I got on site slightly later than I wanted but thankful for time near cold flowing H2O. At ~9am the water temp was approaching ~61 degrees and although the first section I fished showed some stain within an hour and after traveling upstream found me quickly casting in crystal clear water. The water felt great and without realizing it I was wet wading through places that were deeper than I typically do, the reason? I was casting and watching everything in front of me and was so comfortable it made little sense to get out. Staying in the stream allowed for much further casting opportunities for the most part and made for a cooler day. The downsides? Casting upstream and moving can be tricky, you have to go slow and take your time, plan to tackle a shorter stretch of water. The clear water and my fly line, even with a delicate cast (trying not to slap the water with your fly line or fly), spooked fish upstream as I went.
I started the day fishing the SMB on a shorter leader but after a poor start casting and watching fish look, look again and snub I put it away. I observed “random” rising and immediately thought the trout are taking caddis fly larva/pupa from the sub-surface and it is not “random” but sporadic. Noticing fish leaping fully out of the water every so often combined with little to no surface flies helped support my hypothesis so I positioned myself to take advantage of this. I rigged a 9ft leader with 3-4feet of 6x tippet, the lead fly was a recently tied Stimulator #12 and trailing it by about a foot was a caddis fly larva. I went with the Stimulator as mainly an indicator but after a while it started taking fish and I felt the more it took fish the more willing the fish were to strike.
Working longer casts made things fun and challenging, I got strikes on both flies and every once in a while I would get a trout to launch out of the water striking the trailing larva pattern, excellent. Noticing that the larva wasn’t getting as much attention in deeper areas made me lengthen the distance between the two flies. I also tried changing to a slightly more weighted pattern but I couldn’t manage to get the fly subsurface very often, I could have put a tiny split-shot into the mix but I felt that with the spooky fish the way it was I didn’t want to further complicate the equation. Something to keep in mind the next time at the bench with the caddis pupa patterns.
I moved upstream and caught and landed several smaller trout the largest being 10-11 inches, caught on the Stimulator and the trailing fly. I lost several takes I think due to excess slack in my 12ft leader. The Stimulator attracted three or four larger fish but all seemed to throw the hook within the first shake or two, bummer. Working the heat I continued forward enjoying a beautiful day in the sun, this is the summer push and I know I want to be fishing later or earlier hours but when the opportunity arises I don’t overlook it.
My goal today was work upstream of my put in location roughly 2.2 miles to get to a location I saw once last year, fish it for twenty minutes and break down to hike via road back to the truck. As I neared the final destination I found myself peering over an 8 foot bank down through very clear water at several larger brown and rainbow trout. I watched for several minutes without being caught by the fish, long enough to convince me to switch back to the SMB. A few minutes later I was singing, if you know what I mean? Wow, so cool to go un-detected and get away with chucking a heavy fly and getting some awesome action. I could see perfectly my fly in relation to the fish, I could cast upstream and across far enough to compensate for depth and twitch the fly with two or three quick two inch pulls to get the reaction I wanted. The stocked rainbows hit the fly without hesitation almost the second it moved after sinking, a few came home with me for dinner later this week. The best thing about this whole situation was that I was casting from a different angle/approach than I had ever tried before and I came up rather sucessful.
At one point this rainbow hit the SMB and was on only to get off a second later. I watched the fish move downstream and deeper in the water making a gumming motion probably not too excited about the result of his decision. For some reason I decided to try for the same fish, I let the fly sink to right in front of his nose and stripped it quickly, he took it again, this time not to be so fortunate. Made me think of tailing carp with Wendy B., sneaking up from behind to present your fly seeing the action go down. I fished this spot for a bit, surprised to do so well and afterwards got to my goal and fished for only a few minutes to go back and take a few more from the stretch I had just found. Excellent to gain a new way of approaching the fish that I now know to be successful for me.