The sustained wind today was 20 mph. SUSTAINED. There were gusts that would easily go over 30 mph. The water was definitely warmer than the air. It was awesome!
Four of us met at Upcountry. Me, my father, and his friend Dennis and Oleg. Dennis has just got back into fly fishing, it's been something like five years since his last trip. Oleg is probably as much of a fish nut as I am. He recently got beck from a trip to the Salmon River, where he caught a steelhead over 20 pounds. Dennis needed to get some flies so we went in the shop. On the way out one of the gents inside told me "streamers for sure today". Oh yeah, that's what I wanted to hear. I would end up getting my fair share of opportunities using big flies.
The first spot we went holds some big browns, and good numbers of average sized fish. Dad made quick work of it, catching two quite nice browns. I went upstream, where I got a nice rainbow and observed big browns in spawning mode, and found some big redds. Hopefully some little wild trout will hatch from them soon! Oleg also got a rainbow.
The next spot is a secret streamer stretch David Gallipoli shared with me. People fish the area often, but I have learned the whole stretch and even the fish that live in a few of the spots. When we pulled into the parking spot, a few guys were on the way out. I asked them how the did and the one guy said "the fish aren't in their usual spots". I'm not sure what made him think that, I had hits in all the places the normally happen, spotted fish in all the normal spots, and they were acting just like they should be this time of year- ornery and mean and ready to kill anything that intrudes into their periphery. I should name the first fish I moved- a biog wild brown that is always next to a certain rock and always hits the fly just so. It's audible usually. I had on a mini Drunk & Disorderly and this fish cam out as soon as it hit the water and just exploded on it. He somersaulted and his tail slapped the water on his way down. I'll get that guy one of these days.
My next two takes came in a flat behind rocks where I almost always get takes, and my big chance came in a pocket that previously gave up a 20 incher. My D&D hit that water, I gave it two strips, and I watched a HUGE hen engulf it. It was a remarkable fish. I could see it. She had a small head, a wide body with big but spread out black spots, and a broad red tail. I has maybe 9 feet away from her. I set the hook just right. She began to thrash a roll. The I screwed up. I brought the rod into a position upstream from her. She thrashed once more and the fly came out. Damn, that was a big fish. My guess is 24 inches. I wouldn't end up getting another chance like that.
We moved to another spot that I consider to be a nymph spot, and I got out the Shakespeare Wonder Rod for some short line nymphing. The spot is treacherous wading, as my dad found out very quickly. He took a bad step and to balance himself and keep from going in completely he stuck his arm in. That was more than enough... he was done for the day. I can't say I blame him, it was cold just having wet gloves! The fishing had slowed anyway and we made one more stop to give Dennis a last chance at landing a fish....
This small stream has some nice wild brown trout in it, but unfortunately I was the one who ended up catching the beauty.... what am I saying? I guess I'm not so selfish about fish catching. I was just hoping Dennis would get into one, but really that brown was a life saver for me. It has been so long since I caught a small stream wild brown like that. That's the kind of thing that got me into fly fishing, and I'll never bore of it.
The outing ended with good food and conversation. The Parrott Delaney Tavern is a fantastic, though strangely located eatery near the river and I highly recommend it to finish off a good, or a bad day of fishing. I'd categorize today as a good day despite one memorable screw up. Tomorrow, my favorite brook trout stream.