I was planning on fishing on Saturday due to the warm weather forecast. My friend Mark McKenzie pointed out that the weather forecast for a favorite stream was favorable. Although the stream was higher than we would have liked, we decided to give it a try.
After Mark parked his car at a good walk-out point, we drove my car downstream close to where we started fishing. There were two turkeys taking turns gobbling nearby.
Mark had a large brown hit and get off soon after starting, but it took a while before his first trout came to the net. It was worth the wait; his first trout was a dandy 20-inch brown.
Mark with 20-inch brown
About a half an hour later, Mark landed a 15 ¾ inch brown. A little while later, Mark hooked and lost a brown in the 20-inch range.
I struggled early on. I had a few follows, but no hits. Finally, I hooked a big brown, but it zoomed directly downstream from me and the hook pulled free. After another ½ hour, my first trout of the day came to hand, a nice 18 ¾ inch brown.
18 ¾ inch brown trout
About 20 minutes later I hooked another large trout. I could see it was very fat and was definitely a hog. I told Mark that I didn’t think I had him hooked very well, which turned out to be prophetic as the big brown slipped off about 10 seconds later.
The action went from slow to non-existent. I switched from a spinner and tried a #7 Countdown Rapala and then a Lucky Craft plug, neither of which drew much of a response. I decided to go bigger and tied on a #9 Countdown Brown Trout Rapala, which turned out to be a good switch. I landed four trout on it and lost three others.
17 ¼ inch Brown
A fat 20-inch brown
A heavy 21 ¾ inch brown trout
A 21-inch male brownie
Mark decided to try a plug as well. His first offering drew no response, but after switching to a big Lucky Craft plug, he caught this tanker brown. We were amazed that it “only” measured 21-inches. Because of the weight, we both expected it to be longer.
Mark’s huge brown trout, holding it and close-up
After another period of inactivity, we decided to return to the Mark’s car. We discussed going to another section, but Mark decided to call it a day. He was exhausted from wading in the heavy current. We only combined for eight brown trout, three for Mark and five for me, but seven of the eight were hogs and five were 20 inches or more. Plugs accounted for five trout, with spinners taking the other three. Interestingly, we only saw one small brown trout during the day; all the rest of the trout we saw were big.
Mark drove me back to my car and he left. I drove upstream, parked my car and headed for the stream. Unfortunately, I saw boot tracks galore but decided to try it. I didn’t get so much as a follow and I left after a half hour. I drove to a nearby stream that I haven’t fished in years. After fishing my spinner through several excellent looking spots with no response, I left and drove to a small freestoner which has produced some big trout for me over the years. Unfortunately, I saw lots of boot tracks there and had only one follow in the brief time I fished it. I walked up a tiny tributary, figuring no one had fished it. I fished it for about 45 minutes. In that time, I caught four native brookies (biggest 8 ½ inches) and three wild browns. The biggest was a surprise 13-incher which piled into my spinner.
13-inch wild brown
I quit for the day with a total of only 12 trout, but recorded my first five hog outing of the year. Although the numbers were low, it was well worth the effort to catch the big browns.
On Monday I traveled to a very popular limestone stream. It was cool when I started but I knew with the warm forecast that I would have other anglers to contend with in short order.
I caught four browns in each of the first two hours.
15-inch wild brown
This 13 ½ incher hasn’t missed many meals
The action picked up in the third hour. I landed seven browns and lost three others. The next hour was slower as just five trout came to the net.
The next hour produced six trout, including my second 15 incher of the day.
The water temperature had warmed to 52 degrees from a starting temperature of 47. I caught 10 browns in the next hour but ran into two anglers. I walked a long distance around them and got back in the stream
I had the feeling I was fishing behind someone which was confirmed a few minutes later. I got out and walked back to my car. I drove to another section, but could tell that it had been fished earlier in the day. I caught only two more trout and lost another before heading back to the car. I saw something that you normally don’t see in a trout stream. The brown trout obviously needed some help to reach the insects that were just out of reach
If you’re not sure what the round object is, it’s a min-trampoline
I left there and tried a nearby limestone tributary. The creek was high and fishing was difficult as well as uncomfortable as my waders began leaking. I caught five wild browns including a 14 incher to finish the day with 43 trout, all on spinners.
When I woke up today, I felt a high level of anticipation. One of my favorite streams had gotten a lot of rain yesterday. It had been low so I was hoping for optimal stream levels. Unfortunately, that stream rises and falls very quickly. When I looked at the stream gauge, I saw that it was only slightly elevated. Against my better judgement, I decided to try it anyway.
I proceeded to have the worst outing I’ve had there in years. The first section I fished only produced two trout in an hour. There were a lot of boot tracks, so I returned to my car and drove to a different section.
I tried a plug to start in the second section and my second cast produced an 11-inch wild brown but nothing else so I switched back to a spinner. I caught two wild browns of 10 ½ and 7 ½ inches in some very deep water. I went through a lengthy period without even a follow and was getting ready to leave. I then caught a 12 incher and a 9 incher on back-to-back casts. Two casts later, I caught an 11 incher. I thought maybe the action would pick up, but I only caught two more trout before I decided to try another stream. At that point I had only caught 10 trout in 3 ½ hours of fishing. I often catch 10 trout per hour on that stream.
The second stream was no better. I only caught 3 wild browns in a 1 ½ hours. I tried a tiny trib for a few minutes and caught a 10-inch wild brown. I drove to a nearby stream that I had never tried and caught an 8 ½ inch wild brown before calling it a very unsuccessful day.
On the day I saw 10 deer, a mink, and a hawk.
10 ½ inch wild brown