I took advantage of the warm weather to fish for the first time this year. I had a couple of early follows but it was about 15 minutes before I had a trout pile into my spinner. It took another minute to catch my first trout of 2018, an 11 Ĺ inch wild brown. As expected, the action was slow the remainder of the hour and I only picked up two more trout, browns of 11 1/2 and 10 inches.
A fisherman moved in ahead of me and started fishing but it wasnít long before I was within sight of him. He moved upstream further, but since I fish rather quickly, I caught up to him in short order. He again got out and walked upstream but not very far. I knew this was going to continue, so I got out and walked a long distance upstream and waded back in.
The action picked up somewhat in the next hour as I landed six wild browns between 8 Ĺ and 12 inches. I caught a 9 inch brown before moving up the main tributary, which produced wild browns of 8 Ĺ, 9, and 14 inches. Three trout slipped the hook as well.
I walked back to my car and headed for another section of the stream. IĎve had good luck in that section over the past few years, so I walked in a long way and began fishing below a small dam. I only caught one small brown there and went through a 40 minute trout-less stretch before catching five trout between 7 Ĺ and 12 inches in the remainder of the hour. Two trout hit my spinner and gained their freedom in mid-air.
The next hour opening with three trout slipping the hook before I had another long period with no action. I caught a 9 Ĺ inch brown on a small Rapala and lost another. I hoped that the Rapala would continue to attract trout, but it didnít. I switched back to a spinner and caught an 8 inch trout to close the hour.
The action the remainder of the day continued to be slow. I landed only five more trout before calling it a day. I was initially surprised that the trout werenít more active the last two hours, but I believe the section I covered had likely been fished earlier in the day.
Overall, I caught 26 wild browns in 6 hours. 20 of the trout came from the mainstem and the rest came from the tributary. The largest trout was a 14 inch brown, which came from the tributary. I had considered waiting a day to fish, but on the way home, I encountered heavy rain, which likely made the stream too high. I normally catch a lot more trout on that stream, but I rarely fish it in the winter. In fact, itís only the second time IĎve ever fished it in February. While it was a slow start to my fishing year, it was a welcome break from being inside. I hope to hit the streams again soon.
With the recent heavy rain and snow melt, most streams that I would normally fish this time of year were not only high, some were at flood stage. I returned to the stream I had fished on my first fishing trip of the year, but in a different section.
I made a long walk in and waded in. For the first 20 minutes, I didnít even see a trout follow. Then I saw two trout following my spinner but neither hit. Another ten minutes passed, and I had no action. I wondered if that section had possibly been fished the previous day by a spinner angler. Finally, a trout drilled my spinner and I set the hook. The wild brown launched himself out of the water twice before I brought him to my feet. He was only 10 inches long, but it got me on the board. For the rest of the hour, the action was excellent. I caught nine more wild browns in the remainder of the hour. It was a strange first hour of fishing; zero trout the first 30 minutes, ten trout in the last 30.
The action slowed to a crawl in the first part of the second hour. I caught only one trout, an 8 incher, in the first half of the hour, and caught three, browns of 8 1/2, 9, and 11 ĺ inches in the bottom half of the hour. The streaky action continued into the third hour. It took about 20 minutes for me to catch a trout, but I caught three in a little over five minutes, including two on consecutive casts. I had another trout-catching gap of about 15 minutes (though I did lose two trout) before getting three more.
I fished that stream for another 45 minutes, landed three more trout and lost four others. I thought about heading to another section, but I figured it would likely have other anglers at that point. So, I walked back to my car and headed for a small limestone-influenced stream about 45 minutes away. That stream was high earlier in the day but dropped enough to be fished.
I caught a 12 inch wild brown soon after starting, but the action was slow, and I caught only three more browns in the remainder of the hour. The next hour was much better; it produced eight trout, ranging from 9 to 12 Ĺ inches. Four others hit but slipped the hook.
Another slow period followed before I caught browns of 10 Ĺ and 10 inches and lost a third. Three more trout came to hand after another gap in the action. The pattern continued. I picked up browns of 8 and 9 Ĺ inches about ten minutes apart, then a 9 incher. I fished through some excellent looking water without any action and figured the fun was over. It was getting dark and I decided to try one last deep pool before walking out. Iím glad I did; browns of 12 ľ, 10, and 10 Ĺ inches were added to my tally.
I ended up with 46 wild browns on the day, with the largest being 12 Ĺ inches. Interestingly, I caught 23 trout in each stream. I fished the first stream for 3.75 hours and the second for 3.5 hours. The water temperature was 49 degrees to start the day, and was 52 when I finished, which are excellent water temperatures for February. It was a great day to be out as the air temperature reached 78 degrees. The frogs were at full volume as I walked back to my car. I was very warm and considered only wearing shorts under my waders but decided against it.
A deer rain in front of my car on the way home, but I hit the brakes and I think I only clipped it as it slowed down then continued running. I hope to fish again possibly this weekend, but there is more rain in the forecast.