Despite the adverse water conditions, I hit the streams on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. On Monday I went to a very popular limestone stream and seriously considered leaving when I saw the stream level. It was very high. I decided to try it in hopes of getting some big trout. Unfortunately, the fishing proved to be even more difficult than I’d thought. I caught only three wild browns before I left for another stream.
I went to a small limestoner that I last fished four years ago. It is extremely tight and difficult to fish. The high water made it even tougher. The first hour there produced four wild browns ranging from 7 to 11 inches long. I fished there for another hour and a half. Ten more wild browns came to hand including a 15 ¼ incher that hit my spinner underneath a railroad bridge.
15 ¼ inch brown
I reached posted water and considered whether to continue fishing further upstream or go to another stream. It had been sunny off and on, but the sky had darkened on the way back to my car so I decided to travel to another small limestone stream. It has produced some big trout for me in the past under similar conditions.
Soon after starting a feisty 5 ½ inch wild brown piled into my spinner. Three trout flashed at my spinner before one hit and got off. A 10 ¾ inch wild brown drilled my spinner and about five minutes later a heavy 14 ¾ incher slammed my spinner. I lost two more trout before landing browns of 6 ½, 8, and 9 inches. I lost yet another trout, then picked up wild browns from 10 to 12 ½ inches. I had a brief lull before concluding the angling hour with a nice 15-inch brown.
14 ¾ inch brown
The next hour started very slowly and I didn’t land a trout for almost 20 minutes. I caught seven trout in the last 40 minutes I fished; five wild browns and two rainbows.
After a very poor start, I finished with 38 trout (36 wild browns, 2 stocked rainbows). All hit spinners except for one which hit a plug. My largest trout of the day was a 15 ¼ inch brown. It was one of two trout between 15 and 16 inches.
I almost didn’t fish on Tuesday. When I woke up I looked at the stream gauges and saw the levels shooting upward. I went back to sleep for a little while but pushed myself to head out.
The first stream I drove to was blown out. It was high, muddy, and totally unfishable. The stream that it flows into was so high I almost expected to see an old man loading animals into a huge boat. I drove to a nearby stream, expecting the tide to be up there too.
To my surprise, the stream was high but fishable. The action was poor. I noticed boot tracks along the banks that looked to be about a day old. I caught only one 9-inch wild brown on a small plug in the first section I fished. I drove to another section and again had poor action. I saw two anglers upstream from me, so I walked out and circled around, going a good distance upstream from them.
The action was better but still slow. I caught six trout in the time I fished that section. All were wild browns between 6 and 12 inches. All but one of the trout I caught in that stream hit plugs, the other hit a spinner.
I left there and drove to a tiny meadow limestone stream. It was also high and I wasn’t optimistic. I caught one 9-inch brown and lost two under a bridge before returning to my car. I headed it upstream to see if my luck would improve.
The next section produced only two small wild browns and a lost trout. As I walked back to my car, I was ready to drive to a freestone stream I had never fished before, but instead decided to walk downstream and try one more section. The landowner has the area fenced off for his cattle, but graciously allows fishing. I carefully ducked under the electric fence and walked a short distance downstream. I flipped a cast into a nice pool and my spinner was taken on the drop. I set the hook and felt the weight of a nice fish. I brought him in, snapped a couple of pictures and measured him. He was exactly 16 inches long. It made me happy that I stayed. I caught two small browns and a 12 incher before deciding to call it a day.
For the day, I landed only 14 wild browns, 9 on spinners and the rest on plugs. Even with the high water, I expected to catch more than that. I was happy about catching the 16 incher. I had dismissed any chance of getting a big trout by that point.
The only noteworthy wildlife sighting was a large water snake at the edge of the second stream I fished. At first I thought it might be a copperhead, but upon closer examination (but not real close), I saw that it was indeed a water snake. It was sluggish from the cool weather. I poked it twice with my wading staff before it swam downstream. I saw one other small water snake.
As I was getting ready to leave this morning, our area received heavy rain and lightning, so I left after the severe weather passed. As a result, I got to my chosen stream late. I talked to two fly fishermen who were preparing to hit the stream. One of them had an Alaska license plate on his SUV. I asked if he was from Alaska. He said he had lived there for a year and a half but had moved back. He hadn’t changed his license plate yet.
The creek was high and I questioned the logic in going there. I caught two small trout on spinners before going through a long dry spell. I switched to a plug and had a hog brown flash at it. I caught an 11 ½ incher and a 9 ½ incher at the end of the first hour.
My second hour produced five browns, with the largest being 12 ½ inches. I had trout flash or very lightly hit several times.
Hour #3 only produced three wild browns, all on plugs, ranging from 12 to 14 ½ inches. As I moved upstream, I removed my rain jacket for the first time all day. It was in the back of my vest all of five minutes before I felt a couple of drops of rain. Luckily, I put my jacket back on, because less than five minutes later it started pouring.
The next hour yielded five wild browns, all on plugs. The biggest one was 12 ½ inches. The stream was getting cloudier and I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time before it got too cloudy. I landed six more browns, including another 14 incher.
I made the long walk back to my car and drove to three different new class A streams. Unfortunately, they were all blown out. I stopped at a tiny limestone stream on the way home. It was also high and got significantly cloudier in the hour I fished it. I landed six wild browns with the largest being 12 inches. Overall, I caught 29 wild browns, 16 on plugs and 13 on spinners.
I’m hoping to fish several times next week, but it will be a challenge to say the least with so many streams being blown out.