Boy it’s been a while since I had some time to make a post here. It took me forever cause I’m a stubborn ole man but I’ve started using Instagram and Facebook (PA trout anglers group) a lot more since It’s just so easy and not as time consuming. But HPA will always be near and dear so if something interesting takes place of course I’m going to come and post it here.
This season got off to a rather slow start for me this year. I killed my Gobbler early on the opening AM
so I thought ‘Great! More time to start fishing early’. But as luck wouldn’t have it the rain continued and the air temps stayed really low. Rather than start and educate some really good trout populations in an effort to press the situation,I decided to just lay low and bide my time waiting for conditions to be favorable. I love to trout fish but I’ve found over the years that it’s not worth it to just fish to fish (only myopinion of course) if your motive is to catch the most trout you can possibly catch in a day. Risk going to a favorite spot on a less than ideal day and even though the fish aren’t very active you’re still educating the trout so when you do return under excellent conditions the fishing is going to be less productive then it could have been. So with that on my mind I waited. It wasn’t until mid-May that I made it outfor the first time. Water levels were very tricky but I found a stream flowing well.
Unfortunately the fishing was far less productive than I’d hoped. I broke 100 trout on the daybut this stream can produce twice that number and has many times in the past. I create expectations in my head for streams and when they produce less I tend to sadly lose interest a little. It’s weird cause if a stream normally only produces 50 or 75 on a good day I am stoked with action consistent to that. If a stream normally does 200 and the fishing is only at a 100 pace I feel like I’mmissing out and get disappointed. It’s not the count that really matters actually but more the pace of the action. If I’m expecting fish after fish and only catching a fish here and there that end up amounting to quite afew then I still feel like I did a poor job in stream selection. Nailing the stream choice is probably my most favorite part of trout fishing. Even more than catching a lot of fish. I can’t catch a lot of fish or big fish unless my data and selection that day is spot on…..weirdo….
After that trip I had to wait a few weeks to get back out due to extreme water levels and more cold. Towards the later part of May I got back out a few times for some productive fishing but it really wasn’t until the early part of June that I wasable to crank the rust off the reel and start putting some miles on theboots. I would say that my first serious outing happened at that point. I picked a stream that I hadn’t fished in many many years. All the streams around my area were high but I knew that this stream always fished best when it was up way higher that you’d expect. With everything else off the radar I went after is. It was the first time for the year that I shook my head regarding incredible fishing and when I left the stream just after lunch time having caught well over 200 trout on the morning I knew I was finally in the groove.
The following weekend, feeling good about myself, I decided o head to my #1 stream. All week at work I sat back and watched conditions improved. Air temps at night warmed, rain stayed mostly away, and water levels dropped to prime levels. The night before, when I looked at all the data, I knew things were set up for the possibility of a monster day but I really didn’t envision what actually took place. The following morning I reeled in the dreaded first cast trout and wondered if the day was shot because of it. Several casts later I was reeling in trout number 3, then 5, then 7. Without even taking a step I was almost at 10 trout on the day and only a couple of minutes into my morning. A few more trout and the pool was spent. I clicked 11 trout on my pitch counter in only about 10 minutes of fishing. There was no way that would continue, I thought, but it did. Every pool, run, and riffle was the same thing and trout after trout came to hand at a wicked pace. 100 came fast and 200 came even faster. My kids weren’t even awake, most likely, when I passed 300 trout for the AM. Things slowed a little when the wind started up but picked up again fast and by early afternoon I was crossing the 400 threshold for the 2nd
time ever. With a lot of water remaining a broke my previous personal best in the low 400s andset my sight on 500 in a day. It took me until a little after 4PM but I made it past 500 trout on the day. By the time I finally came to a sensible jump out point I’d caught and landed 520 trout on the day and figured that was more than enough. My legs were sore and I was getting a bit far from my bike so it was time to stop with plenty of light in the day remaining. The fishing was nothing short of breath taking during the entire outing and I felt like I had just enjoyed ‘one of those days’ that a fisherman only gets once in a long while. I was thankful that I had no other obligations to attend to that day and that I could just stick it out as long as I wanted. A rare treat in a working family man’s life as I’m sure some of you can appreciate.
