The very evening after my atrocious performance on a sandy lowland stream, I got a short opportunity for redemption. The water I'd be fishing was also small but far more rocky and fast flowing. Additionally, it was much less urban. This stream is dominated by brown trout though it has a far more robust brook trout population. I was still a bit frustrated by my prior performance, but determined to at least catch a couple fish. Time and daylight were limited. I'd need to fish with an efficiency I'd lacked just hours prior. All it takes to do that is to stop, take a breath, and get out of my own way. When I'm on, I'm really on. Everything comes naturally. When I'm too unfocused, or sometimes too focused, I overthink things and get physically more aggressive: I put more power into casts than necessary, I walk more forcefully, I make changes in fly selection or presentation that aren't necessary. There's a happy medium of focus, and when I'm in it I'm a pretty decent angler.
The fly I chose was, of course, the Ausable Ugly; my ultimate small stream brown trout confidence fly. I'd not doubt the effectiveness of the fly as it was one well proven. As I worked upstream through a set of good plunge pools and runs, I wasn't getting the action I'd hoped for. Knowing this stream sees more pressure than many of those I fish, I wasn't concerned that my angling was at fault. Someone else could well have just fished this very water an hour prior and the trout could still be on edge. Finding undisturbed fish would take a little time, perhaps, but wasn't impossible. Eventually I came to the piece of water in the photo below.
A place like this has multiple good lies for trout to use and on occasion, each one will be occupied by an active fish. The first obvious seem runs along the right side of that fast current tongue. Slower water flowing from the right meets that fast water on the left side of the photo. There is enough depth there, and the converging currents both deliver food and create a soft cushion of slower water where they meet. This is a prime feeding lie and that's where I caught the first fish.
To the right of that current seam but less visible in the photo since part of it is in shadow under the log, is another prime lie where two currents of equivalent speed meet at a 45 degree angle. I dropped the Ugly in the V and it was taken on the drop. Another wild Salmo trutta of similar size came to hand.
This wasn't the only time this little piece of water produced multiple fish while other parts of the stream under performed. Notably, right around Christmas 2017, I caught four browns out of this stretch of stream on an egg. There are some stretches of river that are simply better for holding trout- whether they are easier places to catch them is another story.
I felt good... finally. I'd fished well. Two beautiful wild trout were fooled and both came to hand. I'd regained my mojo.
Until next time,