Day off. Chose to fish the am hours, lower air temps with a trade for lower winds. It seems typical as of late that when the opportunity to fish arises the weather turns sour. If you don’t go you won’t know. I’ve been eyeballing some new water for a while now, I hit it the day before and landed a beauty. I figured with dry flies likely out of the picture due to low airtemps I’d go searching deep dark ugly spots for anything that would take a fly. I was onstream at ~8:30am with an airtemp approaching 40°F. With a bit of stain from the night before the creek was looking good. Just a bit of stain would allow me to get in a bit closer, something I’ve come to take advantage of. I pulled three flies from my box and stuck them in my chest pack, all #6 SMB’s the Black, Brown and Olive, the deadly trio. One decent sized split shot and I was swinging at every nasty looking snaggy spot I could effectively cast to, passed up quite a bit of water but when I knew I could land the cast I put my flies in the creek.
In the past I’ve passed opportunities like this over. Larger, faster, deeper water. Searching water. I passed on it in the past because a guy can spend all day searching for fish and get nowhere fast. With that said it there are ways to fish these types of spots that can make it more productive. 1st, lose your fear of loosing your flies. No guts…NO GLORY. Don’t be stupid and loose fifty flies but if you haven’t hit bottom or gotten snagged then your missing opportunities. Concentrate on getting your flies down, deep. This means mending, fishing upstream and adding more weight, again if your not setting the hook on a rock or debris every so often your probably missing the larger fish hanging out. 2nd. Try, try, and try again, then move on. You can waste a day dead drifting a fat streamer through deep ass pools, it’s good to try and as long as your confident that your fly is getting down you can be alright walking away from the darkness of that 8ft deep plunge pool. I’m still learning but today proved that I’m getting the hang of it, lost one fly and landed a handful of freaking nice fish.
Back to the morning, landed the first 13in brown and moved on. Took my time as I was in no hurry and enjoyed my coffee staring down at snaggy water, deciphering it, watching the currents. You can use the stream to your advantage by sinking your flies in a spot where the current naturally kicks them down to the bottom, the trick is recognizing those spots and sinking the cast, like the swish from a basketball. Nothing but net. Speaking of nets, I know they are a pain and I’ve been known to leave mine at home but if your fishing a #6 anything and not carrying a net your doing yourself and the trout a dis-service. Along with the net downsize that tippet. 3x is what I fish when chucking streamers as of late and damn am I glad I do, these two things can get big fish in and fast allowing you to release them quickly. Point in case, snaggy water with undercuts, tree limbs and fat fish. I sent my SMB through a handful of times with no results. I kept at it, I hadn’t gotten snagged on the bottom. A moment later my light went taught. When bigger fish hit and run for cover you’d better be prepared to lay into them, bend your rod and hang on. Both of the nicer fish from today took the #6 Brown SMB and immediately dove for cover under flood debris, great habitat and a great way to lose a fish. Make a choice, lay into that fish, turn it’s head and get it to the net or give it enough slack to hang you. I learned that today, never have I had to put so much force into my rod to keep a fish from wrapping itself around debris.
Both the nicer fish came from water that was about 4ft deep with debris or a cut bank for cover. After landing the female brown my heart was pounding and I was smiling as I was sinking a foot deep in muck. I had to jump in to make sure she didn’t get to the downed trees. Less than an hour into my morning and I had what I came for, adrenaline. I sat on the bank and drank coffee for a few minutes before pressing on, now the day could be spent leisurely tossing flies confident that the big fish of the day had shown it’s face.
I pulled a 14inch brown with some excellent spotting from a deep 4ft run and thinking there may be a second fish to be had I tried one more time. As I was lifting my rod during the the tail out, a flash and splash. Something big smashed my fly less than an inch from the surface and I nearly fell on my ass, no joke. This fish and I danced for a couple heart pumping minutes, he dove for a tree branch and I moved to pull his head as hard as I could. Remember the net, this fish would not have given up its portrait without it. Less than twenty minutes apart and I landed back to back nice sized browns. I spent the rest of the day doing much the same, deep drifting my SMB. I landed a handful more with nothing less than 13inches, in this kind of water they are fewer but they are bigger. I took off at 12pm, right as the wind picked up and the rain started falling. If you don’t go, you won’t know. Glad I went out today.