Liz and I decided to drive south to a trout stream that I wanted to see again. Knowing I couldn’t fish the stream I brought only a camera and the dog. We left at 8am with an air temp of probably 20 degrees, we didn’t park until close to 10am and the air temp was no more than 26. The sun was shining though and despite the wind it was a beautiful day and I was glad to be up and outside early. We hiked a route I had taken in the summer and I guess I was curious to see if I could find one, just one fish. The reason being: this summer none were to be found and in water that looked perfect for trout.
We started and immediately I noticed that the water was clearer than I remembered it, an advantage of the winter season. I was hoping this would help me find where the trout were that I was missing this summer. We walked and I thought I saw a few move in a large 6-10ft deep pool. This was a very slow moving section of the stream requiring the wind to cooperate if I was to see what was on the bottom. After my initial thought we pressed on due to lack of wind cooperation. Moving on the next section for sure produced trout, I got excited and then confused. I was seeing in a section that I had witnessed no trout in during the summer almost teeming with them, I had to have seen 20 trout hold up in this hole.
Now, I know that they stack up in the deeper holes during the winter but do they migrate up/downstream and then hold up? Was it possible I was blind this summer and either the water was too murky for me to see them or I was so poor a fly-fisherman that I couldn’t catch even one? I’m not sure, the area they were hold up in was more of a long, slow, flat 4-8ft deep section, not a 10+ft deep hole.
We hiked further than I had in the summer, after using Google Earth to map my route I was much more confident in my assesment of the easement boarder. Interestingly enough I thought I would see more fish further downstream but as we hiked I saw nothing. I’m not saying they wern’t there, I just couldn’t find them. After a few hours we hiked back to the car and as we did I stopped to look in the initial section of water that the wind had kept me from seeing more clearly in. At first I thought I saw one or two, and then I moved and saw more fish in this one section of water than I had in any other. I was awestruck. The only time I’ve seen more fish in one spot is in the hatcheries.
I watched, they were deep. Holding, still. I sat and wished there were winter regs here. After ten minutes or so Liz and the dog got me moving back to the truck. I’m glad I came back, I might have unfairly judged this section of water writing it off as a barren wasteland when in fact it might hold some sweeeeet trout. I will be making another trip here in a few months.