Mar. 7th 2014: Snowshoes Required

  • The CreekArrival Time: 10:30am
  • Arrival Air Temp: 37°F
  • Water Temp @ 11:09am 44°F
  • Midge On Arrival
  • Rising On Arrival
  • Water Temp @ 12:27 45°F
  • Water Temp @ 2:30pm 47°F
  • Water Temp @ 3:38pm 48°F

I parked and from the roadside without seeing the water, before I turned the ignition off I knew the Midge were everywhere. How did I know this? All the birds fluttering near the banks picking at the snow, that’s how. I knew it was going to be a good day immediately. Cloudy skies for the most of the day and despite my exposed position on the creek there was minimal wind. I brought snowshoes with me and hiked downstream via roadside hauling them on my back. I hopped off the road, dropped onto the creek and immediately sank to my waist in thick heavy snow. The snowshoes were going to be crucial today.

My GearOnce Creekside I paused on the situation. The midges were everywhere and a few rising trout were here and there but nothing terribly consistent. The water temp was already in the mid 40’s and the birds were everywhere on the banks. The water was gin clear. I opted to fish a smaller creek that I was betting would be ice free and void of any other anglers, I chose wisely. I chose one of my newly tied mini-streamers due to the light weight and minimal surface impact they would have. I moved a few fish as I tried out the first run but nothing stuck. I got to the honey hole tucked away in the woods and began to notice this place had changed in the last year. Flood debris everywhere and the hole I had spent many hours figuring out how to fish was somewhat different. I made a roll cast towards the mouth of a feeder spring and within moments I was That is One Big Bird!into a very nice sized brown however as it would go I lost that fish right at the end of the fight flopping in a riffle. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed.

First fish was a bust and with that I sat on the bank and contemplated. Dry fly? Nymph? Right at that very moment I watched a 10inch brown trout launch completely out of the creek. A more obvious sign could not have been given a guy sipping coffee in the snow grinning from ear to ear. I added a stretch of 6X, put on a #20 Griffiths Gnat and put it on those fish. I proceeded to lose the next two subtle takes. So despite the excellent weather and active fish I was 0-3. I knew if I dropped a nymph on those trout hold up in that deep hole I’d pick up a fish. A #16 Pink Squirrel did just that, I managed to land a 8inch little brown. I fished the nymph for about fifteen minutes pulling three more of the same sized trout from the creek and with that I decided to slap on the mini-streamer and head upstream.

The Hole in the WoodsIt’s been all of two hours on the water and the snow shoes were helping but I was still sinking to my knees in some places. I followed the creek upstream missing a couple more light takes. With a creek as small as this you really only get one, maybe two casts with a streamer at any fishy looking spot. I kept trudging through the snow until I watched multiple rising trout hit several times. Dry fly required. I put the #20 Griffiths Gnat back on and made a wicked long cast, perhaps longer than needed. A brief moment on the water resulted in a small swell at the surface. Fish on. Dry fly success, I love fishing a #20 and pulling trout after trout out. Multiple fish came to hand over the next hour. A minute or two between casts and as long as the fly rode high it was promptly eaten nearly everytime. All browns, the largest being 13inches by the time my fly had been decimated and I decided to move on. The day was basically made by this point, everything from here on out would just be icing.

Still Catching FishI noted several changes due to the flooding from late last summer as I hiked, slowly I might add, upstream and into the woods. The wind was even less of an issue here and from high on the bank I could see nice sized brown trout staggered throughout the creek, presentation was the challenge. I spotted a 16inch fish and from the side put my fly approximately three feet in front of it and to the left about a foot. I watched as it spotted my fly and turned on a dime as it passed by going downstream. Focused on the fish I was targeting I neglected to spot the much larger fish hiding under a branch just below where I stood. Right as the targeted fish was about to snatch my fly the bigger of the two came out of nowhere and smash it. I wrangled with it for a minute and it just out played me, I attempted to turn it but it managed to force its way back to the branches where it came from resulting in my fly getting tied off. Well played brown trout, well played.

Snowshoes RequiredI continued to temp the creek watching it rise to 48 degrees throughout the early afternoon. The trout continued to be very active and a couple nice fish came to hand on the mini-streamer thanks to a down and in approach. I passed up fishing a dry fly a few more times in favor of moving a bit more quickly upstream. Having seen the changes from recent high water events I was determined to see all I could and the mini-streamer was the best option to tempt a trout here and there as I moved upstream. All said and done I hiked over two miles in the thick, wet deep snow and it felt glorious. Easily one of the best days I’ve had in quite a while.

 

2 Comments:

  1. Made it out yesterday to try a new spot. It was a nice deep pool with some open water at the front third of it. Threw a SMB pattern with a zebra midge dropper. No success, but man, was it a work out getting through the wet, heavy snow. I have no idea why I left the snowshoes in the Jeep.

  2. I’m hoping the freeze tomorrow will make things a little easier this weekend. Good on you for getting out though.

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