The Calm Before The Storm
On Saturday morning, August 1st, 2015, I arrived at the parking lot along a limestone stream a little after 5:00 a.m. In the distance I could hear the water rippling through the valley. My hope was that the flow would still be up from the rains that had ended a week or so ago.
After walking downstream in the dark to my starting point, I began to cast one of my White Bead Gold spinners at 6:06 a.m. It was still a touch too dark due to the tree canopy and it took five minutes before my first trout of the morning was landed.
I was in a mellow mood and calmly worked my way upstream in the nicely-flowing water, casting just once to each likely spot. I stopped early to take a photo of a nice specimen of green-headed coneflower that hung out over a log along the streambank. I rarely take many photos before catching a bunch of trout.
After 5.00 hours I reached the end of the fishable water. My little notepad revealed 77 wild brownies; three 13"ers were the biggest trout.
But my mind that morning had been on fishing a tiny mountain streamlet one more time before the flow dropped to an unfishable level.
Thoughts of orange native brookies danced in my head.
The stream I chose was small -- tiny by most anglers' standards. Though the flow looks really low in this photo, it was actually pretty decent for this stream.
But it holds some of the prettiest native brook trout I've ever seen, and that's incentive enough for me.
And despite its size it has a few nice pools.
Not many trout were out early on, but since I was in a rather calm mood I stuck it out and slowly worked my way upstream, ever vigilant for rattlesnakes with each step.
Some attractive brook trout were landed.
The largest brookie, a 10"er, was caught in a pool no deeper than a foot or so at my quitting point.
I fished 3.00 hours and caught 37 of our state fish, giving me 114 trout in 8.00 hours for the day.
For Sunday morning, August 2nd, I chose a small stream that probably wouldn't appeal to most anglers.
But I like the challenge of casting that this small stream presents. I also like it because it has a pretty good head of wild brown trout.
The trout were out en masse right from the start, something I haven't experienced all too often this year. After two hours I had caught and released 50 trout, and the pace continued through four hours and 100 trout.
A stalk of common evening primrose grew along the creek, some dew still clinging to its petals.
And a patch of Joe-Pye-weed added color.
An out-of-place largemouth bass couldn't resist my spinner.
Around noon, in the bright sun, I watched as a rather large bat gathered insects over the stream and then abruptly landed on this willow tree. I've been seeing quite a few bats lately either in the pre-dawn or right after dark. I do see one out in the mid-day once in a while, so this wasn't all that unusual.
One 14" hatchery rainbow was pulled from the creek.
I often wonder about their origin in non-stocked water.
I fished 10.25 hours. Although a couple young-of-the-year wild browns had grown enough to get hooked, most of the 228 trout that I caught and released were in the 7"-to-10" range. The largest wild brown was 14". Luckily, I saw no great blue herons today, which tend to put down the trout, though I did fish through one stretch where the action was really slow, possibly from a visit by a GBH earlier in the day.
Though the trout had a lot to do with it, if yesterday was a calm day of angling, today I felt like I took on the trout by storm.
- Frank Nale -