Continuing my streak of April fishing I popped into a couple places I’ve been thinking about and did the usual, bumped a few trout. Nothing special per-se about this day other than the fact that a Dogger came to hand and the first Morel Mushrooms of the season were found and later promptly consumed. The afternoon was typical of the week, sunny skies, a bit of wind with a good air temp in the upper 50′s/lower 60′s. Gin clear creek water sitting about a foot low holding lots of spooky trout was what I found while I hiked downstream. I spent the afternoon fishing solo, tossed a few Grey Caddis flies and threw the Hairball when I wasn’t feeling like landing a smaller trout on a dry fly. Relaxation, no real time constraints makes for a slow going angler. Ho-Humming it as a friend would say.
I fished up the first creek watching the typical scene unfold, skittering caddis showing up a bit earlier at ~12pm and lasting until I left that particular creek in the mid afternoon. Most of the trout taken on a dry fly were smaller but agressive making for a good show. Due to the pool depth on this particular peice of water I opted to fish a #8 Hairball with a tungsten bead, this fly sinks…fast. The downside is that it has a tendency to spook trout if not presented delicatly. High sticking I dropped this fly in most holes I couldn’t see the bottom of even with the gin clear flows. On one particular pool I lifted my rod up only to have my line pull back, this bad boy was hooked and he did not want to hang out with me. This nicer male gets the hardest fighter award for the season so far, he simply did not, would not allow me to get close enough to land him for a good couple minutes. Normally this isn’t the case but he refused and after finally wearing him down a bit we hung out. Due to his stubborness I made sure to handle him with care and do my best to see he was fully revived before allowing him to take off, that fish made my day but… it was not over yet.
After knocking a dogger there is only one thing to do, go home drink a beer, make dinner and gear up to head out in search of night fishing opportunities. I met up with Carl, we headed to a most excellent valley and began the hike in. We arrived early enough to burn a couple hours searching the forest floor for a treasure I had yet to experience the fun of hunting…Morel mushrooms. Carl being an expert on the subject took the time to really give me the run down on what we were searching for, this guy knows his stuff. He had spied a handful of trees on previous outings that he knew would be holding fungus booty. Tiny Grey Morel’s were the first spotted, a handful on April 5th, something he wasn’t expecting at all. Three weeks early and in larger quantities, we were both stoked. A bit further down the rabbit hole and we came across a larger load of Yellow Morel’s, the hunt had offically gotten to me and I knew this would be something I would be doing solo very soon. Paying attention to Carl’s advice and asking a few questions posed me to hit the mushroom hunt on my own later. As the moon rose we knew it would be a bright one. Headlamps NOT required under a full moon with clear skies. Conditions like this have been problimatic for mousing in the past, typically we’ve noted that the fish are more apprehensive and targeting the shaded areas of the creek are more sucessful. With few fish coming up for the mouse I opted to swap to a streamer to see if the moon light on the creek would react with the flash in my fly to force a trout to strike. In a word…yes. The night fishing thing is still a mystery and much trial and error still needs to occur to hone the situation to more of a science. One thing is for certain though… a driftless area valley in the moonlight is a magical place.