Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keep it Going

As I surveyed the stream for any active fish in the cold light of the morning I had to take a second and appreciate the fact that I was again standing in a stream, about to fish. I really wasn't expecting to see anything, but I didn't want to blow an opportunity just because I was in too much of a hurry to recognize it. Today was about slowing down, trying to find a groove and enjoy just being in the moment. The fishing, I kept trying to convince myself, wasn't the real reason I pulled myself out of my warm bed and drove down to brave the cold in my leaky waders. I'd pre-selected my fly, a black simi-seal leech, and tied it to what was left of my leader. Lots of people don't like tying on a fly until they've looked at the water but I've always felt that an act of confidence can't hurt your chances too much. 

The far side of the stream held more than it's fair share of the water in a run that continued for about 25 yards. Not huge by many standards, but for this stream it's about the best you can hope for. The 5wt rod felt a little foreign in my hands because I hadn't fished it more than twice in the past year, but I knew that I'd get familiar with it again pretty quickly. This was one of my favorite rods, the first I ever built. It's a great feeling rod, but not the prettiest build I've ever spun. It was a good fit to the fishing that was ahead and as I made the first cast that fell just short of the opposite bank the anticipation of a strike took my mind off of the equipment. I was fishing. 

Nothing on the first or second cast, so on the third I mended the line upstream to try and get a little more depth to the swing. Whether this was the determining factor or not, a healthy little brown trout attacked my fly and soon I had him in hand. After a quick picture (he was, after all the first fish of the day and perhaps the last) he regained his bearing almost instantly and set off to the other side of the stream to sulk. The next cast provided an almost perfect replay, but this time a little rainbow came to play. He was slightly smaller than the first fish, but he had a little more weight to him and fought well for his size.

I continued to have success on the swing as I worked down to the end of the run. Several fish would follow the fly all the way through the swing and then commit on the next cast, or hit the fly a few times before I hooked them. I was working my way upstream, but fishing down so that meant getting out of the stream and walking up past the water I planned to fish. Then I would get back in the stream and fish the run down. Two steps forward, one back. The action was consistent, even if the fish weren't huge, so I was willing to put in the extra effort. 

After the sun had found it's way high enough to find the water the streamer bite slowed. Instead of switching over to a nymph rig I added a soft hackle dropper off the back of the streamer and found some more willing fish. They seemed to like this idea a lot better on a dead drift so I threw on an indicator and began fishing upstream more like a gentleman, but I still let the flies swing below me before recasting and found a couple of streamer eaters this way. 

The day warmed considerably and by afternoon I was down to my shirtsleeves and wishing I'd have put more water in my vest. It was probably time to call it but the warm air had me hoping that a solid hatch would come off and I could end this day with some dry fly action. So I kept fishing and working my way upstream, even coming across a confused little cutthroat to round out the trifecta. The streamer/soft hackle system continued to work through the afternoon and once the sun hid behind the peaks on the western bank I started working my streamer more aggressively again. The fish were more than cooperative and I felt like I could've continued catching fish all night. It seemed like as good of a time as any to call it and head back to the car. I knew the walk would be a long one so I snipped the fly from my line to avoid any distractions. 

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature. 
- Kidder

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