Saturday, August 1, 2015

Engage

The fun and challenge of fly fishing for me is the observing and adapting to whatever is happening at the moment.  This requires you to be alert and engaged, thinking through what you are observing and processing it through your past experience and knowledge.  I was reminded of this just yesterday.

I was nymphing an area that I can usually find a few fish and came up blank which was a little puzzling.  As I was heading back to the car and about to cross a small shallow run when I stopped for a moment.  Here a small volume of water passes quickly along a grassy bank before rejoining the rest of the river.  About a foot off the edge of the bank I noticed a small channel roughly 18" deep.  Most of the year there is a strong flow of water along the bank such that you would not expect fish to hold there and I often cross it without much thought. However the water level was a bit down and I noticed the reduced flow. Knowing that in the summer months fish tend to work up into the faster pockets close to banks where an ant or beetle might fall into the water, I wondered if a fish might be holding there. 



This would have been an ideal situation to fish a dry dropper rig with a small nymph trailing a stimulator but I had left my dry fly rod in the car.  The double nymph rig I was using was too heavy to fish this shallow channel without getting constantly hung up on the bottom so I clipped the anchor fly off and left the 18" of fluorocarbon hanging behind the pheasant tail dropper.  After a couple drifts close to the bank, I connected with a brown that used the strong current to his advantage and eventually the hook lost hold.  Nevertheless, I was pleased to have worked through the situation mentally and connected with a fish.  I worked the nymph again further up the run and connected with another brown, this one was larger and stronger.  Not wanting to repeat my mistake of being out of position to effectively land the fish, I jumped off the bank and into the water to try and maneuver the fish into a more favorable spot to land it.  After a couple runs it decided to head downstream over some shallow riffles and rocks into the pool below.  I just followed as I knew that if I could stay connected I had a better chance of landing it in the pool below.

A brown that was holding in less that 2 feet of water
I jumped around to a few more spots with nothing to show for my efforts but decided to end the afternoon fishing some shallow runs close to the banks and found another brown that took the pheasant tail dropper fished behind an olive stimulator.  Not a productive day in terms of numbers but satisfying and a good reminder to stay alert and engaged.



6 comments:

  1. Mark
    I feel your pain especially concerning the first area you were fishing, because I experienced the same saturation the other day on the tailrace I frequent. Nothing would work, even my go to pheasant tail nymph, so I finally called it a morning after showing the trout numerous flies in my box. You can read the experience here
    http://btrussell-fishingthroughlife.blogspot.com/2015/07/a-big-reality-check.html

    As for your second stop, sometimes trout will occupy areas yes where the food chain is abundant and it seems you found it there in that narrow and shallow area. I have landed some of best trout on the Sipsey in water just over a foot deep, and it was with the beadhead pheasant tail. This one nymph has help me land numerous trout on the Caney and Sipesy tailraces I fish often------BUT the other day was one of those exceptions when nothing worked for me---go figure???? Impressive browns you landed in the run. Enjoyed the post!

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    1. Thanks Bill, sometimes all our tricks come up short! That's when it's time to try something unconventional. I remember watching a friend of mine stir things up with a bass bug. What a sight seeing big browns attacking it like it was a mouse!

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  2. Mark, that is a great story and reminder to observe all the water on the stream. That spot looks perfect for a technique I enjoy, and I'll shoot you an email with specifics...

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    1. Thanks David and thanks for the email! Very interesting!

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  3. Goes to show that nice fish come to those who can adapt to summer stream conditions!

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    1. Thanks Walt! The ability to adapt is a necessary skill built on observation and thoughtfulness.

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