In the interest of some informal field research for the DEEP — not to mention my own curiosity — I did a little recon yesterday on a part of the river where the fish would have faced significant stress in the last 50 days. I purposefully went in the afternoon, when the water temperatures would be highest. I wanted to know if, on an unseasonably warm September day, the water temps would be below 70. If they weren’t, I would not fish. Most of all, I wanted to know if anyone made it through the long, hot summer. I visited three locations, staggered downstream at varying distances. Spot A was 67 degrees; Spots B & C were a hard 68.
I found active, healthy fish in all three places. I nymphed up a nice, fat brown, over a foot long, in the first location. He was in the net before he knew what hit him. One quick digital shot and back he went. There were two trout actively feeding on emergers in the second spot; I gave them a few quasi-wet presentations with un unweighted nymph rig, had a bump, and left them to their feeding. Ironically, the spot farthest downstream had the most action: three active feeders. Wanting to err on the side of caution, I didn’t bother trying to catch them.
To be safe, I would wait another week before venturing below the permanent TMA. We’re supposed to have some cooler temps, both day and night, after today. Most of all, a week will give the trout a chance to restore their vigor.
Looks like we made it! This guy was hanging out in about 18″ of whitewater right below a boulder. He took a size 18 soft-hackled Pheasant Tail.