My first trip of the year is usually in January or February, but I kept running into obstacles to hitting the streams. Most of the time, it was either too cold, or the water was too high to justify venturing out. I had a few other conflicts that kept me from going. But with the good forecast, I decided that Saturday was going to be my long delayed first outing. I hadn't fished since December 28, 2018.
I chose a familiar small limestoner. I had to start a little later, but I waded into the creek at 8:31 AM. I expected to be rusty from not having fished in such a long time. I missed strikes on three consecutive casts before I hooked a trout, and then promptly lost it. I lost two more before I landed my first trout of 2019, a 12 1/2 inch wild brown.
First trout of 2019
A few minutes later, I hooked and landed a 10 1/2 inch brown, then missed several strikes before landing a 10 inch brown. About five minutes later, I caught a 12 inch brown. I sometimes fail to catch even one 12 inch brown on that creek during the day and I already had two in the first hour.
The remainder of the hour produced five more browns, ranging from 6 to 9 inches. My first angling hour of the year produced 10 trout, not bad at all for 48 degree water.
I caught a 10 inch brown and a 10 1/2 incher in the first ten minutes of the second hour but endured a long dry spell. I saw fresh boot tracks along the stream, so I was sure an angler had moved in front of me. Sometimes on that stream people fish from the bank so you can still catch trout in between easy bank access points, but I was not getting even an occasional follow. I only caught one 6 1/2 inch brown in the remainder of the second hour.
I waded out and walked upstream and got back in, but the lack of action continued. I then spotted an angler walking downstream along the bank. It was another spinner fisherman, which didn't surprise me. I've found it's pointless to fish behind another spinner angler. I had tried a small plug briefly but only got a follow from a small trout. The angler told me he had caught a few trout near where he'd gotten in, but complained the stream was too high. I thought the stream was at a perfect height, but I like a stream to be slightly elevated.
A short distance upstream of where I saw him, I caught a 9 1/2 incher and a 7 incher, so I thought he'd gotten out there, but the action died again. It wasn't until I moved above a short posted stretch that the action began to improve. I had two trout hit and throw the hook before I caught a nice 12 1/2 incher. I fished through a shallow section with no action before landing three trout, browns of 9 1/2, 8 1/2, and 9 inches.
I reached a pool that I used to be able to wade through but flooding a couple of years ago made it too deep. I decided to see if it had filled in enough to wade through, so I waded in, making several casts along the edges. I was a probably about 3/4 of the way through the pool when I felt a light tap and set the hook. I felt a heavy fish and instantly regretted my decision to leave my net in the car. I battled the heavy brown for several minutes until he tired. I knew I had my first hog of 2019 but was surprised when he measured 20 1/2 inches. I had not caught a trout of 20 inches or more on my first outing of the year since I caught a 22 inch wild brown (in a different stream) on New Year's Day in 2011.
I snapped a couple of quick pictures and released him. I was happy to see him dart away.
Heavy 20 1/2 inch wild brown
The brown had taken me downstream a bit, so I waded back upstream and caught browns of 13 and 11 inches before the pool became too deep to wade through. I decided to head back to my car and go to another section.
I drove upstream and parked my car, then started to walk downstream before I saw another fisherman. I didn't know how far he had fished, but I didn't want to walk downstream and fish behind him, so I turned around and walked a long way upstream. Unfortunately, the total lack of action told me someone had already fished that section. I only caught three trout in that hour, highlighted by this nice 13 incher.
I encountered people wading in the creek, so I had to walk upstream around them before I began to catch trout. I caught 9 trout, including three on consecutive casts, before I reached a heavily posted section. The trout in the last stretch were small, ranging from 7 to 9 inches. I decided to head back to my car.
Though I normally catch more trout in that stream, the big brown made my day. I fished 5.25 hours and caught 34 wild browns. I probably lost another 10-12 trout.
I arrived home and decided to check out more of the stream that flows past my apartment complex. I had fished it briefly last fall, and had caught a smallmouth bass, a rock bass, and a beautiful 11" wild brown trout. I had helped stock the stream two weeks ago. The lowest stocking point is 3 or 4 miles upstream from where I was. I walked downstream and waded in. I didn't get even a follow until I reached a bank stabilizer near a bridge.
My cast landed right against the structure. I had a solid hit and set the hook. The drag buzzed from a heavy trout. I measured the nice wild brown, which was 16 1/2 inches. A short distance upstream, I encountered a dread "No Fishing" sign, so I called it a day. I only caught one trout in the hour that I fished the second stream, but catching a big trout made it worth it.
Overall, I caught 35 trout in 6.25 hours, all wild browns. I caught all trout on spinners. I was very pleased with the day, as I didn't expect to catch any big trout, let alone two of them, and certainly not any over 20 inches! The last time I had a trout over 16 inches in my first outing of the year was in 2015, and on that day, I also had a two hog day.
I wanted to fish today as well, but my legs are extremely sore, so I decided to rest. The app on my phone says I walked 7.3 miles yesterday; 6.4 of those were while fishing.