On Monday, I went to a freestone stream hoping to catch a lot of trout along with some big ones. I didn’t arrive as early as I would have liked since I stayed up to watch the Pens win the Stanley Cup!
My third cast brought a solid strike. I set the hook and the heavy brown cleared the water and the spinner came flying out. “Here we go already”, I thought.
I caught 7 trout the first hour, all wild browns. Three others shook free of the hook. The highlight of the first hour was a 17 ½ inch brown. The other trout ranged from 7 ½ to 12 inches.
The second hour produced 6 more trout as well as 2 more lost trout. One of the lost trout was in the 15-16-inch range. The biggest trout were two 12 ¾ inch browns. It was already getting to be very warm. It made me wish that I had worn my wet wading pants instead of my waders.
When the full sun hit the water, the action slowed. I caught 12 more trout in the remaining time I fished that section. The biggest trout I caught during that time was a nice 15 ½ inch brown. I lost another trout that was similar size.
I moved to another section, removed my waders and put on my wading pants. I only fished that section less than an hour and caught 6 trout; 4 browns and 2 rainbows. The biggest trout was a 12 ¾ inch stocked brown. I lost a hog brown that cleared the water and threw the hook in the air. I lost at least 7 trout during the day that threw the spinner in the air. It’s becoming a familiar pattern. Even though the trout were hitting, the water felt warm so I took the water temperature. My stream thermometer confirmed my suspicion, so I headed back to my car. On the way back, I flushed a doe and her fawn, the first fawn I’ve seen this year.
Even though I had plenty of time to fish elsewhere, I was extremely tired from fishing in the hot sun and decided to head home. I caught 31 trout for the day, all browns except for two rainbows. All trout hit spinners.
15 ½ inch brown trout
Wednesday Change of Plans
My original plan was to fish a large limestoner which is very popular but I feared it would be too warm due to the recent hot days and very warm nights, so I went to a different limestone stream.
The section I started on is very popular so whenever I decide to fish that section, I always go there first. The action was slow at first. It picked up further upstream but was never fast. I caught 29 trout in the 4.25 hours I fished that section. I had numerous trout leap and throw the hook. 28 were browns and 1 was a rainbow. The rainbow was a nice 15 ¾ incher that I hooked and landed as two kayakers passed. The largest trout was a 17-inch beauty. I caught two between 15 and 16 inches.
15 ¾ inch rainbow
15 ½ inch wild brown
15 ¾ inch brown
I also hooked this little guy. I was tempted to leave him on and make another cast since brown trout love sculpins, but I let him go.
I drove to another section and couldn’t believe there were only no cars there. Of course, five minutes after I waded in, two fly fishermen moved in directly in front of me. I know they saw me, but waded in anyway. I got out and walked around them and another angler that moved in ahead of them. I provided a lot more of a gap than they left me.
The fishing in that stretch was superb for the first hour. I caught 20 wild brown trout and lost several others. The largest was 13 ½ inches. In the second hour, the action was slower and I landed 8 more browns. I considered going downstream but the water felt warm. It was 66 when I started fishing that section and had warmed to 68 in two hours, so I drove upstream to another section I knew would be cooler. I only fished it for 0.75 hours and caught three browns and a rainbow.
Even though I was sweating from the heat, I figured I could catch more trout in a nearby small limestoner. I fished it for 1.25 hours and caught 12 trout while losing three. The largest trout was a nice 15 ¾ inch wild brown.
For the day, I landed 73 trout; 71 browns and 2 rainbows. I had 17 or 18 trout hit and throw the lure. 64 hit spinners and 9 hit plugs.
The size breakdown for the day is as follows:
Under 7”: 1
I was surprised that I only caught one sub-legal brown. I had several very small trout flash at my spinners and some hit and threw the hook.
