Woke at 4am to prepare myself for a bit of a drive and a full day of fly fishing. Met Wendy B., consolidated and slimmed to one ride to take to the trout stream. The plan was to fish in two areas, one in the morning (7am-10am) and one later during a potential hatching period (11am-4pm). The morning went well, the small stream was an interesting environment and after some discussion we were rigged and ready to catch trout. I managed to fumble almost immediately requiring me to cut my line and tie everything on again, bummer but certainly not the feeling for the day.
We fished for almost three hours on the first stream, Wendy B. nymphed quite a few trout out from here while I only managed to get one and I didn’t land it. It took a PT in shallow water, jumped three times and with the last launch shook his head once and said have a good rest of the day. It was a decent sized brown and would have been the larger fish for the morning, I would have liked to shake that fish’s fin. After a while nymphing this smaller stream the water temps were rising and we moved on to larger water in search of dry fly opportunities.
We arrived and I took an initial water temp of ~59 degrees, optimal water temp for hatching Light Hendricksons and as we found out, about a million other insects. We didn’t see much for rising trout, Wendy let loose taking fish after fish on a nymph rig, I waited and decided to rig a dry Light Hendrickson pattern trailed with an emerger pattern. While Wendy was nymphing we both noticed a rise from a larger brown at the head of the pool, I waited for one more rise. As Wendy worked the nymphs I moved to put myself in position to cast to the rising Brown at the head of the pool. Third pass was the ticket and with that Wendy and I were taking trout from the same hole at the exact same time, fly fishing with your friends can be a blast! This one fish made my day, I saw him, understood what needed to be done and set myself up. I made a cast across the current and managed to mend enough line upstream to keep the fly drag free just long enough to fool this beauty.
Although I took the one on a dry fly we found quickly that right then at that stream at that time dries were less than reliable. Although a trout might rise once in a while it just wasn’t worth it to try and force a rise, so many bugs were present it was also hard to determine what dry fly to use. At one point I saw Light Hendricksons, March Browns, Two Caddis species, one was for sure the “Little Black” Caddis (Chimarra aterrima) and stoneflies. Nymphing any one of these patterns was the sure ticket to trout. I managed to catch one of the many mayflies I saw flying around, I believe it was an Adult March Brown, not a sub-imago or “Dun”, the wings on the fly had clearly molted from the earlier stage and were the mottled clear/black you see in the picture.
We decided to move one last time, check out another stretch quick before packing it in. Saw a few more rising trout, I thought about nymphing but I decided to try taking one or two on dry flies, I attempted and failed, probably should have stuck with nymphing. Fishing with a like minded person can be excellent, we were constantly asking questions and trying new things. It’s great to bounce depth/weight amounts off another person, one might get the itch to switch to dries and if that works then both switch up. Also we discussed different approaches, where is the best location to cast from in a certain spot and what kind of drift are you looking for, two brains are better than one.
We had a great day under sunny skies and after getting alittle tan we packed it in for the day. I had a blast and I got to fish and explore totally new water and it will be very close to where I am camping this coming weekend, how nice. Other quick notes, there are bigger bugs in bigger water, I will be working on tying some large stonefly nymph imitations for areas like this. Also, June seems to present an interesting challenge due to the variety of hatching insects, I will be working on several “attractor” dry fly patterns that might help produce a rising fish when so much is going on.
Thanks again Wendy, I had an awesome time as expected.
Update: After going back to the Jar with the March Brown I thought was an Adult Imago was infact a Sub-Imago at the time of the photo above, I know this because I found this the next day with a dead fly that had clearly molted, I wish I had seen it. I guess this is me admitting my ignorance.