Working Through the Worst Funk of My Trout Career - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Working Through the Worst Funk of My Trout Career

Sometimes you feel like you have it all figured out. You've seen it all. Bad weather, good weather, high water, low water. No matter what natures throws your way you have a plan in place based off of past failures and success. No matter what you can always make a day of it. That was me for the past decade or so. It's been quite a run. Sure, I had my days where things were working out but the next time out I'm making adjustments and rippin' lips!! That's just the way it's been. Just the way it's been until July 22nd, 2018. On that day we pickup up a comfortable 2" of rain throughout most of the region. For the month + prior we'd gotten little to no rain and trout were badly pooled up. Water levels recovered to a nice level but on the 24th we picked up another 2" and we were off to the races. Fast forward to today, August 23rd and most of the region has picked up anywhere from 14"-20" of rain in the last month. In all of my years I have never once seem the consistent amounts of heavy rain that we've gotten. Not in May, not in October. Never. Tremendous flooding ensued over and over to the same stream in some cases. One stream in particular was unrecognizable to me. Pools are riffles and riffles are pools. Channels moved 15 yards from their original. It was almost as if mother natures installed a new stream and hit the reset button in some cases. Around all of that I was able to find streams that were dropping back into play here and there while others were still very high. But despite great water levels over and over again the fishing stunk!


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And so would start a string of futility the likes of which I've never seen since I started casting a spinner 28 years ago. Over a span of 10 consecutive trips to the water I never managed more than 12 trout on any outing. Granted I quit most days within 1.5 hour out of frustration but the fishing was still painfully slow. During those 10 trips I fished for 14 hours and landed 40 trout total. What make it worse was that water levels, in most cases, were optimal


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But despite all of that I just couldn't pull an interesting outing together. The combination of high water long term, flooding, heat, humidity, and low water preceding was nothing that I had ever seen before. It took me trip after trip and failure after failure to tie it all together. When the dust finally settled I concluded that the period of low water had pooled the fish up badly. Instant high water didn't allow time to space out. This I already knew and expected. But what I never expect was the reaction to major flooding. Almost across the board, every stream I fished that had went over it's banks fished very poorly for an extended period beyond that day. This did coincide with years past but I'd never remotely had an extended period like we currently have had. So after beating my head against a wall for the past month I decided that I would go to a place that didn't flood at any point. The stream got very high but had yet to crest it's banks. My hopes were low from being battered and bruised over and over but 2 trout in my first 4 casts lit my fire. From there I dialed in and really opened a Can'O'Whoop'Arse on the trout.


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Water levels were just perfect and the stream was intact as I've always remembered it to be.


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It all added up to a much needed ole' fashion beat down. In 3.75 hours of fishing 160 trout came to hand. It doesn't get much better than that. It felt great to have one of those days where my hand never has time to dry off.


So your tip of the week...if you wanna maximize your catch rate pay attention to those stream flow maps and the areas that flood out and don't flood out. Take your chances on the flooded stream and hope for the best or catching loads of trout where it hasn't ;-)
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 07:15 PM
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Perseverance is key. Way to stick with it until you had a great outing. Not only a great outing, an amazing one!

What was your largest trout? I assume most were wild browns?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 08:55 PM
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I feel your frustration. Just about the same story for me in august. GREAT looking water, but not many fish around. Glad you broke out of it.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Not very large. A whopping 13". I did see too absolute giant fish though. One was either a whale or a trout.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 10:24 PM
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Way to work through it and persevere, hard work pays good dividends. I’m still of the camp that I’d rather catch more consistent fish than a few whales here and there, just feels like a more fruitful day to me when it works out. The colors on those browns are just amazing! The streams and the water levels look ideal, very “trouty” to the trout fisherman even. It still astonishes me today that I somehow had the good fortune to be born, raised, and live in one of the best places on the planet to trout fish.
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