Sunday, December 10, 2017

CT Steelhead... Sort Of

I always like to try to fish during the first real snow of the season. Sure, we've had a flurry or two, but nothing that accumulated. A real first snow is one that sticks to everything, paints the whole landscape in pristine white, and truly says that winter is here. That's the kind of snow I really want to fish in. It's funny though, I love the snow while it's falling. But shortly after the the storm is done I start to think "Okay, how many days will it take for this crap to melt?"; for snow is only pristine and cleansing for a short time. While it is, why not bask in it? And so out I went into the cold yesterday,
knowing that the trout cared a tad less about the temperature than I did.

Snow, for some reason, makes me want to throw streamers. I usually want to throw streamers above all else on anything but smaller streams, and days when rising fish are frequent; but in the snow it just feels all the more, well, right. The snow increases contrast, making the water look darker and deeper than normal. In those dark depths there must be a monster, and I've always felt that the real monsters don't mess around with midges. You have to feed them something more substantial.

I fished through one stretch that I haven't really put much time into. I've been told that it holds large brown trout. I haven't found them yet. A 5 inch Meal Ticket found itself near every logjam, every cut bank, sliding through every run, jigging through every hole. No grabs, no follows, no boils. It's hard for me not to think there just weren't fish there. So I moved upriver bout  mile. I changed flies, downsizing to an orange and olive Woolly Bugger. Large single hook streamers have been really productive around there lately and I always have confidence in the orange and olive bugger. The first take of the day was a in a rolling, boiling head of a smooth deep run that looks good but never gave me a fish. I watch the fish charge and grad the fly, going straight downstream, and so set the hook upstream. The fish launched, showing itself to be a bright and clean holdover rainbow.

A few pools upriver I got another solid grab, though this one I did not see. I felt it and set the hook before I even looked up, just in time to see another rainbow, this one about 16 inches, go airborne. Catching bright, acrobatic, healthy rainbows on gaudy streamers in a steady snowfall? It felt a little bit like I was on a steelhead river. Just a little bit.

The snow monster wild brown I was looking for alluded me. But he can't hide forever!


  1. Those Rainbows are beauties. They look like they have a good layer of fat. The browns must have been somewhere?
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Well, quantum theory suggests that reality doesn't exist if we aren't looking at it so those browns could just be nowhere until I see them. But brown trout tend to be a little bigger than just one particle so presumably, yes, they are somewhere haha!

  2. Replies
    1. It's easy to reconcile a fairly slow bite when the scenery is so lovely!

  3. I like that crazy fly you tied.
    I made a crazy fly yesterday and it also worked on a rainbow today.

    And a pickerel. go figure. That was actually the awesome part.
    That's a size 12 hook. A sprig of mallard. Some copper wire and black thread.

    What size hook is yours tied on, a 4?

    I really like pickerel. Fun fish!

    Until I made my candycane flies before Thanksgiving, I never really
    thought the neon colors would work in freshwater. But I was happily wrong!

    1. An orange and olive streamer color combo has long been a favorite, only crazy if you're new to streamer fishing. Steve Coultan's Highlighter makes my orange and olive look pretty dull. That fly is on a size 2 Gamakatsu B10S.

    2. My flybox from my teens looks like this. It's missing a few that I stupidly lost this year, but you get the idea: