I’ve been out a few days each week since the school year ended. Its nice in the early part of summer when I generally don’t have to worry about water levels and can choose any stream. With 5 years of data now for my fishing area, I have been trying to time my fishing trips to when I have historically had the most success on each stream. The patterns I notice obviously correlate to water levels and temperatures on smaller streams and to the proximity of state and private stockings on larger streams.
I’ve been having trouble recently with photobucket so I chose to include only 1 recent trip in this post. This stream has a 3 mile main steam and then it splits into 3 smaller tributaries. On Tuesday, I fished the 3 mile main stem. This part of the stream is stocked by the state and by a sportsmans club. There is good access for half of its length so it receives a lot of pressure during April and May. By now though, its been a few weeks since most of the trout have been bothered.
At my starting point, the stream was rolling with a perfect amount of water.
I usually don’t catch much in the first half mile of water, so I was taken by surprise when the first fish of the day was a splendid brown trout at 20” on the nose. My “new” rod doesn’t have any inch markings on it yet, so I grabbed an old tape measure from my tool bench and put it in my pocket.
However, as I expected, the day started off slow. A quarter of a mile further upstream, my 2nd fish came to hand. It was a battered and bruised 15” brown.
At this point I’d caught 2 trout in 35 minutes. But then, when the stream left civilization for the next mile, I made up for lost time.
And any time there is an American Chestnut root sprout within 50 yards of the stream, I can’t help but notice it.
Fish were being extracted regularly now, and to my surprise, a lot of them looked like this.
I’ve never caught any wild browns in this stream before. Perhaps somebody put a load of little ones in recently. The smallest little browns that I caught were 5-6”. This stream does drain into a larger stream, which has other tributaries that support wild browns. I guess its possible that some moved, but that seems like a lot of fish to move miles down a large stream and up into a smaller stream within 10 months since I last fished it.
I hit another traditionally slow section of water that is about ˝ mile in length. Its just shallow fast moving water.
Each year I resolve that next time, I will walk around this section and save myself half an hour, but I caved on this trip as well. I worked that half mile section and caught 4 native brook trout from it.
My biggest native of the day did come from this flat stretch so it was worth it. My 16’ tape measure told me this fish was 10” in length.
It had an interesting orange spot on its underside as if paint were spilled while detailing this fish.
Further along upstream, I found the first hemlock I’ve ever seen affected by HWA. I literally have checked thousands of hemlocks that I’ve walked under over the last few years.
On a separate watershed yesterday, I found another HWA infection. I guess the HWA finally made it here.
In the last ˝ mile of stream that I fished, I ran into about 30 stocked browns that must have come from the same stocking.
Of course this spot produced… The probability of catching a trout under a leaning tree increases proportionally with the angle of the tree from vertical…kidding of course…
This was the first time I’d ever seen so many forget-me-nots blooming stream side. I see pictures of some of you guys further east that regularly see them. I felt lucky to finally see some of my own.
Two browns that I caught from beneath deep log crossing holes were quite dark as if they had been there for a while and adapted to their surroundings.
At the last bridge I crossed under, there was evidence of recent angling…
I think this picture tells the story itself… And this is why, kids, you don’t FUI.
The last stocked trout of the day was a hefty 15.5” brookie. I rarely catch brook trout that big, stocked or wild.
At my exit point, the sun was shining brightly through the trees. I always like ending an outing on a positive note like that, which isn’t hard to do on PA wild trout streams.
In summary, the three firsts for the day were 1.small browns of unknown origin, which is not necessarily a positive thing because of the healthy native brookie population, 2. Hemlock woolly adelgid finally making its way into my corner of the world, and 3. Forget-me-nots in bloom. I stopped at exactly 100 trout in 6 hours. My previous best on that stream was 72.