Some days are just unforgettable. Near 60 degree days in February are hard to forget anyway, but add a new and exceptional wild brook trout stream, a good friend, a few stoneflies and midges, and rising fish, and you've got yourself something truly special indeed.
On Tuesday Alan and I put in some time trying to access one stream. I had fished it before but in a different area, and it had some beautiful brook trout. But this section we were trying to fish was hard to reach and also really hard to fish. It didn't have the best bottom structure, it was very sandy, and the amount of briers made the banks nearly impossible to navigate. We gave up after less than half an hour at that stream.
Our plan B was a tiny stream not far away that I had heard had brookies but had never even seen in person. And it really was tiny. Upon seeing it, I was a little skeptical about how good it would be. It was quite shallow there. It was all hardwoods around it, no hemlock at all. But as I waded downstream my preconceived notions were quickly dismissed as a spooked a number of brook trout and a few of surprising size. Then, in a slow deep pool, I had a substantial rise to a Lime Trude. The fish didn't want to come back for that fly, so I switched to a Sturdy's Fancy. It took me a couple of casts to hit the right spot, but when I did the fly vanished in a large boil. I set the hook and was quickly into a brook trout powerful enough to demand careful rod angles. As the fish tired my leader tangle in an over hanging branch. I rushed down to land the fish and fortunately was able to do so.
This was an exceptional fish for such a minuscule stream, and on a dry fly no less... it would take a serious disaster to make this a bad day, and I'm pleased to report that nothing of the sort happened. In fact, the day only got better.
Though not warm, the water wasn't as cold as it often is in early February. 42 degrees is not half bad.
Brook trout were far from the only abundant life in the stream. A variety of cased caddis, rock worms, mayfly nymphs, and even large golden stonefly nymphs had found the stream bed more than suitable.
When you have a day like this in February, it certainly is one to be remembered. Though we aren't far from days like this being quite abundant, the stark cold and ice of January and February put good conditions to explore new water with dry flies at a premium.
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