A Long Delayed Outing with a Good Friend
Last Friday, I took a vacation day to fish with Mark McKenzie, whom I had not fished with all year. It was great to fish with Mark again. We first met on a well known limestone stream in 2007. I was getting ready to hit the stream that day and Mark drove into the parking lot. He got out and we talked about fishing and he seemed to be very knowledgeable. He was mostly a spinner fisherman like me and rather than leave or get in each otherís way, I invited him to fish with me and he accepted. Weíve had many enjoyable days fishing together since.
We agreed to meet at the same stream where we first fished together. Because of the cold overnight temperatures, we started later than we normally would. Mark got on the board right away and landed a 12 inch brown. I followed suit about two minutes later, with a 14 inch brown. We were encouraged and hoped that we would catch some big browns. The first hour produced 13 browns, 7 for Mark and 6 for me. Markís largest trout was 13 Ĺ inches, mine was my first trout of the day. We both lost several trout.
The action slowed to a crawl in the second hour as we both had much difficulty. I only caught two browns, while Mark managed three. The next hour was better, but not great. I caught five trout, all browns between 9 Ĺ and 12 Ĺ inches, while Mark caught six. His trout were all browns, ranging from 8 to 14 Ĺ inches.
As we moved upstream, the action improved. Mark caught 8 eight trout and lost several others. I landed seven trout; 6 browns and a brightly colored rainbow. The biggest trout of the hour was a 13 Ĺ inch brown that I caught. Mark only had about another hour of fishing time left before he had to go pick up his son from school. The action slowed to almost nothing and we suspected we had entered already fished water. We waded quickly through a very nice pool that produced nothing. Finally, we started catch a few before we reached our walkout point. Mark landed four more trout, while I managed three. Mark caught 28 trout in the five hours we fished together. All were browns and all except one hit spinners. One hit a plug. I caught 23 in the same period. All except one were wild browns, with the other trout being a rainbow. Like Mark, I caught one on a plug and the rest on spinners. We both lost quite a few trout. Due to the cold overnight temperatures, we expected to catch fewer trout but thought with the higher water level that we would catch or at least see some large trout. Markís largest trout was a 14 Ĺ inch wild brown and mine was my first trout of the day, the 14 incher. Mark lost a trout that he said felt heavy, but he didnít get a look at it.
Mark drove me back to my car, and I looked for another place to fish. I drove to two spots before I found one that wasnít occupied. I fished there for 45 minutes and caught 7 wild browns; 4 soon after I started, and 3 on consecutive casts at the end of the channel before I headed back to my car. The biggest was 12 ĺ inches. I tried one other spot, and hauled in four additional browns, the biggest being 13 13/4 inches. Again, no big trout to be had. Overall, I caught 34 trout on the day.
It was great to fish with Mark again. Unfortunately, we didnít take any pictures. I got my camera out twice to take pictures of his fish, but both times the trout slipped out of his hand and took off. I hope weíll get to fish together at least one more time before end of the year.
Prospecting for Big Trout
The next day, I went to one of my favorite haunts for catching big trout. I started further downstream than I normally do. The conditions were excellent, and I hoped that the big trout would be out. Within five minutes of wading in, I felt a hard strike and set the hook. My first trout was a modest one, by that streamís standards; a 12 inch brown. I lost three small trout in a row before I reached a large bend pool. I flipped my spinner near a large deadfall. My spinner stopped, and I set the hook. The heavy brown dove for cover, but steady pressure soon tired him. I brought the fat fish to my feet. I suspected he was just short of hog status and I was correct. He measured 15 ĺ inches. I got out my camera, but he slipped out of my hand and was gone. I lost a couple of small trout before another heavy trout piled into my spinner. Some trout are leapers, some are runners, some a combination of the two. This one was a runner. I finally managed to net him, measure, and snap a picture. At 16 Ĺ inches, it was my first big trout of the day. Three more trout found refuge in my net before the end of the hour, two browns and a beautifully colored 12 inch rainbow.
I endured a long dry spell before catching a 13 Ĺ inch brown. I reached a spot that was too deep to wade through, so I waded out. Unfortunately, the land was posted on that side. I walked back to my car, shed my heavy jacket and drove upstream, then walked downstream and fished back to my car.
The action was much slower. Unfortunately, the heavy cloud cover gave way to bright sunshine. I only caught three trout, one being a nice 15 Ĺ incher. The others were only 11 and 10 inches, respectively. The action picked up the next hour, but I noticed that the big trout were not out. I was seeing lots of small trout, unusual for that stream. I caught five trout and lost several small trout.
