I fished on Thursday and Friday, visiting three very scenic freestone streams. I saw that at last we've gotten some color this fall. Usually by now, most of the leaves are off the trees. As I drove to my first destination, I noticed that the fall colors were magnificent. I wanted to make sure I took a lot of pictures to share. I hope you enjoy.
I returned to a fairly large freestone stream that I had visited twice previously this year. This particular stream has a good number of big trout and I catch quite a few of what I call near hogs, which are trout between 15 and 16 inches. I parked my car and walked a long way downstream. On my second cast, a feisty eight incher pounced, and I had my first trout of the day. Shortly after that, another trout hit and slipped the hook, a scene that repeated itself much too often. It took a while before I landed trout #2, a 10 1/2 inch wild brown. A few minutes later, I flipped a cast along the shallow water on the left bank. Two trout followed the spinner back to me, and to my good fortune, the larger of the two intercepted my spinner. It was a nice heavy 15 inch wild brown.
"Here we go, first one of the day", I thought. I lost three trout before netting an 11 incher before the end of my first angling hour.
Hour number two was extremely slow. I caught only two trout; a 9 1/2 incher, which hit a plug, and a 10 incher, which hit a spinner. I lost several other trout.
The water temperature was colder than expected, at 50 degrees. I hoped the action would improve as the water warmed. The next hour produced 7 trout, with the largest being 13 1/2 inches. I lost 3 others.
I caught 5 browns in the next hour, but none were over 10 inches. I caught one using the figure eight technique. I was surprised that I hadn't seen any trout over 16 inches yet, though one followed during the hour that was close.
In a deep spot in a split channel, a hog brown followed my spinner, saw me, and beat a hasty retreat. I was happy to at least see a big trout, which renewed my anticipation level. I lost several trout while trying to pull them across heavy current. Further upstream, in a pool where I usually see a good sized trout, a brown in the 15-16 inch range followed my spinner but didn't hit. It then stayed in the same spot, mid-pool, I'm sure just to torment me. Above the pool I landed a 9 incher and a few minutes later an 11 1/2 incher.
I reached another pool where I've had good luck landing big trout. I dropped a cast right next to the bank and after a few cranks of the handle on my reel, I felt a vicious strike. I set the hook and knew I had hold of my first hog of the day. The portly brown immediately cleared the water twice in a row and thrashed on the surface. I was afraid the hooks would not hold, but they did. The trout wasn't as long as I first thought, which often happens with fat browns. They aren't as long as you think they will be. This one measured 16 1/2 inches. I was sure it was in the 18 inch range when I first saw him. Unfortunately, while fumbling with my camera, he slipped out of my hand before I could get a picture. I only caught two more trout that hour, browns of 10 and 11 inches.
I went on a brief streak to open the next hour, landing browns of 14 and 12 inches on back to back casts. I lost a couple more trout before landing an 8 incher and a 13 incher. After a brief pause in the action, I caught trout on back to back casts again; the first a 9 1/2 incher, followed by a 13 1/2 incher. I was hoping for another big trout and I saw a heavy brown in hot pursuit of my spinner. Unfortunately, he never hit and only showed scant interest in follow up casts. The next cast yielded a 12 inch brown and after a three cast break in the action, I got three on consecutive casts, but none were over 10 1/2 inches. As I approached posted water, I knew I had only a short time to fish. An 11 inch brown closed the fishing there, and I waded back downstream and climbed the steep hill to my car.
I drove to another stream that I hoped would yield a big trout or two. I only had about an hour or so of daylight left. I lost two trout before landing a 9 inch wild brown.
I fished a considerable distance before a 7 incher came to hand. I caught an 8 1/2 incher, and then an 8 incher. I knew I would have to turn around soon, but saw a deep spot by a log jam that I couldn't walk away (or wade away) from without trying. My first cast brought a ferocious strike. Again, I knew there was no doubt about this one. As I brought the trout to my net in the fading light, I measured him and pulled out my camera to take a picture. He measured 16 3/4 inches.
I finished the day with 39 trout in 7 1/2 hours of fishing. All trout were wild browns, and all hit spinners except for one. The first stream produced 34 trout, with five coming from the second stream. I caught only one between 15 and 16 inches. I had hoped to catch more big trout but I enjoyed being out on a beautiful autumn day.
I stayed overnight in the area and headed to a scenic woodland freestoner that I had not fished this year. Normally I fish this stream in May or June, but as I've documented before, I have fished very little this year for various reasons. Last year by this point, I had fished 59 times and had caught almost twice as many trout as I have this year. This was only my 27th outing of the year.
I delayed my start as some heavy thunderstorms were on the radar. After a couple of brief showers, I hit the stream. The day before, I caught a trout on my second cast. On this day, I improved on that and caught an 11 incher on my first cast.
The water temperature was 54 and I hoped for good action and hopefully some big trout. I caught three other small browns to close the first hour.
Several small trout charged, hit and got off, which happened throughout the day. I caught a 10 incher, followed by two sub-legals. I hadn't seen anything of any size yet. I flipped a cast near some of the abundant cover in the stream and a heavy brown zoomed out after my spinner and hit on a short line. The heavy brown raised quite a surface ruckus, but found refuge in my net. This 18 1/4 incher was my 1,000th trout of the year.
The fishing was particularly rugged. Extreme high water had washed large fallen trees into the stream, making much of it impassable. I had to wade in, fish, then wade out and climb the bank many times.
The action was good and I caught quite a few trout. Hours two and three produced 10 trout each, followed by 12 in the fourth hour. Most of the trout were small, between 6 and 10 inches. I’ve had success catching a few big trout in the past by fishing further upstream than most people are willing to walk, and hoped to repeat that success.
My fifth angling hour brought 14 brightly colored browns to hand, none over 10 inches. However, a hog brown followed my spinner twice before retreating to its lair. The small trout brigade continued and in the next hour I caught 8 browns, with the largest only 10 1/2 inches.
I caught 14 more browns in my final angling hour. Unfortunately, the high water made a favorite pool a graveyard for fallen trees and also completely closed off the approach on another favorite spot. I wanted to continue upstream but I knew I already had a long walk ahead and would have to make some of it in the dark. I smelled a skunk on my walk out but thankfully did not encounter one.
For the day, I caught 72 wild browns, all on spinners. I tried a plug briefly, to no avail. I was surprised at the lack of medium sized trout, but I couldn't complain about the number of trout I caught, and certainly not the big trout.
I had hoped to fish today (Saturday) but the heavy rain we received put an end to that thought. I hope the rain holds off for the next couple of weeks.