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.
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.