I started the morning early, waking at 5am to finish what needed done around the house so I could be running out the door at 5:30. Made coffee, grabbed the gear, kissed a very sleepy Liz and I was off. I debated long and hard on where to go and how to spend this day, I’ve been wanting a change of scenery so I decided to pick a new spot. Listening to MPR and drinking coffee gets me fired up to catch a trout. So I drove.
Now I should point out that I always have a back up plan and today was no exception, the weather report told me gusty winds and sun. Sun I like, wind…well we don’t care for wind much, when I fish with for-casted wind I try to pick a tight stream that limits the wind’s ability to take control. 1st stream was beautiful with gin clear water even after the rains from the night before. I walked it downstream from my access quite aways trying to get a feel for the stream, something didn’t feel right and I decided that I would check option two. That turned out to be a bust, the tiny trickle looked like chocolate milk and I knew it wouldn’t provide the opportunities I was looking for. I decided to head to the back up back up spot. Chocolate milk there too! So when this happens I have spots that don’t muddy and I headed to one I visited last year. Shit by now I had driven across almost two counties.
I got on stream and felt a chilly 50 degree water temp. I’m wet wading this summer and I wanted to get a feel for my gear so no hip waders for me. I tried as best I could to stay out of the stream but sometimes the forest around you kind of makes the choice for you. I saw a few flashes in the run near where I parked so I went upstream and picked bugs. I chose a big stone fly imitation and a W.F.F. Swimming PT as a trailer and started swinging. Took a hit but lost it right away, late on the hook set. I kept swinging my rig and took quite a few smaller but beautiful brown trout.
Today I learned well that an indicator has its place amongst the gear I bring but that there are situations where I wouldn’t use one, example: the run I fished early this day had a log with several fish holding under it. The water was very clear and the fish were easily spooked. Fishing downstream without an indicator allowed my flies to sink to the needed depth with the current to get under the log and to the fish, had there been an indicator as I let it drift to the log the taught line might have gotten hung up and probably not gotten my flies down to the fish and the indicator might have helped spook the fish in the clear water conditions.
After catching a fair amount of smaller browns I left in search of warmer water, hatching bugs and….redhorse? Yep, redhorse. I moved from a small very clear trout stream to a much larger body of water that was tinted from the recent rains but not enough to prevent some great fishing. I decided that due to the fact that I was fishing higher flows and I couldn’t see the fish to help indicate a strike I would fish an indicator. This too requires trial and error, so I found out. Setting depth, weighting the rig in the correct spot, and casting were all elements that I worked on as the day progressed.
I remember vividly casting my rig and watching as the strike was made, a fish that I hadn’t seen sitting next to a rock pulled away to shake twice and give me the fin, I’m positive that I would have missed everything had I not had the indicator, the fish most likely would have spit the fly out before I was even onto his presence and he would have went unseen camouflaged next to that rock. Something to be said about the indicator.
I saw plenty of Redhorse and by the end of the day I wanted to touch one so I tried as hard as I could to get one to take a worm pattern weighted heavily and sunk right to the bottom but to no avail. Other notables: Ephemerella Invaria are all over the place, today I fished three streams all of them had large numbers of Invaria which leads me to think we are going to get on some more dry fly action in the next few weeks.