It Can Pay To Stay
Patience is not one of my virtues, and with trout fishing this translates into leaving a stream and going to another one if the fishing is slow or non-existent for the first fifteen minutes. In recent years I’ve tempered my impatience by extending this trial period to a half hour since so many anglers are fishing spinners now that it is common to have periods of slow action, particularly near access points.
To avoid other anglers or where they’ve fished spinners recently, this time of year I tend to fish inaccessible creeks where I hope few fishermen have wet a line, particularly lines with a flashy lure at one end.
It’s rare to ever see a boot track along this rivulet regardless of the time of year.
This stream is over an hour hike from the nearest road.
And although these creeks are so small that I doubt they would interest many anglers, the native brook trout can be surprisingly large.
Another part of my strategy is to hit a limited-access but slightly more popular stream at first light and hopefully fish upstream far enough that no other anglers will pass me during the day and put down the trout.
And though this has been a late spring compared to recent years, by picking the right days I’ve been able to fish these streams when the water temperature was relatively high enough that many trout were out feeding, including this 13” wild brown.
Overall I’ve experienced decent success this year, but I’m already approaching one thousand trout behind last year’s pace which culminated with 10,598 trout.
I have typically avoided the larger streams, both due to high flows and the likelihood of running into other anglers. But on Friday morning, May 4, 2018, I decided to roll the dice and start the day on a larger stream. I longed to have a day-long adventure catching wild brown trout in big water, something I hadn’t done yet this year. If it tanked my backup plan was another little mountain brook.
I began fishing at 6:20 a.m. The air temperature, at 66-degrees, was unusually warm for the beginning of May. The water temperature checked in at 61-degrees, which, from what I’ve read, is the optimum temperature for wild brown trout. The flow was ideal. The sky was cloudy.
On my first cast I lost a small brown in the shallows, and a couple casts later a heavy 12.5” wild brown put up a fight unlike the little native brookies I’d been pursuing recently. Dreams of a fabulous day flashed through my mind.
But then, just like that, the action died. To me the conditions couldn’t have been better, but I have no control over whether the trout had been seeing a lot of metal recently. Twenty minutes later a 5.5” wild brown nailed my White Bead Gold spinner. Despite my lack of patience I decided to continue upstream where I’d be getting farther away from the access point where I began.
It took another sixteen minutes before my next trout came to hand, a 10” wild brown. It was quickly followed by an 11”er. A few minutes later a wild brown just ˝” short of 16”-hawg-status grabbed my spinner.
The next half hour passed troutless. A nice pool was ahead. I decided I’d either keep fishing or cut bait at the upper end of the pool, depending on the action.
The entire pool, perhaps one hundred yards long or more, yielded just one 11” brownie (and a 16” smallmouth bass, which I don’t count). However, I was missing quite a few trout, likely due to either the line twist I was experiencing or perhaps a dull treble hook. Rather than quitting, I decided to cut off about twenty feet of line and tie on a new spinner to see if this would change my luck.
From that point forward I began to capitalize on my strikes. Soon a 16” wild brown was landed.
At 2:02 p.m. I recorded my one-hundredth trout of the day in my small tablet. Besides the larger trout already mentioned, I had caught another 15.5” brown as well as two 14.5” browns and a 14”er.
I fished until 4:45 p.m. (10.25 hours of actual fishing time…I deducted ten minutes for photos) and ended up with 133 trout. In the final section I added my largest trout of the day, a 16.5” wild brown, plus two more 14.5” wild browns. It took one hour to hike back to my SUV.
Coltsfoot, which started to bloom unusually late this year, was still blooming.
I even found a patch of red trillium that had a few uncommon yellow-colored trilliums mixed in.
Overall this was my best outing of the year so far. I again was reminded that it sometimes pays to stay even when the action is slow in the beginning.
- Frank Nale -