I spent the last week watching the weather get cold and then colder. I saw the weekend weather change from 30-35 and some sun to what I got today which was 20-23 degrees with snow, wind and cloud cover and still it was winter fly fishing just the same. I ran the dog and called Sershen to see if he was going out and he was. We left to travel south of I-90 just after 11am.
The recent cold weather left us few options for open water but we found it just the same. The challenge of this place was the steep banks rising from the water leaving no access to the water to land a fish. The banks also kept us up and away from the rising trout, that’s right, rising trout! We saw them right away, excited we rigged up and got in place. I was trying some different gear today opting for water-resistant snow pants and boots vs. waders. I found I was warm and lighter able to move faster and easier, if I don’t plan on touching the water this is the way I’m going from now on. I also tested my new reel and line which made casting much more enjoyable, I really like this reel.
The steep banks with trees behind made casting semi-difficult, short casts less than 20ft but the trout were actively feeding, moving in and out of feeding lanes. We started with dry midge adults and didn’t get very far and after putting the fish down we moved on finding two more areas with several fish holding. After an hour of trying different holes we walked back through the snow to the rising fish from before. Sure enough they were still feeding, I rigged up one of the PT’s I’ve been working on with a Black Midge Larvae trailer. I opted for no split shot and this decision would soon pay off. The steeper banks would have made the split shot smack the water and with the limited area the fly had to hit the water close to the fish. I watched carefully as a trout turned and made what I would describe a “gumming” motion opening its mouth, I tightened my line and set the hook. I was right and it began! A few moments later Heath helped me net the fish, the steep banks made landing the trout difficult without getting wet or spooking the fish.
I took a few quick pictures and with that, released the beat up fish to the stream. Not sure what hit this trout but if it was another fish it would have been rather big. I felt great, caught on my #22 Midge Larvae it felt like my work had payed off. I would have been satisfied with the first but after a few minutes allowing the trout to relax I had an opportunity to take one of the two largest fish in the area. This was my first real instance where I chose the individual fish, accounted for position and depth, and made my presentation. I set the hook and the much larger trout struggled for freedom and sure enough I had number two in the net and the smile just got bigger. This was a nicer fish and so as not to risk hurting it I released it before I could even get a good photo, Heath will have some up soon.
We rounded out our time on the water with my getting another on my line but loosing it before it could make it to the net and I managed to snag one near the vent. I was unimpressed with this and so today I caught two rainbow trout. Pleased we left to find more water, after viewing a very frozen alternate stream we headed home. A very good day on the water.