|Why I wear a "bear bell"|
Friday, July 15, 2011
One more day out
The morning was a cool 58F and overcast, a perfect combination for the day's plan, to fish an old favorite. The dry weather over the past couple of days had dropped the water level and would allow access to the upper reaches of this brook that I had not had a chance to fish yet this year. A quick check of the water temp (60F) and up the trail I went. At my first drop-in, I left the trail and headed down the steep valley guided by the gentle sounds of the brook below.
I started off with an Ausable bomber and started working some of the pools. I quickly realized that the lower water levels had moved the fish up into the head of the pools, just under the plunges or slightly below them. Every promising spot resulted in a slash at the bomber but few solid hook-ups. I switched to a smaller lime trude and BANG, problem solved! This was the first time I had tried a lime trude and I was very pleased with the results. The combination of the bright green floss and the down-wing style white calf tail made the fly easy to track. A number of brook trout were brought to hand, photographed, and released. After the trout had torn the lime floss to shreds, I switched to a larger royal trude as I worked by way upstream to the water I really wanted to fish.
I had brought 10 brook trout to hand by the time I reached one of my favorite sections, a larger plunge pool with a nice undercut granite slab where big brook trout usually live. I cast into the foam of the plunge and let the trude sink and continued the wet fly swing. One of the things I love about fishing trudes is that the can be fished both dry and wet. As the fly swung past the undercut a good sized fish hit the trude hard. It was instantly obvious fish had some weight. After putting a good bend in my 3wt and a couple of good charges, I landed a beautiful male about 10 inches. After a quick couple of pictures I sent him back to his lair and moved up to my final destination.
After a couple of cast with no response I took a look at my fly and discovered that we had parted company somewhere. Because I knew this next spot was deep, I decided to turn to the peacock and hen bugger that I have fished often this year. Tossing it under the plunge and drawing it back along the near bank brought another strong response and this didn’t feel like a brookie. As the battle ensued my mind began to wander back to a couple of years ago when my daughter and I were in this very spot in the early fall. We were amazed that a beautiful rainbow had somehow managed to work it’s way upstream especially when you consider the distance and elevation difference between here and the nearest stocked river. The first surface thrash of the fish quickly grabbed my attention and brought me back to the present. The flash of silver and chrome revealed that I was probably dealing with the very same rainbow that had managed two harsh winters in this pool. After bringing it to hand and a few photos I needed to decide what to do with it. Inside my head a split secod wrestling match was taking place between logic and feelings. Like a knock-down street brawl it was difficult to determin who had the upper hand. Logic said “Keep it, it doesn’t belong here anyway. Remember you haven’t caught anything in this pool since you caught this rainbow a couple of years ago” but then my love for the persistent, the ambitious, the underdog said “Let it go, besides would you really like to explain to your duaghter that the fish on the table is her friend from a couple of years ago ?” In the end, we left together and joined some baked then pan- fried potatoes for a lovely lunch to end a wonderful morning.
Late afternoon I headed back to the stream with the beautiful log jam to see if a brook trout was hiding under that log jam. The plan was just to fish this spot for an hour or so, take a few pictures and put the camera underwater to see what things looked like down under. I settled onto my knees into the riffle as before observing. It was then I realized I had left to important things at home, the bug repellent and my camera. I’m not sure which I was more annoyed at, not having the camera or being bitten all over by misquito’s, biting flies and gnats. Staying put, I saw a couple of rises along the hemlock branch but there was no interest in the tan caddis, black beetle, or black spider that I drifted down the riffle and along the branch. At this point, I decided to change tactics to some old school, really old school, north country wet fly fishing! I tied on a classic gold ribbed hare’s ear winged wet and sent it down the riffle, along the jam and then slowly retrieved it through the deep section of the pool. One the second pass during the retrieve something hit the wet hard and fought like a ton of bricks, deep on a long line. The strong fight had me hoping to see another big brookie. As the fish reached the shallows, I slipped my hand under a nice fat little brook trout that really put up a struggle. And so ended a wonderful week away…