As I reached an area where Iíve caught many large trout, I hoped that I might strike gold. I had a heavy trout throw the hook before I caught an 11 inch stocked brookie. After that, I had another long dry spell before tangling with another big trout, which like the previous one, escaped capture.
I lost two more small trout, which was due to lack of concentration. I donít get excited about catching small trout there. I had tried a plug twice before that day but decided to try a different one, a large Lucky Craft plug. I hoped the irregular action would stir a big trout into action. I made a cast to a deep spot and saw a huge trout streak toward my lure and strike. I set the hook and the big trout thrashed, sending the lure airborne. That brown was in the 20 inch class.
Confident that the plug would lure another large trout, I cast to a productive looking spot and caughtÖ an 11 incher. Shortly after that, a 12 inch rainbow struck. The bright sun came back out which predictably quashed the action.
After I walked through a long stretch, I dropped my plug on the edge of a current seam and it stopped. I set the hook and a heavy brown vaulted out of the water multiple times before being subdued. It measured 16 Ĺ inches.
The weather turned colder, and the wind picked up. I could sense a front coming in. I saw an angler upstream from me, so I headed back to my car. I was tired and sore but decided to try one more spot. As I arrived, the wind started to howl, and it began to rain hard. It didnít last long, but I knew more was coming, and I decided to call it a day.
I landed 19 trout on the day; 16 browns, 2 rainbows, and 1 brook trout. 16 hit spinners and the remainder hit plugs. I felt I should have caught more trout, as I lost quite a few fish. My biggest trout were two 16 Ĺ inch browns. Even though the big trout werenít out, I still caught two over 16 inches and tangled with three others. I had a chance at a five hog day, which is all you can ask for. Actually, you can always ask for more, but as we all know, that doesnít mean youíll get it.[IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/images/Huntingpa_toucan/smilies/tango_face_smile.png[/IMG]
Surprisingly Good Fishing
On Sunday, I really wanted to go to a favorite freestoner in the northeast, but due to the cold overnight temperatures, I figured the fishing would be lousy. Because of heavy rain on Saturday, I opted to go to small limestoner I know well. The overnight air temperature was warmer there than the stream I had wanted to fish, but I didnít expect to catch a lot of trout.
My third cast produced an 8 inch wild brown. A few minutes later, a bright 8 Ĺ incher lay at my feet. I took the water temperature and it was a better than anticipated 53 degrees. As I moved upstream, I caught trout at a fairly consistent pace and finished my first hour with 11 trout. The biggest was 10 Ĺ inches.
The action improved slightly in the next hour and I landed 13 trout. The biggest was 10 inches. A nice buck bolted as I approached a nice bend. I expected to see more deer as that area is full of them but didnít.
After having consistent action for the first two hours, I endured a long dry spell. I only had a couple of follows. I suspected that someone was ahead of me. As I moved upstream, I saw fresh boot prints on the bank. I walked upstream a short distance and saw an older fly fisherman. I enjoy watching a good fisherman in action, so I watched him for several minutes. He caught two small browns and missed another before he saw me on the bank and asked if I was headed upstream. I told him I was but didnít want to cut in front of him and ruin his fishing. He told me to go ahead, that he was going to be there awhile. He mentioned a long pool ahead of him that he recommended I fish. We wished each other good luck, and I walked upstream a long distance. Although the pool looked very nice, I walked past it without fishing it. I donít cut right in front of other anglers, even when they tell me itís OK.
When I waded back in, I resumed catching trout, though I missed more than I caught. I landed 6 wild browns up to 11 inches before I reached a deep pool that I couldnít wade through. My waders were leaking, and I decided to head back to my car. I saw the fly fisherman again and he told me he caught five in that pool and asked how I had done. I told him how I had done and told him where I had resumed fishing and that Iíd skipped the long pool. He was having difficulty getting up the bank, so I helped him get out of the creek. He thanked me and wished me good luck and I did the same.
I have some fast curing wader repair compound and I repaired the leak before I headed to another section of the stream. I expected there to be another car but there wasnít. I walked a long way downstream and fished back to my car. The action was very good, and I caught 15 trout and missed quite a few others in my fourth angling hour.
The next hour was even better. This chunky 12 incher was my 20th trout of the hour.
After that, the action slowed. I caught 8 trout in the next hour, which is not bad for late October. I fished another Ĺ hour and landed three more trout and called it a day.
I caught 76 wild browns in 6 Ĺ hours, all on spinners. I did much better than expected and had a great time on the water and a nice fall day.
Iím looking forward to some warmer weather in the next couple of days.