My home river will never be what it was when I first fished it. I’ve accepted that fact. What it means to me though will never change. There isn’t another wild trout stream nearby that runs a long distance uninterrupted by road crossings or private land. There aren’t any major trails either- access takes effort. I feel secluded when I’m there. Although the wild brown and brook trout aren’t as plentiful as they once were and stocked fish have taken hold in parts of the stream where they never used to be found, it will forever be my home river.
I paid a couple visits in December with poor results, but decided I ought to return in January. I wanted to fish it with the same simple nymphing methods that I’d first learned there. My leader was just 6 feet long, but carefully tapered down to a long 4x tippet. I’d only fish one fly and either use the end of my fly line, the leader knots, or my instinct to detect strikes. Since I haven’t nymphed this way in awhile, I can tell that my knack for this bare-bones tactic has slipped away. I’m more than a little bit rusty. I set out to gain back those reflexes on the very water I’d developed them in the first place.
It took me a bit to find what I thought was my groove. I reached a classic ledge run that used to have a log socked in between some boulders essentially dividing into two runs, one below and one above. A freeze followed by a flood managed to blow it out. That log was there ten years ago, when I caught my first wild brown trout out of what had been the upper run. It’s amazing how drastically things have changed since then, but there are still wild brown trout using that water and one found my Sexy Walt’s Worm to its liking. The take was subtle and almost undetectable. Not missing it bolstered my confidence.