A quick trip to the cabin last weekend, cloaked in the smoke of the myriad fires, yielded a day of insane
The weekend didn’t turn out as long or relaxing as I had hoped. I had to wait at work for the phone guy to switch some lines, postponing my departure Friday afternoon until five-thirty. While traffic was relatively light, my arrival in Twain Harte was later than I would have liked. And five o’clock the next morning came awfully quick.
I was on Moccasin Creek by six-thirty but spinners were being flung and bait drowned in many of the prime locations. But having spent more hours that I’d care to count on this rivulet, I knew a few productive spots were blatantly ignored by the meat fishermen.
My first target was a relatively fast-flowing run — maybe about 20-feet long — where an indicator with a couple of beadhead nymphs can lure a few fish out of hiding. Sure enough, after no more than four casts it was “Fish on!” A nice brook trout to start the day. I proceeded to pull another five fish out — rainbows and brookies — before moving upstream to nice pool that is divided midway by a fallen tree. Fish stack up below the tree at the tail of this pool and above the tree in the cascades pouring into its head. After a bit of catching here, I continued moving up river.
As it neared eleven o’clock, when I was left alone after the fishermen with their limits had headed home or those without headed to lunch, I stopped counting the fish I brought to hand. No real reason to keep counting past forty, I figured.
After a lunch break I switched things up, challenging myself, by rigging up a dry fly with a dropper. (A floating fly with a sinking fly tied onto the hook.) I don’t usually use dry flies, but the trout seemed to be both slashing and slurping, indicating that they were both chasing insect nymphs rising to the surface and sucking in insects already floating on the surface.
I’ve yet to master the technique of setting a hook with a dry fly — one needs to pause just a bit to let the fish turn away, otherwise a set simply pulls the hook out of the fish’s mouth — but it was amazing to see a fish rise to my dry fly and take it. The ones I did manage to hook went wild!
I spent much of the afternoon using the dry/dropper combination. Sometimes targeting specific fish I could see. Such as a fish that would hug an undercut bank and zip out for an occasional snack, leaving me to plan my cast to place the flies in the fish’s feeding lane at the right time. Other times I’d target likely areas though I couldn’t see fish. And more than a couple of fisherman commented, as they waded past me, that I seemed to be hooked up every time they looked.
I ended the day, after more than ten hours on the water, going after a fish sticking close to underwater weeds in an area that would be called a “prime lie”: a place where a fish can get shelter as well as easy access to food floating by. It took good drifts to get this guy to even glance at my flies. Finally an excellent drift and the fight was one. And true to expectations, he was a big one, maybe fourteen inches of brook trout.
The best part of the day? Driving the other fishermen crazy with my constant catch and releasing numerous fish. Ha!