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I woke at 5am, assessed the estimated rainfall totals for the night before and made coffee. I wasn’t in a hurry, thought I might find chocolate milk and not in the fridge if you know what I mean. I drove by my initial location but the creek was up and blown, un-fishable. I made a decision at that moment to burn more time to the road but perhaps spend less time driving from creek to creek to maybe get lucky and find one fishable spot, instead I drove to the safe bet, to gin-clear water. By ~9am the air temp was above 60°F and would be pushing a predicted 80°F for a high later, first time this year I’ve wet waded. The first hour saw a mixed bag of random rises, likely to emerging Beatis or midge that had been hatching prior to my arrival. A handful of caddis were around but no steadily rising trout so I opted for a #8 Brown SMB, I missed two then landed a nicer 16inch brown that jumped more than any fish this season. I pushed on but dropped the SMB, some would have [singlepic id=2497 w=320 h=240 float=left]hit it but I would have been force feeding it, the trout didn’t want it, too big…they had smaller fare in large quantities coming. I’m glad I switched up when I did. Slapped on a #16 Olive Thin Nymph and took a handful of nice looking healthy browns.

By 10am it was clear the caddis were coming. The signature rise for pupa was beginning to occur in larger quantities, smaller trout could be seen airing out in the sun as they did back flips grabbing caddis pupa on the way out of the creek. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for this. I was expecting Beatis and rifling through my dry fly box it dawned on me that I hadn’t thought to load the box with more Grey Caddis dries after last year… I only had two #18 Grey Caddis dry flies with me and the fish were already beginning to rise in rhythm. A bit of 5x tippet with one of two flies and I got to work on a single run that I landed ~10 trout from before the rising calmed and I swapped back to the #16 Olive [singlepic id=2500 w=320 h=240 float=right]Thin Nymph, took a handful more from the same run then waited and sure enough the hatch kicked in again, Grey Caddis ranging from some close to #20 to the larger #16. I fished faster broken water and took a bunch under 12inches with a couple over.

By 12:30pm the hatch was so thick that the fish almost shut down, it became difficult to discern my imitation from the rest so I stopped and watched the event unfold in front of me. A splash loud enough to be heard over the riffle I was standing closer to drew my attention upstream to a longer slow section of creek, larger fish were surfacing. With the slower water and the amount of bugs I opted to add a couple feet to my leader in an effort to fool those fish that would be more critical in the slower water. Longer casts standing in the middle of the creek were required. For close to an hour I stood on the same rock past my knees in cold trout water casting to each fish that showed its face. I missed a handful but smooth casting over 60ft allowed me to take several of the larger fish over 13inches with one over 14. [singlepic id=2502 w=320 h=240 float=left]Setting the hook from 50ft out and fighting those fish in…I’ve been waiting for this. My time frame dictated I leave by 1pm but the bugs, the trout, they dictated I stay just a little longer. I landed a couple more and took off almost thirty minutes late. I was later forgiven by the lady of the house, this video explained my reasoning and she was forgiving.

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  1. Awesome browns. I lived in Rochester, MN for 5 years and that is where I learned to fly fish (Whitewater and Root river tribs mostly). Now i’m back home in Flagstaff, AZ – the fishing here is dismal when compared to the driftless area.

    I really enjoy your website and especially your pictures of those beautiful driftless browns.

    avatar Daniel

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