For various reasons, I have only been able to fish a few times this year. I fished on Saturday, June 30th. It was only my second outing of the month and the first in almost four weeks. It was only my tenth trout fishing trip of the year. Last year at this point, I had been out 34 times.
Due to the extremely hot forecast, I decided to try a small limestone stream with some spring influence. When I arrived, I found the stream to be high and muddy. There is another limestoner nearby, which I figured would also be too high, but you never know where storms start and stop. That stream, as expected, was also too high. I drove to another area that wasn’t real far away and that stream, while up, was clear and could be fished.
I had wanted to be on the water at first light, but since I had to drive to three different streams I got a much later start than I wanted. My second cast resulted in a follow and my third cast drew a strike, but I missed the trout. A few minutes later, my first trout of the day, an 8 ½ inch wild brown came to hand. About five minutes later, I flipped the spinner under the overhanging vegetation on the opposite bank and I felt an immediate hit. The trout was heavy and tried to burrow under the cut bank, but I successfully led him to my feet. The big male measured 17 inches. With the very sunny forecast, I knew if I was to get a large trout, it would likely have to be early in the day. I hoped to catch more big trout, but I knew it was a long shot.
I picked up a 9 ½ inch wild brown, a 9 inch stocked rainbow, and a 6 ½ inch wild brown in short order, then had a short lull, before I landed four wild browns between 8 and 12 inches. I had several follows and had a couple trout hit and throw the hook before I closed the hour with a 10 inch stocked rainbow.
For some reason, the action slowed to a crawl and I only landed one trout in the next 45 minutes, a 7 inch wild brown. I had reached posted water, so it was either drive further downstream or fish a small tributary. I opted for the tributary.
The action started very slowly on the trib as I only landed a 7 ½ inch wild brown in the first 15 minutes of fishing. The pace picked up considerably and I caught nine wild browns in a little more than half an hour, including three back to backers. There was another short lull before I again landed trout on consecutive casts to close the hour. The 11 browns I caught that hour ranged from 6 to 9 ½ inches.
I walked upstream a short distance and caught an 11 inch wild brown, but it was the only trout I tangled with for about a half hour. Finally, a 7 incher broke the spell, and was followed by browns of 9 ½, 8 ½, and 10 inches. Just before the angling hour ended, I caught a surprise 9 ½ inch stocked rainbow. I had caught rainbows on a few occasions in that stream before, but it’s very unusual.
My first cast of the new hour resulted in an even more unusual catch on that stream, a 9 inch stocked brook trout.
An 8 ½ inch wild brown followed, and an 11 inch stocked brook came soon after that. It is very unusual to catch stocked trout in that creek, much less three of them in the same day.
A short while later, I saw a lot of canvas and pipes in the stream. The remnants of a large trampoline were in the creek, so there must have been some seriously high water to wash it downstream. That also gave me an idea of where the stockies came from.
The action again picked up and I landed eight more wild browns before I had a long troutless stretch. The browns ranged from 7 ½ to 12 ¾ inches. I flipped a cast under a small bridge, where I had caught large browns in the past, but I only succeeded in getting a 6 inch wild brown. Just to be safe, I checked the knot on my spinner after battling with that monster
I made the long walk back to my car in the blistering heat. I thought seriously about quitting for the day since it was so hot, but I wanted to try further upstream. I had been wearing my hip boots but decided to put on my wet wading pants to help cope with the suffocating heat. The cool water felt great, but the action in the ½ hour was lousy. I only caught two trout from the junior division before deciding I’d had enough. I had a graduation party to attend later that afternoon, so I waded out and walked back to my car. It was so hot that my wading pants were dry by the time I arrived at my car.
For the day, I caught 43 trout in 5.25 hours, all on spinners. I tried plugs briefly to no avail. 38 of the trout were wild browns, including my largest, a 17 incher. Three of the trout were stocked rainbows, and two were stocked brookies.
As I drove toward home, I passed a downstream section of the first stream I had fished. Two anglers were getting ready to hit the stream, and one to my utter shock, was wearing neoprene waders. I don’t even wear neoprene waders in the winter, let alone on a day with the heat index near 100. I hoped that the poor fellow didn’t suffer heat exhaustion from wearing them.
The next day I fished was on the 4th of July. When I got up that morning, I was torn as to where I should go. I intended to go to an extremely popular limestone stream that I hadn’t fished yet this year, but I noticed another stream had gotten a heavy rain and it normally fishes very well in those conditions. I was worried that stream had suffered from the extremely hot weather we’ve had so I opted for my original choice.
I again elected to wear my wet wading pants to beat the heat. The 63 degree water felt great as I waded in. Soon after starting, I missed two trout before landing my first, a 9 ½ inch wild brown. Next came a 9 ¾ incher, followed by a 10 incher. I wondered if the pattern of the trout getting ¼ inch larger would continue.
It didn’t of course, and my next trout was a feisty 12 incher. A hog brown followed my spinner but saw me and beat a hasty retreat.
The action slowed, and I only caught two more trout that hour, browns of 9 and 6 ½ inches.
I continued fishing upstream, but the action became almost non-existent. I was casting my spinner into places I was sure would yield at least a follow, but I was getting only the occasional follow or hit. I tried a plug and a spoon but that didn’t change my luck. I finally caught a 10 inch brown but wondered whether someone had jumped in front of me. Since I had only caught one trout in the previous 45 minutes, I decided to walk back to the car and head upstream.
I drove upstream and saw several anglers, so I kept going. I found an unoccupied section and waded in. About five minutes into the angling hour, I hooked and landed a 10 ½ inch brown and followed that a few minutes later with a 12 ¾ inch brown. It was very colorful with beautiful red spots. I pulled my camera out to take a picture, but the trout slipped out of my hand and was free. There was a short lull, which was broken by an 11 incher. Two trout then hit and got off, before I landed a 9 ½ inch wild brown, followed by a 10 ½ incher.
My spinner got fouled on the rocks in the shallow water along the edge. I waded over to free it, then cast right next to the bank. A heavy trout intercepted my spinner and I set the hook. The brown tried to dive under the bank then burned line off the reel, but soon tired. As I brought it in, I hoped that it would qualify for hog status (at least 16 inches), but it was a ½ inch short. The angling hour closed with an 11 incher.
The next hour had improved action, and it produced 10 trout and lots of followers. The trout ranged from 8 ½ to 13 inches. The 13 incher produced four straight leaps clear of the water and was the highlight of the hour. I reached posted water, so I had to wade out and walk back to my car.
I went to another section a short distance downstream. The action wasn’t nearly as good. In the next 1.25 hours, I caught seven more trout. The smallest was 7 ½ inches, and the largest was a very nice 14 ¾ incher. I took the water temperature, which was 67 degrees, so I decided to wade out and go upstream where I knew the water would be cooler.
As I was driving to the next section, I noticed the sky had darkened ominously. It stared to rain as I pulled into a small park, where I wanted to take the water temperature. I waded in and took the temperature, which was 62. Unfortunately, the skies unleashed a downpour, complete with lightning and I beat feet back to the car.
I waited for about an hour, but looked at the radar on my phone, which showed a line of intense thunderstorms, so I reluctantly headed for home.
For the day, I caught 31 wild browns in five hours, which I consider only fair fishing for that stream. I would have liked to have done better, but having been out so little this year, it was nice to be out. All the trout hit spinners, and the biggest was 15 ½ inches.