Saturday, December 7, 2013

Epic Day

The word 'epic' is used way too frequently by the younger generations these days. However, I would describe my fishing today as such.

It had rained quite a bit last night, so I expected that water levels would be higher in the stream I planned to fish. This stream is what I would consider to be the perfect trout stream. It is small, and receives almost no attention. It is set deep in a pine and laurel lined ravine, which occasionally experiences land slides. The stream has many big rocks with plunge pools and rifles, not to mention plenty of pocket water. Thick mayfly hatches occur in early spring. Best of all, I have never caught a stocked fish there.

The plan of attack today was to work the first pool with wet flies, then continue up using a heavy rubber legged stone fly nymph. When I reached the stream, I was happy to see it in a condition similar to the year before, with tea colored, slightly high water. Perfect. The wet fly received no interest. I tied on the nymph and slowly worked up stream. I fished every pool methodically, putting in hundreds of casts, drifting through every likely spot twice. I knew that the wild browns that inhabit the creek would be moving slow to conserve energy in the chilly water.

Finally, on my 30th cast in the 7th pool I was to fish, my line stopped. I lightly set and was into something weighty, I was concerned I had snagged a rock. A boiling on the surface and a flash of butter yellow briefly stopped my heart. The fish I saw on the end of my line topped any I had landed in this stream so far. It tore down in the current, shaking its head and forcing me to give line. I finally glided the fish across the surface and lightly grasped it. It was then that I knew it was an epic day. The fish allowed a quick photo op, and I admired it's colors before allowing it to return to it's could, rocky home. I watched the shadow weave out of sight and wondered if it was real. Big wild trout are like ghosts. They may only show themselves briefly, many are encountered but few are landed. They dissolve into the grays and browns of the streams bottom.