After that outing a lost some taste for the #s game a little and wanted to catch some bigger trout so over the past few weeks, while still catching a good many trout, I’ve been lucky to catch a few bigger trout. Conditions have been good and I’ve caught close to 20 trout over 16” in length including a few 20”s and some real hammers well over 20”. One inparticular happened last week when I was fishing a favorite stream of mine. I’m not sure why it’s a favorite because I rarely catch a lot of trout from it and rarely catch big trout fromit. Maybe it’s because when I do catch a big trout there it’s an absolute monster. This probably goes back to my earlier note on expectations. Either way I look forward to fishing this stream annually and when I don’t get to I’m always a bit disappointed. As I approached a heavily fished pool I caught a few trout from the lower section when I set my sight on the ‘heart’. If you ask anyone that ever fishes with me regularly I make reference to the ‘heart’ of a pool on occasion. The heart of a pool is obvious to anyone, even the most novice angler. It’s subjective but obvious. It’s the spot you look at that is most likely to hold the best trout. For me it’s a spilt second review of a spot. Typically I advise, and take my own advice, to work around that spot without actually disturbing it. Cast to all of the other likely looking spots in the pool before going after the heart. This will help you maximize your catch in a certain spot. If you walk up to a hole and cast to the best looking spot first you are certainly most likely to get a reaction from a trout but more often than not the heart ofa pool is in the middle or head and when you hook a fish out of the heart you almost always disrupt the entire pool in the process. So save it for the last cast 😉. In my case the heart of the pool was a swift deep riffle entering the larger slow water of the pool. To the right was a large deep eddy that just screamed trout. I shot my spinner at aflat line trajectory and on impact the water boiled with the attack of a giant trout. My drag was already set at an appropriate tension but I knew this one was going to require even less resistance so I loosened the drag a little more and for the good reason. The fish made its first run and an epic oneat that. It shot upstream into the current and peeled line off like crazy. Istood there just waiting to hear that ‘CRACK’ that you hear when a large trout snaps a well maintained fishing line. Things held up though and it used a lot of energy in the process. After that it rolled around the pool for a minute before I slid it to my feet praying the whole time that I wouldn’t lose it before getting a picture. It was at that moment that the trout decided he wasn’t done yet and shocked me with a massive explosive run down stream. The fish ripped line off the drag as if my bail was just wide open. The whole setup was taxed to the max but even with that my Shimano Ci4 and custom rod worked incredible as a team andthe fish was thwarted in its best and final attempt to break free of my grasp. As I slid the fish to my feet and tried to scoop it up for a pic I really struggled due to how thick the fish was. That happens rarely but occasionally Icatch fish big enough that it’s a struggle just to pick them up. It’s a good problem to have though!
Here’s a few of the other trout taken over the past few weeks.
Along with some great fishing memories I also got to see some cool and beautiful things. I thought about Troutdoorsman and his trapping passion when I saw this 16” diameter tree cut down by some beavers. I’m sure they were really disappointed when the tree, located inches from the bank, fell away from the stream rendering it useless.
This flowering meadow was a real sight to see
And ranking as one of the most unusual things to come across on a trout stream……
Best part was catching a wild brown from right next to the truck, clearly using it as cover. How that thing even got here is beyond me.
Well, summer is now reaching its mid point and there’s only a few more weeks left of prime angling where huge days are a possibility. As far-fetched as it seems considering theyear of rain we’ve had, streams are bound to drop and trout will pool up before long. I’m going to try to make it out as much as possible and should anything interesting happen I’ll be sure to put a story up for your reading pleasure J till then Tight Lines all!