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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I snuck out with an hour and a half to fish yesterday morning. I knew with the temperatures going to climb I would have to hit the stream early to avoid the snow melt.

I have caught some big fish on this stream but in December I lost a beauty of a brown on a leech pattern. I was checking out how the fly looked right off of the bank went the monster brown came out and grabbed it. I set the hook but knew i did not have a good hookset. The fish swam straight up stream and then straight at me, then bolted right down stream. I had the fish on for maybe 3 minutes when the barbless hook popped out. I was disgusted. I was bummed and found myself pouting and leaving the stream. But at least I knew he was there.

I hit this creek a few times since that day, each day hopin to get another shot at the brown. Every fish that I hooked, I hoped it was the beauty. And time and time again i was disappointed. I had caught a lot of nice rainbows, and one brown about 10 " but nothing close to the ghost trout I had lost a few months ago.

Did he move down stream? Did someone catch him? I was pondering this on my way to the stream yesterday. I figured with the warmer temps of the night but not yet above freezing the trout should be hungry and somewhat active. I tied my flies on the road and rummaged through my box. I picked the twisted caddis as my dropper fly. I have had a lot of success using this fly this winter so i decided to start with it. I have tied a bunch of large heavy nypmhs since I have started czech nymphing. It was hard to decide. I decided on a size 8 stonefly i created. It is similar to a hares ear but hase biot tails and multiple wing cases.

When I got the the stream I was surprised to see how crystal clear and somewhat low it was. It was a bit discouraging but I knew with time ticking I needed to start fishing. The first few cast were perfect, right in the feeding lie. Nothing.. Should I switch flies, Should I go with a lighter anchor fly. "Ah, Ill give a few more casts" I watched my sighter very intently as it went just behind the rock where I figured the trout would be laying. I slowly pulled the nymphs along. As i saw the sighter pass over the rock, I knew I was in the perfect place.

I watched the sighter rip forward. Boom! He was on the hook. I knew it was a big fish instantly, When he hunkered down, the thought shifted that it could be my brownie. I watched the fish come up and could see the golden brown colors through the crystal clear water. My heart was pounding as though I had just shot a monster buck. "Don't lose him...Dont be stupid.." All thoughts that ran through my head.

I did not want to fight this fish for too long because I knew this would have to be a very old fish. I kept pressure on him and let him eat the drag a little bit. When this fish landed in my net, I was amazed at how long he actually was.



He stuck out of the net several inches. "YESS!!" I hollered. I have been after this fish for 3 months. Looking at the beautiful brown in the net, made me think of how long it has been since I caught a big bronwie. I had kicked some water on the ice bank to lay the fish down for a few quick snap shots.





My heart still pounding, and wanted to create a photo shoot but knew that this fish was really old, and did not want to risk killing it. I picked him up want last time and took a quick picture.



I thanked the fish for letting me catch him, gave it a kiss (first time ever lol) and laid it back in the stream, He was already starting to swim.

"Until we meet again, Good luck buddy" Was the last thing I said to him as I let him go. This brown will always be in my mind. I will never forget the feeling of landing this fish, and all of the anticipation of catching this specific trout. I wish him luck, and hope that if another angler catches him, the let him go as well.

I also landed the same fish twice.



You can see the fly I used to take the brown in this smaller rainbows mouth. He hit a red beadhead pheasant tail the next time. I know this was the same fish because when I examined his mouth THe exact spot where I hooked him was still bleeding.



You can see how clear the water was in this picture.

I thank god, that I became interested in fly fishing, and stuck it out all of the times that I went out and landed nothing. I encourage anyone who is contemplating starting the sport to do so. You will never regret making the switch.
 

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Re: Finally caugh him.

awesome story!
 

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Re: Finally caugh him.

Makes me think of "A river runs through it" Good Read, good fish, good job!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Finally caugh him.

I only say this fish was old because the last time we had browns in our hatchery was 5 years ago. I am not sure how long it would take a purely wild fish to get that big but I am sure it would be just as long. The state does not stock this section of stream. I hope to catch him again but it will be a while.
 

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Re: Finally caugh him.

Great job!!! I commend you for releasing that fish. It is a great feeling watching those ones swim away. You sir, are a true sportsman. Congratulations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Finally caugh him.

Thanks guys. After knowing the possible history of this fish and how old it most likely was, I could never keep this fish. It would also kind of be hypocritical of me to eliminate such a great resource that I am working hard right now to conserve, and improve his habitat.

Trout like this one are the reason that cleaning up the Little Conemaugh is so important. I found out last week that Amfire coal is going to put 5 million dollars into a DEP trust fund to clean up the Hughes Borehole. THis will allow more of this stream to rebound. When I heard this news I was ecstatic. Right now you can only fish about 2 or 3 miles of this stream and of these the widest section is around 16-18' wide. The lower reaches are unbelievable, but totally ruined with AMD.

I am currently working with the Kisky Stream Team, and the Cambria County Conservation District Manager to try and complete a few improvements on this stream. The Fish Commission person in charge of stream improvements informed me that with the budget cuts, only certain streams made the list for funding. He did however tell me that he and his group will do everything that they can to help me and my group complete these improvements. I still support the Fish Commission even though they are not going to be able to help with funding any of these projects. I feel they do the best job with what resources they can. A lot of descisions are coming down from above.

You can see that the stream is already doing pretty well by this brown, but could be even better with Habitat Improvements. You would have never guessed that 6 or 7 years ago this stream had raw sewage, deturgents, bleach, and chemicals running into it. Recent improvements on the sewer systems have allowed this stream to bounce back. I cant wait to see what it is like in 15 years or so when the AMD is cleaned up.

Thanks for all of the nice comments. THis was definetly my most memorable catch. I have printed out an 8x10 of one of the pictures above, and nice one of a rainbow from earlier to put in my office. The picture, and know that this fish is still alive are far more valuable than any mount could be.
 
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