While at the conference I got to catch up a little with another guy that fishes a "lot" and some loose plans were made. I always enjoy fishing with Lane. He's a good fisherman and I always learn something from him. It's also interesting to watch someone who knows what they're doing and compare that to what I would do. It's also nice that he doesn't plan on coming home early, doesn't get pissy if the fish don't cooperate and doesn't steal flies from me.
A couple of texts and the plans were finalized for the day after Valentines Day, and even though I went fishing with my Dad on Valentines I was really excited to hit another stream. I had lost almost all of my #18 Red Zebra Midges, so in the morning before heading out I made sure to tie a quick half dozen. I knew they might not work as well today, but if I didn't have them I'd regret it. After that it was out the door to meet Lane in an abandoned K-Mart parking lot. Not sketchy at all....
|Not red, but you get the idea...|
The drive was filled with talk about our jobs, places we have fished and some hunches that we're planning on checking out soon. We checked on a couple of different spots, but ended up at a spot that neither of us had fished in years. I decided to start with a fly that used to be a go-to for this stream, a gray scud. The first cast showed it was a good choice and several small fish came to hand at the first hole. Nothing huge, but a nice mix of brown and rainbow trout.
Usually, there would be a pic of my hand holding a fish right here. Unfortunately, I've misplaced my waterproof camera and history has shown I can't be trusted to use my phone anywhere near water...
It took a minute, but Lane started finding some fish including a nice tiger trout that was a surprise. We didn't even know there were tigers in this stream. While Lane started pulling in fish one after another, I picked up a bunch of golf balls that littered the stream. I was a little surprised to find them, but I was even more surprised that no one else had picked them up. This is one of the most popular streams in the state and I know there are a lot of people who have stepped over all the trash. I know you might not be the problem, but you can be the solution. I'm going to put a bag in my vest and try to be better about picking up some trash each trip. Hopefully we can make a difference out there in the places we love.
We moved upstream, finding a few fish in each hole until we came up to a large run that looked awesome. Having not been here for so long, it was way different than before, but still great looking. Had trouble figuring out what the fish would take until I got a nice whitefish on a Frenchie. This was the first fish I've ever caught on this pattern, and one of the biggest whitefish I've caught on this stream. Too bad it was a fluke, no other fish fell for the Frenchie.
A few rising fish tempted Lane into switching flies to a dry, and he caught one bow on a Griffith's Gnat. Slow fishing that normally would've sent us upstream pretty quickly kept us there with the occasional rising fish, or a decent brown/whitefish on a nymph, but never the same fly twice...
Deciding to try a different spot, we headed for the truck. Lane stopped to fish a likely looking spot and managed to hook one more small bow on the dry fly even though he didn't see the take - he just heard a splash and set! I figured we were done at this point, but Lane said he knew of a spot nearby to try. Always up for one more cast we drove to a spot that Lane's Uncle had shown him, but it was a spot that he hadn't fished in about 15 years. During the walk in, Lane described the way it used to be. A smooth pool where a few spooky fish might be, but even if they were it would be a short game. What we found was a pool with a good run and some complicated currents.
It took a minute to figure out what they wanted, but once I tried on a #18 Red Zebra Midge and fished the middle of the water column it all came together. Several fish came to hand, including some nice browns. At one point it was obvious that they liked what I was serving better than Lane's flies so I lent him my rod and he quickly missed a few takes and landed a good fish.
We finally called it a day when the sun starting going down and our hands started going numb. A great day on the water with great company.
Hope you're as lucky,