With waters receding on some of my favorite streams and rain forecasted in copious amounts for Saturday I figured Iíd get up early a hit a stream bright and early before work. Wild Browns were on the menu! I was laying in bed last night trying to come up with something interesting for the day. Iíve caught plenty of trout over the years and had many options for catching a lot of trout this AM but sometimes thatís not the most interesting trip for me. Been there done that. I felt like challenging myself on a stretch of stream that I hadnít fished in many many year. Itís been so long since the fishing is always quite difficult. Taming the wild beastÖ.now that sounded right up my alley for the morning!
Just to add to the level of difficulty I had to string up and use my backup reel as the parts for my Ci4 havenít arrived just yet. Probably not the best time to be picking on a stream that beats me more often than not.
When I arrived I noted that, as usual, the stream looked exactly as I expected it to look. Itís was pretty much at ĎWheel-Houseí levels. On any other one of my more angler friendly creeks it might have been a field day but this morning I was hoping that it would allow me to do some sort of damageÖ.any damage haha.
My first cast in my somewhat usual starting point, and sometimes my usual hop out point as well haha, yielded the usual nothing. The next several casts the same. And then it happened! A trout!!! A trout so soon!!!!!! Sarcasm should be noted but I was optimistic that action like that would continue. I was fine with working hard for my trout today. It was almost the whole point. The next few minutes were weak in decent habitat before hooking into a nicer fish.
The fishing was as good as itís ever been but even at that it was slower than I would normally like. But since I was catching trout on a stretch of stream that typically gives me fits I was having a blast. What was giving me fit was my reel. The Ci4 is an extension of my body. If it was appropriate to sow it to my hand I would. Going back to a normal Stradic felt like going back to the stone age as if I was using a stick, string, and cork bobber haha. The feel was just completely different and I lost a lot of fish due to it. I only count fish that I land, pick up, and release back to the stream. I donít count hooked fish, played fish, fish that fall off at my feet, or anything like that. To count a fish I have to release it deliberatly in some manner. The reel was killing me. Fish were hitting close and I wasnít feeling them. The trout would thrash as my boot and pop the hook over and over. Frustrating to say the least. I should have paid for next day air on those parts haha. The Stradic was doing the best she could though and thatís why itís a backup. She did well enough to land this nice 15Ē wild brown in shallow water.
And the scenery was excellent
Although it wasnít all excellent.
Those white spots on the hemlock branches are the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid doing its damage. It wont be but a few years till this tree is forever lost from its foresty home. Many of the larger hemlocks were either dead or had significant die back. They all had heavy infestation and the area will no longer have Hemlocks within 5-10 years.
And Gypsy moths carpeted the trunks of every oak in the area. The infestation here hadnít defoliated the trees 100% but just 10 miles south there isnít a oak leaf to be seen for miles and miles. Itís been a really bad year in the east.
I wish there was something I could do for either but thereís nothing I can do but watch it all die. Bummer.
After 2.75 hours Iíd handled and released 38 wild browns. On my last cast I hooked the 39th and it was an interesting fish.
Once again this proves that trout arenít nearly as delicate as people think. This gill is torn completely lose and the fish was fine. Most likely it was bleeding like a stuck pig when it happened. Seeing this is the reason why I rarely keep bleeding trout. Most of them surviveÖ.at least thatís been my observation over the years.
Either way, a victorious day on a tough stretch of water! Weíll have to see what this weather does the next few days. Fishing tough water is fun but it would be nice to dial up a long day smash fest. Itís been a few weeksÖÖÖ