Disappointing June Fishing
I looked forward to fishing this past weekend and I had Monday off. Two streams I had been wanting to fish for a long time had dropped to fishable levels for the first time in a long time. The two days had considerably less action than I would have liked, but in almost every fishing trip, there's a highlight or three.
I arrived at the first stream on Sunday, a large freestoner known for producing big trout. I used my 6 1/2 foot ML spinning rod for the first time this year. Since I had been fishing all small streams, I had used only my 6' ML rod.
I switched out a few smaller plugs for some larger ones, then walked downstream and waded in. The water was lower than it had been in a long time, but the current was still strong. A couple of small trout nipped at my spinner but I could see that it wasn't getting deep enough, so I switched to a larger spinner. I dropped the lure next to the bank and after a couple of turns of my reel handle I felt a subtle take and set the hook. The reel sang as the big trout took line. The big brown dove several times, but ultimately found its way into my net. My first trout of the day was 17 inches, so the day was off to a great start.
I caught three small browns ranging from 8 1/2 to 9 inches before I saw an angler upstream from me, so I climbed the bank and walked upstream out of sight of the fisherman, who was fishing downstream. After wading back in, I lost two trout in a row before I reached a spot where the stream dropped into a deep pocket against the bank, a big trout hangout that has produced for me in the past.
Only one small trout flashed at my spinner, so I tied on a 3 1/2 inch plug that I had put in my lure box before I started. My cast landed at the base of the riffle and tumbled toward the bank. I gave the lure a slight twitch and a heavy brown piled into the plug. I set the hook and the lunker zoomed downstream and jumped three feet clear of the water. A few seconds later, it performed a second leap, then a third. It was close to my feet, but it saw me and burned line off my reel and made leap number four. It headed for the undercut, but I steered him away from it and he cleared the water again. As I brought him toward me, I thought that he must be tiring. Guess again! The aerial circus continued as he made three more gravity defying leaps. After each jump, I thought the brute might gain his freedom at any second, but I finally scooped my net under him. I wet my hands, quickly measured him and took one fast photo so as to not put any more stress on the dandy brown. I thought he might rest at my feet for a little bit given the fight he had just waged, but as soon as I removed the hook, he rocketed away, which made me very happy. The brawny brown measured 20 inches.
I took a minute to catch my breath and wait for my pulse to go back down before I resumed fishing. As I moved upstream into shallower water, I removed the plug and tied on a spinner. The action slowed way down even though the cloudy conditions and stream level were ideal. I caught four browns from 7 1/2 to 9 1/2 inches over the next hour. I had a long dry spell before landing a 12 1/2 incher and an 11 incher before another lull. I fished through several areas that have produced big trout for me in the past but I didn't even see any big trout.
I approached a spot where I often see a hog brown. I flipped a cast into the deep pocket and saw two small browns following, then the big trout I was hoping for came out in hot pursuit. Unfortunately, he saw me and that was the end of that. I continued a long way upstream and landed six more browns, the biggest being 13 1/2 inches. I felt that I should have left that section before I did, but it's tough for me to leave when I've seen and caught big trout.
I made the long walk back to my car, ate my lunch and drove further downstream. The water was probably a bit too high to fish that section, but I wanted to give it a try. The wading was brutal as I inched my way upstream. I only managed a 9 1/2 inch brown despite fishing promising spot after promising spot. I arrived at a sheltered pocket that had big trout written all over it. As I retrieved my spinner, a hog brown came after the spinner. Before I had a chance to crouch low to the water, he retreated to his hideaway.
Upstream from there, I tied on the 3 1/2 inch plug that had produced the 20 incher. After a few casts, a heavy fish slammed the plug. "Finally! Hog #3.", I thought. The fish flashed, and I saw that it was a smallmouth bass that turned out to be 15 inches long.
I fished through a few more spots and only had a sub-legal brown to show for it. I decided my legs had enough of wading through the heavy current. I climbed the bank and walked back to my car.
On the day, I saw four deer. My phone said I walked 3.7 miles. I landed 19 wild browns and the aforementioned bass. Two of the trout hit plugs, the rest hit spinners.
I made a long drive to stay overnight and get an early start on a stream that I had only fished once last year (but not at all this year). It rained hard the whole drive. When I got up the next morning and drove to the stream, it was already cloudy and I knew before long it would be too discolored to fish, so I left without trying it. Another stream that I hadn't fished this year looked like it had a reasonable level. It's extremely popular and I hoped that the poor weather would keep most of the anglers away.
As I headed toward the stream, I had a turkey cross the road in front of me. I was very surprised that it just bolted across the road. I also saw three deer on the drive in.
When I arrived, the creek was clearer than the first stream, but was rising and cloudy. I hoped to make the most of the little time I had before it too became too brown to fish. It took a while before I landed a trout. An 8 inch wild brown got me on the board. I fished through a heavy riffle and caught browns of 13, 9, 12, and 9 1/2 inches before I spotted an angler working downstream. He was a long distance away, so I continued to work my way upstream. A nice trout hit in the fast riffle and I thought it was possibly a hog, but the heavy current made the brown seem bigger than it was. It turned out to be 14 inches.
I flipped a cast to some pocket water that I believe most anglers pass when they fish there. A heavy trout slammed my spinner and zoomed around before I was able to lead him into my net. The beautiful brown measured 18 3/4 inches.
An 11 1/2 inch brown was added to the tally before I reeled up so as not to run afoul of the angler working his way downstream. We talked for a few minutes. He had a successful morning catching trout on nymphs, including a 17 incher. We wished each other well. I fished up to a deep pool and had made a couple of casts when two more fishermen walked in about 30 feet above me and started fishing. I waded out and walked upstream a good way and was preparing to resume fishing when I saw another fisherman, so I kept going, only to run into two more. I should have just left at that point, but I hoped to catch at least one more big trout before the stream became too cloudy. I finally found an unoccupied section and landed a 10 1/2 inch brown and a small bass before I decided that proceeding any further would be futile due to the turbid water.
I waded out and walked back to my car and started up the road. A deer ran down the road ahead of me until it saw a place to bound down the bank. A little further, I came across this character on the road.
I tried to move him off the road. He snapped and hissed at me, so I returned to my vehicle. I saw him cross the road in my rear view mirror and disappear into the brush.
I stopped for lunch then drove to another stream. Unfortunately, it rained hard on the whole drive and intensified when I arrived. I pulled into a pull off and watched it rain. I took a little nap and when I woke up, the rain had slowed. I got out and looked at the stream, knowing that there was no way it was going to be fishable. It was a complete muddy mess, so I drove to a stream that is almost always clear. It was pretty clear when I first saw it but by the time I walked down the road and descended the bank, it had turned muddy. I fished it for 1/2 hour and caught two small browns. I knew it was pointless to drive around any more, so I headed for home.
I only fished for three hours total and caught a paltry 11 trout and 1 bass. I walked a long way, but didn't do a lot of fishing. I covered 3.6 miles.
I'm tired of all the rain. I just heard thunder, so it will be raining again before long. What are the odds?[IMG class=inlineimg]/forums/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif[/IMG]
I was happy to catch the big trout and it was nice to be out, but overall I was disappointed with the number of trout given the distance I traveled and the effort expended. The limited time I got to fish when I had taken a vacation day was a big let down.
Hopefully, we can get a break from the rain for a while.