I fished the past two Saturdays, with very different results.
Lots of Exercise, but Few Fish
On the last Saturday in September, I drove to a unique watershed that I had not fished this year. I often walk into one of the main streamís tributaries, and then down to the larger stream. I noticed a truck parked there and since it was the first day of archery season, I expected that the vehicle belonged to a hunter. I decided to drive closer to the streamís mouth and start fishing from there. I had planned to drive there first anyway, because I wanted to see the water levels. I was afraid the stream might be too high to fish, but I saw immediately that it was up, but fishable.
I walked in and started in a pool near the lower tributary, but surprisingly got no action. As I moved upstream and made casts near structure on the opposite bank, I expected at least a follow or two, but got nothing. About ten minutes into the day I dropped a cast near a root tangle next to the bank. A trout pounced, and I set the hook. I got the brown trout about halfway in when the trout got off. I continued upstream, fishing some beautiful riffles and runs, to no avail. Finally, my first cast toward the tail of a deep pool drew a response. I set the hook and this time the wild brown trout did not escape capture. My first and only trout of the first hour was 11 inches.
I fished a few more spots with no response and thought about leaving, but instead decided to skip some water and walk further upstream. I waded back in, but the lack of action continued. I tried some different spinners and plugs. The only positive result was a 9 Ĺ inch native brookie, which slammed a Lucky Craft plug. That was the only trout of the second hour.
I really should have left, but I was far enough upstream that I had two options; continue upstream and fish the tiny tributary, or walk back to the car and go elsewhere. I decided to continue upstream, since I thought I could do well in the tributary. I skipped some more water before trying several beautiful spots. I wasnít getting any action at all. I wondered if someone was ahead of me, something I would not expect late in the year on that stream.
I approached a very deep pool that I have fished for years without ever catching a big trout. I had a big trout follow there several years ago, but that was it. I have run into other fishermen there in the past. On one occasion, a guy using live crayfish was there, and he had caught a 20 inch brown from that pool. Unfortunately, he kept the trout. But there was no one there this time. I cast a spinner toward the bank at the tail of the pool and predictably had no response. I decided to try something different. I tied on a #7 Countdown Brown Trout Rapala and flipped it toward a log that jutted out from the bank into the middle of the pool. I saw a big yellow flash and felt the plug stop. I set the hook and the brown dove deep. I kept him from going under the log and the pressure soon tired the fish. I led him in and slipped my net under him. It was a big male brown trout that measured exactly 17 inches. It made the long walk worth it.
I moved upstream past the tributary, hoping to catch another big trout in the abundant pools and structure that exist, but only got one follow. I saw confirmation of my suspicion that someone was ahead of me; fresh boot tracks. I futilely tried a couple more spots before I headed back toward the tributary.
The tributary is beautiful, but the lower end is difficult to fish because there is so much in stream structure. It was even more difficult on this day, as the extreme high water the stream had previously had downed even more trees. The stream was also flowing fast, and the trout were not hitting in the heavy current. I made a cast into a very tight pocket and was rewarded with a sub-legal wild rainbow. It was my first wild rainbow of the year and made it a three wild species day, which is rare in this state.
An 8 inch rainbow was next, followed by a 7 inch native brookie and a 5 Ĺ inch brookie on back to back casts. I had hoped to catch a lot of trout there, as I have had high number catch days there in the past. But the conditions werenít favorable. I fished the stream for a little over two hours and caught 15 trout, 8 wild rainbows and 7 native brookies. I decided to make the long walk back to my car.
I found a net that an angler had lost when the elastic snapped on it. I hung it on a tree near the main trail in case the angler who lost it came back for it.
I ran into come campers when I reached the mainstem and talked with them for a few minutes before continuing my long trek to my car. As I walked near my car, I decided to try the lower tributary even though my legs were aching. I tried a few spots, and succeeded in getting only one trout, a beautiful surface skipping 9 Ĺ inch wild rainbow.
For the day, I caught only 19 trout; 9 rainbows, 8 brooks, and 2 browns. All but two of the trout hit spinners, the other two, including my largest, hit plugs. The largest wild rainbow was 9 Ĺ inches, as was my biggest brook trout. My phone told me that I walked 7.8 miles on the day, a very long walk for not many trout, but I did catch some pretty fish and saw some beautiful water.
17 inch wild brown trout
First wild rainbow of the year
Tight fishing conditions
Brightly colored wild rainbow
9 inch wild rainbow
Scenic freestone water
Another Long Hike with a Very Different Result
On the first Saturday in October, I returned to a stream that I hadnít fished since February. It is a stream where Iíve had many great days, and I hoped to have another.
I arrived early, parked my car and walked in. Before I waded in, I walked to a spot on the bank to fish a back channel created by high water events (yes we've had some)
. My second cast brought a charging brown trout, which drilled my spinner and somersaulted out of the water. I brought in the beauty, measured the 12 ľ incher, and quickly released it. I then waded in and started my trek in and around the abundant structure in the creek. My first angling hour produced 12 additional trout with the trout ranging from 6 Ĺ to 10 Ĺ inches.
The next hour was even better, as I caught 15 browns, ranging from 4 to 10 Ĺ inches. I had at least 5 more trout hit and throw the hook. The trout in this stream are lightning fast and missed strikes and lost trout are often the result.
Hour number three began with four lost trout in a row. I checked the hook points on my double hooked spinner and found them to be fine. An 8 Ĺ inch brown finally got me off the trout losing streak. As I approached a logjam, I cast toward it and six trout followed it out, but none hit. This happened several times during the day. Sometimes I would catch trout when that happened, sometimes not. On the other side of the logjam, I caught a 10 Ĺ inch brown. The action improved in the third hour as 19 bright yellow browns came to hand. The smallest was a mere 3 Ĺ inches and the largest was 10 Ĺ.
I saw a deer bolt as I approached the next bend. I had another trout losing streak before getting back on track. 16 browns were caught and released in angling hour number four, the largest of which was 12 inches.
I was hoping that nobody was ahead of me in the section I was in and as I approached a walk in point for anglers I saw the stream ahead was clear. The action really improved for a short time, and I caught trout on four consecutive casts and lost a trout on the fifth. My fifth hour produced 17 trout, with several between 10 and 12 inches long. I had arrived at a deep pool I could not wade through, so I climbed an old railroad grade and descended to continue fishing.
I caught 12 trout in the next hour and ran into another angler, a fly fisherman that I didnít see, until he spoke. I climbed onto the bank and walked a long distance upstream so as not to disturb his fishing. Shortly after reentering the stream, I caught trout on back to back casts and saw another angler ahead of me, so I got out and walked a good half mile upstream before wading back in. My trout fishing followed a similar pattern as before; short slow periods, followed by a flurry of activity. At one spot, I had at least 8 trout follow my spinner and the most determined one smashed my lure. The 10 Ĺ incher cleared the water four times before I landed him.
I continued to catch trout but realized that I was a long way from my vehicle, so I decided to make the long walk back to my car. It took over an hour to reach my car. I removed my waders and headed for home. I hoped to have some time to try a stream that flows past the apartment complex where I live.
When I arrived, the light was fading, and I only had a short time to wade in and fish. The stream is stocked but Iím not sure where. I was in the lower part of the creek and wasnít sure what to expect. I only fished it for 15 minutes and landed a little smallmouth bass, a rock bass, and a beautiful 11 inch brown trout with perfect fins that Iím sure is wild. I will have to try more of the stream in the future.
For the day, I caught 115 wild browns, all on spinners, in 8.25 hours of fishing. I had at least two dozen more trout hit and throw the hook. It is my highest outing of the year so far. My largest trout was the 12 ľ incher I caught to start the day. I saw eight deer and a red fox. My phone showed that I walked over six miles on the day.
12 1/4 inch wild brown
12 inch wild brown
Eoroded bank from high water