After my skunking a few days prior I decided I needed to go back to the creek and reevaluate my approach. I arrived at noon and set to hiking. I didn’t stop, didn’t linger, didn’t spy for rising fish. I just hiked. Airtemp was predicted to hit 30° but that didn’t happen. Low wind on arrival and once downstream I set to the trout with a #18 Pheasant Tail nymph with the purple ice dub thorax that a friend of mine has used with success so many times before. Last time I was here I tried a dry fly and those have their days but today wasn’t one. I thought perhaps the warmer airtemp would bring more bugs and with it rising trout but that was not in the cards. I put the nymph on the fish and it wasn’t more than a minute before I was pulling in a smaller rainbow trout.
I fished my nymph most of the day. My reward was a few nice brown trout one after the other. I love fishing my streamers but if I were a betting man I’d pick a nymph everytime. If I had to eat…I’d reach for a nymph, something to think about. I might enjoy fishing a streamer more but nymphs are terribly effective as I was reminded. I sat on a run and bumped five brown trout on five casts. The best man I’ve ever seen nymph would say something like “it’s a simple equation. The trout are down there, present it properly and the fish will eat.” For me the best angler knows that trout have to eat and they are eating all the time. Using your knowdge to determine what the trout are eating and then using your skills to place a reasonable imitiation in front of the them should result in a fish eating. This is where nymphs truly shine. They perhaps take more time to present than say a streamer or even a dry fly but they have the added advantage of being subtle which is something that can be very advantageous. If I know I want to pull more than one or two fish from a run and there is no hatch I reach for a nymph. This is common knowledge but it has for a while been passed over by me as I’ve be come addicted to watching the strike of a brown on a travelling streamer. This was a much overdue reminder of what I have perhaps been missing out on. Nymphs are a critical part of a well prepared driftless trout angler.
I fished into the snow storm that came down around 2pm. My favorite winter fishing is under cloudy skies with the snow coming down hard, this season I got my wish. There is something special about being in the silent woods with the wind blowing and the snow falling. The fishing however became more of a challenge, the winds picked up and the trout seemed to shut down. I continued fishing taking a trout here and there just enough to keep my hands well slimed and cold, very cold. Seems this year my hands have gotten colder than I can remember, perhaps something to think about for next year. I got back to the car satisfied I had done what I came to do. I packed my gear up, put on my snow gear and promptly got my car half stuck attempting to leave the creek. Glad I live in Minnesota where the people are friendly and willing to help a guy who just had to go fishing on a day when the snow was going to fall hard.