I had two outings recently where I drove a long time and distance but didn’t catch a lot of trout. The first was the day before Easter. The area had received heavy rain and I went off to scout some new streams, but due to the high water, I didn’t expect to get much fishing in.
The first stream I drove to was a new addition to the class A streams list, but it was too high and cloudy to try, so I drove to another stream that was nearby, or at least to the rutted dirt road that led to it. With all the water flowing down the road, I knew the stream would be muddy, so I left for another stream. The next stream was not only very cloudy, but heavily posted, so I decided to head to a mountain freestoner that I know well. I figured it would be high but might be clear enough to fish. When I arrived, I saw that the stream was indeed high, but was clearer than expected, so I got my gear together and hit the stream.
The stream was flowing very fast, so I fished the flat areas and slower spots. I had two trout follow before I had my first hit. The trout cleared the water and threw my spinner in the air. About ten minutes later I hooked and landed a 10 inch wild brown. I skipped some very fast moving water to hit a likely looking spot. I had three trout follow, but only one hit, and I whiffed on the hookset.
Further upstream, a nice brown pounded my spinner, then dashed around the pool. After a couple of minutes, I brought him in and measured him. He was 13 inches long. I continued upstream, fishing likely spots, but only had a few follows and hits. I decided to head to another stream.
It took a while to get to the next stream, but when I arrived, I was amazed at the volume of water coursing through the stream channel. I should have left right away, but I tried a few spots where the current wasn’t roaring. I had only one hit in a half hour before leaving.
After that, I drove past one stream after another that was either too high, too cloudy, or both. I finally reached a stream that I had last fished two years ago, under similar circumstances. The stream was up, but much more fishable than the other streams I had seen that day. I parked near a camp and walked downstream. It took a while before I had any action. An 11 inch wild brown was my first trout there. Shortly after that, I caught browns of 8 and 6 ½ inches. I fished through several likely looking spots before I reached a deeper spot.
A nice brown slammed my spinner but got off right away. A few casts later an 8 inch native brookie grabbed my spinner and came to hand. On the next cast, a 7 inch brookie followed. As I moved upstream, I had several trout follow but not hit. My next trout was a 9 ½ inch brown, followed by a line testing 4 inch brown.
The light was quickly fading as I headed for a spot I wanted to try before walking out.
I flipped a cast under a low hanging branch next to a logjam. A heavy trout grabbed my spinner on the drop. I had lost a big trout in that very spot two years ago and was determined not to lose this one. Keeping steady pressure, I led him across the heavy flow into my waiting net. The beautiful brown measured exactly 19 inches. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was the same trout I lost two years ago. It was a great way to end a long, frustrating day.
I made the long walk back to my car. Like the first stream I fished, I had to skip some fast moving water. Normally, I fish fast water, but when it’s roaring in cold water conditions. I only caught 10 trout (8 wild browns, 2 native brooks) in four hours of fishing, but the hog brown made it worth the effort. I walked 5 ½ miles on the day; a lot of walking for only 10 trout. I flushed a grouse and saw a bald eagle fly off a deer carcass.
I didn’t fish the next weekend due to high water but was anxious to fish this past weekend. We received more heavy rain on Friday night, so I drove a long distance to a mountain freestoner I figured would be high, but clear. I was surprised to see it wasn’t high at all.
Shortly after starting, a nice trout drilled my spinner. My first trout of the day was a nice 9 ½ inch native brook trout.
About ten minutes later, a 9 ¾ inch wild brown became trout #2. It took another ten minutes or so before I landed a nice 12 inch brown, which was closely followed by an 8 inch brown. I lost three trout before landing an 11 ½ inch brown and a 7 inch brookie. The water temperature was 56.
The first trout of the next angling hour was a 9 inch brookie. I missed a couple of strikes before landing a 7 ½ inch brookie, and a couple of casts later, a 6 ½ incher. As I moved upstream, I covered a lot of likely looking spots with only a follow from a small trout. I made a cast to the far bank in a shallow stretch of pocket water. As I pulled the spinner through it, a nice brown ambushed my spinner. I was very surprised at catching a 14 inch wild brown in shallow water and hoped I could duplicate or even exceed that effort.
Three more trout came to hand in hour number two; an 11 inch brown and brooks of 8 ½ and 6 inches.
The next hour was my highest hour of the day. It produced 12 trout; 8 browns and 4 brooks. The biggest browns were two 11 inchers, the biggest brookie a nice 9 ½ incher. I had four other trout hit and throw the spinner.
I caught five brook trout between 7 and 8 ½ inches in the first half of the next hour, but the action died after that, which told me that I had entered already fished water. I walked back to my car and headed for one of its tributaries.
I only fished the trib for a little less than half an hour as the skies opened and made the stream cloudy. I caught one 7 inch brookie and lost two others in the brief time I fished. As I hustled back to my vehicle, the intensity of the rain increased. I was soaked by the time I reached my car.
I drove to a stream I had never tried, and it was fishable. However, it had a lot of the dread no trespassing signs. I found a spot with no signs and was ready to park and give it a try when the heavy rain returned, so I called it a day.
I only fished 4 ½ hours and caught 31 trout, all on spinners. 17 were native brooks and the other 14 were wild browns. The biggest trout of the day was 14 inches. Overall, I walked 3.1 miles.