Thursday, October 8, 2015

Speechless- A Small Stream Brook Trout Adventure

Sometimes things just come together. Today was one of those times. I chose the perfect stream, the one I discovered a month and a half ago that holds some of the biggest wild brook trout I have ever seen. The weather was gorgeous. I had the right flies with me for the season, the perfect lunch, my casting was just what I wanted it to be, and the fish were feeding. My ride to the stream was just wonderful.

I love freestones, I will always love freestones. But this low gradient spring creeks has a calmness and subtlety to it, while at the same time the colors are bright and in your face. It is also a far better habitat for big brookies to grow in: TONS of biomass. Tough. These fish in this stream are not easy to catch like most wild brookies are. They refuse a fly as much as a brown in a heavily fished stream. If it doesn't seem to behave like the other bugs on that flat, glassy surface, why should they eat it? If it's to big, to gaudy, to loud... they'll tell you. But today was my best day yet on this spring, totalling well over 30 fish.

I worked my way downstream, switching out between a Prince Nymph and a Horneburg. It was the Horneburg that took the wonderful specimen bellow:

Decided to venture far upstream today, farther than I have gone yet. I ran into some mergansers in one spot, and they did a good job of spooking a long stretch of pools and riffles. I was perfectly fine with that, they are a very cool bird to see! Eventually I got back to fishing. In a nice flat pool I hooked into a very big brooky. After a few strong head shakes and somersaults he was gone. I'm more than used to this by now. It just seems like every time I hook a big wild brooky this year it throws the hook.
 When I got so far up that all I was catching were these little guys, I turned back.

I went back to the bridge and decided to approach it very carefully and try every fly in my box to get one of big brookies I have seen living underneath it. I'm talking 10-16 inches, not 5-8 inches here. REALLY big brookies. I started off subsurface, than gradually worked up to dries. I caught numerous respectable natives on wets and small streamers, but when I got to the Ausable Bomber something magical happened.

I flicked that fly under the bridge just so. Then I let it sit for a few seconds. Then just one slight twitch. Another. It had sat motionless for about ten seconds when it disappeared in a big swirl. I set the hook and felt the weight on the end of my line. This was a significant fish. In a few moments I was holding ten and a half inches of magnificent spring creek wild brook trout. Just amazing. I have caught brookies this size before. I have caught brookies bigger than this before, plenty of them. But this one meant a lot to me, because for a while now this stream has given me a hard time. And to have it suddenly be so generous is just beyond words.

What a fish. And I wasn't done yet. I caught plenty more, mostly on dries, then ate lunch and headed for home.

On that ride I made a few discoveries: I found the coolest mountain biking trail I have ever ridden, and I stopped at a place an old friend of mine said he used to catch brook trout at. I looked at the spot as I came up to it skeptically.  It was a ditchy pond with somewhat muddy water and right on a heavily used road. When I looked down though I believe my words were "I'll be damned!". There were some big suckers down there, and, to my surprise, a few large wild brook trout. I got one to eat a PT soft hackle, witch it spat out in the process of spooking it's mates, On the upstream side of the road I caught a small one, probably a fourth of the size of the others. I'll need to come back here very soon.

That's it. Far from a perfect day. But it was wonderful. Tomorrow I won't be doing any long trips, just a little bit of streamer swinging on the Salmon. I'm sure that will be wonderful too. 


  1. Epic - in a peaceful and yet fantastic way!

  2. Your happiness is contagious ! Thanks for sharing a wonderful day. That photo with the fall color reflected in the water made me miss Up North.
    - G.

  3. Nice stream you have there. Those brookies all have such wonderful coloring in their tails. Healthy fish.

    1. Thank you,
      I have noticed that... very red.

  4. To be honest I hate reading about days like this...b/c I can't go fishing today. And now I really want to go fishing. Awesome story, now I'm going to go pack b/c I'll be fishing all weekend....but not today!

  5. What a GREAT morning trip. The fish were beauties and they made you work for the catch, which is the way it should be. Your photos were great and the story even better. Thanks for the adventure!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

  6. Those brook trout are simply gorgeous. For whatever reason they all have those virbrant red tails which are stunning. Glad to hear you finally figured out this stream and, boy, did you ever! That big guy is in great shape and certainly hasn't been skipping many meals. From what I gather, you seem to have discovered more of the stream. Perhaps we can check that out next time.