I fished both days this past weekend. We received very heavy rain on Friday so my first choice for Saturday was out. Almost everything I drove past was high and muddy. I headed for a small freestoner that has a class A wild brook and brown trout population. When I arrived, the stream was very cloudy, and I wondered whether I should stay. I decided to try it, since I figured the stream would clear during the day, plus I figured I didn’t have a lot of options.
The action was very slow, and I only caught four trout in my first hour; 3 native brooks and 1 wild brown. As I moved upstream, the stream slowly began to clear but the action remained slow. Four more native brookies came to hand in hour #2, the largest was 9 inches.
As I walked around a large fallen tree, I almost stepped on a wood turtle. I had several trout follow without hitting before I landed an 8 inch brookie, followed by a feisty 5 incher. A wild brown smashed my spinner, promptly cleared the water and tossed my spinner. Two more sub-legal brookies were landed shortly after that.
The stream gradient increased, and I had to pick my way through a very narrow stream channel. Over the next two hours, I landed 12 more native brookies, the largest being 9 ¼ inches. I reached a point where the stream was too small to follow upstream any further, so I returned to my car. On the way back, a turkey flew overhead.
I drove to a nearby stream I had fished once before. It is a freestoner that is difficult to fish because it is very narrow and brushy. I fished it for 0.75 hours and caught five wild browns. The biggest was 11 ½ inches. I drove to a tributary, which I had never fished before, but encountered no trespassing signs, so I decided to call it a day.
For the day, I fished a total of 5.25 hours and caught 27 trout; 22 native brooks and 5 wild browns. I saw two deer. The app on my phone said I walked 5.2 miles during the day.
On Sunday, I drove to a couple of new streams in my area to see where they were and what they looked like. It turns out I had fished one of them before. I didn’t think much of the stream when I fished it then and my opinion of it didn’t improve when I saw it again. I left and drove to another stream. It looked like it had possibilities, but I decided to head to a familiar limestone-influenced stream.
I expected the stream to be cloudy, but it was clear. I had a couple of hits in my first few casts but missed on the hooksets. I moved upstream to a familiar pool where I’ve caught many trout, but never anything big. My first two casts produced nothing, which is very unusual for that spot. A small brown followed but didn’t hit on the next cast. I moved up and flipped a cast to the far bank. The spinner stopped and I set the hook. A heavy brown dove deep but I brought him to my feet in short order. I knew it had a chance for hog status, and at 16 ¼ inches, it just made it. It is not a stream where I expect to catch a big trout, though it’s the third year in a row that I’ve gotten one.
The water temperature was 58 degrees, which I consider to be a perfect water temperature for most streams. However, it took another 15 minutes before I caught another trout, an 8 inch brown. I had two trout hit and throw the hook before I landed an 11 ½ incher. The remainder of the hour produced four more browns, ranging from 8 ½ to 10 inches.
16 1/4 inch wild brown
I opened hour number two by hooking and losing a nice trout. Shortly after that I caught a 10 incher, then a 9 incher. I had a gap of about ten minutes before an 8 incher was added to my tally. On the next cast, a nice 12 incher came to hand, and following the release, a 7 ½ incher made it three in a row. As I moved upstream, I came to a bend pool where I’ve caught trout up to 15 inches but never a hog. I made a cast right in front of a deep spot in front of a log. Bang! I set the hook and the battle was on. Unfortunately, the battle was short. The spinner pulled loose. I never saw the trout, but it felt heavy. Four more browns, including another 12 incher, plus another lost trout closed the hour.
Hour number three opened with a small trout hitting, clearing the water, and throwing the hook. My first trout of the hour was 6 ½ inches, my first sub-legal of the day. I normally catch quite a few sub-legal browns in that stream, but I’ve noticed that early in the year, I don’t catch nearly as many. Another thing I noticed was that although the water temperature was excellent, the trout that were hitting were in calmer, deeper water. Once the weather becomes more consistent, and the water temperatures with it, more trout will spread out.
I caught a 9 incher from a bend in the creek. I reached a deep run and on my first cast, a heavy trout struck. As I brought the brown in, I felt he was going to be short of big trout status. Sure enough, the tape stopped at 15 inches. A 15 inch trout is a good trout, and I would have been surprised to get a second hog since I’ve never caught two of them in that stream in the same day, though I have gotten one from the main stream and one of its tribs in the same day.
15 inch brown
Two casts later, a trout pounded my spinner. I knew instantly that the trout was a hog. I saw a silver flash and knew it was a rainbow. The stream is a class A wild brown trout stream, but some landowners illegally stock a few trout. The rainbow rocketed around the pool and it took several minutes before I eased my net under him. The fish looked like it had gone three or four rounds with a great blue heron. I had three marks on one side and one on the other. It measured 19 ½ inches but was not a very pretty fish. After that, catches of 9, 12 ½, and 10 inches followed.
As I made a cast to open angling hour number four, a small trout hit and got off. Three straight hours had opened with a lost trout. I lost four other trout in that hour and only caught one more trout (6), than I lost during the hour. The biggest trout of the hour was 12 inches.
I made a cast to open the next angling hour and a brown trout pounced. I fully expected the trout losing string to continue, but this time I landed the 11 ½ incher. Hour number five turned out to be my most productive hour in terms of number of trout. I landed 11, including another 12 incher and a 13 incher. Three trout got off, all going airborne and tossing the spinner.
I caught a 9 ½ incher before I moved up a tiny tributary. I caught browns of 10, 11, 8 ½, and 8 ½ before returning to the main stream. I fished a deep pocket underneath a bridge and pulled in three nice trout; 12 ½, 11, and 14 inches.
As I moved upstream, I knew I was getting near my walk out point. A 12 ¾ inch brown zoomed out from an undercut bank to drill my spinner, followed two casts later by an 11 ½ incher. The day closed with an 8 ½ inch brown. I was tempted to keep fishing, but I knew I had a long walk back to my car.
As I walked back to the car, I saw 7 deer file through an open field.
Overall, I caught 51 trout, all on spinners in 6.25 hours. All were wild browns except for the battle-scarred rainbow. I caught two hogs on the main stream in the same day for the first time and landed 13 trout that were at least 12 inches long. The total could have been higher, as I lost 16 trout during the day. I’m not sure why I lost so many. Several were small trout, which are difficult to hook. Quite a few were leapers.
A 4 1/2 inch wild brown
I was tired and was happy to reach the car. I covered 3.6 miles on the day. I look forward to my next outing.