After the Wet Flies 101 class I wandered off to investigate a snotty, treacherous boulder field with a team of wets. From top dropper to point, a size 12 Partridge and Light Cahill, a size 12 Hackled March Brown, and a size 12 BHSHPT. The sulphurs and Isos were out, as were the Cedar Waxings, who were having a regular airborne feast. I witnessed several sulphurs make it out of the river, only to be snapped up by an open beak moments after their emergence. The wet fly fishing started slowly, but as the hour hand moved past 6pm, things picked up. I ended up with over a half dozen fish, all wild browns save for one recent stockee, that ranged from eight inches to the low teens. I took them on the swing, the dangle, and short line deep. Some of them were active feeders; it’s always fun to successfully target specific fish, but I’ll take the ones that aren’t showing themselves just as readily.
The smallest trout of the day, but surely one of the hardest fighters. He hammered the BHSHPT on the swing.
Part Two of the evening was dedicated to the dry fly cause. At least in theory it was. I fished a spot that has seen declining numbers in fish in recent years, and sadly, that trend continued last night. I saw only handful of rises over the course of two hours. (I think I saw two dozen rises as I drove over the bridge at Church Pool earlier in the day.) Some olives and stenos, but not many of them. I was able to get two offers to the dry, but no hook sets.
Now well into dusk, the dry skunk would have been a bummer way to end the day. So I took the long way home and walked a pool with a nameless cone head black marabou streamer tied to the end of my leader. Plenty of bumps as darkness fell kept me entertained, but no hookups meant the fish were smaller than the foot-and-a-half-plus browns I was after. Off to Spot B where I couldn’t see squat due to the dense fog bank that had settled over the river. A bit of a disappointment with only one bump and no hook sets. (I know there are some bigger fish that live there. Where you at?)
Finished up at Spot C with an olive Zoo Cougar. The fog enveloped me with its chilly fingers, but I could now see some stars in the clearing skies. It was quiet.
Quiet enough to hear the sound of the brown as it tracked the streamer down and across the current. Bump! No return strike. A second cast to the same general area, same swing, same retrieve, same sound effects…Whack! There he is, a mid-teens brown that put a smile on my face and a skip in my wading step.
Then, a few minutes later…plop. I heard the fly hit the water. CRASH! The sound of the take came before I felt the tug or even managed to get the rod into post-cast position. Another good fish, not quite a bruiser, but aggressive enough to charge headlong at what must have looked like a most satisfying dining experience.
Speaking of food, I was famished. So I sped off to the McDonald’s in Unionville, which I discovered is closed at 11:30 on a Saturday night. Really? Closed? Saturday night? Contrary to the corporate tagline, I wasn’t lovin’ it.
That last brown must have felt the same way.