Weeks ago I made a few phone calls and secured a one time access on a creek I’ve never fished but stared at on the map wondering and day dreaming of what it might hold. I knew it had the potential to hold large numbers of brook trout and because of that I asked Carl if he wanted in on the hunt with me. The plan was an all day affair, we rolled out at 7:30am and decided to hike to the mouth of a popular creek and it’s confluence with a larger system to see if any large brown’s might have been lurking around. Water on the first creek was low and gin clear. We didn’t linger long, made the hike, fished the confluence and busted out to the real story for the day, turns out the big browns were hiding somewhere else. Fishing a 100% private piece of water which I now get to check off my list and by the end of the day I would be able to say I’d seen every inch of the creek from the start to the confluence where it dumped into a larger system, this is what it means to fish a stream. To be able to say you’ve seen it all is something that doesn’t happen often.
We pulled up to the main event at 9:45am. Air temperature was 39°F, the water was low and ever so slightly stained. I forgot my thermometer (not happy about that given the possibility of BWO’s) but the creek felt cold. I looked at a few rocks but didn’t find many Baetis nymphs so we started with streamers. The water at the beginning of the creek was wide, deep and full of slow pond sections as a result of beaver dams, perfect for streamers. Several browns ranging between 12-16inches hit my fly on a slow dead drift. Carl opted for a #14 attractor nymph pattern and had some success but the larger streamer was picking up more trout. All the trout in the lower end were browns and none of them were terribly small. We moved slowly upstream hiking every inch of the creek taking it all in. The creek was difficult to navigate with thick vegetation along the banks, I knew this might be a possibility which was one reason why I worked to get access during this time of year.
Upstream we found a bend with rising trout, one bank was elevated and the other held thick cover for the approaching angler. Carl was up and we sat on this spot for close to an hour while we watched trout rise, inconsistently I might add, to what we believed were midge. Carl tied on a dry fly and I watched from above as a massive pool of trout snubbed his first few drifts. I played point man and after a switch to a larger BWO Sparkle Dun with flash in the wing the first brown rose. From above I had an eagle eye view of the whole show. I sipped an IPA enjoying the warming sun and lack of wind noting how fortunate I was to be in this place. We sat trying to feed those fish a dry fly for a while before I snuck around to the head of the pool and tried tossing a streamer down and in hoping one of the larger trout would charge, not today.
Upstream a ways the creek ran next to a rock ledge then cut away to open up into a pasture area, right before that pasture we noted a spring feeding the creek. Carl says “We are going to catch the first brookie in the next half hour.” Approximately three casts later I saw the bright white fins surface from the deep, brook trout. We spent the next three hours fishing to long stretches of deep water holding hundreds of brook trout. This surpassed our wildest dreams, the number of fish we saw was incredible. We continued further and further upstream and continued to find pockets of brookies willing to chase down a small streamer as if they’d never seen a fly before making us both wonder when the last time this creek had been fished this far up. When the creek looked like it was going to end we continued onward and found a spring hole that held a number of beautifully dark colored brook trout. While Carl continued to nail fish after fish I looked over to note a large number of big black cattle descending rapidly down the bluff. They ran right up on us and stood within fifty feet of the bank while Carl landed another small brook trout. We moved upstream and came to the end of the line, the stream broke into two braids, I chased one down to find it flowing from a spring near the bluff wall while Carl ran what we assumed was the main channel down to it’s end. At this point it was pushing 4:30pm and we had a long hike to get back to the car. We put our heads down and hiked straight out sweating in our waders as we went. I am hoping to secure access to this creek again, later in the summer when simulators and hoppers will find those brook trout eager to rise.