On Thursday, I met my friend Mark TroutAngler on another popular limestone stream. He had never fished below a bridge over the creek so we walked downstream. I knew he would like the water as it is almost all runs and pocket water. We fished upstream until we saw another angler ahead of us. At that point, we had fished 2.75 hours. Mark had caught 33 trout, while I had 18. We both caught all three species. That stream has wild browns, but is also stocked. Mark had the biggest trout, a nice 15 incher. I lost a trout soon after starting that was around 14 inches, but the biggest trout I landed was 12 inches.
Mark with a 15-inch wild brown
We walked upstream a good way around the angler and got back in. The next stretch only produced 7 trout between the two of us in an hour. Three for Mark and four for me.
Mark with a colorful brown trout
We stopped for lunch and then returned to fishing in a different stretch of the same stream. We fished that stretch for 0.75 hours and caught 11; 5 for Mark and 6 for me. Mark left after that. He finished the day with 41 trout in 4.25 hours. He caught 35 wild browns, 5 stocked brooks, and 1 stocked rainbow. I had 28 in 4.5 hours.
I drove upstream to a nearby tributary, but it was choked with watercress in some places and others had freshly cut grass that had been dumped in the creek. I hate it when people do that. I fished there for ½ hour and only caught one small trout.
I left there and drove to a stream I had never fished before, but saw a car parked there, so I went to a freestoner nearby which I hadn’t fished in several years. I fished it for an hour and landed 12 wild browns and 2 native brookies. The biggest trout was a 12 ¼ inch wild brown. For the day, I caught 43 trout. 34 were browns (33 wild, 1 stocked), 6 were brooks (4 stocked, 2 wild), and 3 were stocked rainbows.
12 ¼ inch wild brown
I was supposed to meet Mark McKenzie to fish a favorite large stream but that area was hammered by rain late on Thursday and was too high to fish. I headed to my parents’ house and got up later than I usually do when I’m going to fish. I did more driving and walking than I did fishing.
I stopped at a favorite freestoner but the stream looked low, so I left and drove to a freestoner about 40 minutes away that has wild brown trout but is also stocked. I believe it is either a high class C or low class B wild brown trout stream.
Shortly after I arrived, I was welcomed by the greeting party.
There was a second dog of the same breed, but he wasn’t as friendly. The above dog came right over to me so I gave him some attention. He stayed the whole time I was getting my gear together. When I opened a car door to get my sunglasses, I had to stop him from jumping in. His owner drove up a couple of minutes later and they left.
The stretch that I fished is fairly short, as there is posted water at the upper end. I fished it for 2.25 hours and caught 18 trout in that time; 10 were stocked rainbows and 8 were browns (7 wild, 1 stocked). The biggest was a nice 16 ¼ inch wild brown, seen below.
I walked back to the car and debated whether to return to the first stream I visited or go to a nearby tail water stream. I decided to stop for lunch, then returned to the first stream, even though it was low. I really hope that area gets significant rain soon, because it will be in rough shape if we have a dry summer.
I didn’t fish it very long as I encountered a father and his two daughters wading in the creek. Unfortunately, one of his daughters wasn’t wearing shoes and hurt her foot. I encounter people wading/swimming in streams all the time who aren’t wearing shoes. With all the debris in the streams, metal, broken bottles, hooks, etc., it is a big risk to go barefoot. There were also some people who were exercising their dog in the stream. I caught one sub-legal brown before walking out and fishing its main tributary. I had a brown in the 15-16 inch range follow without hitting.
The fishing there was lousy in the lower portion of the stream. It’s likely it was fished recently. I fished there for 1.75 hours and caught four wild rainbows and a wild brown. I was hoping to get a native brookie and have a three-wild species day, but I didn’t catch or even see one. A large brown came barreling after my spinner and followed it all the way to the bank. It ran out of room unfortunately and returned to its lair.
First wild rainbow of 2017
8 ¼ inch wild rainbow
I walked out and returned to my car. On the drive out, I saw three deer. For the day, I caught 24 trout in 5.75 hours. The biggest trout was 16 ¼ inches. All the trout except two hit spinners. One hit a plug and the other hit a spoon. 14 were rainbows (10 stocked, 4 wild) and 10 were browns (9 wild, 1 stocked).