Two Memorial Day Weekend Outings
I fished twice over the holiday weekend. I slept in on Saturday morning and didn’t arrive at my destination until mid-morning. When I arrived, I saw a familiar pick-up truck parked there and texted a friend to see if he was fishing there. He was but was upstream from where I intended to fish. I quickly got ready and hastily walked down the trail until I reached some deep, slow water I hadn’t fished before. The stream I was fishing is a class A woodland freestoner that has mostly brown trout. It also has native brookies as well as some smallmouth bass.
I didn’t get so much as a follow for the first 15 minutes I fished, but as I pulled the spinner through a deep pocket, I saw a very thick fish open its mouth and grab my spinner. I set the hook, but the fish turned, and the spinner popped out. I got a good look at the fish. It was a smallmouth bass that I’m sure was over 16 inches long. Two years ago, fishing in the same stretch, I caught a 16 ½ inch smallmouth. A few casts later, another large fish struck, and unfortunately, threw the hooks. That fish was a brown trout that I’m sure was over 16 inches.
My first landed fish was a 10 inch bass. I didn’t land a trout until 30 minutes into my first angling hour. It was a little 7 inch wild brown, but beggars can’t be choosers, and I was happy to be on the board. A 9 ½ incher soon followed, and the action picked up from there. I caught six more browns in the remainder of the hour and lost two others. The size of the trout were; 10, 11 ½, 13, 12, 9, and 10 inches, respectively.
The next hour started almost as slowly as the first. I hooked a heavy fish, but I knew from its shape that it was a bass. It was 14 inches long. It took 20 minutes before I landed a nice 13 inch brown. Another 13 inch brown soon followed. After ten troutless minutes, I flipped my spinner under an overhanging branch into a pocket next to the bank. A trout was on the spinner instantly. I set the hook and the heavy fish dove under a log, then into heavy current. I thought it had hog potential but when I scooped my net under him, I had a familiar feeling that he was going to be just short. The tape stretched to 15 ½ inches as I suspected. A short time later, I caught my fourth 13 inch brown of the day. Just before the end of the hour, I dropped my spinner under a logjam and again a heavy brown responded. As I battled the fish, I knew there was no doubt on this one. It measured 17 ¼ inches, a very nice trout anywhere, but especially in a small freestoner. It was my 13th trout of the day and having caught four 13 inchers, anyone who was superstitious might have stopped fishing.
Angling hour #3 opened with a 12 inch stocked rainbow coming to hand, something I had never caught in that stream. It must have been stocked in there or came from a tributary. About five minutes later, I hooked and landed another big brown, a nice 17 incher. The next spot produced a 9 ½ inch brown, followed by my first brook trout of the day, a feisty 7 incher. I lost a sub-legal brookie on the next cast. I caught four more trout to close the hour, browns of 8 ½ and 12 inches, and brooks of 6 ½ and 7 inches.
The next hour commenced with three straight lost trout before I caught 8 ½ and 9 inch browns. I went through about a 15 minute dead period before landing an 8 ½ inch brook trout followed by a 6 incher. An 11 inch brown was my first double digit sized trout of the hour, which was followed by a nice 9 ½ inch native brookie. An 8 ½ inch brookie came to hand a couple minutes after that.
I unexpectedly came up empty in a very likely looking deep spot, then caught 12 and 9 inch browns in the next section of water. I cast to some good looking holding water, which produced a 9 inch brookie. I lost a nice brown and had some follows before I reached a deep pocket under a low hanging tree branch. My cast landed right at the top of the pocket and after two cranks of the reel handle, I saw a flash and I set the hook. The brown dove then headed for the fast water at the tail. I maneuvered the brown into the shallows where I had hopes of a third hog. At 16 ¼ inches, it barely qualified. I was near my car and I was sure that the section near where I parked had already been fished. I had no interest on a spinner and a small trout chased a plug that I tried. I knew the water upstream from there had already been fished and I decided to try another stream.
I drove to a stream I had never fished before and it took a while to find a stretch that didn’t have an abundance of the dread no trespassing signs. I parked my car and walked in. It took a while before I got any action. I caught two small wild browns before hooking (and losing) a heavy brown that I believe was between 15 and 16 inches. I fished through some nice looking water before I caught a 12 inch brown. As I approached a bridge, I could see bright yellow signs on the other side. I caught a 6 ½ inch brown and a nice 12 ¾ inch brown to close the day.
Overall, I caught 37 trout and 3 bass in 5 ½ hours of fishing. 28 trout were wild browns, 8 were native brooks, and 1 was the surprise rainbow. I unexpectedly caught three over 16 inches and lost a fourth. I also saw two fawns, the first I have seen this year.
Distance walked: 4.6 miles
Pictures from the day:
On Monday, I went to a large freestoner that I’ve been itching to fish for weeks, but haven’t been able to, because it’s been too high. It’s actually still too high, but I decided to try it. It’s a scenic stream with a good wild brown trout population and there are also some big trout there.
The stream was flowing fast, and the wading and fishing was difficult. I had many trout follow without hitting to start. I caught 6 wild browns in the first hour and lost 5. The biggest trout of hour #1 was 11 inches and it hit a #5 Rapala.
The next hour produced more of the same, lots of light hits, 6 trout caught and 6 slipped the hook. Losing trout was a problem all day as the trout were jumping fools, and a fair number got off due to the heavy current. The highlight of the second hour was a 16 ½ inch brown.
Hour #3 yielded only 5 trout, all between 7 and 10 ½ inches. 4 trout took to the air to gain their freedom.
I fished that stream for another 1 ½ hours and caught 9 browns. The highlight was this 17 incher with vivid red spots.
After walking back to my car, I drove to two other sections of the same stream. I probably should have tried the first section, but I didn’t, and the second section was occupied by another fisherman. I drove to a nearby freestoner that I had driven past numerous times but never tried.
I fished the little stream for 1 ½ hours and caught 16 trout. All but two were wild browns with the largest being 12 1/4 inches. The other two trout were stocked brook trout of 12 ½ and 14 inches, which I believe were stocked by a private club further upstream. Four leapers threw my spinners on that stream too.
For the day, I caught 42 trout (40 wild browns and 2 stocked brook trout) in 6 hours of fishing. An astounding 20 trout were LDRs (long distance releases). All hit spinners except for two which hit plugs. Two trout over 16 inches were the highlights of the day.
Distance walked: 3.3 miles
The day's pictures: