Fished another couple hours over the afternoon the other day and caught a bunch of smaller to medium sized Driftless Area brown trout. I had a pretty good idea of what I would be walking into. I figured: Clear to near crystal creek, Random sporadic rising but nothing solid, active trout and a handful of mayflies fluttering around. I was spot on. The creek looked great, ever so slightly colored in the deepest sections and the trout were active for sure. The smaller fish were nailing items on the surface every so often. I watched for a while and came to the determination that mayflies were around but they weren’t emerging. I surmised they were likely the Lt. Hendricksons I had encountered the other day, but what I was witnessing were the activities of spinners. None were sitting on the waters surface rather they were quickly gliding over top dropping down every so often to deposit precious eggs. I was only able to catch one actually drifting on the surface and even then it fluttered away so fast I could barely prove my assumption.
I opted to nymph again with the #14 Orange Scud lead and a #16 P&P dropper. Simple. Effective. Deadly. I haven’t spent much time nymphing over the last year, admittedly I strayed from this simply because I believe a “streamer addiction” took over for a while. I’ve been enjoying the slower, methodical pace the nymphing routine offers and perhaps rekindling a love of catching trout after trout on small flies. Nymphing poses multiple challenges. Depth, weight, current flow, trout location, and instream foliage are all factors which must be taken into account to be truly effective. I continued watching the creek for mayflies and everyone I watched take to the trees above. It took some luck but I eventually managed to nab one before it could get out of range. Interesting how the molting process turns a Sub-Imago to an Imago results in a much darker body on the Lt. Hendrickson.
The continual string of beautiful afternoons offering random rising trout have not been overlooked nor wasted by this trout angler. Get while the getting is good. Today followed the pattern of the last few afternoons. I landed quite a few brown trout ranging from 5-15inches with two pushing 16-17inches. The fight of a nice sized brown attached to 5x tippet has been missed and was thoroughly enjoyed. I missed many more than I landed, a consequence of allowing my nymphing skills to slip a bit. I managed a double (one fish on the Orange scud and the other on the trailer) but the force of two fighting fish resulted in broken line, a lost fly and an early release. I swapped to a # 14 Brass Bodied Hares Ear nymph to trail the Scud and next cast the same situation occurred, two fish on resulting in a broken line and lost fish/fly. I had to scratch my head at what the odds of that were. Another fly and I made a third cast in the same location, a light strike and perhaps a late response by me resulted in a foul hooked trout. I hate foul hooking fish and before the end of the day it happened two more times. Perhaps another consequence of my poor nymphing skills combined with fishing a two fly rig. Another day, another fish, hopefully my impact on the resource is a positive one and not negative…
Photo Credit: Driftless Exposure