The bad news is that work this year dictates quick trips pretty much limited to the family cabin. The good news is that this allows for frequent trips that engender exploration.
Last week I decided that the two full days available for fishing would be dedicated to moving waters with familiar names but until now remained unfished. And no one told me it was humpy week. Red and yellow to be exact.
Road work meant the last five miles of my trip took half an hour. Luckily, a month ago I found a small section of the North Fork of the Tuolumne River not more than 20 minutes from the cabin, a convenient place to get the skunk off after a midafternoon arrival in the Sierra foothills. It’s not remote and often occupied, with a limited number of wild trout, but it’s a place that offers room to practice casting to specific seams and shelter.
Like much of the moving water in the Sierras, this section of the Tuolumne was already low. The early season spoiled me, so the fisherman in me was also initially disheartened to find two kids frolicking in the main pool. As a dad, I appreciated that these kids were having a good time outdoors. However, despite the splashing and noise, a trout would periodically and enticingly slash at the surface.
Though a short drive, I hate wasting an opportunity to fool a fish with a dry/dropper combination. A red humpy and a self-tied small, go-to bead-head nymph.
It took a few casts to warm up.
Then the fish warmed up to my presentation.
So it went for a few hours. The humpy dried off many times after being battered and half swallowed. These fish were hungry and made me look good.
That’d be the theme this trip, and though I didn’t find as many wild trout as hoped, I did well enough to consider it time well spent.
The next three days I’d fish four unfamiliar waters, landing fish from each, often amid relative solitude (we’ll get to that next week). When not alone, I was lucky enough to enjoy conversation with fishermen more knowledge about the area than I, fly fishermen who were happy to offer friendly advice and recommend additional venues. One gentleman, with a long history of fishing the foothills, related bit of history that suggests in high-water years there’s a very real possibility of brook trout being washed out of a reservoir into a nearby steam.
Yes, it was time very well spent.