Well, summer patterns have set in full force the last few weeks. Despite a normal summer rain pattern, it’s been so hot and dry between rains that even a 1-2” thunderstorm events accomplishes little more than bringing streams up for a day or 2 after the event but by day 3 stream settle even lower then they were before the event. Add to this plant life working at max transpiration rates and everything that hits the dirt is sucked up way before it ever gets the change to affect water levels. Those watery months in June and July were great but they come with a price. Plant life is thriving. Larger plants take up more water leaving less for streams during meager times. In a nut shell, most ‘usual’ options within reasonable driving distance are dead low so Craig and I took the long drive to one of our last remaining dry time spots.
When we arrived bright and early I could hear the stream rushing through the valley. Craig made a comment ‘sounds good…..’ at which I gave a return nod. The day was going to be hot but the morning started out a comfortable 61 with low humidity. I was happy because it allowed me to wear waders. I hate the first 5 seconds of wet wading haha. Always dread that moment when the cold water hits your toes.
We followed the noise of the stream through the woods on a path that had long since grown shut. We were pretty confident that nobody had fished here with spinners in a long long time. Once the creek came into sight we were both thrilled with what we saw. Water wasn’t going to be an issue on this day.
Water temps were a crisp 61 degrees following some pleasantly cool nights so thermal issues were gone as well. I fine start to the outing.
The fishing was solid from the get go. Nothing earth shattering but 3 trout per hole was the norm and we were happy with that. Wild browns and Native Brookies were coming to hand at an enjoyable pace. Both were running well above the normal average for size.
The Brooks in particular were insane. We only caught very few natives under 7” and most eclipsed that by a wide margin.
In one particular spot that Id fished many times in the past I mentioned to Craig, “Typically I’ll catch nothing at the bottom of this pool but at the top in that narrow shoot we’ll punch out a bunch”. The bottom of the pool always looks so good with giant boulders sticking out but just like every other time we caught nothing. When we got to the top I placed my spinner to the opposite side of the shoot in some slack water and immediately had a clean miss from an above average brown in the 14-15” range. I told Craig to ‘clean it up’ but in typical Craigy fashion he calmly said ‘Your fish man, have at it’. So I sent another cast to the exact some spot and got yet another clean miss but as I was retrieving the spinner through the deep run a much larger brown shot up from the depths and hammered the spinner. Really surprised the both of us!
A pretty heavy 18.5” wild brown had us pretty content with the morning and the rushing water around our legs had us forgetting all about the fact that it’s dry as a bone out.
As we continued to roll the trout kept coming to hand at a nice clip. We’d often times catch doubles as we worked.
Not often that you see a combo catch where the Brook is much larger than the brown! But we caught a lot of great Brooks on the day including this 11” specimen.
But all the previous fish were just a prelude to come. From a deep undercut along the stream bank I latched into a good trout. Of course I was thinking brown, obviously, as Native Brooks don’t get this large. But when it surfaced 15’ from us I told Craig “I think it’s a Brookie!!”. He agreed in disbelief and we both hoped anxiously that it wouldn’t shake the hook loose. Another 20 seconds and I scooped up my 2nd largest Native Brook Trout ever and the largest I’ve caught in the past 20 years.
At 15” exactly it fell a half inch short of a personal best. I wasn’t sure that I would ever see another 15” Native in my live. I wanted to get some better photos but I wanted more to get it back in the water to continue its life. I didn’t want to stress it anymore with pictures. I’ll bet that fish is every bit of 8 years old. Maybe more, who knows. A brook trout of a lifetime for sure.
After that we pressed on for another hour catching more brookies and enjoying the stream.
At noon under the pressure of an overbearing sunshine we decided to call it quits on the day. Yet another surprising day on the water for this duo. Seems like it happens each time we go out but we always spend 15 minutes at the truck after the trip laughing about the stupid luck we have together and chatting about possible adventures to come.
No real rain in the forecast. As of this AM I still have 5 excellent flowing options to choose from. I think that 2-3 will drop off the map by this coming Friday without a storm or two during the week. Time will tell but it’s nice to have options.