I decided to venture out and fish on Friday. It rained a little on Thursday but not enough to do any good. It looks like we may be getting some much needed rain from Tropical Storm Nate, as long as the path doesn't change.
I went to a popular large limestone stream. The water was very low and clear and my expectations were very low. I got off to a decent start, catching eight wild browns between 9 and 13 inches during the first hour. I had three others throw the hook.
As I approached a long deep pool, I saw a fisherman ahead of me, so I waded out and walked upstream a long way and got back in. But once I waded back in, the action was lousy for a while. I had a few follows but only a couple of hits so I switched to a Lucky Craft plug. I caught a 13 ½ inch wild brown in a nice riffle before reaching a split. When fishing with someone I often fish the left side, but since I was fishing solo, I fished both sides of the split.
A large brown followed my plug out from the bank but didn't hit. Two casts later, a different brown rolled out from the cut bank and grabbed my plug. A few minutes later, a 15 ½ inch wild brown lay at my feet.
More often than not, when I fish that stream, I catch at least one 15 inch trout. I moved up a little further and made a cast under an overhanging tree. Another nice trout came out, enticed by the swimming action of the plug. He grabbed it and I set the hook. He zoomed back toward the bank but I was able to subdue him. He measured 16 inches. When I saw the water conditions at the start of the day, I figured I had maybe a 10 percent chance of catching a big brown, so I was very happy to land one.
I caught another 15 incher before I reached the top of the split, so I moved to the other side. I caught four more trout in the right split, ranging from 9 ½ to 15 3/4 inches.
As I moved up I encountered a stretch of shallow water, so I switched back to a spinner. I caught four browns on it between 9 and 15 inches. I reached the tail of a huge deep pool and caught a small bass on the spinner. I decided to switch back to the plug and see if I could attract something larger. It did attract something larger, a 13 inch smallmouth bass. Surprisingly, the only trout I caught there was only 8 ½ inches.
I walked up around the big pool but had a long stretch of little action. I tried both spinners and plugs but only got a few follows. When I got above some fast water into a calm stretch, I decided to try the plug again. I had several trout follow it back to me, then bolt once they got close. On the next cast, I saw a nice brown following my lure, so I crouched almost to water level and the trout struck. He zoomed around me in a circle before I brought him in and measured him. At 16 ¾ inches, it was my second big trout of the day.
I continued to use the plug and kept getting follows but not a lot of hits. Three browns of 10-13 inches fell prey to my plug and two others hit and got off. I tried a spinner in some fast water and caught a 10 ½ inch brown before switching back to the plug.
As the lure wobbled on the retrieve, a hefty brown couldn't resist and piled into it. After setting the hook, the brown leaped clear of the water three times but was unable to shake the hook. At 17 ½ inches, it was big trout #3. I had several nice trout including a big rainbow follow but not hit.
I reached another split but was surprisingly unable to catch a trout from either side. I had reached a long slow stretch and thought that the plug would continue to work in the slow water. That proved correct as a heavy brown ambushed the lure next to the bank. Unfortunately, I stupidly tried to rush him in and lost a brown that was close to 20 inches.
Trout continued to follow and bolt after seeing me but I managed to land three browns from 10 ½ to 12 ½ inches before I saw a big silver flash and felt the weight of a really heavy fish. A huge rainbow kicked up a ruckus on the surface, sending water flying in all directions. I had elected to use my small rod that day since the water was so low and had much difficulty subduing the fish. After several minutes I led him into the shallows, measured and took a picture. The tape stretched to 24 ¼ inches. It is my largest trout of the year to date. I wanted to take a self timed picture but due to the length of the fight, I decided against it.
A few minutes later, I caught a 10 inch rainbow before I lost the plug. Since I had reached the end of the deep water, I tied on a spinner since the next stretch was shallow pocket water. I caught eight browns between 7 and 13 inches before I made the extremely long walk back to my car.
For the day, I caught 40 trout (38 browns, 2 rainbows) and 2 smallmouth bass. Four trout were 16 inches or longer, with the largest being the huge rainbow. Four trout were between 15 and 16 inches. I had at least four other trout that were in that size range follow without hitting. I often catch trout on both spinners and plugs in the same day but usually I catch a lot more on spinners than plugs. On days when I catch a decent number on plugs, I generally don't do as well on spinners. On this day, I caught 22 trout on spinners and 18 on plugs. For the most part, I caught trout on the slower water on plugs and on spinners in the shallow water. The trout weren't showing much interest on spinners in the slow water.
I hope to fish one day next week, hopefully after we get a good rain.