount of rain since the prior weekend, my expectations were low.
At daybreak I began on a section of a small stream that I had already fished too often this summer.
In places the stream looked like it was decorated for Christmas, but I held off the urge to hum Christmas songs to myself.
A great blue heron was seen moving ahead of me, and not many trout were out feeding and willing to hit my White Bead Gold spinner. But a few were landed.
Then I came to one of the better pools that may or may not have been this one.
I whiffed on a small wild brown at the lower end of the pool. Then I flipped a cast to a deeper spot along some undercut roots. Instantly I felt that oh-so-familiar light tap of a large trout. I set the hook automatically with a quick snap of my wrist. Immediately I saw the large wild brown and knew I was going to have to take a risk to keep him out of the roots. I held firm, my drag set as tight as it goes, knowing that I had just re-tied my spinner to fresh monofilament moments earlier. As I brought him in I knew he wasn't just a hawg, but a beast!
It took about a minute to subdue the monster. Since I don't carry a net except for when I might want to take some photos of trout in a net, I reached down with my hand to land the small-stream beast.
Look how small my spinner is in his hook-jawed mouth.
At 24" in length (measured against the inch-markers on my rod), he was the biggest trout I had caught since 2003 -- and that was over 100,000 trout ago.
After releasing him and watching him cruise back to the undercut roots, the action died. I fished two more places for the day and ended up with 54 trout in 5.75 hours. My streak was over but I got a nice consolation prize.
A chilly 41-degree air temperature convinced me to wear a thick chamois shirt and a sweatshirt under my camouflage on Sunday morning, September 15th.
I didn't take a lot of photos on this day, but once in a while a trout seemed photo-worthy.
This rainbow had an unusual spot pattern.
Some wild browns were landed...
...as well as a few rainbows.
When I hung up my rod for the day after 8.25 hours my little notebook showed 111 trout had been caught and released on this fine day. As I hiked back to my SUV I was pleased to have had such a good day in bright sunshine and low water.