Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sifting Through The Dirt

In this case dirt is referring to stocked trout, and what I was sifting for were the gems: wild trout. I got one the water late in the morning, and I had hardly taken a cast when I got a text from RI Brook Trout. Jon didn't have anything to do and wanted to know if I was fishing. I told him where to meet me and got back to fishing since his drive was going to be more than an hour. The wind was gusting, and that always means terrestrials. Ants, hoppers, beetles, caterpillars, ext. That means stimulators in different sizes and colors are all you need. The streams I was fishing have a ratio of stocked to wild trout that is roughly 15/1, which of course means you need to really work hard in order to catch a wild fish. The first couple I caught were stocked rainbows.

Next to a big fallen tree's root ball the stimulator got slammed by a nice fish. It jumped right away and then ran extremely hard, and I recognized it as being one of this streams few big wild brown trout. Unfortunately it broke my 7x tippet by lodging itself in the roots.

Shortly before I had to meet Jon I spotted quite a large smallmouth for such a small stream. It was living in an eddy behind a hard clay point. It seemed to be hanging out mostly over one patch of sand. I thought I could probably catch the fish, but I was sure it had already seen me so I new I had to make my presentation perfect. I decided to stand a foot downstream from the bottom of the eddy on the opposit bank, and to cast at about 1 o'clock, putting the fly three feet downstream and behind the fish. I had on a bead headed Picket Pin, and I knew it would make enough noise landing into the water that the fish would take notice. Then I would let it sink all the way to the bottom before making a downstream mend that would allow the line to drag slightly and pull the fly along the bottom like a crawling nymph. It worked like a charm, and that smallie sure gave the 3 wt. a workout!

After Jon arrived we headed upstream, catching a few salmon par and bass but not finding anything really special. We decided to head back down to a spot where I knew there would be a big pile of trout.

The water was extremely clear and low where these fish were, and it was tough to get them to eat. It turned out that a woolly bugger was the secret. We caught a few rainbows and brookies, none of which were wild, before going up to a tributary that I knew had a few natives in it.

This stream is absolutely tiny, and so any fish caught out of it would be a miracle. There are only a few pools on it that are big and open enough to be fished, and in the first one I fished I caught a gorgeous little wild brookie.

Then I gave Jon a turn, and this is what happened:

After Jon left I went to see if I could get that big brown to come back.  I snuck up on the pool form behind the log, but I didn't see the brown. What I did see was a wild brookie. I put on a yellow palmer and it chomped it down.

That was a pretty good fish to end the day on. As I headed home I realized it had gotten cloudier and windier. Unfortunately that didn't mean it was going to rain a lot, rather it was just a few showers. We need more than that.


  1. Nice catches, wish I was still there.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

  2. Rowan thanks as always for showing me around. Who would've known the obnoxious buggers would've been the ticket for those stockers...learn something new all the time. Catching such a wide variety of fish was a blast especially that little Brookie out of that trickle that can be barely considered a stream. Nice to see you found a decent sized wild Brookie after I left!

  3. Sounds like an awesome trip. Really cool you have a smallish river that has so many species available! Perhaps a strange question, but RI Brook Trout - does he fish the swift river tailwater in MA? I met a young guy (15~) maybe 2 years ago there from RI who was so motivated to learn the water. If that was you RI, I hope the hopper I gave you did the trick :)

    Well done guys!

    1. He actually lives in Mass, he just spends a lot of his fishing time in RI.

    2. I do live in Mass, but have never fished the swift.