The other day I was on a brook trout stream moving up, picking the pockets. There's a long rock slide that I climb with one little step in the middle. As I approached that step I saw the tell-tail olive colored back and red fins of a brook trout. This water was only inches deep. There was a little bit of cover there in the form of a fallen birch tree and an overhanging rock, but believe me when I say this fish was in barely any water at all. Hardly anybody would give this little step much thought, including myself most times.
I made a few casts and the fish showed interest by following right to the edge of the step each time. Eventually I took the hint and just let the fly settle. The fish picked it up off the bottom. The hook-set alone was enough to pull it out of two inches of water. At hand it was pretty obvious that I had caught this fish before. Last time was 100 yards upstream about a month before and she was gravid. Now she was quite thin and I kind of felt bad for catching her again. I hope she spawned successfully. This stream has been so dramatically changed over the last year that I can't help believe that it was challenging for the brookies. But that's a story for another day.
Basically, the what you should take from this is to fish a stream as thoroughly as possible and that water depth isn't a particularly important factor in what determines holding water vs. dead water, especially in mountain streams. Don't overlook anything with cover and a little current. This goes for just about any species in any water body really, fish follow their own rules first an foremost. I could go one and on: big bass in seasonal springs, carp tailing in storm drains, striped bass in mosquito ditches... you could miss out on something really special if you don't give everything its due.
|The water just brushed my gravel guard where that fish was sitting.|
Thanks for joining the adventure, and tight lines.