Brook, brown and bow, that’s how the first month of year ended. Significant snow melt and rainy conditions drove the car to the creek. Picked a spot that contains many springs concentrated in a short distance to combat lower water temps from melting snow. 37°F and overcast when I got over the ridge to see that no one else had driven as far as me, got the best seat all to myself on a Sunday of all days. Rigged my rod sipping coffee and spying the short section of
water I could see for any signs of rising trout. I had hoped the midge would be bringing trout up but to my disappointment I never saw more than a handful of isolated rises.
I got situated and hiked downstream a good mile and a half avoiding the creek all together. Scared a couple whitetails up on the way. In the middle of winter this has to be the greenest place I can think of. Water cress, moss, in stream foliage, if you want to see green in the winter you can find it on a trout stream. I rigged a #2 big EZ just to have a fly on my line with the intention of changing it up but a handful of riffles I had to cross gave me the opportunity to toss it in on a swing. This resulted in two trout who chased but wouldn’t commit and the first rainbow trout of the year.
Got to where I was going and sat down in the wet snow. It was sprinkling steadily as I sipped coffee watching for rising trout but after close to ten minutes nothing and my coffee was almost gone. I grew more and more concerned that the water temp was dropping and with it the fish activity. I fished the big EZ on a deep dead drift getting no where on what I would have pegged as one of the most productive spots for the day. I temped the immediate upstream riffle at 46°F for a baseline at 12:14pm. I fished upstream in the light rain for the next hour missing a few and landing a couple. I swapped to a much lighter streamer to fish super slow wide slack water where long casts (mostly roll casts) saw hesitant browns move in on my streamer only nip at it and get off. The
combination of super long cast coupled with watching bigger fish move in from afar to hit my fly was one of the high points of the day for sure. The sun had moved in and brightened things up and with it the snow continued to melt. At this point the Brown in the Brook, Brown, Bow driftless hat trick had come to hand, now for the hardest to find but perhaps the easiest to catch…the brook. Water temp at 2:10pm ~44°F.
The brook trout acquisition required more effort, further hike, and some luck. Goal was to be hiking out at 3:30pm to get on the road by 4pm. I fished upstream targeting three spots I knew had brookies in them and all three produced nothing but browns. I was about to pack it in but I figured there is a bit more creek and I wanted that hat trick. I hiked further to what I know is the last big productive hole this creek has to offer, I’ve only ever caught
browns from it but if their are brookies below I would imagine they move up and down so I gave it a shot. I even went so far as to tie on a smaller #14 Hairball nymph to ensure a minimal impact on the surface and with the second long roll cast a small but beautiful trout hit and leapt out of the creek, it was infact the brookie I wanted. Stopped right then, took my tail shot, released the fish and promptly hiked out satisfied indeed.